how to get the best out of second-hand: my top thrift store tips

It is no secret that I love thrift stores. Ever since I was a kid I remember heading to Value Village with my mom to get clothes, shoes, books, and pretty much anything I could think of. Back then I didn’t think about the sustainability or even savings part of this, but rather it was just a different place that I could get clothes.

As I grew up and started shopping on my own as a teen I definitely started getting more things from the mall, like most teens, but once I was moved out and started trying to become more eco-friendly I switched to more second hand shopping.

Now three and a half years later I almost exclusively shop second hand. I have my stores that I love visiting and probably make a visit each season as I want to refresh my wardrobe and add a few new pieces. I have found that even with being beholden to whatever is in the thrift store I have been able to find pretty much everything that I ever need, but it has taken me a while to get there.

Here are some of my top tips for thrift store shopping:

  1. Shop for what is coming in the next season: It is hard to find shorts in the winter and sweaters in the summer, because that is what people are buying so plan ahead and in September start to look for those cardigans and winter dresses and in spring start searching the bathing suit and tank top sections. As seasons are wrapping up there are quite often sales as well to clear out those seasonal items which you can get an even better deal on.
  2. Know what you are looking for: Thrift stores can be super overwhelming with everything under the sun all crammed into one building, especially if you don’t have a list. I always take a look at my closet beforehand and make note of what I am missing such as black jeans, or another sweater. Then when you go to the store you can focus on those specific areas and you feel like you have a goal.
  3. Know which stores are worth going to, and which ones aren’t: I definitely have my favourite store (which organizes things by colour and is always clean) and others that I have stopped going to. While it is true that you can find treasures anywhere I prefer to make this a enjoyable experience and go to a place that I love.
  4. Try on a lot of options: I usually fill up a cart every time that I am at the thrift store will anything I think looks like a good option. It is inevitable that some won’t fit, some won’t look great on me, and some may have a hole or stain that I didn’t notice ahead of time. I love having lots of try on and you can never tell from the rack whether or not it will really work.
  5. Follow the social media of your favourite stores: Learn about sales, when pieces are being marked down, and when the seasonal items are coming out.
  6. Don’t just buy something because it is cheap: The deals you find can be hard to turn down sometimes, but make sure to think hard about if you will actually want to use or wear these items, not just that it is a great deal.

Do you like thrift shopping? If so, what are some of your top tips for make it successful?

One Comment Add yours

  1. Amy Smith says:

    I LOVE thrift store shopping! When I moved, due to some very unfortunate circumstances I didn’t have many clothes. Now I have A TON of clothes, not to worry, I wear them all. What I don’t wear anymore will go to my nieces.

    I am huge into preserving clothing as long as possible. I still had shirts from 5th grade basketball! Anyway, I am usually able to find great buys. I just bought a Michael Kors bag for $6 in great condition! Also, most of my jeans are thrift store buys. 🙂 Especially in today’s economy, it’s great to shop thrift stores.


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