How To Second Hand Shop Hop


My sister is an expert at doing the Second Hand Shop Hop.

The girlfriend can get curtains, lamps, picture frames and a coffee table and completely transform her personal space in a new color scheme. For $15.

She picked up a beautiful soft leather Coach bag for a steal.

She has an ‘eye’.

Obviously, you need to be a private eye with an eagle eye and not be afraid to give the lady trying to grab the thing you just spotted – first! – the stink eye. This type of shopping isn’t for shrinking violets.

When I go, I seldom find a treasure that makes me do the Happy Dance.

But she can put together an outfit for her Hubby’s work Christmas dinner and look like a million bucks.

And I know she only spent twenty.

So here it is:

How to pop some tags with $20 in your pocket.

  1. Go alone. Take bottled water and snacks. Preferably chocolate.
  2. Alone! Unless you’re with a professional like my sister, otherwise, text selfies for second opinions.
  3. Don’t go in a distracted mood. Focus. Have a good hair day. Wear comfy shoes.
  4. Do special occasion outfits way in advance. Like months, if possible.
  5. Wear pull-on clothes for fast changing and slender clothes for trying on ‘over the top’.
  6. Map the stores in advance. Note their hours. Do they take plastic or is it cash only?
  7. Map the store from the door. Where are the dressing rooms? Are there dressing rooms?
  8. Take your list and be faithful. What do you need? What will you splurge on if necessary?
  9. Never believe the tags. These clothes are here for a reason. They lie.
  10. First, look for stains, holes, broken zippers, missing buttons. Rerack immediately.
  11. Is it cotton (shrink) linen (wrinkle) rayon (fray) velvet (eew) beaded (missing)?
  12. Dry Clean Only? Really?
  13. Shoes are vaguely more size-honest. And pre-molded to another’s foot. Use caution.
  14. Speaking of mold, there are items that you should never purchase second hand. Just no.
  15. Try it on. Look from every angle. Bend over. Sit down. Reach up. Can you breathe?
  16. Beware coats or workout wear. They may smell funny when wet.
  17. If you buy this and hate it, can you return it? Yes, but only as a donation.
  18. Always take a bag for dropping off to make room for new treasures.
  19. If you dither, it will vanish into another woman’s cart. Maintain physical contact until you decide. No, it won’t still be here tomorrow.
  20. Don’t buy it unless you love it. It’s not a bargain if you don’t actually wear it.

It used to be baby and kids’ clothing that we filled our carts with. Toys and books.

Now, my favorite place to look through is the jewelry display. If I can’t find a single thing in the whole store that fits me, I can always find a bit of sparkly that will go with everything I own.

One size fits all.

For two bucks.

Comment (1)

  • Jennifer Russell| August 28, 2015

    Such practical tips! I feel more prepared, now I just need to find the good shops. I have heard go to richer neighborhoods for nicer things.

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