Thrift-Store Shopping How-To’s From a Nordie’s Gal!

mebeauty & fashion

Dress Silk Thrift Store Shopping Thrifting Friends I am proof that you can swear undying devotion to Dillard's and still rock it when it comes to thrift-store shopping. What's the key to my success, you ask? My uber stylish friends (USFs) who just so happen to love all things vintage and make sorting, frugality, and thrift-store shopping an amazing art instead of the crazy chaos I thought it would be.

Looking to find a stylish steal of a deal and have fun while doing it? Don't take it from me, learn a few tips from the pros, my USFs—Allison from Petit Elefant or @petit_elefant, Carina from Jet Set or @jet_set, and Melissa from Isly or @melissapher.

Here is what I learned this past weekend while thrifting in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah!

1. Get Organized and Connected!

Friends Girlfriends Shopping Thrifting Thrift Store Shopping Salt Lake City Utah While the actual shopping was fun (yes! I admit it!), the whole thrifting experience would have been void without friends. Sharing your finds is half the fun, so having one person organize the event—invite people, create a schedule, e-mail information—was extremely helpful. Before the outing, I loved knowing who was going, getting pre-shopping tips, organizing carpools, and chit chatting back and forth on e-mail to generate excitement.

(From left: Allison, Marie, Emily, Carina, and Melissa)

2. Prepare an Itinerary.
Receiving a schedule of the thrifting events was awesome, because it gave us a play-by-play of the day's activity. That way, if we had to arrive late or leave early or only had a certain amount of time we could be there, we could plan accordingly.

3. Provide Pre-Shopping Tips.

Jack in the Box For non-thrift-shopping gals, receiving a few helpful pre-shopping tips like these made the whole experience easier:

  • If you're looking to buy furniture, measure the space in your house and bring the dimensions with you so you don't buy a piece that is too large or small for the space.
  • If you're looking to buy clothes or shoes, wear clothes that can easily be removed and put back on.

4. Choose Vintage Stores Close in Proximity But With a Variety of Products.

When shopping with 10+ gals, especially on a snowy day, make sure to schedule your stops close together. We went to several stores within walking distance and then drove to another two also within walking distance. I loved the diverse mix of products in each of the stores. I bought a red hat in Retro Rose and a cute silk dress at The Green Ant. Other stores sported bottle collections, furniture, a vintage Jack-in-the-Box, and extensive jewelry collections.

5. Tempt the Palate.

Creme Brulee Dessert Bakery Gorandies Salt Lake City Utah What's an outing without food? Starting and ending on a delicious note not only kept everyone's tummy's full and happy, but also provided an extra opportunity for socializing.

Choosing the eateries also played a role in both setting the tone and wrapping things up in savory style. We went foreign for breakfast with Belgian Waffles from Bruges and to Gormandise Bakery "famous for its spectacular desserts" for lunch.

6. Open Your Mind and Your Pocketbook, But Not Before Haggling.

Being a non-thrifting gal myself prior to this event, part of its success for me was simply being open minded. I didn't think the silky number would fit and wasn't in the mood to try things on. Peer pressure got me into the dressing room and out of the store with a cute dress perfect for me at a great price ($20 folks!). Of course, I had to be willing to pull out the pocketbook. Frugal isn't free! But, I did learn the price is always up for negotiation—a little friendly haggling!—one thing I wouldn't dare do at Nordie's.

7. Capture the Event!

One of the funnest parts of the experience was taking pictures as we went from store to store. Check out the entire activity on Whrrl by clicking here!

A seasoned thrifter? New to the game? Leave a comment with your tips, questions, or advice.

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An active part of the Mom It Forward team, Jyl primarily writes about parenting, social good, and all things travel related. In a past life, Jyl was an award-winning copywriter and designer of corporate training programs for Fortune 100 companies. Offline, Jyl is married to @TroyPattee; a mom to two teen boys and a beagle named #Hashtag; loves large amounts of cheese, dancing, and traveling; and lives in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. Topping her bucket list is the goal to visit 50 countries by the time she's 50.


13 responses to “Thrift-Store Shopping How-To’s From a Nordie’s Gal!”

  1. […] lyrique86 wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptDress Silk Thrift Store Shopping Thrifting Friends I am proof that you can swear undying devotion to Dillard’s and still rock it when it comes to thrift-store shopping. What’s the key to my success, you ask? … […]

  2. […] Read the rest here: Thrift-Store Shopping How-To's From a Nordie's Gal! :Mom it Forward […]

  3. Emily H. says:

    I could’ve used the “wear things that are easy to take off and put back on” tip before leaving. Zip-up, knee-high boots and a shirt that buttoned in the back were not the wisest choices. But this was a great post with lots of helpful tips. Thanks! (And I can’t wait to see you in that little polka-dot number!)

  4. […] the original post:  Thrift-Store Shopping How-To's From a Nordie's Gal! :Mom it Forward This entry is filed under Shopping. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS […]

  5. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Emily Hill, Matt Spight and Jyl Johnson Pattee, FashioniistaGrl. FashioniistaGrl said: Thrift-Store Shopping How-To's From a Nordie's Gal! :Mom it Forward: Dress Silk Thrift Store Shopping T.. […]

  6. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by jylMomIF: @petit_elefant @jet_set @melissapher @makeandtakes @emihill @kamibigler @lovelandmisc @clothedmuch Thrifting tips:

  7. It would have been really nice if you had shared your itinerary! I’ve been here just over a year and am dying of boredom. I can’t find the kind of thrift stores we have back home. I would have loved to have tried your list.

  8. I always find great stuff for my girls when thrift store shopping, but not so much for me. My SIL has raised it to an art form! I do better with clearance racks. And shopping while the kids are home with Daddy. ;o)

  9. Kami says:

    So fun to spend the morning with you Jyl! I loved it! So much we can learn from our fellow Thrifting Mavens.

  10. Michelle says:

    Looks like tons of fun! That red hat is adorable!

  11. I go into a bit more detail about thrift conversion. Since it’s a completely different market than conventional retail, you must first dump the retail mindset. Then, since thrift inventory turns over so fast, you design a thrift routine that’s folded into the daily running of the errands of your life for 10 minute recon strikes. Follow that up with thrift store etiquette and you have a winning combination to saving thousands of dollars without compromising, lowering the carbon foot print of your shopping via reuse and giving your hard earning money to a charity that most likely poetically repurposes lives.

    Don’t believe me? Check out The Thrifty Chicks Piscasa slide show in the left column of their blog. It has over 200 thrifted items. Some brand new, some gently used, some antique but all unique.

    Goodspeed to all thrifters!
    Ms Shopping Golightly

  12. SHOP ELECTRONICS!!! says:



  13. […] a lot of money. I recently took a trip to my sister’s house in Boise, Idaho. We decided to go thrift store shopping. Our kids needed some entertainment, and they love to go to the thrift store, so we took […]

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