Blythe On A Budget: Finding Hidden Thrift Store Gems

Written on November 30, 2016 at 12:00 pm by Michelle
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20161130Cute pink gingham romper? Totally thrifted!

I love going to thrift stores and trying to uncover hidden jewels in the bags of discarded toys. I tend to avoid any and all Barbie dolls and most Barbie clothes. Skipper is often something that I look for, because I love vintage Skipper outfits. Sadly, with more and more people who understand how to use eBay (or craigslist), it does get harder to find good vintage Skipper pieces at the local thrift store. Here are a few of my tips for finding some great hidden thrift store gems:

  • Go through the bag of clothes or shoes. You never know what you’re going to find. If it’s all obviously Barbie-sized or baby doll sized clothing, you can probably set it aside. But I’ve found little treasures like squishy Barbie boots (!) and roller blades in a bag before, and the squishy Barbie boots alone were more than worth the price of the bag of other junk. I did find some other treasures inside though, so it wasn’t a total bust.
  • Consider the Barbie furniture, houses, and cars. Even if you’re not completely into the all-over-pink style, plastic can be painted. There are some fantastic spray paint designed for use on plastic these days, so ignore the colour of the furniture (or house, or car) and think about the overall shape. Do you love it? Do you wish it was brown/yellow/blue/green/white instead? Do you have the patience to put painters tape on the areas you don’t want to paint and to go out and buy some spray paint? If you answered yes to all those questions, and the piece is a good deal, that makes it a hidden gem! You just need to put some time and effort into transforming it.
  • Never pass up the opportunity to dig through a pile of dolls. I still keep my fingers and toes crossed that one day I’ll come across a lonely, slightly ratty Kenner Blythe at the bottom of a pile of porcelain and vintage pose dolls.
  • And with the last one… If you like Petites (LPS) or Licca (bodies), go through the bags of dolls hanging on the walls. After all, the original Hasbro Petites were released in North America and they occasionally make their way to the thrift stores after a toy bin cleaning, and I’ve heard many stories of people finding Licca dolls in the stores that got discarded like their Barbie cohorts.

What are some of your tips for finding thrift store gems? Share below!

3 Responses to “Blythe On A Budget: Finding Hidden Thrift Store Gems”

  1. Kirsten AKA @lady_kire

    I go to the thrift store often. I’ve found lots of good stuff including Ikea Huset toy furniture, LPS Blythe, and a NFRP 80s Skipper outfit. Here are my tips for a successful hunt:

    Go through every bag. I find that some Barbie clothes end up fitting pretty well on my girls even though the body size is completely different. My fav outfit is this Liv dress that is a little big around the shoulders, but works beautifully on my girls.

    Try to avoid high peak hours at the thrift shop. I find that the good stuff is more likely to get picked over the later you go. Earlier means it is likely that the employees just stocked the shelves.

    Try to hit more than 1. I find that depending on the store location and items that come in, prices can vary. One thrift store sold me a huge bag of doll clothes for like $3.

    Walk around the store. Some stores put their toys near the register or above clothes. Sometimes, they put them near the collectibles section because they don’t want kids opening packages/making messes. It’s even possible that some kid put the bag there because their parents said No.

  2. Rinntara says:

    LOVE the pink gingham romper! I might just copy that. Now to find some pink gingham…

  3. Anne AKA @anneheathen

    I have had rotten luck finding things at my local thrifts! I have had slightly better luck at garage sales and estate sales, but there don’t seem to be many donating doll folks in my small town.

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