Thrift Shopping from A to Z: Your Most Asked Questions

Posted On Monday, November 25th, 2013
Filed Under: shopping, Thrift Stores

I’ve been blogging now for four years and though Looking Fly on a Dime® isn’t strictly about thrifting, it’s one of the things I’ve become known for. And though I’ve answered tons of do’s and don’ts on secondhand shopping, I tend to get the same  questions over and over again.
Well, now I’m gathering the top five questions I get and compiling them in one convenient post. From how do you find a thrift store to the options for plus size women to easy ways to effectively sanitize your clothes and accessories, everything is below.
Plus Size Shopping:
Just last week I had a woman message me and ask, “I’m a plus size woman and I want to thrift shop. Do you think I’ll be able to find anything?” Short answer: YES!
Women of all sizes and shapes donate clothes so you’ll find everything. Of course if you’re in one of the extremes {really really petite like a size zero or really really tall}, you might have to dig a bit deeper. But the average American woman is a size 14, so your plus size isn’t that uncommon.
Be sure to check out my previous post: Thrift Shopping for Plus Sizes
In the post, I go in further detail about plus shopping and several plus size women left messages in the comment section about their positive experience shopping at thrift stores.
Finding a Shop:
Locating a good thrift store {clean, great rotating inventory} can be tricky. Even if you live in a major city with tons of stores, finding the right one can still be a challenge. I always suggest checking with major chains {Salvation Army, Savers, etc.} to see if there’s one near you. And don’t forget to check out The Thrift Shopper. Simply enter your zip code and the site provides a directory of resale shops in your area.
How To Clean Thrift Store Clothes:
I’ve been a serious thrift shopper for the past 10 years and I still have people who give the occasional side eye at the idea of wearing someone else’s clothes. They generally ask, isn’t it dirty wearing someone’s castoffs?
Well, when you buy clothes from a department store, you have no idea how many people tried them on {or even bought and returned them!} before you and you generally bring it home, rip the tag right off and wear it as is. But with thrift shopping, you should always clean clothes before wearing.
Check out my previous post on How to Clean Thrift Store Clothing, including tips on how to sanitize shoes and jewelry. And be sure to check out the comments on that post. A few readers shared some gems on how they clean thrifted clothes.
What Are Thrift Shopping Dont’s:
I always share my thrift shopping do’s, but there are a few don’ts as well if you’re new to thrifting. When people constantly strike out at a thrift store, they’re usually doing these 3 thrift shopping no nos.
Favorite New York Thrift Stores:
I make a habit of thrifting in every city I visit, but most of my shopping takes places in New York City. So I naturally have people ask me about my hidden gem stores. Well, I don’t keep any stores of mine a secret. If I shop there and love it, I want you guys to get in on the action as well. Check here for my favorite New York City thrift stores. They include faves like Housing Works Buy the Bag {$25/bag of clothes} and the Salvation Army from my last thrift store haul. And when I host some of my one-on-one thrift shopping tours, we sometimes hit up 23rd Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues. There’s a row of shops including Salvation Army, Goodwill and Housing Works.
Whew, that sums it up. If you have any other thrift shopping related questions {or any questions}, be sure to use the search box on the right side bar because I’ve probably answered the question at least once before. And if not, just ask!
What’s your best thrift shopping tip? What mistakes did you make when you first started thrifting {for me, I bought any and everything because it was cheap!}? If you’re new to thrift shopping, what problems do you keep running in to?
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4 thoughts on “Thrift Shopping from A to Z: Your Most Asked Questions

  1. Whatever you think your size is at a thrift store, isn’t your size. Clothes are shrunken, stretched, altered, etc. Good post! Will help a lot of people out.

    • Corollary: If you love it, and it looks like it might fit when you eyeball it, try it on! Ignore the tag, whether the number is too low or too high. Different brands have different sizing, different eras have different sizing, everything Lyz said is true, AND sometimes the whole reason the thing is at the thrift store is that it was missized and didn’t fit the original owner.

  2. I love this blog!!! I can upon it by mistake, but I am so glad I did. I have been thrift shopping for at 15 years and I love it. You rock. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK

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