Thrift Tips 101: To Wander or List?

by Kortney Campbell on September 5, 2012

In our opinion there are 2 ways to go about thrift store shopping. We use both ways, just depending on how long we have and how we feel.

The first way is to just wander around. This method leaves you open to finding things you wouldn’t normally look for. While that is great, it is easy to get really overwhelmed, especially in a big store.

The second way is going with a list. With this method you can keep from getting overwhelmed, stay on track and find things you’re looking for. The downside of the list method is that you may miss hidden treasures. We like to keep a running list on our phones, anytime inspiration (or Pinterest) strikes we jot down what we’re looking for.

Either way you choose to search, these tips can help you out:

  1. Size doesn’t always matter. A lot of times clothing gets put back in the wrong place or the sizing is wonky – especially when it comes to vintage treasures! Never trust a tag.
  2. Overview. Instead of looking through each item one by one, look at the fabric of several shirts and just take a closer look at the ones that grab your eye.
  3. Look for damage. Stains, holes, broken zippers. You don’t want to find those after you’ve paid, even if it is only a few dollars.
  4. Try it on! Sometimes it’s hard to figure out if you really like something or if the sizing will be right unless you try it on. You may even find your favorite dress that just looked “so-so” on the hanger!
  5. Be brutal. Will you really alter it? Do you need one more striped shirt? Will you ever wear it? If the answer is no to any of these, put it down and walk away (We still have a problem following this rule).
  6. Ask the same questions about shoes. Are they in good shape? How are the soles? Do they smell beyond repair? Do they actually fit? Just because they’re reasonably priced doesn’t mean you need the added clutter.
  7. Look through the linens and sheets. Think of them as fabric – there are so many fun things you can do to refashion them!
  8. Don’t be afraid to get dirty. Some of the best stuff is hidden on the bottom shelves. Feel free to get on your knees to search for dishes and platters. We won’t judge!

Do you have any tips you swear by? We’d love to hear about them in the comments below!

About Kortney Campbell

I'm Kortney; a wife, natural mama and vegan in love with life, food and all things vintage! I've been vegan since December 2007, but have loved to cook & create pretty things since before I can remember. I started Vegan Housewives because I don't think you have to give up the joys of food when going vegan! I have a fondness for re-creating non-vegan recipes (especially my grandma's), making a healthier & animal friendly version so be sure to send me your favorite concoctions by clicking our "share a recipe" button - I would LOVE to veg-i-fy them!

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