Tips for Thrift Store Shopping

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Summer is coming and looking at my warmer weather clothes makes me realize that I need some.  As a bargain hunter extraordinaire the first store I will hit will be my local thrift store.  I will hit garage sales as well, but since I need some clothes now I will be visiting Goodwill first.

Luckily I love shopping at thrift stores and I do not have any problems buying and wearing previously worn clothes.  I really don’t. I am very picky about the clothes I buy and the best part is that there are usually so many clothes at the thrift store that you CAN be picky.  Here are some of my tips for thrift store shopping success:

Shop with a plan. Thrift stores can be treasure troves of goodies. Unfortunately, I find that it can lead to overbuying.  I can’t tell you how many times I have been to the thrift store and left with something that was “so cheap” but ultimately ended collecting dust somewhere.  Therefore, I advice that you visit your thrift store only when you are looking for something in particular.  Maybe it is clothes for you, your children or your spouse, or maybe kitchen items.  Window shopping at thrift stores can be a lot of fun put make sure to ask yourself if you actually NEED something before buying it.

Take time and preferably go without kids.  Thrift store shopping takes a good deal of going through racks and racks of clothes or shelves full of items.  You need patience and you need time to be able to find the gold nuggets among the rubble.  If possible try to shop without your kids so you can devote your time and attention to what you are doing.  In the end it will result in less time spent at the store and also better finds.

Look for quality items.  I have been able to get some really great finds at thrift stores on really expensive clothes.  My latest awesome find was a pair of 7 for all Mankind jeans for only 4 bucks!  these usually sell for $150+.  Plus they were in incredible shape!  These finds are a matter of luck but also of digging and most importantly it takes knowing which ones are quality brands.  So make sure to be cognizant of quality brands that fir YOU well and look for those.

You MUST try on the clothes that you are hoping to buy.  This is key.  If what you are buying doesn’t fit you right then even if it is cheap you are just wasting your money.  This is another reason why it’s a good idea to shop with time on your side so you can invest time in making sure you buy quality that will serve you well.

Be persistent.  If you maintain an ongoing list of needs for your family or household chances are you won’t find it all in one trip.  Make sure to visit your thrift store often and browse for the items you have not been able to find yet.  The best strategy for scoring great finds at thrift stores is persistence.

Having shared these tips, I intend to take a trip to my “new Goodwill”  this weekend.  I have never been to it but like I said, I need clothes so I need to pay a visit.  I will make sure to share my finds with you.

What are some of the tips you use to score great finds when you go thrift store shopping?  What are some of your best finds to date?  Make sure to share in the comments.