Goodwill Thrift Supporter Spotlight: Bailey S.

When we visit our social media pages, we know who our top supporters are. From tagging us in their recent Goodwill haul to liking our posts, it has become evident who our top thrifters are right now.

One of these thrift lovers is Bailey Schildberg. With her own fashion sense and love for secondhand, she is a thrifter to follow. Throughout our interview with her, she lent insights into her thrift journey and what she’s learned along the way. Keep reading to hear Bailey’s insights.

Q: How did your love for thrift begin?
A: My interest in thrift started in high school after I obtained my first job. I realized that I would have to start buying my own clothes and retail prices at the mall were just astronomical for a high school student working part-time. I found that I could get quality items at a major discount at thrift stores, even if there was a stigma around “used clothes” as a high school student.”

From there, her love for thrift took off into much more. 

Q: Why do you continue to thrift?
A: I often tell others that I don’t thrift shop because it is “trendy,” but I buy secondhand because it is sustainable for the environment and becomes a lifestyle. It has gotten to the point where if I go to a retail store and I see something cute, my first thought is, ‘oh that is kind of pricey for the product. I bet I can find something similar for a fourth of the price by thrift shopping.’ I choose to shop secondhand because treasures can be found for an impeccable price. “

Mirror and basket thrifted from Goodwill in Des Moines area.
Mirror and basket that Bailey snagged while thrifting at her local Ankeny Goodwill.

Q: How has thrifting impacted your life?
A: This is major. Thrifting isn’t just like running to the grocery store for me. It is therapeutic. I turn my phone off and just enjoy myself. Thrifting is where I am in “my element.” When people ask what my hobbies are, thrifting is the first thing out of my mouth. I am extremely passionate about it and try to share my story with others so that they too can experience the benefits of finding unique items in what seems to be a needle in a haystack. If I am having a bad day, it is common for me to just get in the car and drive the 0.7 miles to my local Goodwill and just browse. Thrifting has also sparked an immense level of creativity in me. I have picked up many weekend projects, because again, it is so relaxing and reinforcing when the project is completed. This can be anything from furniture or home decor items that I have flipped.

We couldn’t agree more with her response. Thrifting is an art that the select few appreciate. From mixing the right items to create the perfect outfit to restoring an old piece of loved furniture, it can take a creative eye to see the potential in secondhand items.

Q: What do you wish others knew about thrifting?
A: I wish others knew how sustainable it is for yourself and the environment. I wish others knew that there does NOT have to be a stigma around used items. You are not only helping your community by buying their unwanted items, but you are also helping the environment. If you are buying items at a thrift store, those items are being recirculated instead of being hauled off to a manufacturing company to be discarded and never used again. It took me years to understand, but one should not be ashamed for shopping secondhand. It is a great option for those who can’t afford a lifestyle of buying items at full price. We are very blessed to have this option. 

“I wish that others knew that there does NOT have to be a stigma around used items.”

Bailey Schildberg

Q: What does your typical trip to the thrift store look like?
A: My thrift experience typically depends on my mood. Sometimes I will go into a thrift store with a specific item in mind that I need. I first try to locate that item, if I am successful right away, I then take extra time to browse other areas of the store. If I don’t find my item right away, I go browse other sections while I am still thinking about the item I missed out on. I will often go back to that section and check for the missed item again, just to make sure I didn’t skip over it. Other times when I am not looking for anything specific, I could be in a store for HOURS. I will walk in the doors and just start at the first aisle I see and work my way to the back of the store. This is when I find some of the best items because I am not necessarily focused on anything, but just something that catches my eye.

Bailey donning her prized Doc Martens and “mom jeans” found at her local Ankeny Goodwill.

Q: What’s your favorite item you’ve thrifted?
A: Black Doc Martins! I remember this time specifically because I couldn’t believe it. I found a pair of really cute black boots in the shoes section, upon inspection I found that they were Doc Martens. Now, if you are into women’s fashion trends these days, you know that chunky shoes/boots are everything. Not only did I find the classic black Doc Martens, but THEY FIT ME. They were already worn in too. I took them up to the register after browsing the rest of the store and the clerk was my age, about 21. She looked at me and said “no way. These were on the shelf? Someone made a mistake because these should have probably been on our online store to be bid on. You are so lucky, these are perfect.” The experience and the item have been my favorite so far. There are many other items that I have created, altered, or combined to make some of my most memorable finds as well. I often sell my favorite thrifted clothing items on my Instagram page, thriftedthreads.bybai.

Q: What tips do you have for those newer to thrifting?
A: There are a few tips I would give to those who are just starting in the thrifting world. First of all, TAKE YOUR TIME. Don’t be surprised if you are in a store for hours. Those magic finds that everyone talks about aren’t just sitting at the front of the store for you to see, you have to search. Another trick that has helped me narrow things down is focusing on certain patterns or textures that appeal to you. For example, if I am looking at tops, I am typically not into pinks or reds, so I will mostly not spend my time in the section. But, I am into stripes, certain color patterns, and specific materials. You can often run your hand along the tops of shirts and feel which ones are satisfying to you or feel like a higher quality. Mom jeans are totally in right now, a tip to look for the best ‘mom jeans’ are to look at the seam and wash of the jeans. Since these jeans are typically older, they will be more faded and have thicker/wider seams. Another trick for pants and sizing (especially during this time when dressing rooms are closed) is to hold the jeans/pants up to your neck, wrap the waist around your neck, and if it fits wrapped around your neck or there is a little extra room, it typically will fit around your waist! Thrifting honestly takes time and experience to get down a specific pattern of shopping. Don’t hesitate to get out and start your journey, I promise you won’t look back!

*The items shown in the pictures throughout this story have all been thrifted from the Ankeny Goodwill.* 

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