THRIFTING 101: 5 Quick Tips for Productive Thrift Shopping

True thrift stores (NOT expensive vintage boutiques -- they are often confused for one another in conversation) are oftentimes messy, chaotic and full of people. The payoff of a good thrifting day is so, so sweet though.

Aug 24, 2012 at 9:30am | Leave a comment

While thrift shopping can be fun and productive it can also be extremely overwhelming. I’ve had friends take one glance at our local, over-stocked thrift store and promptly turn on their heels with premature exasperation. I don’t blame them! True thrift stores (NOT expensive vintage boutiques -- they are often confused for one another in conversation) are oftentimes messy, chaotic, and full of people. The payoff of a good thrifting day is so, so sweet though.

It’s the most cost-effective way to get unique vintage clothing; especially considering I barely have enough dough to pay my electricity bills most of the time. So, I encourage you to give it a first time go or a second try with some helpful tips!

1. TAKE YOUR TIME.

If you are overwhelmed by crowds or unorganized bundles of clothes, just take a breath, survey the situation, and psych yourself up for some hardcore rummaging. Cue Rocky music. You should allot an entire afternoon to thrifting, don’t just show up expecting to find exactly what you want within the first 20 minutes.

image

 Here’s proof that the struggle is worth it.

image

 I found this awesome mohair sweater after digging through medical scrubs for a million years. It looks so hippie weird and moss ridden, I love it! Incidentally I found that necklace marooned with the kitchen appliances. And it was only two bucks, sweet victory!

2. BE OPEN-MINDED.

Since thrift stores are so cheap, you can afford to buy pieces that are weirder than what you’d normally wear! I bought a white lace, 70’s floor-length lingerie robe from Victoria’s Secret because I was convinced I could use it in a Stevie Nicks tutorial. I suppose I still could.

image

This doesn’t count as adventurous because I have like twelve rose-print skirts…BUT, another helpful tip? If you wear a skirt while you shop, you can try on your clothes outside of dressing rooms. Yeah, I’m that girl.

3. WEAR SENSIBLE SHOES.

Hah! I hate that phrase! Especially when my mom says it. BUT it’s so necessary for a thrifting day. You need to wear comfy shoes that you can slip into and out of effectively. So, nothing cute or awesome. Thrift shop shoe sections can be a battlefield; you have to move quickly if you find something good.

image

4. AVOID BEDBUG-RIDDEN FURNITURE. FOR THE LOVE OF EVERYONE.

Don't be afraid to ask if armchairs, mattresses, sofas or whatever other bedbug hotbeds have been sanitized. Most thrift shops do sanitize their stuff, BUT my friend got bedbugs from a thrifted armchair and had to boil all of her clothes (I’m not sure that was the best thing to do but TOO LATE FOR HER). NOT ideal.

image

In case you weren’t obsessively googling these bad boys everyday after that movie theatre bedbug infestation fiasco. Shudder.

5. DON’T TAKE PARTY POOPERS ALONG.

Or friends that will have a bad attitude. Thrifting is really fun with someone who is adventurous and won’t judge you for buying ten, witch-y glass orbs on some random thrifting afternoon. They also shouldn’t steal your digs, so bring someone who has different style from you if you can!

image

Here's me breaking rule 5 and stealing a fur coat from a friend. If furs are in question, ethics go out the window...it's FAUX, relax.

So there you have it! Five quick tips that’ll get your thrifting juices flowing! Go forth, people.

Care to share any crazy thrift store finds with Gabi? Holler at her twitter @xoGabiRivera.