Thrifting is one of my all-time favorite activities.
Maybe in part, it’s because Hunter is my last name, but I get genuinely giddy when I pluck a treasure from a heap. One time, I found a Celine belt at Goodwill for $3.50, not lying. That being said, it can be totally overwhelming to walk into a second-hand store, I mean its piles of used stuff. Well, my friends, there is truly an art to thrifting and I’m about to share the tried and true tricks of the trade.
Thrifting may look like a total free-for-all with no rhyme or reason when you first see it, but it is often organized into categories just like any store. Apparel, Housewares, Furniture, Books & Vinyl, etc., it helps to stop and get a lay of the land so you know what areas you want to explore. You could even look online at sites like LeoList to get a feel for the categories. This way you will know what category to look for when you’re looking for something specific.
Before we get started let’s have a quick chat about why thrifting is a good idea. Have you ever walked into an event only to discover someone else wearing the same dress as you from Zara? Yikes. Well, when you thrift bye-bye copycat fashion! You are truly getting something unique that you can rock as is or re-vamp to suit your style.
Another great reason to get into thrifting? Donations are tax-deductible which is great for self-employed peeps…I could honestly go on and on or you can just read this for more cool benefits! Ready to get your thrift on?! Here are my top three ways to pop tags like a pro because let’s face it… one mans trash isn’t always another man’s treasure, then again sometimes it is (so it is good to know how to tell the difference).
thrifting tip no. 1
MAKE A SHOPPING LIST
If you are newer to thrifting, a great place to start is housewares or furniture. If there is something you like to collect or want to start collecting, thrift stores are a fab way to go. Think of it as a glorified treasure hunt, I like to collect vinyl and milk glass so I keep my eyes open for those pieces every time I go.
Another great way to go about thrifting is to make a shopping list of items just as you would for any other store then go thrifting and see if you can find items that can be re-purposed or re-vamped to fit the bill. I was OB-freaking-SESSED with these vintage-style coasters from Anthropologie but they were like $30+ for a set and so I kept my eyes out and sure enough within a few weeks, I found an authentic vintage set for $2.50. #winning
If you are trying out trends, let’s say for example sequins, Goodwill has a TON of vintage sequin tops that would normally be like $75+ at Urban Outfitters and Nordstrom…but at Goodwill they are normally $6-12. So even though clothing at thrift stores is usually only organized by type (long sleeve, short sleeves, sleeveless, etc.) and then by size, it helps to have a specific type of item or print you are going for. BTW – I also have a thing for vests and thrift stores have some of the most killer (and most hideous) vests I’ve ever seen.
All in all, patience is a virtue when it comes to thrifting, but it pays off in the end because you’ll be unique and save a ton of money.
thrifting tip no. 2
SHOP THE MEN’S DEPARTMENT
Oxford shirts, band T’s, brand new blazers and other juicy scores are waiting for you in the men’s department at thrift stores. Literal goldmine. Why not get a real oversized men’s button-up instead of a faux version from Forever 21? Especially when the real deal is cheaper, and designer.
Band T’s are supposed to be oversized anyways so the men’s section is a great place to find everything from sports jerseys to your fave Bob Marley shirt. If you like to make your cutoff shirts this is a great way to go!
thrifting tip no. 3
SPRAY PAINT IS ALWAYS A GOOD IDEA
I have seen people pass up some of the cutest furniture and clothing because they judged each book by its cover. When you go thrifting, expect to put in a little work. Just like when you buy a house, you are looking for something that has ‘good bones’. A weathered patio set that could use a fresh coat of paint, also giving you other ideas for patio furniture. You might find a vintage blazer that could transform with the change of a few buttons and so on. Nothing crazy, but these items aren’t NWT.