A lot of people ask where "where did you get that," or how do you have time to look through all of that junk?" To be honest knowing how to thrift store shop doesn't come naturally to everyone, which does not mean you can't learn the skills to score stylish steals and deals at your local thrift store. I honestly believe deep down everyone can pick up tricks fast and a pro thrifter. No matter if you are a casual thrifter or a wannabe expert, here's your one-stop for everything you ever wanted to know about how to thrift store shop.
Step 1: RESEARCH
TIP 1: UTILIZE MAP: Search google for local thrift stores and locate the addresses to determine your best route for the least amount of travel time.
TIP 2: EXAMIINE CLOSET: Before you leave your house to go thrifting examine your closet and write down or take pictures of pieces you have not worn yet that season. So once you are in the thrift store you will be able to pick up pieces to match your unworn pieces and finally wear it!!
TIP 3: FOLLOW UP ON TRENDS: You should pick up a few fashion magazines or browse a few mainstream brands like Forever 21, H&M, Zara, Asos etc to see what they are selling to give you an idea of the top trends to look for when you are in the thrift store.
TIP 4: DISCARD YOUR PREJUDICES
Some people consider thrift stores and used clothing shops nasty dirty places. Some are. Most aren’t. Explore your neighborhood. Find a shop or two that you like, and you’ll be hooked.
TIP 5: LOOK FOR CLOTHES NEW WITH TAGS:
Sometimes unsold department store inventory finds its way to used clothing stores and thrift shops. You’ll generally pay more for these items, but not much.
TIP 6: WATCH FOR SALES
Used clothing stores and thrift stores run periodic specials. The local thrift stores often have specials on certain items.
STEP 2: PREPARE
You will need to make sure you are prepared for a long hours spent combing the racks by bringing food, water, etc.
TIP 1: PACK:
You should pack a goodie bag of emergency supplies like tissues, hand sanitizer, and stain remover (to test spots), snacks and water or sports drink.
TIP 2: SET LIMITS
Before leaving your house to go thrifting, you should decide how much money you are willing to spend that day. Usually my limit is $25, so if I'm visiting 3 different stores then I should not spend more than $75 total.
TIP 3: SET A BUDGET
This is difficult at first because you are not sure on how much things cost. But eventually you’ll be able to tell yourself, "I’m going spend $20 today". It then becomes a game to see how much you can buy for $20.
TIP 4: MUSIC
Usually music fixes and make any situation fun or uplifting. You should try making a "thrift mix" to help keep you energized and upbeat while shopping. Trust me a good song will really set the thrift mood and makes it more fun lol.
STEP 3: SHOP WITH A STRATEGY
TIP 1: DONATE, DONATE!!!
Before you go thrifting, you should review your closet's inventory and remove items you no longer wear and donate to the store. Cleaning our your closet will inspire to note what you need and don't need to thrift for.
TIP 2: TAKE YOUR TIME
At normal clothing shops, everything is neatly organized. Not so at most thrift stores. When thrifting, it’s more important to be patient, to browse the racks methodically.
TIP 3: TRY IT ON
You should everything on before you leave the store. Try wearing a "catsuit" or a leggings and tank top while thrifting so that you can try on clothing in the aisle without having to wait in line for a fitting room or in case the thrift store does not have a fitting room. I love wearing leggings and a tank top.
TIP 4: SEPERATE CLOTHES
Always, Always take a "break" from thrifting and evaluate your goods based on your gut reactions (yes, no, maybe) and put your "no's" back on the rack and decide which "maybes" are truly keepers!
TIP 5: DISCIPLINE:
Before you hit the cash register, ask yourself a few key questions to decide whether you are making the best buying decisions for YOU: "Do I own a similar piece already?", "Can I wear this immediately, or do I need to wait for a special event or occasion?" and "Is this something I'd actually wear or just wish I could wear?" Always remember, be honest to yourself and especially to your wallet!
TIP 6: CHECK WASHING INSTRUCTIONS:
You don't want to pay $3 for a silk blouse if you will never dry-clean it.
TIP 7: USE THE TAGS A GUIDE
When you are looking for quality brands you like, don't just limit yourself. Sometimes a brand you have never heard of can yield a favorite piece of clothing.
STEP 4: SHOP BY INSPECTING
TIP 1: INSPECT ALL ANGLES
Check every area on each garment for stains, tears, snags, signs of damage or over-wear and make sure the surface appliques are intact.
TIP 2: INSPECT INSIDE/OUTSIDE
Make sure you turn your pieces inside out to examine the interior for lining tears or stains, loose threading along the hem, missing tags and other hard-to-see issues.
TIP 3: INSPECT HARDWARE
You should inspect all your items hardware before purchase, to include zippers, buttons, hook and eyes, snaps and anything that could potentially need replacing.
TIP 4: CLEANLINESS
Always wash your thrifted items before you wear them. You never know who owned the pieces or where they may have come from. Some stores wash but to be safe wash before wear. Safety first!!!!
STEP 5: WHAT NOT TO BUY AT THE THRIFT STORE
TIP 1: MATTRESS
You should not purchases any mattresses from a thrift store because they are the number one homes to bed bugs, who like the dark crevices of your mattress for hiding and laying their eggs.
TIP 2: MAKE UP
You should never buy makeup from the thrift store because expiration and best-used-by dates are not legally required on the bottles or packaging, so you will never know how old that makeup is!
TIP 3: CHILD'S SAFETY
You should not buy children cribs, strollers, swings, and car seats because they are carefully regulated to meet the highest safety criteria of the moment, so it is better to buy the newest model than an out-to-date version found at a thrift store.
TIP 4: STUFFED ANIMALS
You should not buy stuffed animals because they are made with materials to resemble human and animal hair which could carry lice from the thrift store and into your house.
TIP 5: UNDERWEAR
Please do not buy underwear from the thrift store (unless you do not mind). This particular item should be purchased new and cheap from stores like Target or Walmart verses used and secondhand at a the thrift store.
TIP 6: RUNNING SHOES
You should not purchase running shoes because for safety and health reasons, you should be properly fitted for the right pair and it is not recommended that you wear running shoes after 500 miles of training. You never know how many miles are already on a pair of shoes at the thrift store.
TIP 7: BABY SEATS
You should not a buy a baby seat or carrier because they are supposed to be replaced every 6 years from date of manufacture. The reason is you could accidentally purchase a car seat past its expiration date at the thrift store.
For many people, thrift stores offer an easy way to delve into frugal fashion. But most shops carry more than just clothes. If your budget is pinched, they’re an excellent place to find furniture, to pick up kitchenware, and even to find inexpensive entertainment. I have numerous what not's I used to accessorize my apartment that I purchased from the thrift store.
ALWAYS HAVE FUN!!!!!!