A few weeks ago I posted my personal shopping tips when going to retail stores and I mentioned how shopping thrift stores were a totally different animal. Well, today I am going to be sharing my tips on how I thrift. I have to preface that I live in an area where there are some effluent people who donate some very nice things, so I realize that what I might find may be a little different in your home town.
My favorite thrift store is Goodwill of Orange County. There are also several local independent thrift, consignment, and charity shops where I have found some great things. I do not necessarily consider Poshmark a thrift shop, but I have been finding some amazing second hand finds there, and again that is a totally different method of shopping that I may expand on in another post.
Regardless of the store, I always have a method because as much as I am a shopaholic, I really do not want to spend hours upon hours searching the racks. Some of my tactics are similar to how I shop retail, but I do have a very different mind set when I thrift. I have to be ready to walk out empty handed and be ok with that. I also have to be ready to not find a complete outfit like I would expect in a retail environment.
1. Have a Plan
I always have a running list of items to fill gaps in my wardrobe. I especially like finding basics at Goodwill. Say for instance, I have a camel faux leather jacket on my list, I go directly to the jacket section and scan the racks for this color. I can quickly and efficiently see if there is anything that color and check to see if anything is in my size. I typically have several items to look for and go to each section to look for those particular items. Goodwill organizes items by clothing type and other shops sometimes break it down by size, but either way I use the same technique. If something else really catches my eye during my specific search that is not on my list and is too amazing to pass up, even better. Do not be discouraged if you do not find one item as I usually do. This is why I choose not to spend a long time searching through every rack.
Another thing I do if I am looking for a specific item that I want to go with an article of clothing I already own is I take a picture of it on my phone then refer to it in the shop to see if it will go. That way I am creating a complete outfit without having to get everything in one spot.
2. Inspect the Garments
Be sure to thoroughly inspect any piece prior to purchasing. Thrift shops very rarely do returns or exchanges so I always consider every purchase a final sale. Look for pilling, holes, missing buttons, yellowing, and stains. I know this seems a little like, “are you really telling me this?”, but I myself have sometimes gotten caught up in the moment and not realized some defects until I got home.
3. Wear Slip On Shoes, Cross Body Bag, & Sleeveless Top
By wearing these particular types of garments it will help you be the most efficient at the thrift shop. Slip on shoes can easily be taken on and off to try on shoes. A cross body bag keeps your hands free to look at items and from being left unattended in a shopping cart. By wearing a sleeveless top with a cardigan or jacket you can easily try on many garments right there on the showroom floor without having to bother going into a fitting room.
4. Get to know the Staff
At the one Goodwill I go to the most, I know the managers and staff and they know me. It is nice to be able to go up to any one of them and ask a question. I have asked staff to look at something on display in a high area and they really have no problem doing it for me. Then at one of the independent stores I know the staff there too where they are willing to do discounts, especially if I find an item with a defect that I hope I can fix myself. It really pays to be nice!
5. Go Frequently
The majority of my shopping is not thrifting, so I like to check out thrift shops in my area around once a month, unless I am looking for something specific for an event where I have a deadline. Sometimes I go and find absolutely nothing, then other times I totally score. By going back even if your last shopping trip was not successful will ensure you will eventually find something.
Some of my favorite items currently in my wardrobe are from Goodwill. These recent finds will be high in rotation in the upcoming spring and summer season. As you can see these are not items that would all go together in a single outfit, but they all fall into my vintage bohemian personal style.
1. H&M Textured Zebra Print Clutch (see in outfit here)
2. Chico’s White Button Down Shirt (see in outfit here)
3. Merona Pink Sandals (see in outfit here)
4. Unknown Brand Bangles & Cuff
5. Merona Ivory Cardigan (Dip-Dye ReFashion)
6. Avenue Floral Midi Skirt (see in outfit here)
7. Xhilaration Camel Faux Leather Jacket (see in outfit here)
8. Merona Rust & White Dot Shorts
9. Mossimo Caged Block Heel Sandals (see in outfit here)
Everyone thrifts for different reasons. Sure it is easy on the wallet, but the biggest reason I began shopping second hand was to expand my horizons. Sometimes shopping retail I find that I am looking at the same thing over and over again. Thrifting offers me items from seasons past and keeps my wardrobe from being a certain brand specific. I have discovered some really nice brands that I would have never tried before had it not been for thrifting.
I hope some of these tips will help you on your next thrifting adventure!
Today’s Postivity Note
Simple things become complicated when you expect too much.
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