I’ve alway loved the thrill of treasure hunting that comes with thrifting and antquing, but recently I’ve stepped it up a notch and have been hitting the thrift store more than ever. I’ve found awesome vintage dishware, beautiful clothbound books, a gold-leaf framed oil painting, and countless clothing items that are now staples in my wardrobe. Thrifting is genuinely fun, refreshes your home and closet without breaking the bank, and can even be a good business venture. That being said, here are my top tips for making the most out of your thrift store experience!
1. Make a list.
I always make a shopping list for thrifting so I know what to keep an eye out for. Not only does this keep me in check, it keeps me from forgetting what I’m really looking for! Of course I still give myself a little wiggle room to find treasures, but if I keep a list I feel like I’m working towards a goal and less likely to impulse buy.
2. Wear comfy clothes and simple shoes.
It pays to wear something you can easily change in and out of in case you find some awesome clothes or shoes to try on. Shoes that slip on and off easily are the best thrifting kicks, and I find that dresses or shorts are the best options to wear as you can slip the items on even if the store you’re shopping in doesn’t have a fitting room, my favorite thrift store doesn’t!
3. Don’t get discouraged.
Often at thrift stores you’ll find stuff you love, but also a lot of stuff that won’t work. Sometimes a good fit is hard to find, especially with clothes. I stay away from jeans most of the time, because I find those are usually at the thrift store for a reason, but don’t rule anything out! Your next great find could be right around the corner.
4. Keep an eye out for money makers.
If you’re entertaining the idea of reselling, there are a few items that will pretty much always make you a little coin. Things like vintage signage (like Coca-Cola or Pepsi), solid brass items, porcelain from Japan, Pyrex, FireKing, and Corningware, sterling jewelry, and so on.
5. Do some research on the discount days at your local thrifts.
I’ve got a couple thrift stores in my area that give discounts to “card holders” on certain days of the week. In most cases, all you have to do to become a card holder is to join their email list and boom, you’ve got discounts, usually ranging between 25% and 50% off. Pretty sweet deal if you ask me!
6. Don’t give away your secrets.
This sounds like a silly rule, but I don’t tell people where my favorite thrift stores are. I don’t geotag them on instagram, and even if people ask I deny and deflect. There’s nothing worse than your favorite spot feeling picked over, keep it hush hush.
7. Don’t be afraid to dig.
Thrifting takes time, and you’ve gotta be willing to go through stuff if you want to find the best items. I’ve found cool glassware in the book section, dresses in the pajama section, and so on. Always keep your eyes peeled!
8. Go on weekdays.
I’ve found that weekday shopping is ideal because you get to avoid the crowds and lines, plus on less busy days thrift stores are more likely to be restocking their shelves, which means you’re getting ahead of everyone else.
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9. Bring a friend.
If you can lock down a thrifting buddy that has the same passion for thrifting you do, it’s okay to break the rule about not blabbing your favorite places, because teamwork makes the dream work. Having a partner in crime is especially key if they’ve got a different style than you or at least different measurements. They’ll help you scout out your treasures, and you can do the same for them. Two heads are better than one! My thrifting buddy is Kate, and we enable each other way too much, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
10. It’s now or never.
Chances are, if you find an item you love, there’s no coming back for it. You have to make the decision once and for all. There’s no do overs, and most often I find I have non-buyer’s remorse rather than the opposite. I’m still daydreaming about a set of chairs I never bought, and I don’t think I’ll ever find them that cheap again. However, if an item is torn, chipped, battered, or stained, it’s often not worth the time and effort for repairs. Choose wisely!
What are your best thrifting tips?