15 Thrifting Tips to Help You Thrift Like a Pro
Do you ever wonder how someone found an amazing designer piece or a rare vintage article at a common thrift store?
While thrifting professionally to flip things for a profit does require a a good deal of skill and knowledge--there are some basic tips that can help anyone thrift like a pro.
Read on to learn how you too can score the most amazing finds!
1. Go often.
The best thrifters are those who devote time to go often. Because they frequently thrift--they go in with the knowledge that the same store can leave you empty-handed one day, and produce the best find ever the next!
If you try a recommended spot and don’t really find anything, don’t give up. These stores get hundreds…sometimes thousands of new donations every day! The inventory is ever changing!!
2. Visit different stores.
Just because a thrift store is located in an affluent neighborhood, it doesn't guarantee designer finds. Some of the best finds can come from Mom and Pop type stores. Switch up locations, towns, and remember to shop the local stores that are giving back to the communities they are located in.
3. Go in with inspiration.
Keep a running list of items you’d like to find secondhand. This will keep them fresh in your mind as you go through the racks and help you know where to start looking. Create a Pinterest Board to help you visualize styles, colors, and textures.
4. Use your imagination.
5. Bring a measuring tape (and know your measurements).
Each brand sizes a little differently, and if we are talking vintage the metrics are quite different from what we use today. Knowing your basic measurements for the types of clothing you are looking for can help you make quicker decisions about whether you want to try something on, or in the case where there are no fitting rooms, give you peace of mind that something will fit.
6. Know each store's best discount days.
Some places do a 50% off day, others rotate colors through, other have $1 or $2 days. Plan your thrift trips to coordinate with sale days for the best deals. Stores will often give this information on their websites/social media, or advertise it with signage at the front of the store.
7. Know when the stores restock.
Most places re-stock every day, but investigating whether they routinely do this in the morning or afternoon near closing time can be helpful in timing when you shop. You won't miss out on the best finds if you are shopping when new items are coming out of the back. The best way to get this information is to simply ask the employees who are re-stocking.
8. Figure out your thrifting routine.
Thrift stores, flea markets and antique malls can be sensory overload. Creating a routine for how you shop can help keep you focused. You might find it helpful to start in a certain section every time, or starting with the category that makes you the most excited to get you pumped for the hunt. Play around until you find a system that works for you and then stick to it!
9. Shop the go-back racks.
By the dressing room there is always a rack or two of the things that were put back after being tried on. Others did the digging for you with these items and you can potentially find the most desirable brands and trendy fits here. Let someone else's work hunting be your gain!
10. Check the new racks.
Most of the best finds come right off the racks that are being wheeled out. Take advantage of being the first to shop what's new by browsing these racks as they are brought to the floor. Check in with employees to make sure you aren't in their way, and while you are at it--find out if more will be brought out.
11. Shop off season.
The majority of shoppers will be shopping in season so the off-season sections tend to be less picked over. Often times they are also the most marked down. As a season ends, write down your dream items that you didn't acquire in season, and keep the list handy to look for in the off-season.
12. Shop outside of your size and in all sections.
If you want to find the best you have to be willing to dig deep. Often times I find a woman's designer piece hidden in the men's section or the best pair of adult jeans stuck in the kids section. Thrift stores can be disorganized with sizing and type getting mixed up often, so checking all sections can be to your benefit.
13. Wear clothing that you can try things on over.
Many thrift stores either don't have fittings rooms, or they only have 1 or 2 for a large store. Wearing thin clothing allows you to quickly slip things on to get an idea of the basic fit without having to guess, or wait in a long line.
14. Thoroughly check the condition.
Carefully look over the item for damage/stains and be realistic about whether you will be able to fix the item or if it is worth it to pay a professional to do the repair. I share a lot of cleaning and repair tips here! Search to see if there are resources for the fix your item needs and download my free Stain Removal Basics: A Guide to Keeping Your Clothing Clean.
15. Be flexible.
You might not find the exact brand, color, or fit... but keep in mind you can customize/alter/re-work. Every day is a new adventure at the thrift. Keeping an open mind and being flexible to with what you are willing to bring home can allow you see the possibilities that go beyond trends.
Still can't find exactly what you want? Or maybe you don't have the patience to master the steps needed to thrift like a pro? No worries! That's where resellers come in. Think of it as paying for a service. The item is found, cleaned, measured and categorized for you, so all you have to do if click the BUY button from the comfort of your home.