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

I always shop for clothing on a budget. It’s rooted in me for some reason that I won’t spend over ten dollars on a t-shirt. I can’t tell you why, but I can tell you that as I’ve shopped at the Goodwill bins for the majority of my college career. If you are looking to do the same, I have some tips that may resonate with you. 

I would like to add a disclaimer, being that if you can afford to shop at large corporations and enjoy those products, you can continue to do so! Thrifting is just a way to keep clothing out of landfills instead of buying full-priced clothing on the racks of Target. It is good for the soul, the environment and especially for your wallet. Fast fashion also comes and goes out of style fast (as hints the name), so thrifting for clothing is a great way to help the environment. 

Pay attention to the color scheme

It’s difficult to find clothing in your size, especially at thrift stores. What I tend to do at the Goodwill bins is I will spot colors I like and then go to pick those up. Sometimes they are jackets, tops, jeans or long skirts: the possibilities are endless. This is fun for me! You sometimes will pull a good find.

Patience is key

Thrifting takes a large deal of patience. Going through numerous bins of clothing can be rather draining especially if you are there for a long time. Stay as patient as you can because that is when you will find good accessories and clothing. Thrifting as a whole may not be for everyone, and that is okay!


Goodwill bins are charged by the pound. Always be on the lookout for layers as well as anything that looks like it could be used as a layer. Everything looks better in layers!

Guess what will fit you

A lot of Goodwill bins don’t allow you to try on clothes, so come in knowing a good size or size range that you will be able to fit into. If you are comfortable, you can also try the neck trick for jeans or pants. Or just simply hold them to your waist. 

Take what you will use

Don’t be too greedy. Really focus on whether or not you will actually wear it or if it will sit in the back of your closet. If you feel you will only wear it once, save it for somebody else who will wear it more often. If there is an absurd pattern that you feel will be difficult to style, chances are that you will only wear it a couple of times.

As Earth Day approaches, thrifting is a fun and cost-efficient way to help the environment. Goodwill bins are my personal favorite because of the ‘weigh by the pound’ rule with textiles, but you could also apply these tips to any Goodwill or old-fashion thrift store.

Milo is a recent graduate from the school of Mass Communications and Theatre here at Virginia Commonwealth University. They are a filmmaker and creative who strives to create honest and meaningful work in order to tell stories for voices that usually go unheard. Milo’s most recent film, Her Birthday Balloons, was awarded an original score from the Seattle Film Institute’s Film Scoring Program. You can find Milo sipping on a latte in his free time, performing onstage, or making playlists for the people he admires.