Tip # 1 – CASH IS KING!
Some thrift stores will accept debit or credit but more often than not you will run into a cash only situation. Be prepared with a few dollars on hand in case you find that perfect piece!
Tip #2 – KNOW WHAT YOU WANT
It pays to keep a running list of things you need or want. Thrift stores can be large with extremely varied merchandise. The new thrifter can be easily overwhelmed by the selection, having a list of items you’re on the hunt for can help provide you with a bit of direction.
Tip #3 – ASK FOR WHAT YOU WANT
Don’t be afraid to ask for items you don’t see. Sometimes the best deals aren’t even on the floor yet! If there’s something specific that you’re on the hunt for – speak up!
Tip #4 – FREQUENCY IS KEY!
The best merchandise moves fast in a thrift shop, so the more you go the better chance you have of being the one to scoop up that great deal. Also, it’s a good idea to find out when the store restocks their merchandise and plan your next visit on that day to ensure you get first crack at the great deals!
Tip #5 – BE SPONTANEOUS
When you see something amazing you have to be prepared to buy it on sight. It may not be there after you’ve taken the time to think about it.
Tip #6 – BUT NOT TOO SPONTANEOUS
New thrifters often make buying mistakes, it’s easy to do, don’t sweat it. To help you out here are a few tips to save you from making a purchase you don’t really need.
Give yourself a buying limit and stick to it!
There’s no fence sitting in the thrift shop – If you don’t love it, don’t buy it.
Don’t be afraid to leave empty handed either. Thrifting isn’t like other shopping, where you go in with a list of what you want, get it, and go. Thrifting is more like a scavenger hunt, you might find the exact item you’re looking for, you might find an item you never knew you wanted but now can’t live without and you might find nothing at all. Them’s the breaks!
Tip #7 – INSPECT BEFORE YOU BUY!
Thrift shoppers buy it “AS IS”. It’s important to look all purchases over thoroughly before committing to buy. Some things to look for are:
Clothing and textiles – check seams, cuffs and collars for wear and damage. Check for staining around neck, arm pit and inseam. Wash all items in hot water with a small amount of bleach to disinfect before use.
Furniture – make sure that it is sturdy and does not require repairs that you are unable to provide. Smell it! If it’s smokey or funky – give it a pass!
Appliances – ask to plug them in and make sure the item works properly before purchasing. Look to make sure that the item has all of it’s necessary accessories.
Dishes and Glassware – check carefully for chips and hairline cracks that can greatly reduce the items value.
Books and Toys – These are great thrifted items as people tend to use them and pass them on quickly. Give books a quick scan to make sure they have all their pages and check toys for missing parts or damage that might make them “unsafe”.
Tip #8 – BE CREATIVE
“Upcycle it” is a favourite expression of the thrifter! Look beyond the intended purpose of the item. Perhaps that old vase could be a kitchen utensil holder, maybe you could turn that tattered old quilt into some beautiful throw cushions, or maybe that table just needs a quick coat of paint to be shinny and new! A little hint… there’s this new thing called Pinterest with ton’s of great upcycled ideas 😉 check it out!
Tip #9 – BE SMART!
Put those smart phones to good use! A quick google search will let you know if you’ve found a great deal or a great dud.
Tip #10 – BE NICE & GIVE BACK
Many of our local thrift stores are run by charities and churches. The staff may in fact be volunteers giving their time to serve their community. Be nice to them – they deserve it!
Also, please consider donating to one of our local shops the next time you’re cleaning out your closets. The funds from many of these stores go directly back into our community to support some well deserved causes!