How to Inspect Your Thrift Store Clothes Before You Buy

Posted On Wednesday, September 25th, 2013
Filed Under: How To, shopping, Thrift Stores

You’ve made it, you finally found some great pieces you want to buy from the thrift store. But before you drop cash, it’s important to really inspect your thrift store scores. This step may be the most important of them all. Because there’s nothing more disappointing {and a waste of money} than buying what you think is a gem and it’s really a dud.
Check out four tips to closely inspect your thrifted clothes and accessories.
Once your cart is full of potential goods, find a quiet corner somewhere and take some time to really go through your picks. And keep these things in mind…
Shoes tend to take a serious pounding, especially from people who live in major cities and do a lot of walking. Heel tip caps can easily and cheaply be replaced, but is the actual heel sturdy? Tug on the heel and see if there’s any give. Also, inspect the lining and search for any scuffs {especially at the tip}. Sure you can have some defects repaired, but just factor in the cost of such fixes.
When you get really up close and personal, what does it look like? Areas like armpits, knees and hems should be observed for stains, rips or fading. If the piece has embellishments, especially anything with sequins or appliqués, is everything in tact? These can easily be overlooked but take a minute or two to look and feel every inch of the garment.
It’s not uncommon for clothes to have little things missing, but these little things can make a huge difference. This includes an awesome pair of pants with a broken zipper, a wardrobe staple like a button down blouse with no buttons or a leather purse with a broken strap. Once again, all of this can be fixed by yourself or a professional, but be realistic with yourself. Will you really get it fixed or will it just sit in the back of your closet?
This isn’t really something you have to exactly inspect for, as you can instantly tell whether something has an odor. But don’t be afraid to sniff a garment out either. If it reeks of smoke, b.o. or mold, do not buy it. The odds of getting the smell out are pretty slim. And the last thing you want is to bring home a smelly item you’ll eventually have to toss.
Most thrift store sales are final so inspect, inspect, inspect. And if you do plan to buy a piece of clothing or accessory that needs a little repair, make sure it’s worth it.
How much time do you normally take to inspect your thrifted clothes before buying them? What tips do you use to give your clothes a once over?
source: photo 1
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10 thoughts on “How to Inspect Your Thrift Store Clothes Before You Buy

  1. I always grab a bunch of stuff and then do what you mentioned, find a quiet area and edit down. I really look at sleeves, hems and stains around the underarms. And for sweaters, I look to see if it’s piling a lot.

  2. I purchased a pre-owned dress from Ebay that reeked of cigarette smoke. I googled how to get the smell out- Soak in a vinegar & water solution. I washed it after that & voila, no more smoke smell!

  3. Great tips. However, before I put anything in my cart I inspect it that helps me to cut down on my time in the store. When I finally get to my corner or mirror it’s easier because I have already trimmed down my selection and choosing if the item is a NO or a GO. 🙂

  4. To get the smoke smell out my garment, I usually put some coffee in a sock and put the item in a plastic bag with newspaper. Did this with a dress I bought at Goodwill; washed this dress a million and one time with no luck, but once I did the coffee technique it worked. Have been doing it since. The smell completely goes way.

  5. I just went to the Goodwill Outlet in LIC for the very first time, and although I did find some great finds and my total was soooo cheap…I didn’t like the crowd. There were small crowds of women who dashed for the new bins and scooped up everything! I was so upset that I was pushed while they were like vulters on a Sunday afternoon. Any tips on days and times I could go and have a better experience.

    • Hey Kim,
      Just check the archives and use the search function on the sidebar. I’ve posted about the Outlet quite a few times. Happy Thrifting!

  6. I think most of the thrift stores where I am clean their garments before putting them on the racks so I’ve never had any issues with B.O. smells….eeewww! I do go through the seams and make sure the garment is not in need of repair. If it is, I decide if its something i can do, if its something I will need a professional for, I leave it in the store. Every now & again depending on the item, I don’t mind a missing button because I have plans of adding different ones anyway. All great tips, glad I stopped over, something to think about the next time I venture to the thrift store.

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