Monday, February 28, 2011

The Joys of Swapping!

Such a simple concept, such fabulous results! Chances are you understand the idea of swapping without really needing an explanation, but were you aware of the fact that there are dozens of online sites for trading clothing, books, dvds, jewelry, and soooo much more? If you are intriqued, allow me to enlighten you further!

There are so many awesome reasons to use swapping websites! One of my favorites: they are environmentally friendly! Gently used goods are essentially recycled by passing them along from one owner to another, thus saving the energy and the environmental impact of creating new goods, as well as less perfectly lovely items ending up in landfils.

But by far the best reason, the point of this blog is that swapping helps you save a HUGE amount of money while getting loads of things that you love! Most swapping websites are free to join (some require a fee for upgraded services) and you pay only the postage required to mail your package. Many sites allow you to not only trade items with other members but also put items up for sale to earn some extra cash!
Tips For Getting Started
When you join any swapping website, you'll be known as a newbie until you have completed several trades and built up a good reputation. Most websites work by having you upload pictures and descriptions of the items you'd like to trade. Then you can send messages and make offers to people you would like to trade with, and also recieve messages and offers from them. Once you have agreed upon an offer, you then exchange addresses and and agree upon a date to mail the items. As a newbie you will most likely be asked to post first for saftey purposes. As with anything in life, you must use your best discression on whom to swap with because sadly the possibility of swaplifting does exist. Because some sad, dishonest soul could steal your goods, even if you are asked to post first, you can still help protect yourself by only trading with people who have done many trades with high levels of good feedback and no negative feedback. Most all websites have some form of rating or feedback system for members and you can view their profiles before swapping with them. Also be aware that the postal system is not 100% perfect and  a package could become lost in the mail. To protect yourself, always save copies of your postal reciepts incase a dispute should arrise. If it is not too much of an extra expense, you can also send your package recorded delivery and receive a tracking number to insure your package makes it to its destination. Other than that, there really are no drawbacks to swapping, and there are limitless possibilites, so have fun with it!
My personal favorite clothing swapping website:! This wesite was originally UK based, but is now open to worldwide members. You can get a wide variety of fashions from all over the word, how cool is that? The only downside to swapping overseas is that the postage rates are a little more expensive, but you when you consider the original cost of the item, it still usually works out to be a great deal. It may also take longer to recieve packages from other countries. But BW is one of the most reputable and long established swapping websites out there. If you decide to get more information or join the site, please use my referal link: . If you join using my link, I will receive points towards receiving gift cards to major clothing stores. If you refer friends you can earn gift cards too! Look me up, I'd love to swap with ya!

Other Great Websites:

The Fun Part!
The following are pics of some of my wonderful items I've recieved through swapping! I hope they inspire you to do some trades of your own!

My first swap! A gorgeous bag by designer Melie Bianco, came all the way from Singapore! Original retail: $90, I paid about $8 to post my part of the trade. That's over 90% savings! :)
I love this fab turquoise bag!

Teriffic vintage umbrella and scarf set from the '70's!
These may be faux Chanel earrings, but they look as fab as the real thing!
A gorgeous silk top, one of my favorite swaps!

A great pearl cocktail ring!

Vintage cameo earrings from England. I get compliments every time I wear them!
BW has a large selection of books from well know authors!
A fabulous book about ecofriendly style! Talk about full circle!
Lovely bow pendant. This swapper included extra neclaces as a free gift! Some swappers are really nice like that.
Unique bird print dress from an English brand. Looks wonderful on!
Really cool photo print top!

Brand new copper colored Avon Eyeliner. It retailed for $4.99 and I paid about $2.50, so over 50% savings!
BN with tags H&M top, over $20 retail and I paid less than $10 in postage!
These bangles have become staples of my wardrobe!
A beautiful hairclip!
Super flattering floral tank top!

Gorgeous hand beaded earrings, new in box!

Warm fluffy slipper boots. Just got them today, wearing them as I type this! :)

If you have enjoyed this blog and found it helpful, please let me know! If you have any swapping websites to add to the list, I would love to check them out!

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Virtues of Thrift Stores

Admitedly, a lot of people find the idea of digging thorough racks of other peoples used clothing a bit daunting, or downright gross. I, however, venture to say that it's all in your perspective. For me, thrift shops are a giant treasure hunt! You may put in a little time and effort digging through a bunch of rocks but it's all worth it when you find that gem! This blog will be a bit of a quick guide to help you successfully navigate the world of thrift with ninja-like skill.
Types of Thrift Shops
There are two main types of thrift shops: chain and independently owned.
* Chain thrift stores such as The Goodwill and Salvation Army can be found in most major cities, making them convenient to find in this wonderful age of Google. You can just type in the name and city and get an address just like that! Chain thrift stores have many advantages. Because they are well established organizations, you can trust that any donations you make will be managed properly (plus they are tax deductible!) Chain thrift stores tend to be larger than independent ones, and therefore have a larger selection of goods. The more affluent the neighbourhood the shop is located in, the higher the quality of goods you may find. Chain shops also have a much higher chance of having a stock of new goods (yes thrift stores can carry new goods) because department stores (such as Target and JC Penney's) often donate their unsold merchandice to the shops. This opens up a whole other world of awesomeness when you can find a brand new with tags top for $2.95!
*Independently operated thrift stores may be somewhat smaller and in some cases, dingier, but they too have their virtues.One of my favorite things about this type of thrift shop is that you have greater odds of finding really cool, genuinely vintage items. The word "vintage" is thrown around a lot these days, and can be used as a gimick to disguise the fact that the product in question is just old, used, or just plain crap. However a true vintage item is something that has timeless appeal because it was well made and desirable to begin with. When you find that heirloom Hermes scarf or a mint condition Blondie vinyl, rummaging through piles of bad 70's jumpsuits and ugly lampshades suddenly won't seem like such a high price. Another great thing about these thrift shops is that if they are family owned and you plan on visiting on a regular basis, you can make friends with the owners and they can give you heads up about some of the best new items they get in!
Condition Of Merchandise
Most thrift stores, since they specialize in used goods, have an as is policy on all merchandise. Once you buy something, you usually can't return it if you have problems with the item afterwards. Thus it is absolutely IMPERATIVE  that you thoroughly examine all items before buying them and make sure they are to your satisfaction. The following is a list of things to keep in mind about quality.
*Look over all clothing for holes, stains and defects. Rips along seams can usually be repaired to look nearly as good as new, whether its worth the extra effort and investment is up to you. If an item already has a tear, it may be an indication that it is poorly made and might not last long. If an item has a hole anywhere else, like in the fabric itself, it's best to pass on it because it will be very difficult to conceal the repair. I also advise passing on any item that has a stain (or smell). Even if you are an absolute guru at removing mystery stains, that's just disgusting and not worth the bargain. Fortunately most thrift shops have fairly high standards and few such damaged items are actually up for sale. Make sure to also check that zippers work and all buttons are present.
*Many thrift shops also have housewares and accessories for sale, each with their own set of  flaws to watch out for. For kitchenware, look out for chips and cracks, and especially for cleanliness. Electronics can be very hit or miss. Ask if the store has an electrical outlet where you can plug in and test out any electrical item. Even if the item appears to work in the store, be aware that it could still crap out on you once you get it home, and consider the price accordingly.
Good Average Price Guide
The following is an average price guide for what you can expect to pay for different types of items at thrift shops. Keep in mind that this is a guide only, based on the prices of items at a Goodwill in CA, and prices of goods may vary by location and quality of item.
*Short and long sleeved tops: $2.95 and up
*Coats and Sweaters: $4.00 and up
*Pants, Skirts, and Shorts: $4.00 and up
*Dresses: $3.50 and up
*Shoes: $5.00 and up
*Purses: $2.00-$5.00 average
*Belts and Scarves: $2.00 average
*Jewelry: $1-10 average
*Children's clothing/accessories: .50 to $5.00 average
*Books: .50-$5.00 average
*DVD/VHS/Electronic Games: $1.00-10.00 average
*CD/Records: $1.00-2.00 average
*Kitchenware and glassware: .50-$10.00 average
There are many more categories that can be listed, but these are the average prices of some of the most popular thrift shop item prices. Compared to full retail most items are a fabulous bargain!

Thrifting Isn't Just For Women!

I found the Ralph Lauren corduroy sports coat pictured above at a thrift shop for my husband at $5.00 in gently used condition! Considering the fact that it would have cost about $200 new at Macy's, this is one of my favorite finds! So worth the looking.

The Fun Part!
The following pics are some of my favorite thrift store finds. I hope they impress and inspire you to look for chic and inexpensive peices for yourself. This is proof that they exist! In the above pics the blue newspaper print tee and the bronze woven belt are my two most recent thrift store finds. I had so much fun with that outfit and the ENTIRE outfit cost less than $50! Believe it.

This great flower strap top was $2.95 in like new condition!
This floral blouse is Decree from JC Penney's. It was brand new with tags, only $2.95!

This fab red polka dot blouse is from Forever 21, like new condition, only &2.95!

This summery patterned mini, just $4.00!

This gorgeous dress, only $3.50, like new condition! I wore it for Christmas. :)

I always receive compliments when I wear this vintage ethnic print dress, only $3.50!

These fab studded flats are Xhilirations from Target, brand new only $5.00!

These great belts were $2.00 each!

This leaf print serving tray was only $1.00 brand new and originally from Target. It matched some dishes that I already had. Score! The turquoise vase was only .75 cents!

As you may be able to tell, my home has a leaf print theme. This gogeous wall candle holder was only $5.00!

I hope you've enjoyed this blog and been converted to the wisdom of thrift shopping!