For a newbie, the concept of thrift shopping can feel very alien. How do I know if the clothes I’m looking at are in my size? How do I know they’re in good shape? Am I allowed to try things on?
Diving into this whole new world might be confusing at first, but we assure you, it is well worth the try! From getting ready to shopping tips, we are here to give you easy and useful advice on maximizing your next (or first) thrift shopping trip.
Before Going Shopping
A skilled soldier doesn’t go into battle unarmed, and a savvy thrift shopper doesn’t shop without making these preparations.
1. Let go of the old stuff first
A good look through your closet will tell you what kind of garments you need. Maybe you need more casual clothes, or maybe you can use some more color in your wardrobe. You should also take this time to rid your closet of items you don’t really use anymore.
Pick out the clothes you haven’t worn in months or years but are still in good condition. You can either decide to sell them at your local consignment store or donate them to a charity. Just make sure you have the clothes dry cleaned before letting them go.
2. Make a list of your needs
Now that you have combed through the clothes you own, it is time to make a list of what you will be looking for when you go to the thrift store. Having a list ready helps you not get sidetracked once you are at the store.
It also helps save a few photo pegs on your phone to reference the kind of clothes you want to leave the store with. It will also make it easier for clerks to assist you should you have a bit of trouble finding what you need.
3. Research and decide on your budget
When you are new to the thrifting life, it’s hard to just set a budget out of nowhere. To understand the usual prices of the garments you want to get, go through online thrift stores to see how they price particular items. Visit different websites, too, for a better grasp of the price ranges.
Once you know the price ranges, set a budget for yourself. Thrift shops may generally have cheaper clothes, but if you don’t exercise self-control, you can easily go beyond the budget. A defined budget in cash helps you hit the brakes when you need to.
On Shopping Day
Now that you have made your preparations, you need some things when you visit the thrift store.
1. Wear form-fitting clothes on shopping day
Unlike department stores, not all thrift stores have a lot of fitting rooms. Since lining up to try on clothes can waste precious thrifting time, make sure to wear your simplest clothes that fit your form to make trying things easier.
A tank top and some leggings usually do the trick. They are also pretty comfortable for when you rummage through the racks. Don’t forget to match your outfit with a comfortable pair of shoes and a bag that keeps both of your hands free to maximize efficiency.
2. Bring an eco bag
Chances are, you will find a lot of clothes for great prices during your shopping trip. Go ready by having an eco bag that can easily carry all your new finds. It also comes in handy when walking through aisles, as using the in-store shopping carts through them might slow you down due to the lack of space.
Be sure to ask permission from the store staff before using your eco bag as a shopping basket, though, to prevent any issues. Just note that it is better if they understand why you’re putting things in your bag!
3. Browse through aisles diligently
Yes, you should browse through aisles diligently, but that does not mean browsing through every aisle. It means wisely choosing the racks you will be browsing for the day and giving those a thorough look to find the items you need.
When unsure, give the aisles a quick scan. Based on what prints or fabrics catch your eye on that quick scan, choose the aisles that you will browse for this shopping trip. Check each article, too, to find any stains or runs. Don’t pressure yourself to look at everything because that is just too exhausting and time-consuming!
With a good plan and the right stuff with you, thrift shopping can be a fulfilling experience. It also leaves you with some rare gems—and for less, too!