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

Author: Kate Young

Do you ever walk into a thrift store and feel completely overwhelmed by the amount of items, sections, and size of the store? Well, me too. Most of the time I walk into the store knowing I need to find jeans or winter jackets, and leave with items I definitely did not need, because I felt compelled to buy something. Over the last few years I have learned and better understood how to thrift clothing more effectively. 

Here’s your guide on How-To Navigate Thrift Shopping in a thrift store; with Christmas right around the corner and deals from Black Friday and Cyber Monday still lingering, we want to shop smart and sustainable.

Thrift Off-Season Clothing

As we get more into the winter season, more people tend to shop for winter clothes, and donate their older summer clothes. This leaves you the perfect opportunity to think ahead of what you may need, especially if you have planned events for the summer. Recently, I thrifted a Free People maxi dress for $6.99, and I plan to wear it for a vacation or beach trip over the summer!

Search Through The Mens Shirt Section

If you are on the hunt for some graphic t-shirts or comfy crewnecks, the men’s section is the way to go. Numerous times I have found vintage t-shirts, or good crewnecks that I use for winter; Plus, the mens section items tend to have more pockets. In my opinion, the quality of mens clothing also tends to be higher, so if you are planning to make a DIY piece I would totally recommend using fabric from thar section.

Don’t Be Afraid To Rework or Fix Your Finds

If you find an item you absolutely adore, but it has a small hole or stain in it, try to fix it up. If you do not know how to sew, you can hot glue a patch or funky piece of fabric on it. For shoes, you can always clean the soles with a bit of stain remover and replace the laces, this can make them look good as new. If a piece of clothing is too long, you can always cut it and keep it as a raw hem style, or sew it up to your preferred length!

Take Your Time

Thrifting will take time! If I go to a thrift store, I tend to spend a minimum of an hour searching for clothes, trying them on, checking the items section, and checking out. Most thrift stores have carts, which can be easier than trying to carry everything in your arms as you look through the racks. I try to look in sections in which I usually don’t search in, for example, I found a very beautiful and in well condition dress hidden in the racks of the pants aisle. 

Overall, thrifting is a great activity to do with friends, family, or your significant other. Remember to make a day out of it, try on some cool pieces, and in general, enjoy thrift shopping! Those were my top tips for a successful haul, have fun!

Hi! I'm Kate, a second year ASL Interpreting major at RIT/NTID. I love cooking, yoga, thrifting, and reading.