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{ Spoiler alert: I got the 10 perfect summer staples in this photo for $40 at Goodwill last week! }

Before ‘poppin tags’ became all the rage you could find me and my BFF… Venti Starbucks in hand…at Goodwill. Every. Saturday. Morning. Before Goodwill, I used to consider Nordstrom Rack and Last Chance a form of thrifting so the first time my girl dragged me into Goodwill (yes she literally had to drag me) I was not impressed.

All I saw was dirty used clothes but she convinced me to stay, primarily because we drove together. She kept saying all it would take is one discovery and I would be hooked…she was right. It was a London Leathers by Lilli Ann leather coat, made in England during the 1950’s, it fit like a glove and was practically brand new…for $5.99. To add to this list since then are a black closed-toe pair of Christian Louboutins for $12.00 (yes, I’m serious), and a vintage navy Céline belt to name a few. Now, a few words of advice…

Deal-breakers

Before you walk into any thrifting store you need to establish the ‘deal-breakers’ meaning…what you will NOT BUY, No. Matter. What. Examples of this would be if clothing is torn or stained. If looking at DIY projects such as new furniture or storage options make sure that the time, effort and repair do not cost more than purchasing a similar item either already refinished at a flea, or completely new altogether.

Shop Like a Visionary

It will be very rare that you walk into Goodwill and find a brand spanking new Andy Warhol print of Grace Kelly for $4.99…so when that happens, thank your lucky stars and buy it then remind yourself that this is the exception rather than the rule. More often than not, you will need to dig a little to find your diamonds in the rough.

Easy fixes on clothing include changing out buttons, making pants into cut-offs, and cutting up cool t-shirts (check out the men’s section). With furniture, make sure the piece has ‘good bones.’ Meaning it’s structurally sound, well-made and all it really needs is a good paint job and perhaps some new knobs or hard-wear.

Accessories

Jewelry, belts and handbags are some of the most unique things I have found at Goodwill. There are trays of jewelry and stands disbursed through the store holding bracelets, necklaces etc. Don’t discount the open displays, just because they are in the open does not mean they are less valuable. Remember to look at Men’s and Women’s belts because waist size is not gender specific! When looking through handbags …just remember you are digging for buried treasure, sometimes literally.

Housewares

Housewares are pretty straight forward, maybe a paint job to freshen it up, but for the most part, housewares are either in good shape, or they’re not. That being said, finding new uses for housewares never gets old. Cheese-graters become earring holders, wine racks become scarf holders…use your imagination!

Books & Vinyl

I am currently learning Spanish level 1 thanks to a $2.00 untouched text-book, and I have vinyl coming out of the woodworks, and all for less than $3.00 a piece. So dope, right?!…just check each records condition before you buy it!

Know the Deals ( make sure your Goodwill participates)

/// Sign up for the e-mail program to receive 20% off coupons at http://www.goodwill.org/

/// Thursdays are $1 days, which means the colored tag of the week will be reduced to $1,   regardless of the origianlly marked price!

/// Every other Saturday Goodwill has a 50% off sale where everything in the store is 50% off! Boom!

To me, it is not the resale value of the items I find…though many people have proven this trade to be quite lucrative. Finding unique pieces that speak to you (and that no one else will have), is a great way to develop a Signature style.

Remember to have fun with it, but repeat after me…quality over quantity! With the prices it can be a hard rule to follow, but you really want to be selective and go for those few items that will really enhance your everyday wardrobe!

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