Cuffed Jeans and The Boots with the Heels

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Tips for Thrifting: When to Go, What to Bring, and How to Find Great Stuff

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When to Go 

-I’ve found that earlier weekdays (Mondays & Tuesdays) during work hours are the best times to find great stuff. There aren’t a lot of people and you can usually get a dressing room easily. However, not everyone has the liberty of a student schedule, so then I’d suggest avoiding the weekends. I’ve found that it is much more crowded on weekends than after work on week days.

Pay attention to sale days! At Goodwill, each week, different colored tagged clothing is 50% off. If you go at the end of the week, most of the colored tag items are gone. Going in on Sunday or Monday will allow you to get the most stuff with colored tags. At Salvation Army, they have bigger sales on Wednesdays. Most of these sales are on the chain’s website or at the store itself.

Don’t go thrifting if you’re tired. Thrifting can be overwhelming and requires time and effort. When I’m tired, I tend to look at the clothes haphazardly. I also don’t feel like waiting in lines or trying things on when I’m tired which impedes the process.

The earlier in the day, the better. This applies especially to sale days.

What to Bring 

A belt. There have been so many times that I’ve tried on a dress and wondered if it would look good with a belt. Sometimes, options for belts are limited at thrift stores, so it can help if you bring your own that fits you just right.

An outfit that is easy to put on and take off. I suggest bringing an outfit that is loose, but neutral, so that it is easy to try on with finds. I also suggest wearing an outfit where you can easily try something on without going in a changing room. Leggings work well for trying on skirts and tank tops are great for trying on blouses or suits. 

photo 1 (68)

A dress/skirt/shirt that is your perfect size. In some stores, they don’t have any fitting rooms. By bringing a well-fitted garment, you can have a better estimation if something will fit you or not. 

A patient friend. I’m someone who spends an hour or two in a store when I’m on the thrifting prowl. A friend can be an invaluable resource while thrifting as they might find/suggest pieces that you didn’t consider. However, if you have friends that don’t want to spend an hour or two at the thrift store, it’s a good idea to come early, so that everyone’s happy! 🙂

Other Tips 

Check the tried on rack outside of the fitting rooms. These can be a treasure chest. You can find interesting pieces as it’s almost like going through other people’s closets.

Start small. I usually like to start with dresses or shoes before going into t-shirts or blouses. This allows me to get into the thrifting mindset and prevents me from getting overwhelmed.

Have a goal in mind. This is a weird tip, but I always like to have target pieces in mind when shopping. It stops me from being overwhelmed by giving me a concrete goal. Normally, I don’t find the piece, but I like the others that I found along the way.

Go up and down sizes. Vintage sizing is very different than the sizing we have today and a medium at Forever 21 is vastly different than a medium from another store.

Don’t just look for designer goods. I know some people who only buy things that are designer or on brand. Thrifting has exposed me to so many brands that I’ve never heard of before and that’s part of the fun! 

Think not what the garment can do for you, but also what you can do for the garment. If you have some sewing skills, feel free to pick up pieces that don’t fit you completely. With cuts and stitches, you can transform a piece. Here are two examples: The Renegade Seamstress and Buttons and Birdcages.

Have fun! Try on things that you think are ugly- they might turn out to look great off the hanger! Try on lots of pieces and laugh at the strange t-shirts that people donate. Talk to the cashiers- they have great stories. Enjoy the world that is thrifting!

i doubt i'd be that happy without my thrifted fish bag

i doubt i’d be that happy without my thrifted fish bag

Do you have any tips for thrifting? 

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Author: Kate T.

My day job is chief chocolate consumer at Godiva.

7 thoughts on “Tips for Thrifting: When to Go, What to Bring, and How to Find Great Stuff

  1. Great tips! I definitely agree with the 1st and 3rd tip. How mentally prepared you are for the crazy amount of people will determine your stress level haha.

  2. Thrifting is definitely one of my favorite things, and your post really makes me want to go again soon! 🙂 All my clothes that I get the most compliments on were thrifted. This actually reminds me of an article about thrift tips I wrote for a magazine during an internship, which I was actually planning on re-purposing for my blog soon. We have a lot of similar tips! Thrift pros know where it’s at. 🙂

    • I totally agree! I get a ton of compliments on my thrifted items (and those people are then shocked that I got it for such a cheap price 🙂 ). Definitely let me know when you post your thrifting tips – I love to read advice of other thrifting pros 🙂

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