Friday, April 21, 2023

17 Pro Thrifting Tips from a Thrifting Enthusiast (Tip #11 Has Saved Me the Most!)

Thrift shopping has been one of my absolute favorite things to do lately.

Word has gotten out, and friends and family have been asking me how I keep finding such adorable things at such great deals, and I love sharing my tips with them. Not only because I love talking about thifting to anyone who will listen for 5 seconds (ha), but because it's such a good environmental practice that can really unleash your own creative, personal style! 

So...I'm gonna share my pro tips with you, too.

Seriously smart tips that will help you get the most out of thrift shopping! The photo features a view of a large thrift store and the title of the blog post on a shopping tag.

The key to a perfect thrifting trip starts before you even leave the house. The first seven things on my list need to happen without even stepping foot in a thrift store, but they're essential!

You need:

1. A plan for where to go.

You want to look for stores located in affluent neighborhoods to score the best stuff, and aim to shop on a Tuesday or Wednesday morning. Any weekday morning will do, but those will be the days with the best fresh goodies and the least amount of crowds. I usually run into sweet old ladies or other thrift-addicted women my age at that time, and they're always putting out new stuff!

2. A try-on friendly outfit.

Usually with a layer you can take off if you get warm in the store. Don't wear a romper - if you find shorts or skirts, you'll need to have a shirt on! And vice versa. Some stores don't even have dressing rooms and just have a mirror, so I know some thrifters that wear bike shorts and a tight cami under their outfit so they can just strip and try things on in any old aisle!

3. A tote bag (or 2 or 3).

Most stores don't have anything for you to carry your treasures out with.

4. Water and a snack.

I never thrift without my full Stanley and a Cliff bar or peanut butter filled pretzels. You need protein to hit all the racks!!!

5. A hair tie or scrunchie.

Or just dive in with your hair already up, but make sure you have something to get it out of the way so you can get serious!

6. A tape measure.

If you're interested in furniture or art that needs to fit a certain space.

7. A list of what you want or hope to find.

If you're just diving in casually for fun, cool. But if you want to go often, it's helpful to know what you might like to find. Otherwise, the options can be overwhelmingly endless!

Thrift like a pro with these 17 thrift shopping tips in your back pocket! The photo shows a rack of red and pink shirts at a thrift shop.

Okay so, you're all prepped and ready to go. If you follow those 7 things, you're already going to have an amazing trip to thrift heaven, but there's some other tips and tricks you should stick in your back pocket! These are the ones that will help you save the most money and collect the most amazing finds!

8. Take a picture of the 50% off and $.99 sale tags on your way in.

Every store and every week will be different, and you'll need to remind yourself which colors are which over and over again. Total strangers will ask you, too. They will have signs either taped to the doors, behind the registers, or usually a big standing sign right on your way in. Just take a quick pic - then you can double-check in seconds, and also keep your eyes peeled for that $.99 color!

9. Start with home and housewares so you have somewhere to put them.

If you're anything like me, your cart will become filled with an absolute mountain of clothes by the time you're ready for the fitting room, and if you dive into the clothes first, you'll have no where to put your adorable home finds! Trust me on this one. Exhibit A to the right (shame face).

10. The Salvation Army gets Zara's cast offs.

I'm not sure if it's every single Sal Val or just the ones in my area, but they have so much! They get their overstock, returns, and damaged pieces. When they first started carrying them, they were fairly pricey for a thrift store, but they've since come down. They were 5 pieces for $20 recently and this week they were 10 for $20!! 

11. BTW, Salvation Army is cheaper than Goodwill is cheaper than Savers.

Pass it on.

12. Crouch down and check low shelves.

I've found the best stuff there! Lots of people never bother to look below eye level, and I think sometimes people try to stash things there, too.

13. Search outside of your expected sections.

I find amazing things in the men's section all the time that I end up keeping for myself (like oversized cozy sweaters and hoodies, t-shirts with funny things on them that I wear to bed or for housework). Don't limit yourself in size, either. Sometimes you'll find something super cool in amazing shape, but then put it back because it's too big. But a lot of times, the whole reason that really nice piece got donated is because it shrunk. I've found so many pre-shrunken pieces that should technically be too big for me! Once, I even found a pair of Lilly Pulitzer shorts that were 2 sizes too big - but upon further inspection, they'd been altered down to my size! And they were only $4!!!

14. Always try stuff on.

Partially because of what I just said in the last tip - things don't always fit or lie on your body the way you expect them too, and the sizing of seemingly endless brands of clothing in endless stages of use will give you really inconsistent fits. You often can't return thrift store finds, so don't get stuck with things that don't look right when you think they will. Try them on!!

15. Think outside the box.

Vintage sheets and curtains make great tablecloths. Men's oversized tees make great pj's and painting or home renovation outfits. Mugs can be vases or planters. Old vases make great gifts when you fill them with a bouquet and pass them on. Frames can be painted and their art can be swapped out. Baskets and shelves can be spray painted so easily to fit your decor. If you can sew, you can turn an awkward piece of clothing into something amazing. You could even distress, chop up, bedazzle, or tie dye literally anything you find. I once made hanging plant hangers out of old t-shirts. Look at everything with a creative eye!

16. Shop off season.

Look at the sweaters in spring and summer, and the tanks and shorts in winter and fall. People are more likely to let those things go and donate them at a time when they won't need them. And the store is more likely to discount them off-season.

17. Listen for the super rattley carts.

This is usually the sound of new items coming out from the back! If you get to the stores right at opening or shortly after, you might hear it quite a bit! I've found some reeeeally good things from overflowing carts and wardrobe racks that were just about to hit the floor. This is your way of truly getting first dibs!

Okay, phew, it's a lot, but now you're ready!

I'm low, high-key obsessed with thrift hauls, so if you use my tips and find some amazing goodies, be sure to share them with me! 

Happy hunting!! xo

Pin these tips for later:

No comments:

Post a Comment