Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Make The Most Out Of Thrift Store Shopping

If you're like me, you supply 90% of your daycare items with thrift store and yard sale finds.  I'm not afraid of a little elbow grease to clean something up, if I can get it in decent shape at a good price.  Everything from high chairs and playpens to educational toys and dress up clothes can be found in second-hand shops and yard sales.

It takes patience.  I keep a running "wish list."  Sometimes my wishes are granted within a week or two, but most of the time it can be a month or more before I can mark something off my list. I've learned that waiting until I find the right item at the right price builds character.  I end up appreciating the item because I worked so hard to find it.
Sometimes you don't get exactly what you want, but it's even better!  Lots of times I have a particular item in mind.  What happens most of the time is I don't find the brand I thought I wanted, but another brand.  Many times the item is better--a better size, quality, color, etc.  Being flexible is important.
It takes elbow grease.  Every second-hand item I bring home is washed.  It may go through the dishwasher (plastic toys, dishes, etc.) or washing machine (stuffed toys, blankets, linens, etc.) or if it's a big item like a playpen or high chair, it gets a vinegar bath and a rub down.
Go often.  Particularly, when I'm looking for a certain item, going to the thrift store once or twice a week because they get donations all the time and your item might come in!

Be a "regular" in several stores.  Get to know the thrift stores, consignment stores, baby re-sale shops, etc. in your area.  Get to know the people who work there and the owners of the shops.  Don't be afraid to ask for what you are looking for.  Ask if they will call you when something comes in.
Don't forget to deduct the items from your taxes.  Items like toys and baby furniture can be deducted 100% off your taxes.  Kitchen items, household items, and items that your daycare and family share can be deducted off your time/space percentage.  Don't forget to keep track of your mileage to these places.  You can use Google Maps to find out.  If they don't give you a receipt, you can make your own noting the address of the yard sale or the name of the business, the date, and items purchased with the prices.
What is your best second-hand shopping tips?  Please leave a comment telling me.



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