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Thrift shopping is an amazing way to shop sustainably! Instead of buying something brand new, you are giving something from a previous home a new life instead of ending up in the landfill. First and foremost, please make sure that you are safe while shopping in person during the pandemic. That means wearing a mask and sanitizing/washing your hands often while also keeping distance from others when possible. Please check out your state or county’s guidelines before going. I hope you enjoy these thrifting tips that I’ve found helpful over the years:

Take your time and try to go through everything

When you want to find thrifting gems, it’s going to take some work sifting through the not-so-great stuff. For clothing, I usually start with a section (around my size) and go through each item, pulling out pieces that I like as I go. You never know when you might find your new favorite shirt that you could’ve walked right past! In addition to the clothing sections, I recommend checking out other areas like home décor because sometimes I find really great pieces!

Make a list before you go

It helps to have a list of the things you want to look for before you get to the thrift store. This way, you can focus on looking for any particular items you’ve been in search of. Try creating a mood board with the kinds of styles you’re looking for.

Go in the morning

If you want to find the good stuff before anyone else does, it’s best to go in the morning, close to opening time. This way, you get to look at the new stuff before it gets picked through. Also, weekdays are typically less crowded!

Pay attention to the sales

Oftentimes, thrift stores like Goodwill and Value Village will have different colored tags and each color will be on sale for a corresponding day. Pay attention to that sale and see what you can find in that color!

Thrift flip

You might find something that has potential, but doesn’t quite look how you want it to. Upcycle it! It could be a simple alteration like cutting a shirt to crop it, or you could get craftier! Check out this article with a step-by-step guide on how to rip your own jeans.

Online thrifting

If you’re not able to go out to thrift stores right now, I highly recommend trying out online thrifting! There are so many options where you can find used stuff. Some of the ones I’ve used or heard of are Facebook Marketplace, Poshmark, Mercari, and Depop. My number one tip here is to utilize the search filters. This will weed out all the stuff you don’t want in order to narrow your search. Also, feel free to negotiate on price!

Check out YouTube videos

Not only are thrifting videos fun to watch, but they also have great tips! Some of the YouTube channels I recommend are Carrie Dayton, Jessica Neistadt, Alexa Sunshine83, Leah Pripps, Letitia Kiu, Haley's Corner, and bestdressed.



I hope you can take some of these tips to get your best thrifting experience! Remember that not every trip will be successful, but the more you go, the better chance you get at finding some gems. Shopping second-hand is not only fun for the hunt, but it’s also super sustainable. It feels great to give things a second life!

Nina Jouval is a student at the University of Washington Bothell majoring in Media and Communication Studies. She is currently a Program Coordinator in Outreach and specializes in social media, marketing, and recruitment. In her free time, she enjoys being with her family, friends, and her two cats, and is also passionate about writing and creativity. Her goals include traveling abroad, publishing a book, and working to make a positive lasting impact.
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