The Guelph Thrifting Guide
with Jaden Steele
It’s sustainable, it’s fashionable and it’s fun!
Thrifting has become a big part of my lifestyle. It is a great way to save money and recycle items that are ready for their next chapter. It takes patience and a bit of practice, but once you get the hang of it, there is no going back! In this post, I will be teaching you the dos and don’ts of thrifting, where to go and what to look for.
My History with Thrifting
Since the beginning, my mom and dad loved finding a good deal. Whether it was a side of the road lawnmower, or hand-me-downs from friends and family. Of course, growing up and throughout school, I was embarrassed to admit that a good portion of my wardrobe was second-hand. I would beg my parents to take me to brand-name stores and pay full-price for items that I’d outgrow in a few months. If only I could tell my younger self what I know now. Keep reading for my Guelph Thrifting Guide!
I began to fully embrace my thrifty lifestyle upon meeting my “in-laws”. They are well known Guelph business owners, and their livelihood was built on second-hand shopping. My mother-in-law owns The Attic, a successful consignment store based out of the Harvard plaza in the south-end of Guelph.
My father-in-law builds and repurposes used and antique furniture and my sister-in-law is a self-proclaimed “professional thrifter.” She has a knack for finding the best deals and items wherever she goes. After working with my mother-in-law at the Attic for two years and learning from the rest of the pros, I quickly started picking up their tips and tricks.
Think Beyond Clothing
Almost anything can be thrifted. We love finding great deals on used furniture and appliances for our home. When we first moved out, we scoured Kijiji and second-hand stores. We were able to save thousands, and the satisfaction of finding something at such a discounted price is unmatched.
Places like Kijiji and Facebook Marketplace have become such a wonderful tool for both buyers and sellers. It is a great way to recycle items that still have so much life in them. They are both user-friendly platforms that allow people to market their belongings to others. Prices are often negotiable and it’s easy to communicate online or over the phone with the vendors. Always be safe, if meeting with a buyer or seller, bring a friend or family member and make sure someone knows your whereabouts.
#1: One of my favourite finds – The “Kamala” dining set & two matching loungers. Found on Kijiji for less than a quarter of the original retail price!
#2: A peek at the “Kamala” set with Ned… he was technically thrifted too 🙂
#3: Wicker Chairs found in Hamilton, Ontario
#4: We replaced a chipped doorknob with an identical match – found at ReStore in Guelph
Click on the images to view larger 🙂
Thrift Stores, Consignment & Vintage Shops
If you’re like me and prefer to shop in-store, we have many wonderful options within our community (see below for local stores). These stores offer used goods at a fraction of their original retail value. With larger thrift stores, you’ll find you need to pay a little more attention to detail and you may need more time to get through all of the inventory.
I tend to prefer checking out consignment and vintage shops. Most consignment shops offer curated fashion options that have already been carefully looked over and selected. When it comes to clothing, consignment makes the hunt a little bit easier; the selections are often trendy, organized and in good condition. The same goes for furniture. Although it comes with a higher price tag, consignment furniture and decor stores are a great option to find gently-used pieces that are still a fraction of their original cost.
When searching for a deal, keep in mind that this is the only option for some. Also, it’s important to be mindful when shopping, take what you need and consign or donate items you no longer use when you can. Second-hand shopping is a great way to find new-to-you pieces, while supporting small businesses, avoiding direct unethical manufacturing and business practices, reducing the amount of waste and saving money.
I’ve included a few of my favourite local shops below to help get you started. Happy shopping!
Guelph Thrifting Guide – Stores:
Local Vintage Clothing:
Local Used Furniture & Decor:
Local Second-Hand Accessories & Others:
Did I miss any of your local favourites? Let me know!