Whether you’re a seasoned thrifting vet or a newbie to the second hand scene, there are definite ways to do thrifting right. So if you’re looking to improve your game (yes… it IS a competition) just keep reading.
Before we dive in, I cannot stress enough how important it is to choose your thrift store wisely. Some thrift stores that appear to be charitable or not-for-profit are in fact fully for-profit corporations. Not gonna name names. Not gonna stoop that low. cough Value Village cough Plato’s Closet cough. Nope I would never stoop to those levels. But if you’re making the effort to help the environment, society and yourself, I don’t want you to have the wool pulled over your eyes by fancy green lettering, or claims of community involvement.
MOVING ON. I choose to frequent the Salvation Army. They’re a certified charitable organization, which means that they’re completely not-for-profit, and as an added bonus there’s very few items that are taxed. Not to boast but I’ve found some pretty SWEET deals lately (see my most recent in the header photo, I snagged a brand new with tags adorable Anthropologie top on half off day that is regular $68 for $3. PEOPLE $3 I CAN’T MAKE DEALS LIKE THAT UP, previous to that a Patagonia sweater for $12). Hopefully these tips help you with similar snags.
1.Look outside your size!
So many people go through thrift stores that things get moved like crazy. Plus some items are missing their tags and the staff just guess. PLUS, some items look cute oversized. So don’t overlook those other racks just because they don’t fit your exact profile.
2. Check outside your gender!
See above explanation.
3. Assume the worst of every item you pick up.
If I had a dime for every time I found a hole in the back of a beautiful wool sweater, or a giant bleach stain on a pair of vintage levi’s I would be a rich rich woman. Think of all the reasons you donate clothes, and assume the same for everything you consider buying. Flip it inside out, check for stains and tears, and rub the fabric on your arm to see if it’s itchy or uncomfortable.
4. Focus on quality.
This stems directly from the above mentioned tip. Check the fabric label on items you like to make sure you aren’t buying another polyester frock (unless it’s super cute then go wild who cares). Leave the Forever 21 and George brand behind, I beg of you. The frustration you feel when those pieces tear, fray or pill when you buy them new, is only going to occur at a quickened pace if it hasn’t started already. Silk, cashmere, wool will never steer you wrong, and look for brands you know frequent higher quality materials..
5. Picture the piece outside of the thrift store.
It’s easy to get caught up in the racks and racks of clothes and find yourself holding an XXL suede jacket with tassels and flower beading (or something equally as absurd) trying to convince yourself you’ll wear it. You won’t. Although the money won’t be wasted necessarily when you re-donate it in three months, save yourself the trouble and stick to your style and snag pieces that are going to work with the rest of your closet.
6. At all costs avoid SHOES, ATHLETIC WEAR, UNDERGARMENTS, & BATHING SUITS at all costs.
Unless these items are brand new with tags, or for some reason your come across a pair of Manolo’s , the cost to sanitize these items to the satisfaction they deserve is not worth the hassle.
7. When you get your goodies home, was them in hot hot water before you wear… twice.
In general you should practice this tip with new clothing you buy as well, but this is astronomically more important when buying second hand. When donations arrive they are sprayed with an antibacterial spray (hence why the store doesn’t smell), but they are far from washed so do your due diligence for hygienes sake.
8. Shop during the day, mid-week.
Most commonly thrift stores sort and put out new donations on Monday’s an Tuesdays when the traffic to the stores are slower and staff has more time on their hands. Thus, when I make a thrifting item I aim for Wednesday or Thursday so I have first shot at new arrivals (if you can call them that), and don’t have to deal with the foot traffic of the weekend.
Bring your own BAG. Don’t be throwing back bevy’s in the thrift store they don’t appreciate that. But bags cost money at the thrift store, and a reusable bag comes in handy to throw things in to keep your hands free as you look through the racks.
10. Sign up for the thrift store newsletter or loyalty program.
Just because you’re already saving money doesn’t mean it isn’t nice to know when they have extra sweet deals and promotions. Usually they happen at least once a month in a different department, so it pays to be in the know.
That’s it that’s all! Later lovelies!