10 great thrifting tips!

10 great thrifting tips!

It’s no secret around here that I love to shop at thrift stores. Or, go thrifting, whatever you want to call it. (thrifting sounds much cooler) Probably half (or more) of my wardrobe is thrifted, and a lot of my furniture and home decor is as well! I love to get my dollar’s worth, and they can be awesome places to get unique pieces.

I didn’t always love to thrift. When I was younger that’s where I had to shop, being the oldest of 8 kids. I’ll admit, I was embarrassed to tell my friends where I got my clothes, but that’s where my budget landed me. I did so grudgingly, but now I am loud and proud. I love thrifting! ๐Ÿ˜‰

So here are some tips that I’ve put together for ya, hope it helps anyone looking to get into thrifting, or if you have any other tips to share, make sure and leave them in the comments!

1. Go often. I can’t say this enough, but by going fairly often you will find better stuff, and more of it. I know we can’t all make time to go every week even, but if you pop by for 1/2 hour, you’d be surprised at what you can find! Sometimes I don’t feel like going, but I’ll stop by for a minute, and end up with an armful of cute tops. I also don’t take my kiddos. Some thrift stores don’t have carts, and Sadie won’t stay in one anyways. She’s a bull in a china shop sometimes. I make sure to go when I have babysitters, and I’m lucky to have an amazing Grandma and mom who take my kids once a week.

2. Don’t buy it just because it’s cheap. Make sure you truly are in love with an item before buying it. I can’t tell you how much stuff I’ve re-donated! lol….I’ve bought books, decor items, and clothes just because they were cheap, and ended up not using them. Now I try to pare the shopping cart down to what I really love. And, if you’d pay full price for it, by all means, toss it in your cart! Also, when I buy things to refashion I try and redo them within a week or so…kind of an unwritten rule. Because you know I have piles of stuff waiting to be sewed into something cuter! Also, make sure to inspect the items you are buying closely for rips, stains, or missing buttons. It might make or break the deal. Focus on quality versus quantity.

ย thrifted tulip bowl collection

3. Make friends (or at least be friendly) with the workers. I am well known at my local Salvation Army…haha. I’m there at least once a week! One of the furniture guys always says hello to me by name (he’s helped me load stuff more than a few times), and the manager is so sweet and always lets me in the dressing room. My point is, if you’re friendly, they’re more willing to give you discounts. That same manager gave me a dollar off of a top the other day just because I smiled at her! True story.

thrifted wooden letters

4. Look through EVERYTHING. You may not have enough time to look through the whole darn store, but at least pick one section if you’re crunched for time and look at every single item in that section. That adorable J. Crew cardigan in perfect condition is bound to be hiding between two grungy tops from Walmart….or the adorable vintage book is between two chewed up board books. This method is tried and true!

thrifted sheets and fabric!

5. Keep a list. On your phone, on a scrap of paper…wherever. Make sure to take it with you, and on this list, keep all the things you want to look out for while thrifting. Say, you found a cute idea on Pinterest, and need to find a sweater to refashion….just jot it down on your list so when you’re out, you’re not wracking your brain…trying to think of that one thing you needed to get at the thrift store! This can also keep you focused while shopping.

thrifted wooden alphabet toy!

6. Wear comfortable clothes. Especially if you’re going to be trying on clothing. Don’t wear a lot of jewelry, and make sure to wear a tank top, or cap sleeve top, to see how items will look with one. (I usually layer for modesty)

7. Don’t pay attention to size tags.ย  Especially if it looks old/vintage. Sizing for clothing companies are always different, it seems. I can usually tell by looking at a dress or top if it will fit me. That being said, always try it on! You never know what will look good on you. Don’t be afraid of snipping off some long sleeves, or hemming up a skirt, either. (after you buy it of course, haha) Being creative with remaking clothes is so. much. fun. Just try it, you’ll be hooked!

8. Think ahead.ย  I once happened upon 3 pairs of Old Navy jeans in great shape for Sadie, all in size 2T, all for $2 each! Problem is, she was 9 months old at the time. I knew someday she would wear them, so I tossed them in the cart. Sure enough, now she is wearing them, and I saved myself some moola by buying when I found them, not when I needed them. So if you have room to store them, thrifting is great for buying clothes ahead a size or two for kiddos.

9. Watch out for sale days! Half off days, or sales for certain colored tagged items can save you even more money!

10. Scrub a dub dub. This should go without saying, but clean up your stuff when you bring it home! For kids toys, I attack them with baby wipes, or clorox wipes. Toothpicks and Q-tips can help clean tiny crevices. For clothes, make sure to check the tags for cleaning instructions. For dry clean only clothes, I get those dryer cloths, which are inexpensive and great! But if you don’t want to deal with dry clean, make sure to check the labels before you buy.

Well, hope this helps some of you, or inspires you to start thrifting! It is a thrill when you find a great deal on a table or awesome piece of jewelry for a steal!

It’s even more fun playing…”Guess how much I paid for this?!” with your hubby.

thrifted milk glass collection


  1. Some great tips on here! Thanx. I am new to thrifting and so far… I love it.

    I do think that some stores are better than others. I live in a bif city and the thrift stores here are not so good (just old Ikea stuff), but the stores in the small villages are just amazing!

    What I also noticed is that some ’boutique’/’vintage’ style shops also sell second hand stuff, so going to 100% thrift stores is not always necessary!

    And, just to show that ‘great minds think alike’ (ahem ahem) I just came back from Brussels (which is thrift shop HEAVEN!) and I just blogged about the best thrifty shops there. Woohoo!

    Keep on thrifting ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. Brilliant! I’ve deffinately learnt a thing or two and feel quite prepared to hit the shops.
    Love that dress too!
    Katie x

  3. Oh my goodness! You took the time to write out these simple tips, but they will be SO helpful! I am moving away from the East (where there are so many bedbugs I’m afraid of thrifting), to Utah. I am soooo excited to go! Thank you thank you!

  4. Love this post Jess! Great tips, and thrifting is such a fun hobby! I love playing guess how much I paid for this with John!

  5. My life has been well lived if my oldest has learned this lesson so well!

  6. Great tips! Don’t buy it just because it’s cheap is my downfall. I always do that! And what you said about fixing them up within a week is a great thing too. I have been the one to buy a bunch of clothes with plans to alter them, and then they sit in a pile and gather up on me. Now I have more than I have time to mess with and it’s keeping me from doing anything at all.

  7. great tips! I wanted to be a pro thrifter/grage-saler this summer but I couldnt make it work. I know where to start next time!

  8. I have made some wonderful finds at the thrift shops. I’m actually wearing pants I found at a thrift shop right now. I’ve often found brand new items – tags still on – which is an awesome deal.

  9. Thanks for the tips! Great ‘guidelines’ to follow. My greatest money saving thrift…. I found a dress that still had the original tag on it for $215. Because it was a thrift it was on for $89.99. I happened to be there on a day when all of the clothes were on for half off so I got this beautiful dress for $45.00. The best part was, it fit perfect absolutely no alterations needed!

  10. I love buying ahead for my kids. Especially those gently worn winter coats and snow pants. I now have 3 girls and buy several sizes they will be growing into at garage sales in the summer. In general I find that garage sales are a steal compared to thrift store prices around here.
    Thanks for your tips.

  11. I agree! Great tips!! I’ve also found that I find the best stuff when I go on Mondays. I swear everyone takes their loads on Saturdays or Sundays, then Monday morning, they’re out and waiting for me!! ๐Ÿ˜€

  12. I am a live long thrifter and I love it. You pretty much covered everything, these are some great tips.

  13. The majority of my wardrobe and house have been outfitted/decorated with treasures from thrift stores. I have a few more tips. First, make sure there aren’t any discounts your missing out on (student/military/over 55) and ask about future discounts/sales to take into consideration. For example, our Goodwill changes their 50% off color tag on Sundays so I always try to go on Sundays or Mondays when the selection will be the greatest. I also try to only use the cash I have on hand to limit myself from buying too much! Finally, it’s fun to check out thrift stores in nearby towns and while road tripping. I’ve often bought great souvineirs and gifts for the kids at a fraction of the price a gift shop would sell them for! Great suggestions and glad to know others love thrifting as much as I do!

  14. I’ve been thrift shopping since I was a kid too. My mom has always been a trift shoppper and I hope my girls will be too. These are all great tips. I like to go to four different thrift shops near my area once a week.

  15. Hi, I’d like to invite you to post your giveaways on our giveaway directory: Giveaway Scout (http://www.giveawayscout.com). Please submit your blog here: http://www.giveawayscout.com/join/ Once you receive our confirmation email you can post your giveaways on our site. Thanks.

  16. We went thrifting tonight, and found some Pyrex (yay!) and nice shoes for my husband. I often walk out empty handed, but I’m not as dedicated as you are ๐Ÿ˜‰ Great tips!

  17. Best tip: Go often!
    A couple of years ago I needed a ladle, but didn’t want to fork over $5- $10 at the store. I started looking at garage sales, flea markets & the Salvation Army. Now I have over half a dozen, stainless steel, all sizes. Most were 50 cents, but I paid a whopping $1.25 for a nice big one that came from the schools, back when schools had “real” kitchens.
    I’ll be loading my booth at a local flea market today… Hope I sell more than I buy when it’s over.

  18. My girls and I call in “junkin'” and they love it! They are 5 and 3 and already they will sometimes say when they’re looking at something at a dept store “bet we could find one at a garage sale or the thrift store!” Nice to think that I’m training them to be conscientious consumers while we’re having fun.

  19. I love thrifting and I love your tips! All great tips and things that have proven helpful for me ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. I wish there were more thrift stores near me. Thanks for a great list of tips!

Speak Your Mind