If you want to thrift, but don’t know how to get started, this is your beginner’s guide!
I grew up in a home where secondhand shopping was very normal. My mom frequently took my siblings and I to resale, antique, consignment, and thrift stores. Even when get together now, we usually end up at a secondhand shop of some kind. It’s our go-to thing to do!
Thrifting is one of my loves, and I want to share with you how to get started thrifting!
Thrifting Takes Time
The most important thrifting tip that I have for you is thrifting takes time! It really does. To be a successful thrifter, you have to go regularly.
Sometimes this can be frustrating for people to hear, but I’ve found it to be a little blessing. A lot of shopping today feeds a culture of quick consumer satisfaction, leaving us desiring more and more. Thrifting requires you to slow down a bit, bringing more intentionality to shopping.
Thrifting requires effort, intentionality and time, bringing a more wholesome satisfaction to shopping that leads to contentment and gratitude, rather than greed.
Step 1: Identify Local Shops
Thrifting can look different depending where you live. If you live in a city, there are probably plenty of large thrift stores, but maybe not as many small consignment shops. If you live in a rural area, there might be more small thrift stores and not as many large chain stores.
Nevertheless, there is most likely some kind of secondhand shopping available to you! Large chain thrift stores to search for in your area include Goodwill, Savers, Salvation Army, etc. Smaller thrift or resale shops are many times connected to local charities and non-profit organizations. These are great to support and I’m always on the lookout for them!
Antique shops are a great place to go if you are looking for more unique items that are in good condition with a bit of history. They are more curated than the average thrift or resale shop, and more expensive too.
Consignment shops are shops that you can bring your own items to sell to the owner, who will then sell them in their shop. It’s really great to get connected to local consignment shops for this reason because you can make money selling, and then pocket it or spend it on something new to you! Some chain consignment shops would be Plato’s Closet, Once Upon a Child, Clothes Mentor, etc.
Step 2: Make a Plan for Navigating the Store
Thrifting can be so much less overwhelming when you have a plan for how to navigate through the store! Thrift stores often appear cluttered and it can be difficult to know where to start. But a simple plan will go a long way in helping you find what you are looking for!
Here is an example of a general plan (this plan is included in my Thrifting 101 FREE EBOOK that you can download here):
- Go through clothes first because it usually takes the most time. I grab any clothes that I want to try on (if the fitting rooms are open. I try on clothes before moving on to other sections, to keep my cart clear.
- Next, I check out the shoes and accessories.
- Then, I focus on shelved home goods.
- Last, furniture and lamps because it’s easy to look at it all quickly.
- And if there is time, books or art or even linens if I have a sewing project in mind (for fun!).
This plan helps me get through the most time consuming parts of the store first when I have the most energy and excitement for thrifting! Books and art, and linens are at the end because I don’t always look through these, only if I have more time to spare to devote to them.
This is just one example of a plan you can use, you can totally rearrange the whole thing if you’d like! The more important thing is that you have a plan. It will make your thrifting experience so much more pleasant and successful!
Step 3: Keep an Open Mind While Thrifting
If you can keep an open mind while thrifting, you will have a lot more success! If you have a very specific piece of clothing or home item you are looking for you will probably become very discouraged quite quickly when you don’t find it. Instead of “round marble coffee table with wood legs,” focus on the general category of “coffee tables” and you may find one that you can repurpose into your dream coffee table with a little bit of elbow grease!
Recently, I wanted a fall wreath for my front door, so I went to the thrift store to look for anything that could help me achieve a fall wreath. I found an old grapevine wreath with large faux flowers and took it home to repurpose it! I took the large faux flowers off and added greenery and flowers in the style I wanted. Here is the link to the tutorial, if you want to try your hand at a DIY Fall Wreath!
This is just one example of keeping an open mind while thrifting! Even when you thrift clothes, keep an open mind how you could crop a sweater a little or take sleeves off a dress or cut jeans into shorts. The edits you can do to things are endless!
Here’s another example: maybe you’re looking for art for your home! But you can’t find the right one, you could instead look for a frame you like and find a PDF online (like on Etsy) of an art print you love to go with your thrifted frame! Or the reverse, you love a piece of art at the thrift store, but don’t care for the frame, you could easily sand it, paint it, or Rub ‘n Buff it, or switch it out for a different frame altogether.
How to Thrift: Beginner’s Guide Recap
- Thrifting takes time!
- Identify local shops in your area that you want to support and the kind of shop you want to explore: thrift, resale, antique or consignment.
- Make a plan to navigate the store to prevent feeling overwhelmed.
- Keep an open mind along the way for easy thrift flips or ways to repurpose items!
I hope this How to Thrift: Beginner’s Guide was helpful! Let me know in the comments if you have any questions or if you plan to begin thrifting!