Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Confessions of a thrift store junkie

Mercedes, Lincolns, and other expensive luxury cars occupy the spaces in the parking lot. Inside, designer clothing and accessories including Prada, Dolce & Gabana, Coach, and Versace line the racks.

This may sound like a typical shopping trip to the Town Center Mall, but it’s really just some of the items you can find at your local secondhand store.

My name is Kari and I am a “thrift store junkie.” I’m addicted to bargain hunting at any sort of secondhand store, flea market, and garage sale I can find. I know that some of you can relate to what I am saying.

Unfortunately, the love of secondhand shopping is not something that everyone readily admits to enjoying. For some, the idea carries a stigma. I used to be embarrassed of my admiration for discarded belongings.

However, with the help of shows like Shabby Chic and Trading Spaces on the TLC channel, this form of shopping has begun to gain acceptance.

I’d like to let everyone in on some secrets to looking well-dressed and fashionably accessorized for only a couple of dollars. There are countless designer clothes, shoes, handbags, and even furniture that are just waiting to be discovered at your local Goodwill store or any secondhand store.

One of the most exciting finds I came across was a brand-new, tag still attached, Dolce & Gabana white linen dress shirt. A shirt that would fetch $250 dollars in Saks Fifth Avenue cost me a mere $3.29.

Another good day produced a green Prada tote bag for which I paid $4.14, while eBay sellers were auctioning the same bag for $400. These are simply a few of the many wonderful items I have came across in the past couple of years.

In my experience of secondhand shopping, I have compiled a list of handy tips to have the most successful bargain hunting adventure:

1. Do your homework. Go to the department stores that actually carry the name brands. You may not be able to buy anything in Nordstrom or Bloomingdales but it doesn’t mean you can’t look. Remember the labels you see and you’ll recognize them when they pop up at Goodwill

2. Location, Location, Location. In order to pick up the best designer labels, keep in mind the area in which you are shopping. For instance, shopping at Goodwill in Palm Beach or Boca Raton will already have the brand name items sorted out, but pricing is higher. Shopping in Boynton Beach or West Palm Beach still provides good merchandise but is harder to find.

3. Be patient. This type of shopping often demands time and attention. You have to comb through everything in the store to find what lies beneath the piles of stuff. Perseverance does pay off.

4. Be informed. Many stores put out “new” merchandise everyday, all day. Some stores only put items out on certain days. Find this information out in order to catch the best treasures. Also, various stores have discount days. Find these days out, as well, to save even more money.

With these tips in mind, anyone can happily experience a journey to the secondhand store. Above all, don’t be embarrassed. People with all ranges of income shop at these types of stores – evident from all those luxury cars found out in the parking lot. Not only do you save lots of money, but you also get a sense of challenge out of it. You never know what you’re going to find. That’s enough for me to make my way to a secondhand store once a week.

Goodwill Locations:

Rivera Beach: 3500 Broadway, 561/842-9112Lake Worth: 4519 Lake Worth Rd., 561/967-5525Boynton Beach: 9764 S Military Trail, 561/740-4407West Palm Beach: 3622 S Dixie Highway, 561/832-8893Palm Beach: 210 Sunset Ave, 561/832-8199Palm Beach Gardens: 4224 Northlake, 561/622-2910Boca: 150 S Dixie Highway, 561/362-9650Wellington: 13873 Wellington Terrace, 561/784-9596

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