Do you shop at thrift stores? I am looking for tips.

posted 3 years ago in The Lounge
Post # 3
2355 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

Cash only. Don’t assume that everything is a great bargain. Some things are junk, and some things are priced too high. Go to multiple thrift shops. You’ll get an idea of which store is the best place for certain items. It’s fun! I go once a month or so.

Post # 4
2783 posts
Sugar bee

@jesssamesssa:  all the thrift stores I go to accept credit cards. The only thing I can suggest is don’t expect to just walk in and get what you’re looking for. You need to go frequently to really find the good stuff 

Post # 5
1392 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: January 2011

Our local Goodwill takes cards. I only shop in the areas that are my size and I do not buy anything unless it will be a staple piece. Never buy something you are on the fence about because its cheap. 


That being said, my entire work wardrobe has come from thrift stores by choosing carefully and trying on this I didn’t think would fit. Lol. 

Post # 6
288 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

It takes time, make sure you go through everything.  If it is a mom and pop shop you can often negotiate prices with cash.  Check back frequently for new suff.

Post # 7
2878 posts
Sugar bee

@jesssamesssa:  I love thrift stores and goodwills. It’s like looking for a hidden treasure ! It depends where, some places only take cash, some other either debit or credit. The main rule is : take your time ! It’s worth checking carefully because something great can be hidden in the racks, on lower on the tablets. 

Last summer I was planning my campground vacation in another province and I asked my dad if he had any pots and pans I could use. He showed me something he had bought 30 years ago when he used to go camping with my mom, it’s a whole set of aluminium pots and pans with removable handles, etc. Once it’s all place correctly it barely takes any space in the trunk of the car. I watched online how much such a set could cost, and it was well over 100$ for recent collections in outdoor equipment stores.

I went to my local goodwill and screened the tablets in the pots and pans section, hoping to find something similar. Didn’t. Then I kneeled on the floor to look at the back of the lower tablet and saw something that looked like a big aluminium pot. I literally dove into the tablet and there it was … the exact same set my father had showed me, looking brand new, tagged 6$ for the whole set. I was hysterical, I couldn’t believe my luck.

I used the set every day for 2 weeks. Best 6$ ever invested, lol ! 

Post # 8
1867 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

I think Goodwill in NC only takes cash (the one in my part of NC is cash only) but Salvation Army and Rescue Mission shops take cards as well. We go pretty regularly, mostly for books; for clothes, you need to have a good sense of what you want, what will fit you well, etc. If you can’t try on, don’t bother.

Post # 9
3519 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: March 2012

@jesssamesssa:  All of the thrift stores where I am take credit cards.  Thrifting is fun if you have the time and it’s not too crowded.  Sometimes it’s hard to see how something would work for your wardrobe right away, so I’d suggest getting a cart and piling stuff in.  At the end of your first walkthrough, go to a corner and sort through the stuff.  Put back anything you don’t want to bother trying on.

I always wear a Tshirt layer even if I have a sweater or coat on, so I can try on tops over it instead of waiting in line for a dressing room.  If you find stuff in your usual size in your usual brands, still hold it up to your body to check for shrinkage.

Post # 10
713 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2016

Give yourself plenty of time. I’ve learned I have to be in a certain mood for thrift shopping…otherwise I will walk in and walk back out. I have a pretty good eye for clothes, so I usually just walk slowly through the racks, not so much looking at each individual piece but looking for quality fabrics, good colors/patterns, textures from what I can see without pulling out each item. If something looks promising I will take a closer look. I usually look through the entire store because I find items are frequently placed in the wrong size section and vintage items may not be in line with modern sizing. The larger thrift stores have gone up so much on pricing that I am mostly looking for almost-new, near-perfect condition items. A good half of my wardrobe has come from thrift and consignment shops. I also keep a constant eye out for high-end designers even if I would not personally wear the piece, since I do some selling on eBay occasionally. (I once found a Marc Jacobs skirt at Goodwill with the tag for $148 still attached. Paid $4, sold it on eBay for $40!)

Post # 11
2562 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

There are some days I DON’T go thrift shopping, because it will be crowded. Goodwill near me has like half-off Tuesdays, which I avoid… I’d rather pay the $7 for that top than be pushed around by mean bargain hunters.

There are hit-and-miss places, and sometimes places are priced too high… always try it on and don’t buy it if you don’t need it/ aren’t sure if you’ll wear it (you won’t).

Good luck!

Post # 12
275 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

@jesssamesssa:  literally all of my clothes have come from thrift stores and goodwills, but the thrift stores in my area are very nice and usually have really good stuff.

PPs have really hit all the points, but I’ll just chime in with these:

go frequently. There’s really high turnover and stores are always receiving new things.

All the stores I go to accept both cash or credit. Though to be safe, if you’re unsure, bring cash.

Take an honest stock of your needs and wants when you go. There’s so much stuff that its easy to get overwhelmed or go crazy! Only buy things that will have life left in them, or if you can ask yourself if you will wear/use that item often and you can honestly say yes. Don’t buy something just because it was cheap.

I’ve found that thrift stores organize their clothing merchandise weirdly, like by color (??), and not by size. So because I’m only looking for certain items (black pants, flowy tops, dresses, etc), I look in the color sections that I would wear. I avoid the yellow and orange sections, and focus on black, grey, blue, green, grey, and sometimes red (looking for burgandy). Just know what colors look good on you and look for nice, sturdy fabrics. After a while you can tell just with a glance if a piece is quality or not.

If something looks like it has potential, put it in the cart, and try it on in the changing room. Don’t buy anything without trying it on. I’ve been guilty of doing this a few times when I was in a rush, and I always regret it. Yeah, it may have only been like $3, but thats just a waste of money and it adds up.

Wear thin socks so you can try on the shoes, but not thick ones. No one wants to try on those shoes with bare feet (ick)

be prepared to spend a while at the store, it really sucks you in! lol

When I’m done for the day, I bring everything home and all clothes go straight into the wash, and I wipe down any shoes with disinfectant wipes. So much stuff goes through the stores that I don’t think that they can clean everything, so I just do that myself.

Dont’ go in with high expectations. It’s always a surprise what you’ll find, and sometimes you wont find what you’re looking for. Just go back again and again, and be patient. It really is rewarding when you find the perfect item!

Be open minded. If I’m looking for athletic tops, I don’t care what it looks like, I just want it to serve its function (keep me warm in the winter, wick moisture, etc), so I really only care about if it fits and the cost. 

I always look in the clothing department (always looking to expand my professional work wardrobe, so dress pants, skirts, tops, dresses, etc), shoes, furniture, sports equipment, cooking equipment, and jeans. I have a system for each store I go to, I’m that dedicated lol

Most of our furniture (our couch was $15 and in fantastic condition), most of my clothes (I try and stay uner $20 per trip), all of FIs outerwear (His winter jacket is a Columbia jacket in great condition, never worn, for $15, and it retailed for over $100), all of our athletic clothing, and pretty much all of our kitchen equipment are all from goodwill/thrift stores.

Post # 14
9526 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2013

Cash only and give yourself time to look through things. Generally things aren’t as well organized in  thirft store as they are in a department store. It’s not like you can find what you like and then get it in your size. So it takes awhile. Check everything for holes/staines. But I love to shop and thirft stores and have done it my entire life! My husband does as well!

Post # 15
499 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2015

Don’t go to goodwill, they are not a charity like they want ppl to believe…

I found most thrift stores to be over priced for junk.  I would recommend shopping clearance racks at department stores than at the thrift store. Often, I find new items cheaper than thrift stores used items. Of course, it all depends on where you go, what you need, and if you can find what you need… 

Post # 16
484 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

I’m usually too impatient to look through a ton of things to find one good item.  I have a lot better luck at consignment stores like Plato’s Closet.  You have to pay a little bit more than thrift stores, but they’re pretty picky about the brands and quality of the products they take in.  I can find a lot of things from my favorite stores like Express, NY&Co, Limited, and The Buckle, for about a 1/4 of what you can get them for in stores.  I buy about 75% of my clothes at consignment stores, and most of the rest are new, but from clearance racks. 

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