16 thrifting hacks to get the second-hand steals of your dreams
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Do you want to be that person who struts vintage denim jackets from Goodwill? Or fill your home with quirky pieces from second-hand stores? Don’t we all!

Thrift shopping is an awesome way to get *too-good-to-be-true* deals that’ll also keep usable things out of landfills. Affordable for you đź’µ, eco-conscious for the planet 🌎.

So, give pre-loved treasures a second life and keep these 16 hacks in mind on your next thrifting adventure.

16 thrifting hacks to get the second-hand steals of your dreams

1. Treat it like a game

The truth is: you’re not going to find the hidden gem in the overstuffed hanging racks every single time. Some thrifting days are duds, others will get you a dream deal! 

Thrifting hacks

Make it fun by going in with low expectations, enough time to sift carefully, and an open mind. Hey, you may even get a good laugh at some of the toys in the children’s section #nostalgia. 

2. Go with a plan… but don’t be afraid to veer off 

It can be super intimidating to walk into a big thrift shop and not know where to start, even if you’re a thrifting master. Make it easier on yourself and have something (or a few things) in mind before you head out. 

But try not to be overly specific and if something really different catches your eye — that’s awesome! Going out of your comfort zone can lead you to some of your favorite pieces.

3. Try, then buy

Trying on clothes before you buy them is a great way to avoid impulse purchases. And you might just find a spot or a rip you wouldn’t notice if you didn’t put it on. 

Pro tip: wear leggings and a tank top underneath clothes that are easy to remove, so that you can try on outfits even if a dressing room isn’t available. 

4. Time it right

Weekdays are usually better than weekends for your thrifting. The stores are likely less crowded, which means more options for you! Also, springtime during “spring cleaning” or post-holidays when people are trying to “Marie Kondo” their lives is generally a good time to sift through the piles for hidden gems. 

thrifting hacks

Even better: ask when your thrift store restocks. That way, you can find out the best days to browse new inventory.

5. Go off-season

While you may not want to even think about buying a cozy puffer jacket in July, that’s really the best time to get a deal on one. 

6. Know what’s fixable… and what’s not

thrifting hacks

Stains are often not going anywhere, whereas rips tend to be easier to fix. Love a piece of furniture with old or chipping paint? Always test for lead before assuming it’s an easy fix. And if something smells weird… that’s probably a good sign to pass. 

7. Be open to DIY

While some things are just no-gos (see #6), if you’re open to getting crafty,  thrift stores can be treasure troves for upcycling and repurposing projects. You can give a total makeover to furniture, frames, and lamps. And random boxes can make awesome, affordable planters! 

Thrifting hacks

That said, if you know you’re not into that crafty life… you’re probably better off not buying something that will just create clutter in your place and add one more thing to your to-do list. 

8. Be honest with yourself 

It’s easy to get flirted into a purchase by a good price, but be real with yourself about what you’ll actually wear/use. 

Our golden rule: it’s best to buy something because you love it AND it’s a good deal — not just because it’s a good deal.

9. Know your favorites 

thrifting hacks

Our favorite picks at thrift stores are usually:

  • Denim (some of our fave denim pieces are from second-hand stores!)
  • Home decor 
  • Books
  • Wood furniture
  • Holiday decorations (see #13)

But maybe you love graphic tees or formal dresses. Awesome! No matter what your thing is… knowing it will make the shopping experience a little more purposeful. Though, we are fans of wandering aimlessly, too. It can just take a little longer!

10. Thrift online!

Rather skip the store but get the same steals? Try thrifting online.  ThredUp and Schoola have great finds at good prices and organized categories to make shopping simpler.

11. Don’t be afraid to ask for a discount

If you spot some damage, speak up (kindly, of course). While you’re at it, check to see if there are any big holiday sales to stay on top of or coupons that may save you a couple bucks. 

12. Browse the whole store

thrifting hacks

Don’t be afraid to go down the men’s aisle or children’s aisle. Cute sweaters and tees can get tucked in all sorts of unexpected spots. 

13. Be nice to the employees!

First, being kind is just nice in general. And in this case, employees can sometimes offer give you tips about discounts, new arrivals, and other insider scoops. 

Becoming a regular and showing loyalty at a thrift store is also another way to get the low-down on how to get the best deals. 

14. Ask about return policies

Particularly when it comes to furniture, you should triple check you can return your purchase. And if not, bring that measuring tape to confirm whatever you’re buying is going to work. 

Thrifting hacks

But really, this goes for anything you buy. It’s good to know what you’re getting yourself into, so you can feel confident with your purchase and avoid buyer’s remorse.

15. Do your holiday shopping

Need a Halloween costume? Looking for some festive decorations? Thrift stores are havens for these kinds of purchases. 

And the prices will usually be much more reasonable if you get those Christmas decorations in July or that corpse bride costume in  April. 

16. Branch out 

thrift shop with vintage products

Next time you’re on vacay or in a new neighborhood, consider checking out the local thrift shop. It can be a really fun way to get to know/support a community and you may walk out with your new favorite jean jacket! 

Now that you know all of these thrifting tips, check out these reads:

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