Monday, February 28, 2011

18 Tips While Shopping Thrift

Image via weheartit
I believe that thrift shopping is one of the most enjoyable/rewarding things to do. Some people think shopping second hand is nasty and dirty, however, you can find some remarkable things from the past that you could never find in department stores. Here are 18 tips to help you find that hidden treasure to add to your wardrobe.

1. Set a budget. This is difficult at first — you don’t know how much things cost. But eventually you’ll be able to tell yourself, “I’m going spend $20 today”. It becomes a game to see how much you can buy for $20.

2. Discard your prejudices. Some people consider thrift stores and used clothing shops nasty dirty places. Some are. Most aren’t. Explore your neighborhood. Find a shop or two that you like, and you’ll be hooked.

3. Go with a friend. It’s good to have a second opinion. Your friend may have an eye for what looks good on you — and vice versa.

4. Try things on. Sizes vary widely between manufacturers and even by eras. (Today’s clothes have looser fits.) But go in knowing your general size and measurements. Note that some places don’t have dressing rooms, so it’s smart to wear a modest thin layer in case you need to strip down in the aisle.

5. Examine each item thoroughly. It sucks to get home to find your new shirt has a hole in the pocket. Or that the slacks you thought were a steal actually have a broken zipper.

6. Check washing instructions. You don’t want to pay $3 for a silk blouse if you’ll never dry-clean it.

7. Use the tags as a guide to find quality brands you like, but don’t limit yourself. Sometimes a brand you’ve never heard of can yield a favorite piece of clothing.

8. Think layers. Maybe that shirt with a stain on the sleeve has a great collar for wearing under a sweater. For $3, you can afford to buy a single-purpose shirt.

9. Use thrift stores as a way to diversify your wardrobe. Buy colors and styles on which you normally wouldn’t spend much. Wear the new clothes a few times to see how you like them, and to gauge the reaction of others.

10. Used clothing stores are great for certain accessories. Why pay $30 for a new belt in a department store when you can get a better belt in your size for just $2?

11. Look for clothes new with tags. Sometimes unsold department store inventory finds its way to used clothing stores and thrift shops. You’ll generally pay more for these items, but not much.

12. If you won’t wear it, don’t buy it. You don’t save money buying a $3 shirt if it just sits in your closet for two years.

13. Wash clothes when you get them home.

14. Watch for sales. Used clothing stores (and thrift stores) run periodic specials. Our favorite local store just ran a half-off sale. The local thrift stores often have specials on certain items.

15. If you go to the same store often, ask when they rotate stock. Stores get new shipments regularly. Most also have extra stock in storage. If you become familiar with the owners, you might even ask them to keep an eye out for particular items.

16. Take your time. At normal clothing shops, everything is neatly organized. Not so at most thrift stores. When thrifting, it’s more important to be patient, to browse the racks methodically.

17. If buying used clothes becomes a habit, institute a “one in-one out policy”. Every time you bring home something new, get rid of something old. (Give it away, take it to a thrift store, or save it for a garage sale.)

18. Have fun! Buying used clothing can save you money. It’s also a fun way to kill a Saturday afternoon. At $3 an item, you can afford to be adventurous sometimes.

Here is a great website you can check out that finds local thrift stores in your area

Happy Thrifting!



  1. Did you write this?!

  2. Yes but I found the idea on a blog/website that I follow! Love it!!

  3. what a great post! it was very well written. :)

    thank you for the tips. i've been wanting to go thrift shopping for the longest time but have never really gotten to it!


  4. Awwww thankyou!!! I know I have been wanting to go to this thrift store that has vintage Levis and shirts from the 60's but I haven't gotten around to it!