The 10 Best Tips to Successful Thrifting

By: Sonia Wee

Successful thrifting is a task in itself. It requires dedication, support, and courage. Yet, your devotion to the task pays off because thrifting is quite a rewarding experience. While thrifting, you may find that pair of really old kinky boots from the 60’s that no one will ever have, pre-softened T-shirts, and a cute leather jacket for under 10 bucks. We at Equal Time think that it is important to know what you are there for. You enter, conquer, and we are about to show you how.

First things first, thrift stores can be dirty but do not panic. You are brave and everything will be alright. Be prepared to set aside at least an hour and a half, it is as good as a coffee date with someone as adventurous as you are. To say the least, here are 10 hacks for a savvy thrifting experience.

Wear a simple outfit. This makes trying on clothes more convenient. Throw on a basic T-shirt and tights, and put on some shoes that you can slip in and out off easily.

Know your shopping companions. If possible, go with someone who is not your size. Your friendship is more important than that limited edition Steve Madden sandals, so don’t fight over items.

Eat. Enjoy a hearty meal before heading to the thrift store. You do not want to be hungry while you shop, because it generally makes you more susceptible to impulsive buying. You also do not want to be shopping with a cup of coffee or bagel in hand. It is tough.

Ditch the specifics. Write out a list of generic items you need, but do not go too much into details. For example, write down: “oversized sweaters,” instead of “a white, oversized, off the shoulder, woolen sweater.” You do this because thrift stores are unpredictable. Be open to clothing of all colors and sizes, and you are less likely to be disappointed.

Ditch the backpack. Some thrift stores disallow patrons from shopping in their store whilst carrying backpacks. So, drop the backpack or be prepared to leave it behind the counter under moderate supervision while you shop.

Finish checking out a section before moving on to the next. Thrift stores can be a huge mess and searching section by section makes the shopping experience simple. In addition, dig deep. The best stuff may be hidden by other sneaky thrifters who don’t want anyone else stealing their hidden gems.

Spot a bargain? Do not buy that four dollar sweater you know you are never going to wear. Do buy the pair of slightly oversized mom jeans that you know will last you a lifetime. You may also come across some branded belts and jewelry that may be a little rusty, but completely worth the snag for 2-8 dollars.

Try it on! You really cannot be sure about a piece until you try it on. Change under a maxi skirt if you are not able to locate a dressing room. We also suggest to forgo the hats if you are paranoid of lice.

Quality check. Stains usually do not come off, so look closely for details!

Be a thrifty thrifter. Do your research. Some thrift store chains (Goodwill and Salvation Army) offer discounts for students, seniors, veterans, and ordinary human beings on certain days of the week.

We know that this is a lot to chew on, but thrifting is hard work, so it’s best to always be prepared. Outsmart your classmates, workmates, or friends, with a pair of lookalike leather gloves they saw in Vogue that you managed to nab for five dollars, or bring home five items that combined equal less than a pair of jeans at Old Navy, to prove your penchant for frugality. Now, go forth, thrift smart, and be a clever girl.