My Secret Thrifting Tips

Ever wonder why every time you go thrifting, you end up with a big pile of novelty items and some mom jeans? Check out my secret tips on finding your next major thrifting score.

1. Context:   It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the hideousness that engulfs the racks- you know, like the muumuus, Christmas sweaters and stretched out bicycle shorts. In a hurry to sift through it all, you might accidentally skip over your new favorite piece so try to make a day for thrifting when no one is waiting for you and you can take your time.  That crazy ’80s sweater could look hip with an edgy haircut and designer ankle boots.

2. Consider Alterations:    Don’t abandon the perfect vintage cocktail dress only because it’s a size too big. Maybe you love the color and cut of that blouse, but the sleeves are overwhelmingly puffy? For the $3 you’re probably spending, it could be worth it to visit a tailor.

3. Shop Off-Season:    Think ahead and shop for summer items in winter. You’ll find the best deals and have a better selection. Winter coats are plentiful and purchased for pennies in August. The same would go for vintage sun dresses during January.

4. Find Your Local Thrift Outlet:    Most well-established thrift store “chains” like Goodwill and Salvation Army will have outlets.  This is the magical land where all clothes are $1-$3. The ladies at the Goodwill Outlet told me their clothes only get one week at full-price store racks before they get bundled up and shipped to the outlet. My favorites include Thrift Trader and $2 Thrill— you know where I’m going with this….

5. Wear Your “Thrifting Uniform”:    Be prepared for long fitting room lines (or possibly no fitting rooms) by wearing something that is comfy and easy to try things on over. I like leggings and slip-on flats. Throw a flexible sewing tape in your bag for taking measurements if you are so inclined.

6. Don’t Confine Yourself to only the Women’s Clothing Section:   For petites, check out the kids section for a shrunken blazer look or possibly a dress you can wear as a top. Maybe head over to the men’s section where you can find oversized cardigans or a colorful necktie.  Make a necktie headband.

7. Gravitate Toward Thrift Shops That Are Off the Beaten Path:   Look for thrift stores near ritzy retirement communities and small suburban towns.  This is your best chance to find a hidden gem.

8. Get a Rapport Going With Your Cashier:   Most thrift stores don’t have a set-in-stone pricing structure.  Striking up a conversation with the cashier can’t hurt, especially if you visit on a regular basis. If the employees get to know you, they may be willing to set aside that elusive Kate Spade tote you’ve been on the hunt for.


9. Go Thrifting Off-Hours:    If you don’t thrift on a regularly, you’re just asking to miss out on stuff. Thrift stores get new stock daily, so be vigilant. Better yet, find out which days the “new” merchandise gets put out. Arrive early and be ready for the hunt.

Cheers Everyone & Happy Thrifting! Let me know how you all are doing.   -jody-