Looking forward to finding some amazing second-hand clothes on your trip to your local thrift shop, only to end up leaving the store empty handed? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Thrift shopping isn’t as straightforward as a normal trip to the mall. A successful trip to the thrift store is a combination of skill, perseverance and some good ol’ fashioned Goodwill luck. And while you might not have any control of the last element of the equation, you can beef up your second-hand shopping skills and diligence to find some amazing treasures hidden in the racks.
Here are some shopping secret strategies to help you stretch your dollar at the thrift store:
- Stay flexible open to possibilities. While it’s easy to walk into a department store with something specific in mind and see if they have it in stock, it’s harder to walk into a thrift store and say, “I’m looking for a navy blue pencil skirt” and get what you want every time. Though I have had some luck walking into a thrift store and finding the one item I’ve had in mind, I always have a much more enjoyable time and find a lot more items on my list when I stay open. By walking into a thrift store with multiple items on your list – a jacket, a dress, a pair of jeans – you’re much more likely to find something that works for you. Similarly if you’re willing to broaden your color palette past one specific shade (does it have to be navy blue? What about black or brown?), you might be surprised by what you find.
- Plan your big thrift store trips at the change of the seasons. You’ll find more people donating clothes during big seasonal transitions, namely Spring and Fall. By planning your trips accordingly, you’ll be able to take advantage of great discounts on end-of-season clothing and rummage through the new supply of clothes donated by people who’ve just cleared out their closets.
- Be patient…and willing to walk away. Given the sheer amount of clothes that are in most thrift stores, it will definitely take some time to work through the aisles to find the right color, cut and size that works for you. A little patience and a lot of willingness to stand at the rack and flip through the clothes can pay off big time. It also pays to try on the clothes that catch your eye. Even if it looks odd on the hanger, it could look fantastic on you – but you won’t know until you try it! Given the fact that most pieces of clothing will only cost you a few dollars, there’s no harm in taking the time to try it on. Finally, if your patience doesn’t pay off, be willing to walk away. It’s perfectly fine to take a trip to the thrift store and leave empty handed. After all, half the fun is in the hunt – and that just means you get to go back for another thrift shop adventure on a different day!