How to Thrift: A Newbie Guide | Thriftanista in the City


How to Thrift: A Newbie Guide

Thrift shopping (thrifting) is absolutely not rocket science. I know. I do think the experience can be overwhelming when you first start out. Here are a few tips to help you be successful and maintain your patience when you're new on the thrift scene.

how to thrift a guide for newbies

When I'm talk about thrifting, I hear a lot of "I never find anything" or "it's too much effort" followed by they just don't have the patience for thrift shopping. Most thrifters will tell you patience is key to having a successful treasure filled haul. It's one of my thrift rules but just in case you're running low on it, keep these tips in mind.

Tip #1: Shop off peak hours.

Go as soon as the store opens or an hour or two before closing. If you have a non conventional schedule, during typical work hours are a great time to go. Absolutely do not go when there is a big sale. There's usually competition large crowds of people during these sales so I would say avoid them in the beginning.

All of my favorite thrift store usually have something on sale everyday so you can still find a good deal. Thrift shopping in itself is a pretty good deal.

thrift store lily pulitzer

Tip #2: Pick a section.

Since I'm shopping with V most of the time, I normally don't have time to go through the entire store from top to bottom. I like to look in bins and scan the floors for misplaced treasure. V doesn't have that kind of patience so what I do is pick a section to visit and only look in that section for the day.

For instance, I will visit the store and only look for jeans. I go through the entire rack throwing pairs in my cart that look good to me. I don't check the size tag, I just eyeball it. After I've gone through the section, I try on all the pairs I found and choose from those. By searching one section, it doesn't feel so vast and overwhelming.

thrift shopping vintage

Tip #3: Go small.

Keep out of Goodwill and Salvation Army and the other larger chain stores for now. Find a small church or for-profit thrift store. There's less to look through and it's probably more organized.

I have a local spot that is walking distance from my home. The store is clean and well organized. The prices are cheaper than larger thrift stores. It's never crowded and they are more likely to haggle. The clothes don't even have that lovely thrift store scent only a seasoned thrifter can appreciate.

small thrift stores

What tips do you have for the thrifting newb?


That's My Mama said...

Great tips! I would say to piggyback on what youve already said: Dont be afraid of sizes. I have sizes ranging from 4-18 in my closet lol. If you like it, dont let the tag scare you. Sizing standards have changed over the years.

April said...

These are good tips! I always try to go early. And I try to wear clothes that allow me to try something on in the store in case there is no try-on.

Megan, The Frugalista Diaries said...

great tips!

xo Megan

BonBon Rose Girls Kristin said...

Love tip #1! It's overwhelming when there are too many people in there!

Mama Violet said...

It's so random among brands too. I feel like the more expensive the clothing the skinnier I become.

Mama Violet said...

Definitely another layer. None of my fav stores have dressing rooms. I get a bunch of stares but I always try on in the men's section. Less competition for the mirror. :)

Mama Violet said...

Thanks Megan!

Mama Violet said...

It sure is! Thanks for stopping by Kristin.

Unknown said...

I found your blog recently, and am really loving seeing your thrifty treasures :-).
Because I always have my 7 and 10 yo girls with me when I go thrift shopping, I only go to shops that have a book section. They happily sit and look at the books while I shop, and I let them buy any that interest them; it doesn't break the bank and makes my shopping much easier. I've also become a firm regular at a couple of local shops which have older ladies volunteering - they are lovely with kids and will often find special clothing items for my girls that they think might interest them.

Unknown said...

Leave your big handbag at home and use a small crossbody instead.

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