Vintage Clothing Rack at Queenie and Pearl

6 Ways to Level Up Your Thrift Shopping Experience

Many don’t want to thrift because they see it as unapproachable or think that their thrift stores have nothing to offer. This is just not true! Besides the environmental benefits, the beauty of thrifting is that anyone and everyone can thrift. It definitely can be challenging at first; however, I encourage you to try my tips as a guide, and I promise you will find more treasures than you think! 

As a professional shopaholic and a visitor of my local thrift store 6x per week, I will finally stop gatekeeping the thrifting tips that have helped me so much over the years.



The most important thing to do when you shop at a thrift store is to go into every section, regardless of age or gender. The reason I say this is due to many reasons:

  • Sometimes things get mixed up and put in the wrong section (crop tops will be put in the kids' section, oversized tees will be in the men’s section). Taking your time and being patient with employees and staff will help you seek out those hidden gems.

  • People will put their “takebacks” in the corner of the kid's or men’s racks, so you could find the cutest hidden tops, dresses, pants, etc. in just about any section of the store. Hunting for thrift pieces is never a perfect science.

  • You can find unique pieces at the different racks in other categories. Try going to the lingerie section for silky pieces to help you find Victoria’s secret mini dresses, lace maxi skirts, and shapewear (bodysuits, tight tops, and corsets). Go everywhere, so you don't miss out!


2. Bring Entertainment

Since you are taking a significant amount of time to go around the store, bringing headphones and something to listen to will prevent you from getting burnt out and spending less time in store. Keeping yourself entertained and motivated to find the ultimate pieces is crucial! Walking around, shopping, and listening to music/podcasts is also incredibly relaxing. The perfect way to decompress and take some time for yourself!


3. Take Your Time

I usually spend about 2-3 hours at the thrift store to take it all in. The next tip is to take your time!!! Carve out a large part of your day to shopping. Going through all the sections, picking out the pieces you want, and trying things on, is sure to get you on the road to success . You won't be able to thrift for 20 minutes and find good pieces - You just won't. Taking the time you need to look around and take it all in will ensure you take full advantage of the store and its offerings.


4. Dress Appropriately

Due to COVID-19 and other physical limitations, dressing rooms at the thrift store are few and far between. Most likely, you will not be able to try-on items you're interested as fitting rooms have specific limitations from store-to-store. This means that for sizing and fit, you may have to guess. Luckily, there are ways to avoid this! The outfit you wear while thrifting MATTERS. Wear something that is tight: leggings, unitards, and spanx are all great options that you can easily put pants and tops over without stretching pieces too much. My go to outfit is a white baby tee and a pair of black leggings. Comfy shoes are an added bonus!


5. Do Not Impulse Buy

I am a personal victim of the “well, it's so cheap, might as well buy it” mindset. Items pile up, and the return policies are not the best at thrift stores, which is definitely something to take into consideration. You could end up buying something you will never wear! Just because it's cheap, does not mean you should buy it. To avoid buyer’s remorse, ask yourself these questions:

  • Can I style this item with at least 5 things that I already have?
  • Does this item look and feel as though it will last long?
  • Is this item something that I truly love, or is it just a “cool find”? 


6. Bring Your Own Bags

Finally, once you have your new wardrobe chosen, it's time to check out. Unlike retail shops, thrift stores usually require you to pay a fee of 10 cents or more for the bags they provide. Bringing bags from home not only saves you money but further pushes along the whole purpose of thrifting: saving the environment and using what you already have!

Try It For Yourself

To conclude, thrifting is the best way to save money, help the planet, and find unique and extraordinary pieces! If you are new to thrifting or have yet to have as much success, try these tips as a guideline for your next trip. Happy thrifting!
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