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Thrift Tips

By far the most common question I get from readers is "How do you thrift shop?" People can never believe the amazing things I find at thrift stores and they want to know how they can do it too!

This is a topic I discussed when I was on the news recently, but I have quite a few more tips I want to share with you all! 

1. Don't judge a book by it's cover: Sometimes the grungiest thrift stores in the worst areas have the best stuff, so take along some hand sanitizer and get over it! And remember the buddy system if you are going to a particularly bad neighborhood. 

2. Plan a thrift day: Thrift stores tend to be located close to one another in certain areas. If there is one thrift store there is likely to be another. Use the Internet to find new stores. 

3. Know the sale days: Most thrift stores have colored tags or even a day when they put items on sale. You can always ask a sales associate to let you know what colored tags are on sale or what day(s) they have a sale. 

4. Research the trends: Thrift stores tend to be large and slightly overwhelming at times, so it helps to know what you're looking for. In order to know what you're looking for you need to do your homework. Look through magazines and fashion blogs to get an idea of what the trends are and try to recreate those looks when you go to the thrift store. I am always amazed that I can go into a thrift store with something specific in mind and I will usually find it! 

5. Dress for success: Many thrift stores don't even have dressing rooms so it helps to wear something form fitted like leggins and a tank top so you can try clothes on over your clothes if you need to. 

6. Think outside the thrift store: This is the most valuable piece of advice that I received from my friend Jaymie when she taught me how to thrift shop. When you look at an item you have to visualize it outside of the thrift store. Everything tends to look drab and dirty at a thrift store. But if you picture it in your home, or picture what you might wear with it, or where you could wear it, you start to see things differently. 

7. Be creative: Think about how you can use items for purposes other than their main one. For example, you could buy an ugly or damaged item because it has cool buttons, then use the buttons on something else. 

8. Be patient: There are many treasures to uncover at a thrift store, but sometimes you have to go through a lot of stuff you don't want in order to find the one item you do want. Take your time and view your shopping as an adventure, not just a quick stop. 

9. Buy only what you love: Sometimes it is hard not to be like a kid in a candy store while thrifting. Why buy one top for $3 when you can buy 10 for only $30. But chances are you don't really need 10 new tops, nor do you LOVE all 10 of the tops. Be realistic about what you will really wear and don't buy it if you don't love it. Thrift shopping is cheap but if you buy a lot of items that you never wear you can waste quite a bit of money over time. 

10. Inspect before you buy: Sometimes there is a reason certain items are at the thrift store. Clothing items might have a hole in them or a stain or they might just fit weird. This is not always a reason NOT to buy something because sometimes these things can be fixed - you will have to judge that for yourself. Often thrift stores will have outlets where you can plug in lamps or household items to make sure they work- definitely take advantage of this! 

11. Pay Attention to Sales to save even more: at Volunteers of America, everyday you can save on certain colored tags. Then on the last Tuesday of the month, everything is half off! At Goodwill stores in the Columbus Ohio area they offer half off a certain colored tag on Sundays and Mondays. At Ohio Thrift, half off day is on the second and fourth Wednesdays of every month. You can even sign up for their saving program to collect points that turn into coupons and email reminders about sale days! Almost every thrift store has some kind of special- just ask and you can save even more!

12. Give back: Clean out your closet regularly and donate your unused items to a local thrift store. Many thrift stores support people with disabilities or those who are less fortunate. What an easy way to help a great cause. And you can write it off on your taxes - just ask for a receipt!
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  1. My giving stuff to the thrift store has become my tithing.

  2. I like the tips, it is true that the sketchiest places might have the best stuff! And you never know what you can find, so it's all "be at the right place at the right time".

  3. I so love thrift stores! I like what Crazy Ravens Studio said about tithing. That's a good idea! Your tips are great!

  4. Great tips! I'm new to thrifting and these were super helpful!

    High Heels and Training Wheels

  5. Many people hesitate to buy products from thrift store. They always thing that the product they will purchase from thrift store will be not up to the mark. Therefore they always try to avoid purchase any items from thrift store. But I hope if they can know the tips which you have described in your post then they will definitely go to buy any kinds of products from thrift store. Thanks for nice and informative post.

  6. Thanks for the tips! I just started a thrifting blog as well! Mostly about home decor! I just love saving money!!!

    Check out my blog!

  7. I like the tips, it is true that the sketchiest places might have the best stuff! And you never know what you can find, so it's all "be at the right place at the right time". Ace Maxs | Obat Ambeien

  8. Great tips and so true about the grunge factor. I recently unearthed a beautiful Dooney & Bourke crossbody bag from under a mountain of old shoes and handbags at a fairly grungy thrift shop. Just goes to show that you never know what you'll find.


  9. Very helpful tips especially #6. I never thought about it that way but it makes sense. Thanks :)

  10. I don't like #11 it is rude rude just rude. I work at a thrift store. I don't know why you would put that as a tip. And no we can not take extra off of anything.

    1. I believe you have misunderstood- I didn't word this very well. It was meant to be the opposite of rude. Through my years of thrift shopping I've developed many genuine relationships with the staff. Let me be clear: I have NEVER asked for anything from them and would never do anything that would jeopardize their jobs if that is what you were thinking. You have to keep in mind that just because it's against the rules at the store that you work at, the rules might be different at a another store. Thank you for our concern.

  11. I'm 61 years old, my mom shopped thrift stores for as far back as I can remember. She was a young widow with 4 children under the age of 12. She sure found the bargains! My two sisters and I had great clothes from her thrift shopping. Back then some people were self conscience about shopping used items, I thank God I never felt too good to wear some one else's clothes. One of my favorite things is shopping thrift stores. A lesson I learned in college from a interior design teacher was to try to imagine an item differently. If you see a chest a drawers, imagine how many ways you could change it. Even a clothing item, like a sweater makes a great pillow. Pinterest is a good source for ideas from thrift shopping. Trust me, you could put the high dollar home décor places to shame by the great finds from the 'junk" stores!

  12. That's just awesome.. if you want to join pakistan rishta or read latest urdu sms or want to read beauty tips in urdu? You can contact us via our blogger profile.

  13. Think outside the thrift store is one of the best tip. Thanks for it..

  14. Hi there! Would love to collaborate with you. We are a small online boutique focused on thrift and vintage. Would love the chance to speak with you further do you have an email? We can be reached at

  15. Thanks a lot for the information! I have been wondering about buying classic dresses online, and now I've the tools and hopefully the guts to complete it.

  16. these tips are best thrift tips yet. thank u so much

  17. Great tips. I'm on a tight budget and this is definitely a big help.

  18. Great tips. I will always keep these in mind. Thanks!