The saying ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure’ truly holds its meaning when it comes to thrifting. While it does require some patience and of course skill, thrifting can be a fun and exciting activity as you never know what gems you’ll uncover. From rare vintage designer finds to unique accessories or even wardrobe staples, with the right strategy in place you can find everything you are looking for and more.
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Get the most out of your next thrifting experience by following our top 10 tricks.
1. Clear Out Your Closet
First things first, you want to start off with a clean slate. Look through your closet and see if there are any items of clothing that you have fallen out of love with or that are not really your style anymore. This will help you reduce the clutter as well as free up more space for you to bring home some amazing thrifting finds. You will also be able to determine what items are missing from your collection so that you can make more mindful purchases. You can also sell your unwanted clothes at a consignment shop so you can get more money for thrifting.
2. Do Your Research
While we recommend always having an open mind when thrifting, it’s important to have some idea of what you are looking for and where to get it. Most thrift shops have their own specialties. For example, some stores may focus on vintage denim, such as Levis, while others may dedicate their stores to one-of-a-kind accessories and jewellery. Knowing which stores offer which products will save you time and disappointment in the long run, as you will know where to head first. We also suggest getting to know the specific stocking times of different stores so you can be the first to check out any new merchandise before it gets scooped up.
3. Take Your Time
If you are in a rush, don’t go thrifting, it’s as simple as that. Looking through a rack of clothes for a couple of minutes won’t get you very far. Thrift stores are usually stocked with an overwhelming amount of clothes, shoes and accessories so you need to give yourself enough time to put in the work and really comb through the store’s merchandise. There is also a competitive nature that comes with thrifting that cannot be ignored, so you need to outlast other shoppers to uncover some major rewards.
4. Remember: A Good Deal Isn’t Always Worth it
Just because something seems like a good deal doesn’t mean you should go ahead and purchase it. Thrifting perfectly offers a great alternative to mass-produced clothing brands that are incredibly harmful to the environment. As such, you want to avoid falling into the trap of simply purchasing something because it is inexpensive and instead focus on buying clothes you truly need and love. This will help you develop more sustainable habits and reduce your overall fashion consumption.
5. Go Prepared
Thrifting is a marathon, not a sprint, so you need to come prepared accordingly. Make sure you dress the part and come equipped with a good base layer of clothing like a bodysuit or a pair of leggings so you can try on as many clothes as you need to in the least amount of time. Better yet, a good base of clothing might even let you get away with trying it on right by the racks instead of wasting time going back and forth from the fitting room.
6. Don’t Stick To Your Size
Thrift stores are chaotic works of art with no real rhyme or reason when it comes to the organisation of their merchandise. And with so many items of clothing to go through, you don’t want to limit yourself to things that are just your normal size, as you might miss out on some fantastic items. Just remember that there is no real standard sizing when it comes to garment production, so expanding your search won’t hurt. And of course, there is always the option to tailor the clothes for a better fit, should you need to.
7. Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
Don’t be afraid to check out the men’s or kid’s section, as you never know what you might find. Unlike regular stores, thrift stores run wild, so not all items of clothing are always where they belong. People also tend to hide or dump their finds on random racks, adding to the disorganised mess. You can also generally find high-quality oversized sweaters in the men’s section, so don’t knock it until you try it. Also, if you have a small frame, you might also get away with dresses from the kid’s section.
8. Sign Up For Mailing Lists
We hate spam emails as much as the next person, but in this case, we highly encourage it. Signing up for your favourite thrift shops’ mailing lists will help you stay in the know. You’ll be one of the first to know if new stock has come in, if they are having a sale, or if there are any other special promotions that could save you some cash. Simply ask if the shop has one at the cash register, or visit their website. Trust us, you won’t regret it.
9. Don’t Forget The Return Racks
Often overlooked and unappreciated, the return racks outside of the fitting rooms, where people usually discard items of clothing they no longer want, are great for finding pieces that may not have worked on someone but can certainly work on you. Furthermore, since the items have not yet been returned to the store floor, there’s less competition, allowing you to take your time and have first pick.
10. Always Check The Clothing
We are all guilty of getting carried away when we find something special at a thrift store, but it’s important to check out the garment before following through with a purchase. Sure, some stains can be lifted and minor damages can be dealt with; however, if the garment is too far gone, unless you want to up-cycle it into something completely new, it’s probably best to leave it.
Despite being committed to her high-demand job as a Mathematician and Data Analyst, Dr Pauline Lemar is an avid follower of fashion trends and enjoys writing about them in her free time – even if it’s scarce! Surprisingly, she’s also quite the skilled thrift shopper herself, and has managed to find a number of great deals and wardrobe staples over the years.