I’m constantly revamping my closet. Thrifting has been a blessing on my wallet and hopefully planet Earth too.
I’ve learned a few things throughout my thrift store trips. Hope these tips help you out too. Happy treasure hunting thrifty friends!
Know your style preferences and gaps
Yes, clothes at thrift stores are relatively inexpensive. But there’s no sense is buying clothes you won’t wear. Get to know yourself and the styles, colours, and materials you like.
Go through your current wardrobe. Familiarize yourself with the clothes you have. Don’t double up on the same top just because you forgot you already had something like it.
Plan your outing
I like to go thrifting in the mornings on weekdays or weekends, or late in the evenings on weekdays. I find that these are the least busiest times at my local thrift store. When it’s less busy, I can quickly get a change room and I don’t feel rushed browsing racks.
Generally I plan to be at a thrift store for 2 hours minimum. Here’s a breakdown of my typical thrift outing:
1.5-2 hrs = Browsing racks
30 mins = Trying on clothes
10 mins = Waiting in line to pay (there’s always a line!)
Consider your neighbourhood
Thrift stores are stocked with clothes donated by nearby residents. It’s important that you get to know your nearby neighbourhoods and the demographics of residents that live in them. For that reason, I like to go to thrift stores in neighbourhoods where I know trendy 25-35 year olds live.
Just like shopping at full-price retail stores, you should dress comfortably when thrifting. Wear clothes that you can comfortably walk around in and easily change into and out of.
If your thrift store doesn’t have change rooms, wear tight fitting clothes that you can try clothes over.
Get a cart
You need a cart. Trust me. I usually end up with 20+ items to try on and there’s no way I can carry all that in my hands. Plus I need my hands free to look through the racks!!
You are on a treasure hunt. Take your time. I go through all the racks with clothing in my size. One. By. One. I also might check one size up in case I find something I don’t mind wearing oversized.
If you thrift at Value Village, you’ll notice that they sort all their clothes by type and size. This is a real time saver, for example, when you’re looking for medium dress shirts.
Inspect the clothes
On one of my very first thrift hauls, I bought a top, and then realized after I got home that it had a rip at the seam. Do your due diligence and check that there are no defects while you’re at the store. It’ll save you the time of exchanging or returning the defective item. Plus some thrift stores don’t do returns or exchanges.
Subscribe to emails
Yes, even thrift stores email newsletters. Thrift stores ill email about exclusive members-only promotions. For example, Value Village offers 50% off clothing every so often, which they email and open to members a day early.