10 thrift tips


Hi. My name is Ronnie and I am an avid thrifter.

It may seem like a problem. But actually, it's not. Because in one glorious thrift trip, I enjoy affordable retail therapy, I get inspiration from countless fabrics, nic-nacs, and often unusual people, and I find so many materials for new projects to work on. However, it's not all fun and games when it comes to thrifting. I've learned many lessons and experienced a lot of things I wish I hadn't. 

Here are 10 tips that I think would come in handy for anyone who likes to thrift!

1. Go with a general idea of what you are looking for

You will get lost in a maze of craziness with a cart full of random crap you convince yourself that you need, if you don't go in there with some sort of plan or concept of why you are there in the first place. Browsing is great...and often a key tool for finding treasures... but without a thrifting plan, you may end up overwhelmed and leaving feeling like you accomplished nothing.

2. Have a budget

I'm a poor college student. So YES. I need a budget even when I go into thrift stores & I suggest you have one too. I bend it frequently when necessary... but without one ... my pockets would end up empty and my house would end up way. too. full.

3. Look inside boxes

Some of the absolute best things I have ever found were either in a box hidden on the top shelf that nobody wanted to reach, or in boxes labeled with the wrong thing. Sometimes this might mean being the obnoxious thrifter that asks for help reaching something or sprawls out on the floor ripping off the duct tape, but i assure you... one day it'll be worth it!!

4. Thoroughly examine everything BEFORE you buy it

Alas, another tip that may turn you into an obnoxious thrifter... but will also be worth it. Be on the lookout for stains, rips, or any damage in anything you are buying. It is easy to get so caught up in the thrill of a find... that you forget to look at the armpits... and bring something home and realize if you wear it, you can never raise your hand or reach for anything or people will think you are nasty. Take the extra time to lay clothes out... test zippers...look for loose buttons... look inside any cool bottles or decorations... and make sure you aren't paying for something that you really don't want to bring home.

5. Check out tags in search of brand names 

I have found so many unbelievable brand names in thrift stores, that I actually thrift-flip. I've purchased Eileen Fisher, ZARA, Ralph Lauren black label, North Face, Brooks Brothers, etc. solely with the purpose of reselling on ebay. Don't go to Plato's Closet or Clothes Mentor because they are extremely picky. But on ebay, you control the prices and are guaranteed to make some sort of profit! This is an easy way to make extra cash and make the most of your trips to the thrift store.

6. Visit mom & pop thrift stores

Salvation Army, Goodwill, ARC are all great options and I've currently been getting the best deals at a local Salvation Army on their 50% off days... BUT... don't forget about the creepy little thrift stores that you are hesitant to enter into. A lot of people don't like the corporate thrift stores, and therefore donate to local shops. You are just as likely to find great stuff at a smaller shop than a larger corporate one. You might want to find out when the sales are at smaller thrift stores since they can often be a bit pricier, but all in all... it's great to support local businesses and also check out different places that receive product from different audiences!

7. Bring hand sanitizer or wet wipes.

Self explanatory.

8. Look for opportunities to re-create or up-cycle

Thrifting would be no fun if we only purchased things to use them as they are. I love looking for sweaters I could sew pocket or elbow patches onto. I also look for dresses and levi jeans that I can cut into sweet summer outfits. Keep an eye open for cool wallpaper, fabric, or string that could be used for countless number of crafts. And always know that there are so many ways to up-cycle bottles, frames, and votives.

9. If they have a bathroom, don't use it. Hold it.

Also self explanatory.

10. Go when you are in a good mood and want to have fun

Thrifting can definitely be stressful. Clutter overwhelms me and loud people really bother me. Sometimes, I can't even bear to be in a thrift store for more than 5 minutes. Thats why I try to go when I have a specific project in mind that I'm already cheerful and excited about or if I'm just in an adventurous mood and want to hunt and discover a treasure! Otherwise, the smelly clutter might just put a damper on your day.

Hope these were helpful! 
Here are some of my favorite thrifted finds
 that I wouldn't have been able to track down without these tips. 


  1. Ah, I remember when you found that thermos! And I can't believe you found Hunters in a thrift shop! I'm going thrifting next Saturday with a friend and I'll have to put your tips to good use! And then when you move back we can go together and you can teach me your ways. ;)

  2. These are awesome tips! I, too, have learned many of these the hard, icky, disappointing way, so I hope others will learn from only this wonderful post and skip the heartache!

  3. Ahh thanks for this! I've actually been wanting to start thrifting for sometime now but didn't know where to start, these are some really good pointers. Couldn't stop cracking up at number 10 though.

  4. This is a great list!! When I go shopping, I usually head to a thrift store just because I don't like to spend a lot of money. One thing I would add is to wear staple clothes that go with a lot- like a favorite pair of skinny jeans or leggings. That always makes it easier for me to figure out if I'll actually wear things.
    Thanks for sharing your thrifting secrets! [:


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