I love shopping at thrift stores and I like to think I have become sort of an expert at it. For a first time thrifter though, it can be an overwhelming experience. So many people, so many racks, so much digging; you can quickly get frustrated and walk out vowing to never go again. But I am here to help. I have listed my top 5 tips for successful thrifitng and I hope this will take some of the anxiety out of your first thrifting experience.
1. Go in with an open mind and go often!
This is a two for one tip. Never, ever, ever go thrifting with a specific item in mind, you won’t find it! For one to be a great thrifter, you can’t have tunnel vision. Unlike going shopping in Target and looking for a certain item, chances are you won’t be able to do that shopping at the Goodwill. That doesn’t mean don’t go to the blazer section to see if they have that hot pink blazer you are dying to add to your collection, but be open to the other blazers that are for sale; who knows, you may find a black one that’s pretty damn hot! And be sure to go often. I have been know to find that one item I am looking for; vintage wool plaid culottes anyone; on my third or fourth trip to the same thrift store. Inventory changes by the week or the day, so be sure to go just as often to get the good stuff!
2. Give yourself plenty of time!
This rule is a must; you have to have plenty of time to thrift! Remember, you are not taking a quick stroll through Target where the racks are super organized and in dedicated sections throughout the store. Granted thrift stores like Goodwill and Salvation Army do try to keep clothes in sections and are at times colored coordinated for easy shopping, you still have to do a massive amount of digging to find what you are looking for. To really uncover a hidden treasure or treasures, I suggest you give yourself at least 1.5 to 2 hours. This will give you time to scour the store for treasures, try on all of your finds and edit your choices down for final purchase.
3. Dress comfortable/Try everything on!
This is another two for one tip. You will find that most thrift stores have limited return policies; you can either return for store credit/exchange or no return at all, so trying on all your choices before you leave the store is a must. Most thrift stores have dressing rooms, but if they don’t, have no shame in your game and try them on right in the isles! Make sure you wear clothes you can easily take off or if you are squeamish about trying on clothes from a second-hand store right on your body, I recommend wearing leggings, a form fitting tee.
4. Shop the entire store!
Just because you are women’s size 6 does not mean you have to shop just in that section. Shop the entire store and you will be surprised what treasures are hiding just beyond your section. I have found some of my favorite pieces in the boy’s and men’s sections of my local thrift stores. So don’t limit yourself and you will be amazed at what you find.
5. Don’t get discouraged!
There are times you will go thrifting and find so many things your head will spin and there are times where you won’t find a thing. During those times DON’T GET DISCOURAGED!!! You’re not always going to hit the jackpot every time you go thrifting, but trust me when you do the treasure you uncover will be well worth the wait!
Check for stains, rips and tears!
Not everyone looks over their clothes before taking them to the thrift, so be sure to look over your items with a fine tooth comb before you purchase! Some stains can be removed and some rips and tears can be fixed, but if it looks like it can’t be don’t purchase.
My dry cleaner and my seamstress are my friends, best friends!
If you thrift as much as I do, you need to keep these people in your back pocket and I am very lucky to have both. Many times I get clothing that I need to take to the cleaners or get a quick nip and tuck before I wear them and having these lovely ladies on hand is a good thing. Make sure these are people you trust and will give you a honest opinion. Nothing would be worse that a dry cleaned assuring you a stain will come out knowing that it won’t or a seamstress taking off too much from a fabulous skirt.
Hopefully these tips will make your thrifting experience less stressful and get you excited to go out to your local thrift and uncover some amazing pieces you will add to your closet!!
Thank you So much for reading,