If you are new to thrifting, the concept might seem daunting or even a little intimidating. There are definitely some tips and tricks to keep in mind when playing the thrift store shopping game. If you follow these tips, you are well on your way to becoming a successful thrifter. You will save tons of money and find amazing stuff for your home and your closet!
Some of the most important things a beginning thrifter must keep in mind when thrift store shopping are the time of day, type of material items are made out of and location of the thrift store. It’s also important for new thrifters to come prepared with a list, appropriate clothing and access to coupons and thrift store apps. Taking a little bit of time to educate yourself and be prepared before you go out thrifting will help you to become a successful thrifter.
Thrift Store Shopping Tips For Beginners
Whether you are strapped for cash and want to save money, or you just like the idea of finding unique and vintage items, thrifting can be a great way to improve your wardrobe and your home. Before you set foot in a thrift store, there are some important things to remember, bring with you and be prepared for. Thrifting is a skill and you can be successful if you go the extra mile and take note of these tips.
10 Things Every Beginning Thrifter Must Know
I have been thrifting for many years and these are the best tips and tricks that I could think of. I love shopping at thrift stores for clothing for myself, kids clothes, furniture and home decor. When I first started thrifting, I often felt aimless or I would buy things, only to bring them home and realize that I didn’t actually want them or they were damaged. Hopefully these tips will save you from some of the mistakes that I made early on in my thrifting journey.
1. Shop In The Morning
I’ve laid out all of the best days and times to go thrifting, but as a general rule, you can find some of the best items if you go shopping in the morning. If you arrive at the store right when it opens, you will avoid crowds and have first pick to the merchandise that has just been put out.
2. Know The Best Days Of The Week To Go Thrifting
Once you have a few favorite thrift stores, you will get to know their rhythms and when they typically put out new merchandise in the week. Many times, stores will restock over the weekend, making Mondays a great time to go thrifting.
3. Thrift On Holidays To Find Great Deals
One of my favorite thrifting secrets is to shop when they have sales. Yes, even thrift stores have sales! Most of the thrift stores in my area mark many items 50% off around major holidays. So, I always make sure to check what day they have their big sale around holidays like Christmas, Fourth of July, Memorial Day and even Veterans Day. If you do go on a sale day, go right when they open because these days can be very busy and crowded.
4. Shop Off-Season For Clothing
A lot of times, in-season clothing can be pretty picked over at the thrift store, so it’s always a good idea to check the off-season clothing. Some thrift stores will not put out clothing that’s not in season (for example, some of the stores near me won’t put out the sweaters in July). But if you have a store that has everything out all year long, you can find some really amazing pieces that are off-season. Another reason for this is because people are clearing out their off-season closets to get ready for the next season, so there might be more clothing donations from the past season coming in.
5. Stick To Quality Materials For Clothing and Home Goods
When thrifting items, it’s important to stick to clothing and home items that are made from good quality materials. Since you won’t know how old something is or where it came from, it’s a good idea to steer clear of things that are made from cheapy and synthetic materials. Stick with cotton, linen and wool for clothing and wood, metal, glass and wicker for home items. Check fabric content on clothing and when looking at furniture, check to see if it’s solid wood if that’s something that is important to you. If you do buy a piece of furniture, I have a post all about how to clean furniture from the thrift store when you get home.
6. Have A List Before You Shop
When you are first starting out to thrifting, it can greatly benefit you to have a list of things that you are looking for before you head out to shop. If you don’t have anything specific in mind, you might easily get overwhelmed and feel like you are just wandering the store. Having a list will help you narrow down the categories in the store that you want to shop in. Most times when I got in to shop, I’m only looking at the home items or clothing items. I usually don’t shop for clothing and home in the same shopping trip, because that can be quite time consuming, but do what works best for you.
7. Come Prepared When You Shop
I talked more in depth in a previous post about about how to be prepared for thrift shopping during Covid, but there are a few additional things to remember to bring with you when thrifting.
- Hand sanitizer. Thrift stores can be dirty, so it’s important to keep yourself clean and safe!
- Face mask: If you are shopping during COVID, always wear a mask to keep yourself and others safe.
- Wear leggings and a fitted shirt: If you are shopping for clothing, wear something that you can keep on so that you can slip on a shirt or skirt over your clothing to try on if there is no dressing room.
- Tape measure: If you are looking for furniture or home decor items, bring a tape measure to make sure the items will fit in your space at home.
- Coupons or store app: Many times, thrift stores will give you a coupon if you have made a donation, or they will have coupons available on their app.
8. Shop Often
Thrifting is not a one time quick stop like you would expect at Target or Walmart. If you want to be successful in finding some amazing things, you will need to thrift often. I would say that I leave the thrift store empty handed about 50% of the time. If you have a specific item that you are hunting for, commit to thrifting at least once a week.
9. Check Clothing and Home Items For Damage
I have made the mistake of not thoroughly looking over times while I’m in the store, only to bring them home and realize that they are stained or damaged. Inspect each item before you buy it. Many thrift stores do not have return policies, so it’s important to do this step before you make your purchase.
10. Consider The Neighborhood
The neighborhood that a thrift store is in will affect what type of merchandise it has. If you are hunting for name brand, high quality clothing, consider shopping in a more wealthy neighborhood. If you love vintage furniture and home goods, then a neighborhood with an older population might be your best bet. Once you start shopping at the thrift stores in your city, you will become familiar with what each thrift store uniquely has to offer.
Thrifting Tips and Tricks
For more thrifting tips, I’ve got you covered. Check out these other helpful posts:
- Tips For Thrifting During Covid
- How Often Should You Go Thrifting?
- The Best Home Decor Items To Find At The Thrift Store
- The Ultimate Guide To The Best Days and Times To Go Thrifting
- How To Clean Furniture From The Thrift Store
- The Best Items To Sell On Facebook Marketplace