Thrift Store Bandits

thrift-store-sign-by-pixeljonesI went on a bit of a shopping spree Monday. Yes, I like to go shopping every once in a while, particularly when I have a good sized list of things to be on the look out for at the thrift stores. Every holiday our local thrift, Unique, has a 50% sale on everything, and their prices are already really low. I like to buy pretty much everything I possibly can second-hand, so thrift stores, craigslist and ebay are my go to places for shopping. And, I try to be pro-active, thinking of things we might be on the lookout for in the future so I can keep my eyes out before it’s too late and we end up buying it new (gardening tools for instance).

Here’s a brief rundown of Monday’s purchases for $50: 5 kids bicycles, 3 wide brim hats, 4 pairs of shorts, 2 t-shirts, 3 sets of curtains (pottery barn), 1 floor rug, 1 pair of sandals, 1 set of sheets, 3 kids aprons, a giant bed canopy/tent for the kids and a stove top popcorn popper. (nice huh?)

Anyways, on to the point of this post. I had this idea a while back and I want to finally try and bring it to fruition, and wanted to encourage others to as well. This is the basic idea. I usually have a list of about ten items that I’m hoping to find at the thrift store, but don’t come across them on multiple trips. And they just stay on the list. In talking with others most people inevitably have this problem. Either it’s a hot item and doesn’t seem to stay on the shelf for long, or its rare and you only stumble across it every so often. And when it’s just you going every so often there’s a far smaller chance you’ll ever get those items your looking for. Solution: The Thrift Store Bandits.

Imagine if you had a group of people in your neighborhood (or just a collection of friends) who all had your list of items that you were looking for. I might hit up the thrift store once a month, but so do three of my other friends and together that’s four trips to thrift stores (sometimes different ones) with eyes peeled for that random item your looking for (maybe a coffee grinder). Brilliant huh?

All it takes is a collective list that  you circulate amongst neighbors or close friends (ideally people you see on a frequent basis). I even went ahead and set one up using the same website I use for InsideNorthside.org. For those who live near me and want to participate just go here. If you live anywhere else (maybe Nashville), just let me know and I’ll start a page for you. After that you or anyone else can edit and add their name and list to it.

Now, next time your heading to the thrift store you just have to print off your local bandits page and keep your eyes out for the items on your friends list. When you find something for them, purchase it and drop it off. How easy is that?

6 thoughts on “Thrift Store Bandits”

  1. this is a great idea ariah!

    i hit up 2 thrift stores monday-both were doing the 50% sale for the holiday. my best purchase was a tank top for 50 cents. :o)

  2. My group of friends does this, informally. If a friend sees something at Goodwill she thinks I'm looking for, she gives me a call & will pick it up for me if I want it. I forward Freecycle emails to another friend if I think it's something she'll use. We are in each other's lives enough to know what each other's needs are.

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