But it's not in me, honestly. Thrifting for profit takes two things I really don't have: the first is commitment, the second is patience. So, instead, I have sort of developed my own set of thrifting guidelines. Which will I now share with you.
When I thrift, this is what I am looking for (in this order):
- Things that are needed or wanted at my house. I have a list (mentally, usually) of these things. There are some things that are seasonal or move off and on to the list, and some things that I am always looking for. For example, I'm always on the lookout for cool large sized glass jars with lids for food storage, button down shirts for Mark, dog and cat toys, and things that can be used for dog beds (particularly crib mattresses). Lately, I've been looking for heavy bottomed lowball glasses and appertif glasses.
- Things that others have asked me to look for: My friends and family occasionally ask me to look for certain things for them. I keep a list of these things in my day planner and an always on the lookout for them. I've been looking for a 10" glass pan lid in excellent shape for Mark's parents for a year.
- Gifts. I absolutely thrift for gifts and hoard them. Anything that is new with tags gets a gift-possibility once over (though most of it gets left behind as inappropriate for anyone to whom I give gifts). An example? My mom got three 100% cotton (she's allergic to wool) new with tags sweaters, all name brands (Eddie Bauer, Ann Taylor, Ralph Lauren), last Christmas. All from the Goodwill. Child friends very often get thrifted gifts, including Melissa & Doug floor puzzles and a Build-a-Bear train set, most recently.
- Swappables. For the last several months, I've been doing a lot of swapping on one of the Internet communities to which I belong. I really love it. Swapping is a much friendlier system than selling. I both look for things to swap that I know people want specifically and general items that always seem desirable. Mostly, this is craft stuff or cool toys. I always buy natural fiber yarn, embroidery thread, vintage knitting and sewing patterns, etc.
- Sellables. Even though thrifting for profit isn't my calling in life, I occasionally find things I know I can sell, and I definitely grab those. The Little People village was a recent example of this. Other times, I thrift things thinking I'll gift or trade them, and end up selling them because they end up being worth more than I'd expected. The big lot of mohair yarn I thrifted recently is an example of this. However, I try not to thrift anything with the expectation of selling it unless I am quite sure it is actually worth the time and trouble, which doesn't happen often.
Using these guidelines, I have definitely cut down on the worthless crap I bring home. When I pick up an item, I run through this list. If I doesn't fit, it shouldn't be coming home with me, no matter how cool it is.