I grew up the granddaughter of a thrifty yankee. My grandmother and I spent countless hours shopping at yard sales and thrift stores. I watched her haggle for things that appeared to be useless and saw how animated she became while describing how she would repurpose these seemingly worthless objects, breathing new life into them. Below are my tips for using these resources to save yourself some wedding moola.
1.) Get creative and think repurpose!
Use social media to your advantage. I searched Pinterest for hours to find ideas of creative ways to repurpose ordinary objects. Once you’ve established your theme and colors, you can find an idea and run with it. Pinterest and YouTube feature “How-to” and DIY articles and videos aimed at everything you can imagine. I knew that I wanted to go with a vintage theme so I searched mason jar centerpieces, old suitcases, burlap, glass milk jugs and repurposing in general.
Pinterest is where I first saw a unique guest book idea that was perfect for us; Jenga blocks for the guests to write well wishes on with fine-tipped Sharpies.
2.) Know a good deal
Educate yourself on pricing so that you are able to recognize a good deal. Just because you find something at a discount store or yard sale doesn’t mean that it’s priced right. Do your research so that you know when you find a good deal and be ready to scoop it up if you do!
3.) Frequent your local thrift stores
If you have never been to your local thrift stores, now’s your chance! Start by making a list of anything and everything that you need. I knew I was searching for mason jars, a vintage suitcase, craft supplies like glue, ribbon and scrap booking paper to name just a few things.
Most thrift stores offer discount days. For some, it is once a week or a specific tag color each week, for others, there are one or two specific sale days a month. Knowing these sale days offers you even more discounts. It also doesn’t hurt to “get in good” with the employees of the store. Because I was such a frequent shopper of my local Goodwill, one of the associates went out of her way to get me 200 napkins new in package that perfectly matched my theme for less than $5.
4.) Yard Sales: virtual and physical
Yard sales are still going strong! In my area, from Memorial Day through Labor Day there are dozens of them every weekend. Grab your local paper and map out which sales near you look promising. I was able to find lots of the mason jars I used for my centerpieces at local yard sales. Some for $1.
Social Media has brought with it an increase in virtual yard sale opportunities. Sites like Craigslist and Facebook are ripe with postings of things that can be easily repurposed. There are Facebook groups where brides sell their wedding supplies and leftovers for a fraction of what you would pay new. Find one in your area and shop away. I found 6 chalkboards and chalkboard paint for less than I would have paid for 1 new chalkboard in a retail store.
Thrift store and yard sale shopping aren’t for everyone. I get that. But for me, its not just about the savings, its about the thrill of discovery and the creativity of what I can repurpose. It also speaks of happy childhood memories. If you do decide to give secondhand shopping a try, keep an open mind and enjoy yourself!