Thrifted Pinterest - Thrift Tips

Hey, howdy, hey everybody!  I'm super excited about this weekend, since a group of friends and I are having a girl's night this Saturday.  We're going to be checking out a new HUGE thrift store in our area, and so, in preparation, I thought I would share a few of my tips for a fun, mostly stress-free thrift shopping trip.  Bear in mind, there are more options at a thrift store than just clothes, such as great deals on dishes and housewares, but I'll focus on just the clothing for this post.

1. Have a (very general) shopping list, either physical or mental.


One of my favorite parts of secondhand shopping is the fact that it's a treasure hunt.  The inventory changes almost every day!  But, because of the sheer amount of things, sometimes it's better to have a game-plan for items you're specifically looking for.  For example, there's a few things on my list for this weekend, including:

- chunky sweaters (preferably cable-knit)
- white jeans, skinny or able to be altered to skinnies
- faux fur jacket or vest
- a white full slip
- flat black ankle boots
- button front skirts (preferably suede or denim)
- anything dusty rose or orange colored, for this Spring

Now, like I said, there's no guarantee that I will find any of these listed items, but it does let me know what sections to start in!  I'm not looking for dresses currently, since I have a ton and don't currently wear them as a nursing mama, so I can save time and skip the dress rack completely.  Also, try to keep your items fairly general... I said chunky sweaters, not a navy blue cable-knit sweater with 3/4 length sleeves.  That's just a little too specific for what a thrift store may have.

2. Pick your colors.

The store we'll be shopping at is organized by color, as opposed to clothing size.  Because of that, I've found that it's easier to identify which three colors I tend to gravitate towards, or even what colors are complementary to items already in my closet (i.e. if I already have a lot of purple, look at greens and oranges), and rule out any colors I don't wear.  I really just never wear yellow.  I think it's a lovely color, but it's just not a color that I gravitate towards, so I will skip the yellow section whenever I'm shopping.  I also tend to check the neutral colors first, like black, white, navy, grey, and olive.  For shots of color, I usually look for purples, teals, and any shade of green.  I'll still browse by the other colors, and look for any patterns that catch my eye (I've had a thing for navy and white striped tops lately, and find it hard to pass up a paisley), but the majority of my time will be spent in those three colors.

3. Check your brands

Usually, I'm thrift-shopping because I'm able to find a great deal on quality items.  So, after I've checked that it's the right size and free from any holes/stains, I'll check the label. Then I'll ask myself, if I found this item in the original store at this price, would I buy it?  For brands like Banana Republic or Ann Taylor, I'd usually say yes.  But, if the item is from somewhere like Forever 21 or Faded Glory (a Wal-Mart brand), it has to be both half-price and insanely cute for it to find its way into my closet.  Some brands, like Gap or anything Target, I have to be picky about as well, since their quality, especially after being worn and donated, is pretty hit-or-miss.

4. Try stuff on!!!

I've had too many instances of buying something that looks great on the hanger, then getting it home and realizing that it either a)doesn't fit at all, b)fits differently that I thought, or c)just isn't flattering.  So, at least for myself, trying clothes on is a must!  That makes it a little tricky if I've decided to tote my kids along on a shopping expedition, but I'd rather run the "man-I-hope-my-kids-don't-decide-to-open-this-door-while-I'm-in-my-undies" gamble than to spend money on a piece of clothing that doesn't fit.  Some thrift stores do have a return/exchange policy in place, but some don't, and I would rather go through the inconvenience of a fitting room than the inconvenience of returning something that didn't work.

5. Use the 'One-In, One-Out' Rule.

I've gotten to the point with my clothes that I really don't 'NEED' anything, so in order to keep the stuff from taking over, I have to donate one thing when I buy another of the same type.  If I'm going to buy a sweater, I have to first decide which sweater I'm going to give away.  If I just can't part with any of the sweaters I already own, then I really don't need to buy the new one.  In the same vein, using a closet-clean-out can also help when making a mental shopping list.  If you recently donated two sweaters, a pair of jeans, and a pair of boots, then you'll know what to look for first when shopping.

6. Consider alterations, whether professional or DIY.

Sometimes you'll run across an item that just needs a little work.  I ran across a velvet mini-dress today that was adorable and currently on-trend, except the fact that it had gaudy rhinestone buttons along the neckline.  But, it would have been very simple fix simply to cut off the buttons.  (I didn't end up buying it, since I really don't need dresses, and I couldn't think of any that I wanted to give away).  Most skirts and dresses can be shortened, or the waistband taken in, with very basic sewing skills.  If you don't sew, and/or don't mind paying extra for alterations on quality items, find out if there's a good seamstress in your area!

That's all the advice I can offer for now!  Do you have any tried-and-true tips you'd like to share?  Let me know in the comments!

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