5 Tips to Successfully Shop Thrift

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I’ve always been a sucker for thrift shopping. I guess you could say it runs in my family.

My crazy grandma would go garage sale shopping and buy one shoe (yes you read that correctly, only ONE shoe!) with the hopes of finding the other matching shoe at some point. Or so the story goes. :)

We had this huge gift exchange for Christmas back in those days. “Santa” (aka our uncle’s neighbor) would ride the snowmobile across the lake with a huge sack full of gifts. My grandma had a LOT of grandchildren (19ish at that point) and would give us the funniest gifts, many of them from garage sales.

I remembered growing up checking out garage sales with my mom and grandma, and still have a hard time resisting a browse through when one happening in the neighborhood.

I’ve never been too good for thrift shopping, and actually find it quite enjoyable. The whole notion of “one person’s trash is another’s treasure” couldn’t be more true, and I love sorting through things and finding that cool gem someone decided wasn’t valuable to them any longer.

I have bought numerous dresses I’ve worn to weddings (and gotten lots of compliments on!), plenty of clothing, furniture/decorations, and even our barstools (for $1.97 total!) at thrift stores.

Yesterday afternoon I had an epic thrift store roundup and wanted to share what I deem to be 5 tips to successfully shop thrift. I know there are lots of people who don’t shop thrift and who are intimidated by the thought of it. I’m hoping this list will give you a better idea of what to look for so you too can find some amazing deals of your own!

5 Tips to Successfully Shop Thrift

1) Look for brands that you are familiar with.

If you’re completely new to thrifting, I suggest looking for brands that you already know and love (or at least recognize!) By doing so you will have a better idea of the sizing, fit and quality instead of buying something from a company/brand you’ve never heard of and are unsure of what to expect. I always look for higher end brands when I shop thrift (as you can typically find them for the same price as what would be less-expensive brands) and the quality is typically much better.

2) Stay away from items that already look worn out.

If you’re contemplating buying something but it is pilling, faded, has holes or other imperfections or just looks worn out in general, DO NOT BUY IT! Regardless of how cheap it is or how much you like the item itself you will get very limited use out of it and end up regretting that you bought it in the first place (speaking from experience here guys!)

3) Don’t buy something just because it is a “good deal”

This goes for all of shopping, but needs to be mentioned especially in the event of thrifting. There are going to be lots of good deals when thrifting, but if you buy just because you are getting it for cheap, you will end up with a lot of crap you don’t love and didn’t need in the first place. Same goes for if you’re buying because you think you’ll like/use the item OR because it was “the best you could find” at that time.

I like to remind myself that if I don’t love it enough to have purchased it for full price, the cheaper price tag is not going to make me love it in the long run (even if it feels good to save initially!) My rule is I don’t buy something unless I truly LOVE it, not because it’s practical or cheap or the “best” option.

4) Take advantage of special sales.

The Goodwill thrift stores have special sales coordinated with the days of the week. For example, Thursday is kids day and you can get 50% off of children’s clothing, shoes, toys etc. I got my daughter’s snowsuit for $2 thanks to purchasing it on a Thursday and those bar stools I mentioned above on another sale day for less than $2. There are lots of other deals like this at thrift stores and I encourage you to take note and shop accordingly!

5) Practice persistence

Just because you didn’t find anything “good” during your first trip thrifting (or even the first few!) doesn’t mean it’s not worth it. There are plenty of times I go to browse and don’t find a single thing worth purchasing. But then there are other times where I find heaps of quality stuff that I truly love. Thrifting is a long term game and can be really fun and enjoyable if you don’t give up!

 My latest thrift store roundup!

My latest thrift store roundup!

Alright, those are my 5 tips to successfully shop thrift. Do you have any of your own to share? If so let me know in the comments below! And until next time…

Happy thrifting!

Katie O.