Thrift Shopping Tips

We’ve all been there, right?  You just feel like shopping so you step one foot into Target and suddenly you have a cart full of stuff you don’t need, and as you walk to your car you think “What just happened!?”  There has to be a way to get that shopping urge out of our systems without breaking the bank or ending up with items that will just clutter our homes.


I’m no pro, but lately I’ve found myself loving thrift shopping.  It’s budget-friendly, keeps my home decluttered (donate your old things before you buy more!), and with a “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” mindset I can help the environment by reusing items instead of buying new and creating more waste.  


I will admit though, thrifting can be a time-consuming and daunting task without some planning.  In my teen years, I loved to go to thrift stores, but then I definitely had a phase where I hated them.  I had to learn some tips and tricks to make the best use of my time and learn how to hunt for the best deals.  I’m sure there’s lots more tips out there, but I’ll share my top four with you!  


First, go with a mindset that you might leave with nothing, and that is ok!  Having that expectation upfront before you even walk in the door will save you from frustration that is possible to come later.  Not every trip is a successful one, but I like to think that if it’s a miss, then maybe those items weren’t meant for me today.  

Before leaving your house, have a plan of what you’re looking for.  My favorite things to shop for are books (hello 99 cent children’s books!), clothing, toys like legos or blocks that can be easily cleaned, and home decor like vases or frames.  Usually I find that women’s clothing is in better condition than children’s or men’s clothing…it’s apparent that us women like to change our wardrobes often!  So, for example, if I’m going out hunting for a deal on jeans, I want to know my size, quality brands that I know I like, and a fit that suits my body well.  You might be tempted to try new styles because the prices are so cheap, but just keep in mind that the goal is not to fill your closet with items you’ll never wear.  The goal is to find a deal on items you love.   I also like to keep in mind what colors I enjoy wearing because tops are organized by color.  Knowing both of these things will make flipping through the racks quick, as you have a laser focus of what you’re hunting for.  The more specific your focus, the better use of your time!  


Speaking of time, I give myself a time limit.  This has saved me from wasting a frustrating hour of hunting just to leave with nothing.  My mindset walking in is that if I don’t see anything that I’m remotely interested in within ten minutes, I leave.  There’s nothing worse that spending half a day hunting just to completely waste your time.  


My final, and favorite, tip is to bring a bag of items to donate and drop off before you go in to shop!  The clerk at the drop off area will give you a receipt with a 20% off coupon (if they don’t give you one, just ask!).  I often will donate clothes that don’t fit or that I don’t love anymore, and then go inside to shop for new with my coupon.  This keeps clutter at bay in my home.  The last thing you want is to add stuff on top of stuff that you don’t love or need!  


Thrifting can be so fun, and an adrenaline rush if you love deals, but be sure to have a plan, structure your time, and only look for items that you know you will use!  I hope these tips are helpful!  If you use any of them, be sure to let me know by commenting here or tagging me @spreadinghopedesigns on Instagram!

Thrifted Items from Goodwill


Do you have any tips to add?  What has been your thrifting experience?  Does this make thrifting feel manageable for you?  Let me know!  The more often I go, the more I find myself getting hooked on it!  Good luck!   

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