Thursday, February 4, 2016

Clothing Thrift Shopping

(Feel free to scroll past my thoughts straight to the tutorial)

This may seem a little off topic from weight loss, but actually it can be a huge part! Feeling comfortable and confident in your clothes really affects how you feel about your body. Many people's weight loss goals are simply "have my clothes fit better" or "fit into my goal jeans". But, what do you wear in the mean time? Do you live awkwardly in clothes that don't fit and feel worse about yourself every single time you get dressed? How many years do you spend thinking you need/want new clothes but decide to wait because "I want to lose 10 lbs first"?  I jealously see people talk about cutting down their wardrobe to high quality staples, but I don't want to invest in clothes that are a size I don't want to be!

For me, I spent about 4 years wearing clothes that were too tight. Then I gave in and bought a bunch of new clothes that fit. Then, giving myself permission to be the size I was, contributed to gaining 30 more pounds over the next 4 months, and 20 more over the year after that. This is when I started thrift shopping.  

I think that thrift shopping is very healthy psychologically. You get a sense of accomplishment for finding great clothes at such a great discount. You don't have to deal with the guilt for overspending.  Even if you really overdo it, it's hard to break the bank with such low prices. For me a shopping "binge" gets out the feelings that make me want to binge on food. Then, when it comes to losing weight, you can have plenty of clothes that fit you in the size you are now, but you won't feel bad for the money you've spent on the clothes when you lose weight and they don't fit anymore! (Truth be told, this does lead to having a lot of clothes in your closet and you risk becoming a hoarder, but I have no good advice for helping with that situation)

By the way, it's also great for kids clothes! They grow out of clothes so fast!

I have heard so many people say "you must have good luck, because I never find anything good", or "you'll have to take me because I don't have a good eye for it". Well, I admit, it is a bit of an art, and it takes practice, and I'm happy to take you, it's really fun for me! But that is why I decided to make this tutorial about it!


1. Plan enough time, it takes longer than running into Target! But it may be faster than going to the mall...with driving time, parking, crowds, and going to 3 different stores. 

2. Note your options, if it doesn't go well at one store don't give up, try a different one or location next time. There is Goodwill, Value Village (Savers in some states), DI, St. Vincent, anyone know of any I'm missing? My favorite is the Value Village in Kent. 

3. Guess what? On Wednesdays-Sunday, certain items are 50% off! And then the following Monday they go down to $1! The tags are color coded, so the discount is on a certain color each week. So for me, Mondays are Value-Village-Day!  

Guess what else?! Most Monday holidays like Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Presidents' Day (maybe other holidays too, I haven't noticed) EVERYTHING is 50% off! Sometimes the store gets picked clean on these days so go early!

4. I think this is true for all shopping, have an idea of what you want, you won't have time or energy to go through every section. You won't be happy when you get home if you needed new pants and got new sweaters 😜.

5. Ready to start? Go to your size and flip through Every Single Item. It's not like other stores where a color or print pops out and you look at it, or you see it on the mannequin and find it in your size. Grab anything that looks ok, or fun, or interesting. 
      5a. You aren't deciding at this point whether it might fit (every line of clothing has different sizing) if it looks in the ballpark give it a try!
     5b. You aren't deciding at this point if it's worth the price. Everything is under $10, if it's more than that it's because it's a high quality brand and/or brand new with original tags, so trust me, you want it. 
     5c. You aren't deciding if it's really "you". This is why it's fun! Try something different, go outside of your box. Today is the day you get to try being bohemian or sporty, or retro, or girly, or whatever you think you're not! True, most of them will be duds, but one or two will surprise you how amazing you look, and they will become your favorite clothes. 
     5d. You are noticing quality of fabric, brands, and wear/stains. Obviously don't grab things with holes or pills, now is not the time for careful inspection, but a quick check is important. If the brand is a Walmart or Target or other inexpensive brand only pick it if you really like it. If you're on the fence about something and don't recognize the brand, you probably have a smartphone that you can quickly google it with. Of course it's totally okay if you ignore brands, it's just a tool to help you estimate the quality. 
    5e. Trust your instinct! I touch every single hanger and flip through them at about 2 or 3 per second. I put about one in 10 in my cart and only stop to consider every once in a while. I fill my cart with almost 10 times as many clothes as I might actually buy. 

6. Time to try them on! You still aren't making decisions, you are checking for fit. Make 3 piles, no, maybe, and yes. When I'm on the fence I take pictures in the mirror and text them to my sister.

 If you have shear shirts that need an undershirt then grab something similar to what you have at home to try on under them. If you have a kid with you, be sure to grab a toy or two for them to play with while you spend forever trying things on. By the time you're done, you'll know which of your maybe's you actually like and switch them to yes. 

7. Deciding. It kind of depends on how many clothes you found, how many you need, and your budget. If you barely found enough, then you just carefully check each one for stains and snags. I tend to wear clothes out between my thighs so I always check for wear there. Also check the care label, if it's dry clean only and you don't do dry cleaning, then it would be a problem. As with all shopping, you consider the price vs. how much you want it, and you estimate your total to know if it's in your budget. If I have a good day and have way more clothes than I can buy, I sort them by type and price and then pick my favorites from each stack. Then I do my careful check of my favorites and if any fail then I pick a replacement. 

There you go! It's everything I know, and it's how I feel like I robbed a bank every time I buy clothes. It takes some practice and some luck. I know people who get whole shopping lists including great Christmas gifts from thrift stores (not just clothes) so if you want tips on that, I'll send you to them to ask 😜. 
My haul this week from a 40% off activewear sale: $50 for 5 shirts, 2 warm workout pants, 2 capri workout pants, and a light jacket.

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