14 Ways to Successfully Survive the Thrift Store

Thrift shop

Macklemore’s hit single “Thrift Shop” often gets credit for thrifting becoming mainstream or even cool. Thrifting is no longer considered embarrassing or associated with being poor!

But, before Macklemore hit the scene, there lived a society of people who connected because of their love of thrift. Hence #thriftsociety over 20,000 people sharing their thrifted finds, looks, repurposed pieces and inspirations. Modern day fashionista’s, hipsters and creatives are drawn to thrifting because it offers unique fashion at a great price. However thrifting still isn’t for everyone! Stay tuned for guidelines to help you survive your next thrifting trip!


1. Create a budget– WARNING! Thrifting can be addictive! Don’t spend your grocery money on awesome vintage! Create a budget and stick to it! Something about carrying cash makes it easier and more rewarding to stick to your budget.

2. Bring a wish-list – Take inventory of what you have a need for in your closet and your home. Also check your favorite places for inspiration (ie.fashion magazines, Pinterest, blogs, etc). Make a list combining the two list. You just might be surprised at how much current fashion you may find! Fashion trends reoccur every few years.

3. Do your research – Find out what days your local thrift shops have specials and what days they put out new inventory! Some thrift shops offer same day discounts when you make a donation! Certain Goodwill’s have occasional midnight madness sales, where they extend the store hours and put almost everything on sale for 50% off! (check your local Goodwill for more details)Ask questions you may be pleasantly surprised by your findings!

4. Eat a great breakfast and get started early – An early start gives you the advantage of getting to the good stuff before it gets picked over. Having a full stomach and a focused mind helps eliminate the urge to buy junk! Pack snacks for backup!

5. Map out your day! Have a plan and plenty of patience – Go to thrift shops that are in close proximity to others. If the first stop doesn’t have what you need on your list, move on to the next! Thrift stores aren’t the most organized places to shop, but the deals are very rewarding. Keep an open mind and plenty of patience. Think of it as a treasure hunt!

6. Wear form fitting comfy clothing – It’s common for thrift stores not to have dressing rooms. Wearing form fitting clothing like leggings and a fitted tee, makes it easier to try on clothing without giving indecent exposure!

7. Check the wrong sections – It’s rare that thrift stores are heavily merchandised. You may strike thrift store gold checking in the wrong size and even the men’s or kid sections. Sometimes a clerk honestly misplaced the item, or a thrifty fashionista could have hid it for later! Either way you win! Other great places to look for thrift store gold is the reshop items on dressing room rack or at register! In most cases the reshop items have been carefully inspected and probably not purchased due to size, budget or someone has simply changed their mind.

8. Bring your phone – Can’t decide on an item? Send a pic! Not sure if a purse is authentic? Google it! Your phone is a great tool to bring with you for inspiration, research, assistance, etc.

9. Inspection! – Check every inch of every item. Look for stains, rips, wear and tear. Decide what can be fixed and what’s not worth the trouble.

10. Be creative! – When it comes to thrifting creativity is your bestfriend! If a garment doesn’t have the right fit, or isn’t exactly the right style; you can always repurpose it. DIY, upcycling and some sewing can help you achieve that million dollar look for less!

11. Don’t be a hoarder/ Have good thrift karma – Only buy it if you love it! The last thing you need is a hundred new projects you will never finish. Keep your thrifting karma good by a following a simple rule. If you bring new items in, make sure you giveaway the same number items. This will help cut down the clutter! Plato’s Closet, Buffalo Exchange and consignment shops will give you cash for your goods!

12. Take a thrifty friend – Leave Debbie Downer! Take your fun thrifty loving, stylish or creative buddy! If you don’t have any fun friends, go alone or check for a local thrifting meet-up groups.

13. Don’t think twice, BE Impulsive, change your way of thinking – When shopping at the mall, we see something we love, think about it, put it back and come purchase it a day later. In the world of thrift this is not realistic! In your average thrift store your pieces will be gone in the blink of an eye!

14. Go very often – The more you thrift, the more awesome things you will find and the easier thrifting will become!

Source: Thea Washington of Thrift Society

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One thought on “14 Ways to Successfully Survive the Thrift Store

  1. I’m guilty of thrift hoarding…

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