23 Must Know Tips for Thrift Store Shopping
Spiff up your wardrobe with thrift store finds, without going crazy!
By Jaymi Heimbuch
Santa Maria, CA, USA | Tue May 05 14:00:00 EDT 2009
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Clothing | Green Consumerism | Responsible Shopping | Reuse
The most eco-friendly, and usually most frugal way to shop for "new" clothes is to go thrifting. It can be an exciting experience and you can score some hip clothes if you go in with the right mindset, and are prepped for some serious shopping.
Here are the best tips and tricks to thrift store shopping that will help ensure that you have a great time and a great wardrobe!
1. Find all the stores in your area because you'll likely have to hit a few to find what you want. Check out Thrifty Planet or The Thrift Shopper to see where stores are located near you.
2. Set a budget before ou go so that you don't end up spending more than you meant to.
3. Bring cash because a lot of thrift stores don't take credit cards.
4. Bring friends who can help you keep perspective on what's a good find, and what looks cool only because you're in a hip thrift shop.
5. Bring a reuseable bag because many thrift stores still hand out plastic bags at the counter.
6. Bring magazine clippings that show off the styles you're hunting for. They'll help you keep perspective, and keep from buying items you'll never actually wear.
7. Leave the kids at home because thrifting can be a long process and kiddos get bored.
8. Wear shorts or leggings and a t-shirt so that you can try on clothes even if there isn't a dressing room available.
The Shopping Trip
9. Be patient because shopping can wear the nerves thin, especially in an often hectic and disorganized space like a thrift store.
10. Be willing to look, for a long time, through a lot of stuff. Thrift stores have great finds, but great finds mean diligent hunting.
11. Try it on or at least do a rough measurement. It's better to get something too big that can be tailored than something too small that can only be sewn into something else or given away.
12. Think creatively because everything can be altered, layered, or turned into and entirely different piece of fabulous clothing.
13. Keep personal style in mind since it's easy to forget what you'll actually wear and get excited about something that seems cool on the rack, but isn't when you get it home.
14. Look for brand names as these are items that are usually high quality and made to last.
15. Examine the item carefully for stains, rips, holes and other defects. It doesn't rule the item out, necessarily, but you want to know what you might need to repair.
16. Don't forget accessories. Thrift stores are also great for belts, scarves, hats, bags and jewelry.
17. Haggle or at least try. Be open to haggling or bartering for a better deal. The worst they can say is no.
18. Don't buy bike helmets, boots or shoes that have already been worn, backpacks that aren't in excellent condition, socks or underwear. For safety, physical comfort, and health reasons, these are typically no-nos unless you find them brand new.
Basking in the Post-Shopping Glow
19. Wash everything before you wear it. Usually thrift stores do this with donations before putting them on the rack but you don't know who tried on what just before you bought it.
20. Get it tailored if it doesn't fit just right. Tailoring can be very inexpensive for basic fitting, and you'll still be spending a fraction of what you would on a new item of clothing that may still have to get tailored.
21. Try out your sewing skills by doing your own hemming, shaping, or repairs.
22. Reconstruct your new clothes into something even newer. Turn a vintage collared shirt into something snazzier, or a pair of jeans into a skirt. If you bought something that just doesn't work, make it into something else.
23. Get some, give some. Keep your wardrobe from overflowing by practicing "one item in, one item out." Donate what no longer fits in your closet to the store you just purchased from!