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

In the U.S. alone, 10.5 million tons of clothing waste are thrown away every single year. Fast fashion is growing faster than ever and the advertisements and clothing brands are pressuring Americans to constantly purchase clothing to replenish their wardrobe. The synthetic materials of fast fashion clothing cause these clothes to sit in landfills for an extremely long time. People are continually dishing out money to spend on clothing they’ll soon replace anyways. Which leads me to the fact that thrifting is a tremendous way to not only help the planet, but also your wallet.

If you’re new to the world of thrifting, or just getting started, it can seem overwhelming. Thrift stores are normally pretty sizable and they are filled with racks of clothes of all different categories in all different sizes. It’s hard to know where to start, and I wish I’d had that type of guidance before I dove into secondhand shopping. So, here are my top three tips for anyone who wants to get started at thrifting.

  1. Search Every Section

Not only are thrift stores sometimes discombobulated, meaning that a pair of women’s pants might find itself in the men’s t-shirt section, but you can always adapt any category to work for you. For example, the men’s jeans aisle almost always has a pair of those $98 vintage Levis, except at Salvation Army they’re $5. I’ve found both the women’s jackets area and the men’s jackets area have a lot to offer, no matter your gender. They usually have unisex looking vintage jackets, and I’ve scored a ton of leather jackets for under $20 in those aisles. 

  1. Plan What You’re Looking For Before You Go

Whether it’s making a quick Pintrest board of some current trends or flipping through and marking up a magazine, it really helps to have an idea of what you’re looking for before you get to the thrift store. When you make a clear goal of what you’re looking for it makes it easier to keep track of what you already own and what you’re looking to add to your wardrobe. It’ll also help you avoid spending too much! Being purposeful with what you’re looking for and what you buy can help reduce waste and help you upgrade your wardrobe in the most effective way. 

  1. See the Potential

I’ve found that seeing potential in things is a very imperative aspect of thrifting. When you shop fast fashion, you can easily specify exactly what you’re looking for and it comes in the way you expect. When thrifting, you may have to be more open to the possibility of a piece not being at its full potential yet. For example, a simple crop to a shirt or a quick hemming of a pair of pants can easily adapt those thrifted pieces to you. You can also use fabric dye on pieces, iron on patches, or fabric markers to really make a piece your own. I’ve found that being open to the potential of a clothing piece allows me to customize it to me and make it an absolute staple in my wardrobe!

MSU Contributor Account: for chapter members to share their articles under the chapter name instead of their own.