Thrift Store Tips and Tricks

IMG_1285 - Copyby Katrina

One of the perks of being a Lincoln, Nebraska resident is the monthly Goodwill 99 cent sale. That’s right – all clothing is only 99 cents! And, I will confess, bargain hunting is one of my favorite sports! If it really was an official sport, I bet that I would be in the Olympics. But, hey, maybe someday, right?

This past weekend, my aunt and I went bargain hunting for great deals. The whole point of thrift store shopping is not only to pay less, but also to have a blast letting out your creativity with what you find! So, I wanted to share some of my tips with you on how to look for interesting pieces and combine them for a visually stunning outfit that looks like you just stepped off the runway. (And, I did buy these clothes, so if you do want to wear them in our fashion show at a conference, you can!)

  • Bargain Hunt frequently. It is important that you constantly go visit your favorite bargain racks because you never know what you’ll find and when you’ll score the deals. I keep a running list in the back of my mind of things that I would like to have and am always on the lookout for. And, since I visit often, I often leave without purchasing anything if I don’t find anything that strikes me.
  • Look for clothing with tags still on it that hasn’t been worn. Just the other day, I scored a beautiful dress from a very high-end retailer with the original tags intact marked $128 – and, you guessed it – I paid 99 cents! You don’t want to look like your clothing is from a thrift store; you just want to pay thrift store prices! Coco Chanel once said,

“Keep your heels, head and standards high.”

And, that is exactly what you do when you shop at thrift stores! Don’t settle just because it’s cheap. Buy quality.

  • Wear a tank top under a cardigan or button-down shirt that you can easily take off to try on clothes. That way, you won’t have to wait in as many lines for a dressing room! Or, if you do want to try on a dress or full outfit, you need to be able to quickly slip in and out of what you’re wearing to let someone else through!
  • Layer clothes in unexpected ways! I found this strapless, cute black dress. But, by itself it is pretty plain. When I layered this red sweetheart lacy peplum top over it, the outfit says, “Fiesta, anyone!?”

Skirt 2Match 2 - BG

  • Make sure you plan plenty of time when you go, and don’t rush the process. More times than not, the treasures are hidden, and it will take some time going through racks and racks of clothing before finding that perfect piece. And, think about how you could mix and match pieces. You might even want to fill your cart with things that catch your eye, then go through everything piece by piece to decide what to buy and what to let go of.
  • Keep an open mind. There is a fine balance between waiting for just the right thing, snatching up a good thing at first sight that may not necessarily be on your list, and being picky. Stick with that mental list, ladies. In fact, thanks to Pinterest, you more than likely now have tons of wonderful creative ideas swirling through your head (and probably on a board or two!) on how you can use items in different ways.
  • Wash your new finds as soon as you get home. The thrift stores don’t necessarily sanitize clothing, and people don’t wash their clothes all the time before donating them, so you will just need to wash them yourself in your detergent of choice! Also, you can buy dry cleaning sheets for your dryer if you have clothes that might say, “dry clean only.” It is way more cost effective than taking them to the dry cleaners.
  • Make sure you have fun! Take friends and make a date of it! When I went with my aunt, we specifically had this blog in mind. And, we shopped for practically everyone under the sun! We spent three and a half hours. And then we went home and rested awhile…before going back in the afternoon for two more! I don’t expect you to spend that much time every month in stores. We just happened to make a day of it, and we loved it!

Don’t settle just because it’s cheap. Buy quality.

When I was a child, my mom would take us shopping at thrift stores, and I would be so embarrassed! But as an adult on a tight budget and just generally wanting to use my money wisely, I have been so thankful for thrift stores because they do a lot of good by recycling and reusing as well as training people to have job skills. Plus, I can let someone else enjoy things that I may not need anymore. Bragging on finds to friends is a great plus as well! What are your tips for thrift store shopping? We’d love to hear them, plus go ahead and brag about some of your best finds!

Here are some other cute things I found and ways to put things together:


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