Thrift shopping is arguably the best way to score some of the most stylish, high end, vintage pieces on a budget.
Whether you’re on the hunt for the perfect vintage jeans or university sweatshirts, mid-century furniture, or some classic jewellery items, if you take regular trips to the thrift store, you’re sure to find what you want eventually.
However, thrifting takes commitment, and it’s unlikely that you’ll find exactly what you want after just one visit. There’s also a chance that you’ll find what you want, but it’ll be damaged or in the wrong size.
Don’t worry though, as a proud thrifter of over ten years, I’ve learned some of the best tips and tricks for turning trash into treasure and finding the best items at the lowest price.
If you’re looking for a bit of advice on how to score better when you’re scanning the rails at your local Goodwill or Salvation Army, then you’ve come to the right place!
6 Thrift Shopping Hacks That’ll Help You Score The Best Items
SHOP THE MEN’S SECTION
I’m assuming that you’re a female reading this post – as that’s the majority of my demographic. If not, feel free to skip to the next tip.
When shopping for clothes, don’t just stick to looking in the ladies section. If you’re on the hunt for pretty dresses and girly tops, then of course the ladies rails are the place to be, but if you’re on the lookout for graphic tees, oversized sweaters and jeans, then consider looking at the men’s section.
You’ll be surprised at what you can find, and even if you find something you love that’s a little too big, there’s no reason that you can’t take a pair of scissors and crop t shirts etc, and jeans can be taken in by a tailor.
SHOP THE KIDS SECTION
Similarly, you’ll be surprised at what you can find amongst the kids and teen rails. For smaller women, children’s clothes could fit perfectly without any alterations needed, and if something is a bit too small, there are likely ways that you can use fabrics or motifs from a piece of clothing in a DIY project and turn it into something new.
TRAVEL TO MORE AFFLUENT AREAS
It makes perfect sense when you think about it, but if you shop in more affluent towns, then you’re going to get your hands on some more high quality, designer name items.
The prices of those stores might be slightly higher, but feel free to haggle. Even if you don’t manage to get the price down, you’ll pay a lot less for a Tommy Hilfiger sweater in a thrift store than if you we’re to buy it new.
TAKE A LIST
Thrift shopping is so much easier when you know what you’re looking for.
Particularly in larger stores which are poorly organised, it can feel very intimidating and overwhelming to walk into a shop and just start browsing without knowing what you’re actually looking for.
Make a list of some of the things that you’d particularly like to pick up, and it’ll make it much easier for you to be able to choose which isles to start with, and you’ll be able to spot appropriate items much easier.
LEARN TO ALTER
One of the key factors in making a thrifted piece look its best is knowing how to alter clothing to fit you just right. You might find a dress that is exactly the style or colour you wanted, or a shirt that has the most stunning, unusual pattern on it, but if you aren’t able to alter it to fit you, then it’s worthless to you.
You could take your clothes to a professional tailor to have them altered, but that can add up and many people are choosing to shop at thrift stores in order to save money – plus many alterations are actually very simple and can be self taught without much trouble.
So learn how to shorten a hem, take in a waistband and add darts to a piece of clothing, and you’ll find that the pool of clothes that you’re able to buy in the thrift store is straight away much bigger.
Lastly, the number one secret to finding what you want at the thrift store, is to go as much as possible. Ask in your favourite store what day of the week they put new things on the racks, and try to get there at opening time on that day.
The trouble with thrifting is that its so fast paced, everything in the store is one of a kind, and once it’s gone, it’s gone.
Thrifting is pot luck most of the time – there will be days that you go and find nothing at all, and other days where you manage to find a tonne of items that you really love. So if you’re really passionate about finding stylish clothing at an affordable price, then try to visit your favourite stores a couple of times a week until you find exactly what it is that you’ve been dreaming of.
To Finish Off…
I really hope that you found this post helpful, and if you’ve been feeling down about the fact that you can never find what you want when you go thrifting, that this has given you some inspiration and actionable tips on how to be a better thrift shopper.
Make sure to share your top tips for thrift shopping in the comments below, and check back here soon, as I post brand new fashion, lifestyle and personal finance tips on The Angelina Archives every single week.