The first time I went to a thrift store, I was a little overwhelmed by the unruly clothing racks and disorganization. I had been inundated with negative comments about “thrifting” my entire life, so I wasn’t particularly happy when I got dragged into one by my sister. Once inside, however, I ditched my pre-conceived ideas and learned the what a treasure thrifting is. Having a successful trip can be tricky, but it is possible!
Here are a few thrifting tips to help:
Many (but not all) thrift stores are nonprofits. Donated goods are what keep thrift stores in business, so don’t expect to get the five star treatment that you would get in a designer boutique. There probably won’t be any fitting rooms and you’re largely on your own when shopping so be prepared to make adjustments while shopping.
Have a Plan
Before you even step foot into a thrift store, make a list of what you need or what you want to look for. Most clothing is priced under $10–with much of it under $5. You’ll be tempted to fill your basket with things you may not really need and end up spending way more than you intended. So, make a list and stick to it for optimal success and saving!
Creativity is a Must
You probably won’t come out of a thrift shop with an entire outfit–and that’s okay! Part of what makes thrifting special is finding rare and vintage items. You need to have an eye for fashion and visualize what you can pair your new findings with in your closet at home.
Know About the Sales
Most thrift stores have special sales each week where they mark down specific items as denoted by color stickers. If you keep track of those times, you’ll save even more money.
Don’t Buy Undergarments
Although some thrift shops sell new undergarments, most do not. Under no circumstance should you ever buy used underwear. Period.
Check Each Item
Most shops have a strict no return policy. If they do allow returns, it’s only for store credit. So if you accidentally buy a shirt or dress with a rip in it you’re stuck with it! Check each corner of what you’re planning to buy for holes and stains before you purchase.
Wash Before You Wear
Wash each item before you put it on your body. Although people are encouraged to wash the items before they donate them, many don’t. Even if the clothing looks and smells clean, after being piled in bins with other items it’s likely to hold germs.