We haven't joined the Compact yet, and I don't actually know if we will, at least not for a full 12 months. I'm conflicted about it; if I was Compacting I wouldn't have been able to order the new cooperative WildCraft! game, which I am so excited about. A cooperative game, about herbs and wild edibles, from a small family company...yeah! Buying this game is exactly the kind of mindful purchasing I want to do.
However, plenty of things can be obtained second hand. For the most part, clothing falls into that category. I have a basic idea of what we'll be needing for the next year, so I take that mental list with me and note any special need items (for instance, I will need a skirt or dress for our vacation next spring).
There is a huge thrift store in town, in addition to a Goodwill (mostly overpriced but good for books), a Salvation Army (really hit or miss), an Assistance League thrift shop (we've found some great things there, but it is small), a Discovery Cancer Shop (pricier, more like consignment), and other stores scattered here and there that we haven't been to. The big store took over an old home improvement store and it is easily 3X as big as Goodwill. Overall, the selection is pretty good.
However, the boys and I had a problem the first time we went to the store, which caused us to boycott it for months. They had a bag of Rokenbok parts. 99 cents was written on the bag, which we figured might be wrong. Well, the cashier said it was wrong, and then said he couldn't sell me unpriced merchandise. Store policy. When I asked him to see if someone could price it he said no. Finally the other clerk checked, but the pricing guy wasn't there.
I know that the cashiers were powerless, but they were also rude. It turns out that the toys had recently moved to pricing by weight, which is why the bag didn't have a "real" price on it, and if they'd known this I could have bought the Rokenbok. The $5 I offered them would have been right on.
In October, a friend mentioned that she was stopping by the store on her way home, and when I said I didn't like it she said she did, so we decided to give it another shot. I'm glad we did. We've been several times since then, and always come home with bargains.
Back to clothing. On the 1st of each month this store offers 10 pieces of clothing for $10. This was our first month to take advantage of this sale. The parking lot was full and the store was hopping. We didn't arrive when they first opened, but it was obviously that others had, and that plenty of people were buying clothing to resell. We couldn't get a cart, but the boys finally scouted a big empty Rubbermaid bin we could use. T-Guy dragged it around for me.
There was no way to go through all of the clothing in the short amount of time we had. So we went through boys' clothing, sizes 6-8, women's shirts, and men's pants. Then we headed to the brass section, and to toys, before deciding that the store was far too crowded to spend our time looking at the items that weren't on sale.
Clothing we got (20 pieces for $20):
5 pairs boys shorts, all around size 7, 1 heavy denim, 4 sturdy canvas twill, all elastic waist, most with cargo pockets
1 red l/s tee for me, Gap brand
1 red 3/4 sleeve tee for me (a little dressier cut), ellemeno brand
1 black l/s tee for me, J Crew brand
1 black l/s tee for me, Express brand, sleeve hem needs small repair
1 black l/s tee (fine gauge sweater) for me, no tags, it is fully-fashioned
1 fall colors sweater for me, Winner brand
1 pale lime l/s tee for me, Mossimo brand (Target)
1 light blue l/s tee for me, Cherokee brand (Target)
1 plaid fleece hoodie for J-Baby, really cute, no tags (actually appears home sewn), needs small repair.
2 white heavy cotton s/s tees for the boys (we're starting to collect apparrel to tie-dye)
1 white s/s tee with a sea turtle (honu) design and the words Maui, Hawaii silk-screened on it (we don't usually buy graphic tees, however we love anything honu and we went to Maui last February)
1 NWOT size 10 boys' Hawaiian print shirt, 100% cotton, made in the USA
1 mens' medium 100% cotton brown henley shirt, appears washed but not worn
1 pair mens' corduroy pants, purchased to recycle the fabric for a quilt I am planning.
I think we did really well. The shorts are for next year; it make sense to buy them now because people are donating outgrown summer clothing now, and everyone will be looking for shorts come spring. They will fit J-Baby or T-Guy or both of them. I buy elastic waist shorts for a few reasons: 1) I've purchased second hand shorts/pants with zippers that fall down all of the time, 2) elastic waist shorts/pants are more forgiving when it comes to sizing, 3) the boys actually prefer elastic waists for ease and comfort.
I ended up with 4 l/s tees to add to my everyday wardrobe, 3 black and 1 red. You may recall that my other l/s tee, purchased at the same thrift store, is also red. Why no variety? I try to stick with basic, dark colors because they don't show stains easily. I don't mind having 3 black shirts that are nearly identical, and black tees also make great undershirts when I need to layer my clothing. The other red shirt is a tad bit tight but will be nice next spring. It's cute enough to wear with a skirt for a casual/dressy look.
The 2 light colored tees I bought will probably be pajama tops. The blue one is a little big (so now I know that about Cherokee brand). There is the possiblity that I will bleach and tie-dye them.
The honu shirt is for T-Guy; he has outgrown most of his tees. The Hawaiian shirt will be his dressy shirt for next summer or the one after. J-Baby always needs hoodies, and I also think it does him good to pick something out at the thrift store - he doesn't like all of his clothing to be handed down from T-Guy, but is perfectly fine with second hand new-to-him items.
We also came away with a 200 piece dinosaur puzzle for 25 cents; I counted the pieces when we got home and they are all there. We picked up a few more brass candlesticks. I wanted to look for a metal funnel and a box grater for soap, but it was just too crowded. We'll go back next week.