Whenever my neighbor sees me stepping out of my car with those telltale oversize plastic bags from the local thrift store, he invariably asks, “did you get me anything?” The answer, of course, is no, but I did once invite him along. Like other thrift store excursions accompanied by novices, it did not go well. I was fifteen minutes into what would have been at least a two hour long treasure hunt when he turned up at my side, empty handed and ready to go. “I couldn’t find anything,” he said, looking vaguely repulsed and disappointed. Apparently, the super-soft ACDC t-shirt of his dreams had not jumped off the rack, grabbed him by his dry-cleaned lapels, and screamed, “buy me, damn it!”

Nor had the skinny hipster ties and shapely flannel shirts surfaced. Instead, a layer of grime and 80s castoffs euthanized his dreams of emerging twenty dollars poorer, but ever more so stylish, ala Macklemore.

There are a variety of ways to approach thrift shopping, from the ironic search for the perfect white elephant gift to the frugal acquisition of a wardrobe for your underpaying job. I have mastered quite a few approaches in my twenty some years of thrifting, but my favorite is the Bucket List Method.

Having accumulated a grotesque amount of cheap tchotchkes and vintage dresses, I’ve applied the Bucket List Method in an effort to buy better and fewer items. Like a grocery list, the Bucket List prevents me from purchasing unflattering, unnecessary junk, and though thrift store inventories are ever changing, the Bucket List Method employs shopping with intention which if you know anything about modern spirituality at all, you know is a good thing.

Listen up. I’m about to share my Bucket List with you. I’m aware that this is pretty much gratification suicide as far as thrift shopping goes, but the Arcs, Savers, Goodwills, and St Vincent de Paul’s of the universe have been pretty generous with me, so I guess it’s time to pay it forward. And also there’s nothing sadder than the euthanized dreams of a novice.

  • Huaraches
  • Vintage Alarm Clock
  • Mom Jeans
  • Cloisonne Jewelry
  • Gold Silverware
  • Vintage Fan
  • Blusa Bordada
  • National Geographic T-Shirt
  • Oversize Circular Mirror
  • Painted, Porcelain Tea Cups

So take heart my vaguely repulsed and disappointed thrifting newbies, once you’ve generated your own amazing Bucket List, you too could emerge from the hallowed doors of your local thrift shop twenty dollars poorer, but ever more so stylish.

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