3 Thrift Shopping Mistakes Newbies Make

Posted On Monday, January 14th, 2013
Filed Under: shopping, Thrift Stores

Thrift shopping is too hard. I never know where to shop. Why don’t I find anything good? 
These are just some of the comments and questions I hear from those who want to get in to thrift shopping but haven’t really been able to get the hang of it. I understand it’s not for everyone {the inventory can be hot or cold and all stores aren’t created equally}, but trust me, thrift shopping is something everyone, and I do mean everyone can do. It’s economical, green and a great way to cultivate an individual sense of style.
Though I’ve done tons of posts on thrift shopping 101 and FAQ, I’m notice people running in to the same problems and luckily, I have the solutions.
If you’re new to {or want to get in to} thrift shopping, here are some common thrift shopping mistakes and how to avoid them.
1. Great Expectations
I love sharing my Thrifty Threads finds, like vintage pieces, Theory jackets and more, as a way of inspiring people, but it creates a double-ended sword. When you walk in to a secondhand shop with expectations that you’ll find a designer dress for 5 bucks, you’re setting yourself up for a massive let down. Sure, it may happen, but it might not. And when this doesn’t happen, people tend to get discouraged. When I shop, I seek out great pieces that speak to my style. I could care less whether they’re vintage or designer. But when I do find a great DSquared parka for $2 or a pair of Stuart Weitzman pumps, it’s just icing on the cake. Have no specific expectations {how can you when the inventory is ever changing?} but just have fun and the great pieces will eventually find you.
2. One Store Only
Sticking to a single secondhand store is one of the worst things you can do. Of course there’s comfort in knowing the layout of a shop, but only shopping in one place limits your options. Find a stable of at least three stores you can alternate between so if one store’s inventory is a bit shabby, you can head to the others. Don’t know where to find a thrift shop? Search for a large chain like Goodwill, Salvation Army or Savers and there’s always The Thrift Shopper, which has a national thrift store directory.
3. Lack of Patience
Though it’s last on this list, patience is always rule numero uno with thrifting. Give yourself at least an hour to search the racks and you may find something great. If you’re shopping solo, just listen to some tunes {I actually have a shopping mix I zone out to} or if you’re with friends, turn it in to a fun shopping event and help one another find some thrifty threads.
Have you ever run in to any of these problems? What common thrift shopping mistakes do you see new thrifters make?
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6 thoughts on “3 Thrift Shopping Mistakes Newbies Make

  1. Great points! One mistake I made early on was buying things that didn’t quite fit right but were designer, cute, and cheap. If it doesn’t fit or isn’t flattering, I have now learned to pass. I have gotten rid of some of my earlier thrifted clothes (I’ve really been thrifting more seriously the past year and a half), but thankfully I didn’t pay much for them so don’t feel too badly about getting rid of them – it’s a learning experience. But I do also keep my eyes open for great items to pass on to friends or to resell.

  2. I did the whole ‘great expectations’ thing. I got really frustrated when i didn’t find designer clothes and then stopped shopping. But i got back in to it and realized I had to be more patient. Sometimes I find designer stuff (Dolce & Gabbana dress for $10!!!) but other times I don’t and that’s fine with me 🙂

  3. I hear the same things from friends all the time, how do you find such great stuff and I never find anything? Then I go with them and they’re done looking and waiting for me 20 minutes in. You have to really look and some just don’t really want to. That’s okay!


  4. I really want to try thrift shopping, especially to get cool goth clothes because usually thrift stores have weird stuff (from what I’ve heard) so i’m exited! I can’t wait because I have never gone before, and thank you for the tips!

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