Whether you are just starting in this thrift adventure or you’ve been at it a while, here are some thrifting 101 tips to get your thrift game strong!
Thrifting before it was cool. – Salvage Sister
I am a long time thrifter!!!
In the last few years, I would say there has been an increase in thrifting, but I was doing it before it was cool.
Because of this, I get a LOT of questions and comments.
Some people have questions about finding things amongst the stuff…feeling overwhelmed and how I find such great deals.
Other people have comments about the clean factor and the thrift store smell.
Well let me tell you, I have converted many a friend over to my thrifting ways. This may hurt me in the end because I am sending all these people to my favorite stores. 🤔 Oh well, I just can’t help but share my love of thrifting with you all!!!!
Table of Contents
MY THRIFTING TIPS – THE STORE
- LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION – I know, you think I’m going to suggest thrifting in wealthier neighborhoods. While I understand that could hold some truths also remember the prices can be higher. I like to find places where you find great deals. I would say if you are looking for designer clothes, yes a more expensive neighborhood might work. If you are looking for vintage items, an older neighborhood might be better.
- CHECK SALE DAY – Almost all stores have sales. Some stores have special tags each day. Be sure to check those out.
- SCAN THE STORE – Feeling overwhelmed? I do think more thrift stores are more organized than they use to be, but if you are overloaded pick an area and just scan it. For example, go to your size in shirts and DO NOT go piece by piece. SCAN for colors, styles, prints, etc that you are drawn to. Yes, you may miss something, but if you tend to get overwhelmed this will help. Honestly, I know colors I look awful in so I don’t even bother looking at them. No thanks, peachy shirts…I’ll pass!
- GO FREQUENTLY – Obviously people are donating everyday so be sure to check often. Honestly, I think this is how I find more deals than others do.
- THE RIGHT DAY – Often times Monday is not a good thrift day. Many people have come over the weekend and inventory is low. HOWEVER, that is not always the case. Get to know your stores.
- RETURNS – Ask what the return or exchange policy is. Sometimes there is none or it can be a very small window to exchange or return.
THRIFT TIPS – WHAT TO WATCH FOR
- RECHECK ITEM, AGAIN – I really do look over an item before paying. Take the item to an area that has good lighting to really look it over. Take your time!
- UPCYCLE – Look for good deals on items you can repurpose.
- PICE TAGS – Did you see an item from the Dollar Store priced at $5.99? Most thrift stores have many people pricing so don’t necessarily look at one price tag and think it’s too high…just keep searching.
- KNOW PRODUCT LABELS – If you are looking for genuine items, know what to look for a knock off.
- LOOK FOR TESTING AREA – Most stores have an area where you can plug in and test the electronics.
- SIGN UP – Look for signs advertising to sign up for deals and coupons via an app. Some stores give you a coupon for donating.
- ITEMS YOU CAN SELL – Yes, there are items I have found that I sold at craft fairs and online. (You can read my Facebook Marketplace Selling Tips for more info.)
THRIFT TIPS – CLEANLINESS
I have never had an issue in ALL the years I have been thrifting, but I know many are concerned about bugs and such. Here are some precautions you can take.
- Wipe down shopping cart with a disinfectant wipe.
- Don’t try on clothes over your own clothes.
- Don’t try on hats.
- Wear socks so if you are changing in the dressing room you won’t have to step on the floor barefooted.
- Wash items when you get home.
Again, I have never had any issues thus far. I have purchased bedding, throw pillows, furniture, clothing, and more. After some clean time, it’s good to go.
And, as far as the smell goes…it just comes with the territory I guess. You get all the different people’s stuff and the cleaning sprays and it just all blends together. I think thrift stores have improved in this area so if you haven’t gone in a while, I’d say: GIVE THRIFTING A CHANCE!
- Keep a note of items you want to look for on your phone. Yes, you never know what you will find at each store, but it never hurts to keep a list of things you are looking for.
- Wear comfortable clothing and shoes as this is a marathon, not a sprint.
- Did you know that some thrift stores run an online store as well? This can be a great place to find items but don’t expect a bargain. The stores online are typically run by people who research the items and know the approximate worth.
- If you even THINK you will consider it, PUT IT IN YOUR CART!! If you don’t, I guarantee someone just watched you put it back on the shelf and is eyeing it. You can always put it back (in the right spot) if you don’t get it.
- Don’t forget to check out thrift stores when traveling!!!
- I’m all for a bargain but I don’t haggle at the thrift store. What I will do is ask for a small discount if something is pretty damaged and I think I can fix it. They may take like 10% off and a no return policy.
- Don’t donate trash. I know this is about shopping at thrift stores, but just don’t do it.
- Treat employees kindly!!!
Over the years, I have been to thrifting and walked out with nothing, but I will tell you the majority of the time I can find something. I have converted many non-thrifters. There are great things to be had!
Here are a few posts to show some of our thrifted items:
I would love to hear any tips you have or maybe a favorite thrift find.
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