When I was young, my mother's mantra was, “Keep your eyes peeled for garage sales.”

Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday morning we drove through the suburban streets of New Jersey scouting for free piles, flea markets, rummage sales, estate sales, moving sales, garage sales, any sales. At the time it drove me crazy (most likely for reasons too deep for a fashion blog), but, inevitably, years later I too found myself bitten by the thrift hunters bug.

I’ve met a lot of people who say they can’t handle thrift shopping. They say they never find stuff. That it’s too overwhelming with too much crap to weed through. I understand the feeling (that is exactly how I feel when I enter a gigantic grocery store, weird I know), but let me tell you, when you do find that one rare piece at an unbelievable bargain price—it makes all the searching and digging through racks and piles of items worth it.

I must admit that regularly scouting thrift stores and garage sales kind of messes with your perspective towards shopping in general. All of a sudden paying full retail price for a new item can seem ridiculous and wasteful given the surplus of affordable clothing bursting out of second hand stores (but don’t worry, it has yet to stop me from shopping at “real” stores as well, although sometimes I wish it would).

When I moved to Santa Cruz in 2008, I was afraid all the thrift stores would be picked through and the good stuff would be gone given the amount of trendy college students and recyclers in the community. However, I now strongly stand by the fact that Santa Cruz thrift stores are great. Goodwill, Salvation Army, the one with the sign out front every day that says “50 percent off today only”—I love them all. Maybe it’s a true indication of Santa Cruz recyclers—they recycle the clothes right back into the community after wearing them for a while, resulting in a constant refresh of threads in the shops.

Thrift store shopping is exciting. You never know what you are going to find and what is going to become your new favorite item. If there’s one thing bargain hunters love more than finding a deal, it’s sharing it with other people. Above are some reused items I’ve scored in the last few months that I’m stoked to wear this fall/winter. I hope they inspire you to check out your local thrift store the next time you’re in search of a new item.

What are some of your favorite reused items?