Top Ten Thrifting Tips!
Updated: Aug 17
Go often - thrift stores are constantly getting donations and going often allows you to find all the good pieces. You may have days that you go and find nothing - don't let that discourage you.
Check all the sizes. Pieces often shrink after washes and wears, so even if you are a small, sometimes a size large may actually fit you just right! Also, vintage sizing runs differently so the stores don't always place pieces in the proper size areas. I've also found some cute things in the little boys section - boys denim can fit really well if you find a cool pair! Another favorite spot to look in a thrift store, the return rack outside of the fitting rooms! People try on pieces and when they don't work they go back on the rack - there are often some great pieces on that rack!
Think outside the box, a vintage nightgown can make a cool slip dress, a button down dress can work as a duster cardigan, if you sew, you can take a dress and cut off the bottom and turn it into a top! I recently thrifted a set of cloth napkins and am using them for embroidery projects!
Be aware of cleaning tags. Some pieces are dry clean only -are you willing to pay the extra to have it dry cleaned? Sometimes it's absolutely worth it for a beautiful piece!
Don't forget that pieces can be altered. Found a fantastic pair of pants but they are too long? It can absolutely be worth the price of paying a tailor to hem them to have a great pair of pants that fit you just right!
Check your local stores for sale days and rewards programs. My Salvation Army always has 50% off clothes on Wednesdays. My Goodwill has a different color tag each week that is marked down 50% off. My Savers will give you a 20% off coupon for every donation you make and they also have a rewards program - for every $100 you spend you get discounts for future visits!
Home decor pieces can be sanded, stained, painted and used in alternate ways. Find a cool table, you can redo it to suit your decor. A fun basket can be inverted and used as a lampshade or a table base. There are so many YouTube videos out there featuring thrift flips where you can find inspiration.
Thrift stores can be overwhelming. Go in with a vague plan. I usually know what I'm looking for when I enter a store. For example, I know right now I'm looking for Fall styles. So I'll head towards the coats and sweaters first since that's where I will spend my time and energy looking. If I still have energy after those sections I'll certainly browse the other areas too.
If you see something you like, add it to your cart. Nothing is more frustrating then putting a piece back, regretting it, going back to get it and finding someone else got it! It's better to grab it and then consider it further later. I usually end my thrift trip by finding a corner of the store and sorting through my finds. I inspect pieces closer for damage, stains and determine if it's something I really love or if I should put it back.
Try different stores in different areas. Sometimes it's worth a drive to a different town to find great pieces. Often thrift stores that are conveniently located or in wealthier areas have better finds. People drop off more items at a centrally located store, than the one hidden on backroads. I know my Salvation Army rarely has good name brand pieces, but if I drive 20 minutes to Savers I often find brands like Madewell and Everlane.
MY THRIFT JOURNEY
I first began shopping second hand in high school. My friends and I would visit "SALS" aka Salvation Army and hunt for cool clothes on our low budget. I remember finding great worn in denim and vintage plaid coats that I wore non-stop! Once I had more money to spend - or so I acted like I did - I sort of forgot about the fun of shopping second hand. It wasn't until I had my third child that I was reintroduced to the idea of previously loved pieces. I had given away almost all of my baby gear thinking we were a two kid family when I found out I was expecting my third, I didn't want to go overboard on all the baby gear. A friend of mine told me about a seasonal consignment sale that ran out of our local fair grounds. I was hooked! I found so many great things and eventually became a consignor myself as my kids outgrew clothes, toys and gear.
This reintroduction to second hand led me back to some of my favorite spots like Salvation Army and Goodwill. I also started exploring smaller thrift stores and online stores such as Ebay, theRealReal, Poshmark and Thredup. I love that thrifting is a conscious way of shopping items that may otherwise find their way into the landfill. The hunt for the deals and great pieces is an adventure to me. When I find a like new, name brand item for $5 its an endorphin rush! I also find it's a great way to add more unique pieces to my wardrobe. I can find a funky blouse of vintage dress that I know no one else is going to be wearing.
Clothing has always been a way of creative expression for me and I have always enjoyed shopping. However, I am also someone who loves a good deal. Some of my favorite thrift finds are my new with tag Barefoot Dreams cardigan that retails for over $100 new at Nordstrom and my Madewell high rise black denim skinny jeans that retail for over $100 as well. Both pieces were purchased for under $15 each and I've used them so much!
I also find some great home decor pieces second-hand. I have a great accordian rack in my room that I use to hand bags and hats on, a $5 purchase! I have found great plant pots and baskets thrifting as well.
Kids clothes are sometimes harder to find, as kids can be pretty rough on their clothes. I love to browse through the kids section and have found some decent pieces to add to my kids closets over the years as well.
Some of my favorite spots for thrifting are:
Consignment shops - Plato's Closet, Uptown Cheapskate and Kid to Kid
TotSwap is another consignment event that takes place at our local fair grounds quarterly
This was taken to share with @Dinasdays for her year long thrifting challenge. Dina has a wonderful podcast all about second hand shopping called Allow us to Rethriftrodeuce Ourselves. Each month followers are challenged to thrift an item from the list, or explore their closet and share pics with Dina. It is always so fun to see what people can find. Can you guess which month this was for?
I didn't end up taking this embroidered jacket home - if you can't tell from my expression - I wasn't too sure about it!
Some of my other thrifting inspiration comes from