Here’s everything you need to know to score the best clothes, furniture, and home goods for a successful thrift shopping experience.
Thrift shopping is a fun, affordable way to change up your wardrobe or your home. You can find designer items, incredible antiques, or something as simple as the perfect white t-shirt at a low price. However, it can be an overwhelming experience if you don’t have a plan. So, we’ve made a list of our favorite strategies for planning your next thrift shopping trip.
Keep a thrift wishlist.
Half the fun of thrifting is that you never know what you’re going to find, but that doesn’t mean you can’t look for what you want. Keep a running list on your phone or somewhere else of specific things you’re looking for. Give it a once-over before heading inside so you can keep an eye out for that perfect leather jacket, ’70s jeans, or vintage desk lamp you’ve been hunting for.
If your wishlist includes furniture, make sure you have the measurements and dimensions you’re looking for. Doing so will save you the heartache of bringing home what seemed like the perfect desk, only to discover that it doesn’t fit in your office.
Know your clothing measurements and try stuff on.
Sizing, especially in women’s clothes, is notoriously inconsistent. And this is especially true if you’re shopping vintage, which tends to run very small compared to modern clothing, and usually doesn’t account for tall or plus-sized people.
If you have the option to try on a piece before buying it, do it! But just in case that’s not possible, keep a list of your measurements. Then you can at least make an informed guess as to whether or not an item will fit.
Another tip: Don’t be afraid of tailoring. It can feel like a splurge, but think of it this way: If you spend $20 to adjust the hem on a $10 skirt, that’s still a considerable saving over dropping $100+ on something brand new.
Pro tip: carry a tape measure.
Per our last two tips, it’s essential to have your measurements written down, but they’re not going to do you much good if you can’t check them in the store. So keep a tape measure in your purse or your car, so you’re always ready to see if that perfect dress or china hutch will be the right fit.
Come back often—and make friends with the staff.
Thrift stores get new inventory all the time, and the best stuff goes quickly. So if you want a first look at what’s coming in, you need to visit regularly.
Better yet, get to know the staff. They can tell you when they put new items out on the floor and when different things are on sale so you can make plans. If they get to know you well enough, they might even set aside a specific item for you if they think you’ll like it.
Master the art of the scan.
Thrift stores range in size from cozy boutiques to massive warehouses. No matter the square footage, you may not have the time—or patience—to flip through every item. Instead, train your eyes to do a quick sweep of an aisle, rack, or shelf so you can quickly spot colors, textures, or shapes you like. If something catches your attention, you can go check it out. If not, you can move on to the next section.
Here’s another instance where your list will come in handy: If you know you don’t need any pants or kitchen items, you can skip those areas altogether.
Learn more about your thrift store’s cause.
Many thrift and resale stores serve a larger purpose and put all their proceeds to an important cause. For example, Goodwill provides skills training for people who otherwise might struggle to find a job. Do a little research or ask the staff about how your favorite thrift store gives back to the community. A dollar spent on an important cause makes a good deal even better.
In Richardson, Texas, Upscale Resale is much more than just a great place to find great deals. The shop directly supports the LifeSavers Foundation, a 501(c)(3) that helps pregnant women and single mothers in need by providing healthcare, childcare supplies, and parenting education. These women can redeem vouchers at Upscale Resale for discounted clothing or a free crib or car seat. Additionally, Upscale Resale provides clothing to refugee families and people affected by fire, flooding, and other crises.
With a bit of prep and the right mindset, you can find incredible treasures at the thrift store. See us at Upscale Resale and see what’s waiting for you!