Thrift Shopping Survival Guide

Have you fallen into the Goodwill and Thrifting craze? I’ve been a long time fan thanks to a few friends and family that got me hooked in high school days. For many it can feel too overwhelming with rack upon rack, but I’m here to help with a few tips to help you become a better thrifter.

  1. Thrifting is always more fun with someone else—bring a partner along who can help you keep an eye out for good scores. I always ask as soon as we arrive or meet up at the shop, “Do you have anything you are hoping to find?” It’s good to have an idea what you are looking for such as a new Summer hat or a mirror for the bathroom, but don’t get tunnel vision and leave empty handed, let it be a starting point to begin the hunt.
  2. Know your store—-some vintage shops are going to be a bit pricier, but have quality vintage items only. On the other hand, Goodwill (and shops like it) are going to have EVERYTHING and you will have to skim a bit more. Know what days they have extra deals or the latest inventory to the floor. Goodwill selects one colored tag for each week that is 1/2 price M-Sat and then on Sundays those colored tags are .99, busy day, but super cheap scores! Also, in knowing your store, check out local cities when you travel or plan a thrifter’s road trip. We will often journey up to Valley Thrift in Cincinnati; see family, check out local favorites, and get in some thrifting as well.
  3. Skim, Grab, then Check—-our shopping pattern is to skim first. Simply skim through the racks and look for colors, patterns, fabrics that catch your eye. Pull the item out and skim it over, nice silhouette? Your style? Interesting enough to try on? If so, grab it up. Fill a cart with your Grab items for “Maybe.” My shopping partners and I always grab and fill up one cart and then when we get to the fitting room we can sort things we thought they might like, things we liked at first glance and then decide what’s worth trying on. Check it out; check it out in great detail, are there pulls in the fabric? holes? Is it worth trying on because it still looks new? Don’t waste your time if not. SKIM> GRAB>CHECK!

(Not necessarily a tip for shopping, but after, always throw your scores into the washer so as to not bring home any unwelcome guests and freshen up from the vintage smell.)

Thrifting is a great way to reuse fashion that’s already out there, refrain from the fast fashion world that can treat garment workers without dignity, and a refreshingly, frugal way to live out your own personal style!

I’ve learned from my girlfriends who are thrift experts, but also a few online thrift queens. Here are a few other resources to check out:

A Beautiful Mess: Elsie shares her thrift tips and some beautiful finds:

Money Saving Mom shares her journey from starting to thrift years ago:

Do you have any other good thrifting tips? Please share!


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