Thrifting is a normal thing in my family. My mother grew up in a poor family and my father grew up with parents who never threw anything away. Thrifting often was a necessity, as there simply was no money to buy things for the full price. My parents worked very hard to create a higher income and thus they don’t have to thrift anymore. But we all still do, simple because we love it and think it’s better to recycle things in most situations. I personally love thrifting, because I like vintage items which you can’t buy new in stores. And if you like vintage items to, you can use my best thrift shopping tips to get you started.
Map it out
Let’s start with the first of my best thrift shopping tips. There are probably different thrift shops in your area and it’s a good idea to map them out. For instance, we have about four thrift shops around here. One really sucks, one is mediocre and the other two are pretty good. When you get into thrifting, it’s a good idea to go at least once a week to the thrift stores in your area. This helps you figure out which ones are the best for you, because they often tend to specialize in a certain theme or item. There are (for example) stores with mostly clothes, mainly furniture and sometimes plain old junk.
The last type of store is the one I tend to ignore. I’m not looking for junk, I’m hunting down hidden treasures. When you know which thrift stores fit your needs, you can figure out when they put new things out. I always ask the staff when they put the new items out, so I can come in early and snatch the best stuff up before anyone else can. My preferences when it comes to thrift shopping are bags, decorations and furniture. I don’t really need anything else and therefor I only target thrift stores who sell these items. I advise you to do the same so you can get your favorite pieces on time.
It’s a marathon, not a sprint
Its true, thrift shopping is a marathon not a sprint. It can take me months, sometimes years to find that one item I’ve been looking for. The thrill of finally finding and then buying it for the lowest price possible, provides the best natural high. Like that one time I found a Fendi bag that normally costs over €1500 and I only paid €35. When you go thrift shopping it’s a good idea to keep in mind that it might take a while to find what you’re looking for. To me that’s part of the fun, the hunting makes it fun for me.
It also helps having a good relationship with thrift store staff. My mother has the best ones, to the point where staff reserves items for here before she comes in. Because they know she would like a certain piece of furniture. We are pretty lucky when it comes to thrift store staff in our area. Everyone is very nice and helpful. Therefore, I suggest not being disappointed when you don’t find the item you’re looking for the first round. Try chatting to the staff and ask them to give you a call when your desired item comes in. Most likely they’re happy to do so, because it helps them sell more. Bottom line: Stay patient, make friends, score good items.
Time to haggle
I’m not very good at this, but my mom is a pro and so was my grandmother. These two ladies could haggle you out of your own pants, it’s crazy! This tip is due to my mom, who always applies haggling in every thrift store she goes. Not every employee at the register will fall for it, but most of them do because they want to get rid of the items. My mother often asks for a two for one deal or a damaged goods deal. Meaning that if for instance a chair is crooked, she will ask for a discount. This saves her some money and she’ll use that to fix the chair at home. Yup, my mom is really good at fixing furniture.
I do think it’s good to stay polite when it comes to haggling. Ask for the possibilities and don’t get angry if you get a no. It is a store after all, so they won’t always give a discount because they need to turn a profit too. This is where being a regular and having a relationship with the employees comes in handy. I’ve noticed that when you buy a lot at a certain thrift store, they really appreciate it. Therefore, they often give a discount or something for free on their own accord. That’s just the best! I personally rarely haggle because the items are super cheap anyway. But one can always try because this is one of my best thrift shopping tips.
Check for quality, labels and uniqueness
One of my best thrift store shopping tips is to always check for quality, labels and uniqueness. Because, let’s be honest here, there often is a lot of unnecessary junk in those stores. Therefor I believe it’s best to hunt for pieces that are actually worth the money, even if you spend a small amount because it’s second hand. You can only spend your money once, so spend it wisely on items that are actually worth it. When I hunt for bags, decoration and furniture I always keep my phone close by.
When I see a label, I can check it online immediately to see how much the item is actually worth. When it’s worth a lot and the thrift store price is low, then that’s a bargain right there! And man, do I love me a good bargain. This is how I found a lot of expensive, exclusive and vintage handbags. I also found three pretty expensive leather jackets which you can see in this haul video. They only cost me €68 for all three of them, that’s about €22,70 a piece! If an item is unique enough like a simple t-shirt, I’d rather buy a new one so it will last longer. It’s all about finding the best quality for the lowest price, that’s thrift store shopping.
Now it’s your turn, try out my best thrift shopping tips today! Let me know if they helped you in any way, shape or form. Happy thrifting,
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