As you know I’m a thrift store junkey! I get the greatest feeling when I find that top or blazer for under $5.00, its my natural high! I look at it as a scavenger hunt, you definitely have to have the eye to find great pieces and patience.
Most of my friends tell me, “I never find anything good when I go”. So here are a few tips to help you be a more successful thrift shopper.
- Give yourself at least 40 minutes to browse…ideally without a small child yanking at the hem of your jacket. Utmost focus is required. Fashionable finds usually aren’t in plain view but hidden in a sea of color blocking. Expect to wade through plenty of early 90s mom jeans before finding a current fashionable cut. Don’t be afraid to really slam those hangers into each other as your rifle through racks. This is blood sport.
- Only buy clothes that pass for brand spanking new. No rips, tears, scuffs, stains, piling, frays, missing buttons or snaps. No “worn” look allowed. The item should be impeccable or in a month’s time you will find yourself using it as a dust rag. Before purchasing anything, ask yourself this question: “Does it look like it comes from the thrift store?” If the answer is yes, back to the rack it goes.
- Visit thrift stores that are located in upscale areas. Don’t visit the thrift stores in the poor part of town or even the medium income part of town. Look for the thrift store and secondhand shops that are located as close as possible to the richer part of town. What happens is that people in the rich part of town often have more money than sense, so they’ll often get rid of very nice clothes having only worn them a time or two – and they do the same thing with other items.
- Be picky. If you go into a thrift store that seems to mostly be full of junk, you don’t have to buy that junk. Walk out and put that one on your “avoid in the future” list. However, having said that, there are a lot of gems to be found, particularly in areas of income disparity. A college town is a perfect example of this. A college town often has a wide variety of incomes and perceptions of money, which means that their thrift store tend to include a lot of cheap stuff and a fair amount of good stuff.
- Last but not least research the thrift store find out if they run deals off certain color tags, usually they have 50% off of certain colors. Some even have certain days of the month where the whole store is 50% off.
If you’re like me, you’ll eventually find a series of stores that you’re happy to visit time and time again because the prices are excellent and you often find incredible discounts on nearly-new stuff. Such discoveries are well worth the time invested in finding them.