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10 Tips for Thrift Shopping

10 Tips for Thrift Shopping

Thrifting has become such a trend lately as vintage looks are returning to the fashion world. Sometimes you want an item you know no one else will have, something unique, something that’s sure to make a statement. (And it doesn’t hurt that thrifting can save you a ton of money)

So while you prepare for your next thrifting haul, keeps these tips in mind as you explore the world of secondhand clothes.

Prepare to find something good

Every time you enter a thrift store, a surprise is waiting for you. Sometimes you find it, sometimes you don’t, but in those moments when you do, there is a certain magical joy at your lucky find. Be it something as simple as a Yoga DVD for $1 that is going for $15 on Amazon, or a beautiful, vintage jumper for only $5.

Prepare to be disappointed

Every time you enter a thrift store, a surprise is waiting for you. Sometimes you don’t find it, sometimes you do, but in those instances when you walk out the door without a find, it can be disappointing. But all is not lost, for your next time could be your lucky time. Thrift shopping is a skill that improves with practice. Simply looking around a thrift store helps you gain an ‘instinct’ for what to look out for, and where.

Prepare to splash out

While most items in a thrift store are expected to be cheap, sometimes you find an item that is dear. A $20 necklace or a $15 dress for example. If you really like it, do consider buying it, because you will likely never be afforded the opportunity to buy that exact item again, especially at a discounted price. If you find a valuable item at a thrift store for a cheap price, it is only because the store managers are unaware of its worth.

Don’t be callous with your money

Being in a thrift shop is not a prerequisite to pulling out your purse. I have often fallen into the trap of making a thrift shop purchase out of compulsion, because I didn’t want to lose out on a bargain that I didn’t necessarily need.


There is a reason why thrift store items are cheap: someone no longer wanted them. Sometimes, this may be because they are torn, faded, worn or broken. It can be hard to spot these faults hidden in nooks and corners of items, so always take the item off the rack to fully inspect it and make sure it is still in good condition. This way, you avoid the frustration of finding out the dress you just bought has a faulty hem that cannot be repaired.

Ask about their return policy

This way, if you find any faults you previously missed, or you change your mind, you are guaranteed your money back.

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Your instincts should guide you well

The more you go thrift shopping, the sharper your “thrift” instincts should get. Your instincts should begin to guide you on what you should buy, and what you should put back on the shelf.

Don’t buy shoes!

Shoes eventually change their shape to fit around the feet of the wearer. Buying used shoes becomes a problem, because you cannot force old shoes to change their shape to fit around your feet as you can with new shoes. It is a lot like teaching an old dog new tricks.

Don’t be ashamed

There is a stereotype that only poor people who cannot afford better go thrift shopping. As a student, I must admit that this stereotype is at least partly true. I am constantly broke, yet clothes I purchase from thrift stores garner as much compliments as clothes I purchase from big name clothing brands. My wardrobe is much more fashion-diverse, with so much vintage varieties as a green high-waist pair of trousers, a glittery black dress-blouse, and a halter neck velvet top with a gold back chain.

Give back if you can

Thrift shops have given me a lot, from cheap Christmas presents for family, to stunning vintage clothes and invaluable cook books, I feel obligated to give back. When I can, I donate my unwanted items to thrift stores, so someone else can find good use for them.

Good luck thrifting!

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