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Thrifting has grown in popularity in the last couple of years. I myself love to go thrifting because of that “broke college kid” wallet I carry around. If you’re like me, you like to ball on a budget and thrifting is super friendly for this. Thrifting can actually be really stressful, especially if you’re trying to find something specific. Here are some of the best thrifting hacks I’ve come to learn

Don’t limit your thrifting to just Goodwill or Salvation Army

Although it may seem hard to believe, there’s plenty of other thrift and consignment shops out there! Goodwill and Salvation Army are two where people tend to drop off stuff they would otherwise throw out. Other smaller thrift stores might carry pieces that have a little less wear. If you find someplace in smaller neighborhoods, you’re more likely to find nice pieces. One of the best thrift shops I’ve found is a small one called American Thrift in Passaic, NJ. Just look up “thrift stores near me” whenever you’re out and about and see what you can find!

Thrift in rich areas

One of the best things I’ve come to find out is if the thrift shop itself is in a rich neighborhood, the quality of the things found is ultimately better. Also, if the shop is near an Ivy League or expensive college, it’s the same thing. These are pieces richer people literally just threw out because they didn’t want anymore. I’ve done this near Cornell University and found hundreds of pairs of Kate Spade and Michael Kors shoes.

Always check to see which days are sale days

A lot of thrift stores will actually have colored tag sales days. This is a great way to get some really cheap finds. For example, on Tuesdays blue and purple tags might be up to 75% off. These sale days often run on a repetitive weekly basis. If not, they usually post signs around to say what sales are on what days. It’s an awesome way to narrow down what pieces you look for if you search for only specific colored tags. Some places also do senior or student days!

Go in with a plan

If you go in looking for only one specific thing, it’ll greatly help how you search. For example, tell yourself you only need a black top or a denim jacket. You can limit your time and therefore limit the money you spend. One way I’ve learned to save money is by never paying full price for basics or for things I plan to customize/upcycle. Things like white or black t-shirts, denim jackets, solid color items, jeans, etc.

Learn to upcycle 

I never buy “party tops”. The little half shirts you wear when you go out to a bar or a party that cost $30+? Those are so easily made! Learning to upcycle has saved my life. If you can sew, it’s super easy to figure out how to tear up old clothes and give them new life! Can’t sew? This is a perfect way to learn! Buying fabric and starting from scratch is so expensive and isn’t great for the environment, especially if you’re just starting and likely to make a lot of mistakes. If you can look at a piece of clothing and see the fabric and go “ya, that would make a cute top”, upcycling is just up your alley!

Learning how to thrift is super fun! It’s a great way to save money and also helps the environment. Some of my best finds were things I didn’t even know I was looking for. My personal favorite finds are a pair of vintage black and white saddle shoes that fit perfectly,  a  nearly new Michael Kors bag for $20, an awesome yellow raincoat perfect for a Coraline costume, and a Coach wallet that happen to be in my favorite color! You never know what you might find! Happy hunting! 

 

Courtney White

Montclair '22

Courtney is a senior at Montclair State University majoring in journalism and minoring in fashion. She is also working on a certificate for makeup artistry. Originally from a very small town in Northeast Pennsylvania, she plans to live in New York with career aspirations in the media or fashion industries
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