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Dos and Don’ts of Thrift Shopping

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at LUM chapter.

I recently had the privilege to get to go to Vintagepalooza, a vintage clothing event held monthly at the R. House Baltimore! The event had over 35 vendors stocked with the coolest vintage clothes, jewelry, and so much more, as well as a HUGE dining area in the food hall filled with tons of places to get food and drink. But as cool as that is (and it is super cool) this article isn’t about how much fun it is to go shopping, but about the Dos and Don’ts of how to properly thrift and vintage shop. Below are some of my personal tips and tricks that I have learned over my years of scourging through Goodwill buckets and jam packed racks! 

DO– Have an open mindset going in! If you go into a thrift store not expecting much, you won’t ever find much. Have a positive outlook, and sift through as many racks as possible. A lot of the things you see might not be your style, but when you find that one item, that perfect item, the painstaking search will have been worth it. 

DON’T– Only look in one section. I know it can be intimidating, but the mens section always has some of the best t-shirts. And don’t be afraid to try on men’s jeans too (just calculate your size into mens and bam). Another great section is the “lingerie” or pajama section. Oftentimes, tank tops and silk clothes will get put into those sections, and hey, one time I found a Calvin Klein bra so you never know what you’ll find there! 

DO– Always make sure you are well prepared. And by well prepared I mean WELL prepared. It’s best to make sure you are hydrated beforehand, and definitely not hungry. There’s nothing worse than when you can’t focus on anything other than the sound of your stomach when you’re trying to shop. Also, make sure to use the bathroom before you go, most thrift stores don’t have bathrooms, and if they do, they usually aren’t exactly the best. 

DON’T– Don’t put anything on your body that could potentially give you lice. You may think I’m joking, but I’ve had friends get lice from trying on hats at the thrift store, and that’s really not a good look for anyone. When shopping for a hat, it’s a pretty safe bet to assume that it’s going to fit your head, there’s no need to sacrifice your hair for a $3 hat. 

DO– Speaking of kind of gross things (sorry!) always make sure you wash anything you buy the second you get home! Oftentimes, thrift stores won’t wash the clothes that are donated before putting them on the racks, so it’s always a good practice to be washing everything. Don’t even put them in your hamper with your other clothes, throw them in a wash by themselves. 

ONE MORE DO– Have fun! Go with friends, or if you want to go alone, pop a headphone in and listen to that podcast you’ve been meaning to!

Take the time to enjoy yourself, as we all know, retail therapy is the best therapy! 

Colleen Minnaugh is a freshman at Loyola University Maryland. She is originally from Atlanta GA, and is a writing major with an English minor. Writing and reading have been a huge part of her life since middle school; from AP Literature, to dramatic writing class, she has always known that writing would be a huge part of her life. Colleen has been working at her local, all female owned and operated bookstore since she was fifteen years old, leading her to be exposed to many different kinds of writing styles and genres, but she quickly discovered that classic literature holds a very special place in her heart. From the stories told by the likes of Charlotte Bronte, Franz Kafka, to even the occasional contemporary author such as Sylvia Plath, Colleen is absolutely captivated by the beloved classics. Colleen will mainly aim to write opinion based pieces on current events, pop culture, politics, book reviews, movie recommendations, and so much more! She will publish an article about every two weeks, and she hopes that you enjoy them each time!