Thrift store shopping has become a popular pastime. While the US Census Bureau recently reported that 16 to 18 percent of Americans shop at thrift stores during a given year, those figures are likely to be on the increase with so many people talking about the benefits and the fun.

It’s like searching for treasure, and when you find that perfect name-brand item at a fraction of the usual price, it almost becomes addicting. But the thrill isn’t just about discovering those fabulous pieces of clothing. It can be about creating your own unique style.

thrift shopping can take time

Of course, thrift shopping can take time. To make it worth the effort, consider these dos and don’ts, whether you’re looking for the perfect outfit for a date, for second-hand kids’ clothes, or something else.


Toss Anything That Catches Your Eye Into Your Cart. As soon as you see something that catches your eye, put it in your cart. If you’re unsure initially, you might realize you actually want it later, and by the time you get back to it, it’s gone. Wait until you’ve gone through everything, and then go through your cart and decide what you want to keep and what to put back.

Try On Items You Aren’t Sure About. Some things you don’t need to try on, but with others, you really need to see how it looks on you and how it feels when you’re standing, sitting, or walking. Thrift shopping stores usually have strict return policies so you don’t want to waste your money on something you’ll never wear.

Thrift Shopping Dos

Look For The Right Colors And Textures. Going through every item on each rack in the store is going to take a long time. So instead, slowly walk down the aisles, looking for the colors and textures you like. When you see something that piques your interest, take it off the rack and give it a closer look.

Read The Tags. Once you pull something off the rack, read the tag. You’ll want to be sure the size is right; for example, it might be on a rack with small items, but it could be a size large. Plus, you’ll want to know who made it. If it’s name-brand, it’s more likely to be a higher quality piece that will last. You might even find brand-new clothing with the tags still attached.


Rush. Thrift shopping isn’t the time to rush. That can lead to missing out on something great or making a bad purchase. It’s best to give yourself at least an hour to look through the racks. Discovering gems takes time.

Forget To Inspect Closely. You might get excited about what looks like a fabulous designer piece in your size. But before you buy, be sure to inspect it closely for missing buttons, stains, holes, snags, and so on. If you have the skill and the time to mend something, it’s worth asking a store employee if they’re willing to discount it further.

fabulous designer piece

Buy Something Just Because the Price is Right. If you spot a name-brand item at a great price, that price is not so great when it sits in your closet doing nothing but take up space. Be sure it’s something you’ll actually wear, perhaps asking yourself if you’d buy it if you didn’t know it was XYZ brand. Making purchases based on a name and/or price will only lighten your wallet and leave you with a closet full of clothing you don’t wear.

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