Over the past year, I’ve discovered, grown to love and learned so much about thrift stores and thrift shopping.
What I used to think of as places where only Halloween costumes, clothing for plays and just plain ugly, outdated duds could be found, I now rely on to supplement what I can’t find at the typical retailers and what’s just too expensive at these stores.
So, here are my thrift tips!
1) Set aside TIME
Since thrift store organization can range from neat aisles to the aftermath of a tornado, it’s best to set aside a solid hour or more if you’re looking to seriously shop.
Even the best laid-out shops will require you to look though an abundance of items before you actually find a few pieces you’d actually consider wearing. In a thrift store, the search for clothing, shoes and accessories that fit your personal style is time consuming, but ultimately worth the search.
Also, the more time you have to shop in a thrift stores, the better the chances you’ll find amazing yet inexpensive new(or rather, pre-worn) pieces, which leads me to my next tip…
2) Keep an open mind
Once you’ve entered the store, it’s time to begin to search for unique pieces to incorporate into your wardrobe.
First, start looking in your normal section. Aka, if you’re a woman, keep those peepers open in the women’s section. But, after you’ve exhausted the search in that section, take a brief browse around the other sections in the store. Yes, sometimes the men’s and even children’s sections contain hidden treasures in your size just waiting to be uncovered.
Whether it’s from total lack of organization in the store to begin with, or if an employee or other shoppers place items in the wrong section, it’s worth a look in these areas.
Unless you’re shopping for a very specific, fast approaching event to which you will wear the clothes from the thrift stores, it’s best to keep an open mind in the type of clothing you look at and try on. Just because you really need a few skirts for work doesn’t mean you should completely overlook the denim section. Thrift store inventory is constantly changing, so taking a quick peek in most sections is a wise choice.
3) Wear appropriate clothing
Since you will most likely be trying on a variety of clothing and shoes, be smart in what you wear.
-The least amount of layers as possible, with a camisole, tank top or thin t-shirt being the innermost layer. This allows you to try on most blouses, sweaters, coats, etc. without even needing to enter a dressing room.
-Slip on shoes-This is not the time to wear sneakers, lace up boots, etc. Shoes that can easily slip on and off are ideal for trying on shoes, but also when trying on clothes.
-A thinner pair of pants-I’m not condoning wearing leggings as pants, but it’s been to wear a pair of athletic pants rather than jeans simply for more efficiency when trying on clothes.
I’ve never, luckily, been to a thrift store, that hasn’t had at least one dressing room (no matter how rudimentary it is *cough cough a curtain that barely closes cough cough*). But, if you should happen to visit a store that lacks a place to change, these clothing tips will really come in handy.
4) Get to know your thrift stores
Where I live, all of the closest thrift stores are clustered in the same area. Perhaps your area’s thrift shopping is more spread out, but either way, checking out all of your area’s options for thrifting is a good idea.
Some thrift stores offer discounts on specific days (ex. Senior citizen discount day, student discount day). Others offer percent off discount on certain color price tags. And some have the entire store on sale on special sale days. The best way to learn more about how to save even more at your thrift stores is to visit often, and if it’s offered, sign up for email alerts.
The more you visit, the more you will come to know the exact layout of each thrift store, how often new inventory is brought in and the best/least busiest times to shop.
5) Examine your items closely!
It’s undeniable that great, quality pieces can be found in thrift stores for a fraction of what they originally cost BUT sometimes these items are not without flaws.
Look closely at the items you’re considering purchasing. Sometimes, I find a great piece of clothing, only to be disappointed that there is a stain, rip, missing button, missing zipper, etc. Determine whether this flaw is something that can be easily fixed, or whether it’s just not worth it.
Some thrift stores WILL haggle the prices of items, others are quite firm on the marked price, no matter the flaws. Just ask!
These are my best thrift shopping tips. Have any more to add? Leave them below!