How to Thrift Shop with a Newbie

Posted On Tuesday, July 24th, 2012
Filed Under: Thrift Stores

thrift shopping with a novice If you’re new to thrift shopping, I’ve done a few posts on how to get started {thrift shopping 101 and thrift shopping FAQ}. But what if you’re not new to thrifting but you want your newbie friends to join in on the thrifting fun? Well, this post is for you.

Last weekend I had a small adventures in thrifting trip to the Housing Works Buy the Bag sale {$25 for a bag full of clothes!} with Danielle from The Frugal Fatshionista and photographer Rayon Richards. Danielle is a thrifting pro, but for Rayon, it was his first time at the sale.

The bag sale can be a bit overwhelming. It gets crowded, hot and there are so many clothes, everything eventually gets pulled out of the bins and on the floor {see the photo below, I’m literally standing on a pile of clothes!}. But luckily, our thrifting newbie walked away with two bags of goods.

So if you’re thrift shopping with someone who’s new to secondhand stores, here’s what you should do:

  • Prepare Them, But Don’t Scare Them: Of course you want to let your thrifting novice know the basics, but don’t freak them out by telling them how hardcore, hectic and cutthroat it may be. You might just scare them off and overwhelm them before they even step foot in the store.
  • Shop for Them: Of course you want to shop for yourself, but during the first 30 or so minutes of thrifting, shop for them. Not only will it fill their basket up but when they see you finding stuff for them, they’ll be inspired to keep on shopping because they know pieces that fit their style and size are out there to be found.
  • Reel Them In: Thrifting can really give you a natural high, especially once you start finding that one of a kind piece for just a few dollars. You want to buy everything and it’s way too easy to overspend. There may come a point where you’ll have to make your newbie answer some serious questions like, do you really want this piece or do you just want it because it’s so cheap and will you really wear this? Help them cut down on buyer’s remorse.

Stay tuned for my thrift shopping haul from this trip. I was able to fit 35 items in my bag, including the awesome trench you see below.

housing works warehouse sale Also, if you’re in NYC, be sure to check out the Housing Works sale this weekend, 7/28, as it’s the last one of the summer.

Have you ever thrifted with a newbie before? What were your tips for them? Did they get overwhelmed and walk away or are they know a thrift addict?

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15 thoughts on “How to Thrift Shop with a Newbie

  1. Coincidentally I thrifted with newbie last week! It went pretty well actually! He bought a Tommy Hilfiger jacket for 4 euros and a nice button down shirt for 1 euro. But reading your tips, I do wish I started with shopping for him. I think that would have helped him starting up. Good advice! And what a lovely trenchcoat! It looks smashing on you!

  2. The salvation army where I am used to do the “red bag” sale every Wednesday for 25.00, then they raised it to 35.00, then quit doing it all together.  It was very popular!  I could always manage to squeeze about 30-35 items in, even a coat once like yours!  I don’t have too much luck with most friends thrifting with me, I’m still going and they are sitting down waiting.  I like to go alone!

  3. Great tips!  Especially the “shop for them” tip.  I’ll remember that. 

    By the way, the picture of the store front is fabulous.  Did you take it?  Do you know what type of camera was used?

  4. Your tips are so on point! I share these same pointers with my clients too. I also ask them to bring tear sheets or their style diary so they can thrift for looks they want!

  5. These are great tips! I have been reading your blog for a month now, I’m so obsessed! Love love love thrifting…of course, I live in a small town and could never find as much goodies as you do, but when I do find that diamond in the rough, its an amazing feeling.

  6. I took my BFF in CO thrift shopping for the first time last summer – she loved it!  She doesn’t go much unless I’m with her, but that is more about her crazy schedule and limited time than the desire, as when she goes, she finds great stuff for cheap!

    BTW, just thrfted a great Liz Claiborne purse from Savers for $3.99, then 20% off of that because I had a coupon!!!

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