10 Thrift Shopping Commandments, Part One

Posted On Monday, March 19th, 2012
Filed Under: How To, Looking FLY on a Dime, shopping, Thrift Stores

Thrift Shopping Commandments

Every thrifter I’ve come across has different techniques they employ to find serious thrift store scores. There’s no one way to thrift, but there are a few tips and tricks that make the experience a bit easier. I guess you could call them the Thrift Shopping Commandments. These are the rules you want to adhere to before, during and after thrifting so you can walk away a happy shopper. So without further ado, here are the 10 Thrift Shopping Commandments:

Know Where You’re Going:
The one question I’m constantly, constantly asked is “how do I find a good thrift store?” It’s really trial and error, regardless of where you live. Though NYC has a ton of options, not all of the stores are that awesome. Trust me. Start by checking with national chains like Goodwill and Salvation Army to see if one’s in your area. And I really love the site TheThriftShopper.com, where you enter your zip code to find secondhand shops near you.

Love Thy Neighbor:
I won’t lie, some thrifting environments can get a bit ugly, especially if you’re at a massive warehouse sale. People get catty and push and shove. But don’t be that person. If you play fair with other shoppers, they’ll actually help you shop. I’ve had numerous experiences where I’ve struck up a convo with a complete stranger, told them what I was looking for and if they came across that item, they’d hand it off to me. When you’re kind to others, they’ll be kind to you. Sounds corny, but it’s so true.

Don’t Covet Thy Neighbor’s Goods:
Would you expect someone to take items out of your grocery cart while you’re at the supermarket? No, probably not. But I’ve seen this happen at the thrift store. You leave your cart unattended for a minute and another shopper swipes an item. If you’re lucky enough to catch them in the act, the response is usually, “oh, I didn’t know that was yours!” Moral of the story: watch your carts but also don’t be that person who takes stuff out of random carts. Keep your hands to yourself. However, if you see someone has an item you truly, madly, deeply want, don’t be afraid to barter with them {tips on how to barter while thrift shopping}.

Follow the Colors:
Shopping at a store that has racks on racks of awesome clothing is a gift and a curse. There’s so much inventory, it can be difficult to find the gems. But one tip that can make leafing through the racks or bins a bit easier and less time consuming, is to shop by color or pattern when you know what you’re looking for. If you’re a fan of bright hues or sparkly sequins, these will naturally pop out, so grab those. If you’re seeking dark denim, only pay attention to darker wash jeans. If you have time {and patience left}, then you can leisurely leaf through the clothes to find other treasures that you may have passed on the initial go round.

Know Thyself:
Sometimes you find clothes or shoes at the thrift store that need a little TLC. Maybe it needs some hemming, the waist has to be taken in or the heels need fixing. Your instinct may be to purchase the item and make repairs later. My advice: if you realistically know you’ll never get around to making the necessary repairs, don’t bother buying it, it’s just money down the drain. I rarely, if ever, buy anything that requires a trip to the tailor or cobbler because that’s a trip I know I won’t get around to making.

Check back at the end of the week for part two of the Thrift Shopping Commandments.

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9 thoughts on “10 Thrift Shopping Commandments, Part One

  1. Great tips. I normally walk away from stuff I won’t repair. I’ll only grab it of I know I really want and it would put good use to it.


  2. Great post and perfect timing. I was just at the Goodwill Outlet in LIC and spotted a group of girls visiting for the first time and all they did was pass judgement. I wish they read this first before going. 

  3.  I find my BEST home decor stuff at Thrift stores…….  or if it’s not quite what I want I find stuff to repurpose or make it into something I like.   it’s FUN

  4. Great tips!  I don’t do much shopping for myself.  But, I’m always looking for items for my one year old.  So glad that I came across your site.  I’ve seen your segment on PIX.  I love your hair!  Have you always been natural?  I also work in TV in NYC, and decided to transition recently.  Pretty tough. 

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