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The Weekend Wendy: Trendy Thrifters

A tisket, a tasket, a gently-used straw basket might be what you find on a day of treasure hunting at a local consignment shop.

The big "R" word (recession…shh!) seems to be taboo to say these days but because of it, pinching  pennies is particularly acceptable.  Thrifting used to be looked down upon but has seen a resurgence with families tightening their belts and budgets.

The National Association of Retail and Thrift Shops states that there are numerous reasons for the increased popularity of resale, consignment, and thrift shops. One reason is the increased awareness by the public of the importance of recycling. People would rather consign, sell or donate items they no longer need than throw them away.

Consignors, donors, and sellers make money by selling items at these shops without the work of having a tag sale. By having a resale expert price their items, sellers will make more money than if they tried selling it on their own.

These are just some of the reasons thrifting has become so popular and trendy.  It's a great way to save a lot of money. To make it worthwhile and to get the most bang for your buck, it's important to know the ins and outs of shopping at a thrift store.

1. Check the Condition.  Unless you're someone with the skill and time to sew flaws and pulls, avoid impulse buys of items with defects.

2. Go With a Plan.  Have a general idea about what you are trying to find, but be open-minded to unexpected, useful items as well.

3. Know Your Brands.  Name brands usually mean quality. The better the quality of the item, the better the bargain. Be aware of the retail cost of the item, and cut the cost in half.  Any price under that is a great bargain as long as the item is in good condition.

4. Be patient.  Thrift shopping is rewarding because it can be hard work to sort through items to find what you are looking for. When you come across something worthwhile, it is like finding buried treasure.

That first trip into a thrift store can be daunting. You won't find neatly piled stacks of items with matching accessories. Thrift stores have not spent money on window displays and marketing to lure you into their store. All of that saving is passed on to you.

Thrifting can save thousands of dollars a year on clothing and household items, especially if you have kids. With a little effort and some patience you can find some great products for low prices and save your family a lot of money.

Wilton boasts many antique shops and trendy boutiques to make this weekend's treasure hunt a hit rather than a miss. To find treasures right here in town, check out these local shops:

Red Rose Consignments offers treasures and bargain hunting.

The Turnover Shop  is a consignment shop that is staffed by over 150 volunteers.  The consignments store is open for shopping, but during the summer there are no consignments taken in.

If money is no object in your treasure hunt, try an antique shop.  You may find some bargains but what you will find are unique, one-of-a-kind classics.

Try Maria and Peter Warren Antiques for unique pieces to add to your home collection.

Cannondale Village has many shops to peruse to find antiques and they also offer studio ceramic restoration of broken family heirlooms.

Also try Frances Hills Antiques at 1083 Ridgefield Road or call (203) 762-3081‎.

And once you experience the thrill of the catch with your newfound treasure, if it's a furniture piece bring it to Brandon Antique Restoration to bring it back to its original classic state.  They are located at 951 Danbury Road.  Call the shop for more information, as well (203) 544-0606.‎

For a list of local Wilton discount stores click here.

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