13 Tips to Thrift Shop Like a Pro

Thrift shopping can seem daunting to many. There are so many locations to choose from, and many people are turned away by the overwhelming amount of things in thrift stores. However, thrift shopping can be a fun, cheap way to spice up your living space or your closet. Here are some tips to make the most of your secondhand shopping experience. You’ll be a pro thrift shopper in no time.

1. Go in with an open mind, but with an idea of what you’re looking for. It’s important to have an idea of what you want to find while thrift shopping. If you need a new bedside table, be sure to visit the furniture section or a thrift store that specializes in housewares. However, it is essential to keep an open mind. If you walk in with a closed mind, thinking that everything is junky, you probably won’t walk out with a new treasure. Keeping a positive attitude and open mind will help you see the endless possibilities of shopping used.

2. Location is key. Thrift stores in nice parts of town usually mean nicer things and less picked-over merchandise (there are always exceptions, however).

3. Look for opportunities to repurpose and refurbish. Always remember you can paint or refurbish items that may not totally fit what you are looking for. Also remember, things like pretty bowls or vases can be used as flowerpots, etc. Again, it’s all about keeping an open mind.                                                                                                     A used dresser I refurbished a few years ago.

4. Choose a day when you have plenty of time. Thrift shopping should be a fun process that shouldn’t be rushed. Make sure you have plenty of time to completely browse the store. It’s also fun to make a day out of it and browse multiple stores.

5. Don’t get discouraged. If you don’t find what you’re looking for right away, don’t get discouraged. Sometimes it takes more time than expected to find that perfect, used gem. If you stick with your search, eventually your dedicated thrifting will pay off.

6. Keep an eye out for tag sales or specials. Often times, secondhand stores hold tag sales, which usually means you can find great things for dirt-cheap. Secondhand stores also tend to hold sales in between seasons; if you want to find an oversized sweater for super cheap, go in the spring when all winter inventory is on super sale. Also, make sure to sign up for emails alerts, so you are notified when sales are going on.

7. When shopping for clothes, look in the men’s section. Seriously! Do it. The best oversized sweaters and flannels (which are totally in right now for fall and winter), can be found in the men’s section.

8. Make sure you look over the item carefully before purchasing it. Although thrift shopping is a great way to find cheap clothes and home goods, make sure it works and doesn’t have any blemishes or holes before you buy it. Ask the store to plug in electronics to make sure they work properly. Check clothes carefully for holes and stains, as well.

9. Take advantage of thrift shops while traveling. Thrifting while traveling helps you step out of your comfort zone, and you may find unique items that you would never find anywhere else. In addition to a new décor piece or fashion statement, you’ll also have a one-of-a-kind souvenir from your trip.

10. Utilize your resources, and do your research before you go shopping. Researching locations and stores will help you pinpoint which to visit and what products they carry. A website called thethriftshopper.com conveniently allows you to search thrift shops by zip code.

11. Find out when new donations come in. Knowing when new merchandise is put out can be a huge advantage. This will allow you to know what day of the week is best to shop, and where.

12. Go frequently. Thrift shops’ inventory goes fast, sometimes selling as soon as it’s put out. It is important to go frequently, before all of the good stuff is gone. The moral of the story: the more you go, the more good stuff you’ll take home.

13. Don’t take thrift shopping too seriously. Lastly, HAVE FUN. Thrift shopping is a great activity to do with your friends, family or significant other. Make it a fun, cheap way to see who can find the most unique item. Think of it this way: thrift shopping is so much more enjoyable and rewarding than spending tons of money on brand new things.

 Some Awesome Thrift Shops in Iowa City Area:


Original Images & via peta and thethriftshopper.com/Pinterest