The art of thrift shopping is a learned trait and is not done easily, but with lots of practice! Once you walk into a thrift store, it can be super overwhelming with the amounts of clothes, furniture, and other miscellaneous items that it can be hard to know where to start. Rather than wasting time digging until you find the good stuff, use these tips to have a successful thrift store trip every time!
Have A Motive Or Idea In Mind
While it can be super daunting to see all of the piles and mountains of things in the store, it’s even scarier to go thrift shopping without some sort of idea of what you are wanting. If you are needing a new pair of jeans that is preloved and pre-worn then you can go straight to the denim section.
If you’re lucky, some things are sorted out by size which makes it so much easier to make your purchase! If you are looking for something like new furniture, you might have to visit several stores in order to find something that you love! There’s absolutely no shame in that, but it will help you with potential overspending, too.
Negotiate A Price
You might have better luck with negotiating if you are in the business of purchasing some new furniture rather than clothes. Regardless, as you get to know the staff and workers of the thrift store, you can gauge how things will run and how you can go about negotiating.
Be kind and respectful if this is the route that you choose to because you believe that the item is not priced fairly due to the quality of the item. If the staff and workers are not willing to change the price, simply smile and walk away! It’s your money at the end of the day and you are going to choose where it goes.
Another thrift shopping tip would be to wait until the sale days at the thrift store. On certain days, some color tags will be 50% off for example, or they might run specials for holidays and such. Just be patient!
Have A Watchful Eye
Before you take your purchase up to the checkout counter, make sure you take a good look at your item. If you are set on a name-brand piece of clothing, make sure that it is in good condition, as if you were to buy it new. If the condition is not too great, does the price match the quality? If not, maybe put it back for next time or grab something else! Some things that are donated to thrift stores are not in the greatest conditions, but you ultimately make the decision on your standards for quality and conditions of your purchases!
If you are buying a larger piece of furniture while thrift shopping, use your best judgment with these too! If there is damage to the piece, are you willing to give it a little TLC? Check the drawers, the quality, the cabinets, and other things to make sure your piece is up to your standards. Make sure the piece of furniture is clean too before you welcome it into your home, just to be extra careful!
Try Things On
This rule and tip go specifically for clothes shopping, but even furniture shopping at times. More on that in a second! Because you are not buying from a certain clothing brand but multiple clothing brands, sizing is going to range from smaller to bigger than your normal sizes. In this case, you can be absolutely certain that you love the piece you are about to purchase and that you feel confident in what you are buying!
For furniture, before you go out to shop, measure the area you are looking for furniture for. Bring the same tape measure with you when thrift shopping to measure any new finds that you come across. This will help you find the perfect piece for your space without the potential for overcrowding or finding a too-small piece.
If you are searching for the perfect pair of Levi jeans or vintage Converse, it might be pretty hit or miss the very first time you go thrift shopping. Or maybe you are on the great search for a vintage wicker chair or original vinal record of your favorite 70s soundtrack! This is where the beauty of thrift shopping comes in! It takes time and practice to find exactly what you want but you also will come across things that you did not know that you wanted while thrift shopping!
If you are feeling unsure about something you are purchasing, you can always come back later and think about it! You might have to periodically check back at the thrift shop you are local to until you can find what you want. There is no rush and this is where second-hand buying comes in too. The key to this is to be patient because you will eventually find exactly what you want!
Buying second-hand is so wonderful for our planet and helps with waste and overspending! You’re not going to be spending tons of money on new clothes or new furniture, so you will be saving with your thrifting purchase. Your intentions for going into the thrift store, to begin with, are because you want to buy something new, but you first need to balance out everything that you are buying.
This can be done by donating some items to the same store that you are thrift shopping at. You might be done loving a piece of clothing or some furniture, but others might find some more use out of it! This is also a great way to get to know the staff at the thrift store and build relationships within the community.
Which tip are you going to take with you on your next thrift shopping trip? What is your best find from the thrift store? Share with us in the comments below!
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English and Media Strategies student at Texas Tech University, lover of coffee, running, and houseplants.