Learn the Do’s and Don’ts of Thrift Store Shopping
Whether you love the thrill of the hunt or you’re trying to stretch your shopping budget (or a little of both), shopping at thrift stores can really help you make the most of your money. But not everything at thrift stores is a good deal. And there are lots of tips and tricks to help you shop smart and avoid common thrifting mistakes. Let’s take a look at the do’s and don’ts of thrift store shopping.
Visit Several Stores
One of the best parts of thrift store shopping is that no two stores will have the same items. You’ll have the best chance of success when you visit multiple stores in different parts of town.
Make it Easy to Try Things On
Many thrift stores don’t have fitting rooms, so you might have to try things on over your clothes. Wearing leggings and a close-fitting T-shirt or tank top as a first layer means you can slip things over them with ease.
Keep an Open Mind
You never know what you’re going to find when thrifting, which means you’ll have the most fun when you’re open to possibility. You can go shopping with specific things in mind, but don’t be disappointed if you can’t locate exact matches for your wish list.
Learn Basic Mending Skills
Oftentimes people will donate clothing simply because it needs a small repair, such as sewing on a button, turning up a hem or fixing a zipper. Learning these basic mending skills means you won’t have to pass up a good find that needs a small fix.
Get to Know the Staff
Make an effort to establish friendly relationships with staff members at your favorite thrift spots. They’ll be able to let you know when they’ve spotted a great find that suits your style and may even set things aside for you before they hit the sales floor. They will also clue you into upcoming sales and other special events.
Inspect Items with a Critical Eye
Many thrift stores don’t allow returns. That’s why you’ll want to thoroughly inspect items before you commit to buying them. Be on the lookout for stains, odors or major damage you can’t easily repair yourself.
Buy Just Because it’s Cheap
Super-low thrift store prices can make it tempting to buy more than you really want or need. Just because something is cheap, doesn’t mean it’s a bargain. Unless you know for certain you will use or wear something, leave it for the next lucky treasure hunter.
Assume All Stores Have the Same Policies
Store policies regarding payment method, returns and donations vary widely. Don’t assume all thrift stores share similar policies. To avoid frustration and confusion, ask a staff member to outline their policies when you visit a store for the first time.
Hesitate to Bargain
Thrift store prices are low, but that doesn’t mean they can’t go lower. If you think something is priced too high for what is, ask if they’re willing to take less for it. Just be polite in doing so and don’t be discouraged if they’re not open to bargaining.
Forget to Wash or Dry Clean Items Before Wearing
You’ll be excited about your new finds, but be sure to take the time to wash or clean them before wearing. For dry clean only items, a home cleaning system, such as Dryel, is an easier, cheaper option than going to the dry cleaner.
Make these Common Mistakes
There are certain things you should never buy from thrift stores. That list includes: underwear, swimwear, workout gear, and hats. And be very careful when buying thrifted shoes. Unless they are brand new or barely worn, it’s probably best to leave them on the shelf.