Sunday, May 22, 2011

Thrifting 101

I’ve been thrifting for years, even before it was considered an acceptable way of shopping. Back in the day, there was a stigma attached to thrift stores, but for my mom and me thrifting was a Saturday ritual. We look forward to our adventures at our local Goodwill, Salvation Army, Savors, Church rummage sales, and garage sales. We'd go anywhere we could to find a that was a good day! I get a natural high when I walk in the thrift store.  I hit those racks with a vengeance looking for that major thrift score! 

Here are my top 10 tips for successful thrifting!

1.      Shop early. Be the first one in the store, this gives you time to scope out the surroundings. You’re also less likely to come across that annoying shopper who follows you around and goes down the same aisles. I’m very territorial when it comes to shopping. Please don’t be on the same rack when I’m looking.

2.      Shop often if possible. Thrift store merchandise changes every day.  Sometimes while you’re in the store, they’re bringing out new merchandise!  It’s best to check back often. No, that doesn't mean you need to buy on each trip.

3.      Learn the days they have their sales. Most thrift stores offer an additional percentage off of certain colored tags, or customer rewards programs to be redeemed on certain days.

4.      Work the room.  When I enter into a thrift store I normally start looking at accessories first, such as jewelry, handbags, and shoes. Then I will shop clothes. The goal is to look at all items in detail to insure you missed nothing. Find the best pattern for you.

5.      Dress comfortable. Not all thrift stores have dressing rooms.  By dressing comfortable, with loose fitting clothing, you can try things over your own clothes if need be. 
An insider tip: If you want to see if jeans or pants will fit without trying them on, try the waist band around your neck. If it fits around your neck easily they should fit.

6.      Look for quality.  Make sure the item is sewn well, nice material, leather goods, or name brands.

7.      Look for the stand out pieces. The nice thing about thrifting is finding items you would normally not see at the everyday retailer. I look for vintage pieces or what I call conversation pieces.  Look for items from different decades and modernize them with pieces already in your closet.

8.      Check sizing.  Sizing has changed over the decades.  Don’t get caught up in a number...If possible try it on.  If not, you may have to make a judgment call if the item is going to work for you.

9.      Take assessment of your items. Before making your purchase, look for any stains, holes, or rips...anything thing that can’t be repaired. There is nothing worse than buying something and later discovering it’s damaged.  I recently walked away from a brand new Ralph Lauren crest blazer because it had moth ball holes on the back. I was so upset because it was a total thrift score, but I knew that it couldn’t be repaired.  Still losing sleep over that jacket…..why………..moth balls!

10.   Get to know the staff. As I mentioned before, if you shop often you should get to know the staff. If you become a loyal shopper, they can become your allies and be an additional lookout for good deals!

I hope this helps….Happy Thrifting!

What I Wore
Shirt- Tucker for Target
Jeans- Elle for Kohl’s
Shoes- Bakers Thrifted
Watch- Michael
Bracelets – The Limited

Special thanks for Priscilla for taking my pictures!


  1. I think it is so funny that this younger generation thinks thrifting is some sort of trend. Girl we thrifted because we HAD to!! lol We looked forward to our thrift days and would think how crazy some folks were for giving away some of the SPECIAL things we would find! lol You look great. I love your jeans and that top is cute. Great tips! Kiah

  2. You look so happy! Good for you :)

  3. These are all great tips and I will put them to great use as I'm new to thrifting. and LOL at Kiah's comment!

  4. Looking good girl thrifting! Let me start by stating that I love your hair and makeup. Secondly, I love the tips...very helpful! Can't wait till you get back to NYC...we have plenty of thrifting to do! Lastly, we have way too much in common! I always go for the accessories and jewelry first myself. Next, consignment shops?

  5. I havent been to a thrift shop in years and Im trying to find a good one in NYC ... There was one called Murrys years ago and it's gone ... So many bloggers get great blazers and cute pieces from thrifting.. I enjoyed the tips...

  6. @Kiah You’re telling the truth thrifting was a way of survival. But I appreciate how we’re able to talk about of thrifting finds.

    @Alci, Thank you so much! I also get so happy while shopping it’s truly my favorite pastime.

    @ Inez, you’re off to a great start. I saw your fabulous thrift store finds!

    @ Des, Thanks again. A BIG yes to thrifting in NY…we gotta do it. The last time I was in NY I went to Beacon’s Closet they had good stuff…..and Yes I love consignment shops too. A couple of years ago I was selling my stuff on consignment.

    @ Jarette, I haven’t heard of Murrys but the Beacon’s Closet in Brooklyn was pretty good just got to dig for deals.

  7. yay I love thrifting, great advice
    Forever Chic,

  8. There's no question, thrifting is SUPER hard. I often strike out because the hipsters have already picked the place over...

  9. The blouse is nice...I missed the Tucker arrival. it's usually cleaned out in a week or two. :-(


  10. @ The Hue Smiles...Thrifting is so much fun because you never know what you're going to find.

    @ Gapingwhole Yes I agree but the key is to shop early, often and seek out the low key thrift stores not the big chain thrift stores. Keep trying you'll find that good deal! :)

    @ Dhalia Thanks. I know how you feel I had to order this one online.

  11. These are great tips!! I may have to borrow a few for my blog. I have a blog solely dedicated to thrifting. You may want to check it out:

    P.S. I've become a new follower.


    Live. Laugh. Love Thrift.

  12. @SheDel, Thank you! I will check out your blog too. It's on my favorite topic thrifting! :)

  13. Great post!!!! Such words of thrifting wisdom!!! And Yeah the reason I started thrifting(when I was a little squirt) was there was no money for any other type of shopping and for the most part I still have to thrift it's definitly a lifestyle.

  14. "If you want to see if jeans or pants will fit without trying them on, try the waist band around your neck. If it fits around your neck easily they should fit."

    My mom also teach me to try the waist band on my neck for surely, if it fits my neck, it will also fits my waist. Anyway, great tips. I really need these tips for I also want to try on thrifting, eh.

    Thanks for sharing,
    Cathy | Ways to Avoid Mistakes in Embroidery Digitizing


Woohoo! Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. I truly appreciate the support!