Tips for your first time thrifting!

Want to try thrifting but feel overwhelmed, and don’t know where to start? I’ve got you covered!

Hello everyone!

About two years ago, during the end of my Junior year of college, I took a Word, Web, and Design capstone course for my creative writing minor. It was possibly one of the most useful classes I took during my entire college career, and I learned so many useful skills then that I still to this day apply to this blog! One of the projects we had to do was create a blog about one specific topic and write three informative blog posts that were in theme. So, of course, my choice of topic was thrifting! The blog was actually The Ginger Thrift, which later became the namesake my vintage shop @thegingerthrift on Instagram, and the blog itself fell to the wayside. But, the three posts I wrote had some pretty useful information in them, so I thought I would re-release these posts here on TGI! With a little bit more info added to them, of course!

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When I mention thrifting in conversation to a friend, a lot of the time they voice their interest in the idea of thrifting, but also express to me how intimidated they are by it. I completely understand. Not everyone gets excited when they walk into a messy, unorganized Goodwill. But lucky for you, there are ways to make your first time thrifting easier.

Open sign on shop front door.
Photo by Mike Petrucci on Unsplash

Take a friend.

At least for your first time out thrifting, take someone who is an experienced thrifter, and knows what’s up. And anyway… Shopping is always a task that is made better by companionship. While I typically do thrift alone, someone who both knows your style and the thrift shop well will know what sections to take you to first, and will also know which ones to avoid. That way, if you’re a jeans-and-a-tee girl typically, and you’re tempted by a bright floral dress, sometimes you need a friend there to say to you, “Girl, you’re never gonna wear that.”

Don’t allow yourself to feel overwhelmed.

Although I don’t recommend it for your first time out, sometimes your only local thrift shop may be a big Goodwill or Salvation Army. But if you can, go to a smaller place first if possible. Church thrift shops and sales are always small and manageable, and most of the ones I have been to are pretty well organized. My favorite part? These smaller shops almost always have funky pieces that some eighty-year-old grandmother had in her closet or attic forever before she decided to donate it to her church. However, be responsible. Leave the plus sized and children’s clothing for those who really need them.

Know what you like & take your time.

Know what you like and what you’re looking for, and stick to those sections. If a pattern in the sweater section pops out at you, explore that section for a while and find other things that intrigue you. If the knick-knacks are looking especially eclectic and interesting, concentrate on those. You are not married to any one section, of course. But you’re also not obligated to root though every section in the shop. Take your time, don’t overwhelm yourself.

Don’t feel obligated to look at every single piece.

My favorite trick for navigating a thrift shop is just skimming the racks and finding textures, patterns, or colors that stick out to me and looking at those. Don’t dedicate yourself to flipping through every piece of clothing on the rack. It’s exhausting and just not worth it if you wouldn’t even try on half the clothes you’re looking at.

On the other hand, leave the shopping list at home.

Leave yourself open and free for exploration. It’s so easy to forget that trying new things is fun. Don’t make your first thrifting session into a shopping trip. In other words, don’t make thrifting an errand to run. This is another reason why taking a friend is important – it’ll instantly make a possibly overwhelming situation way more fun!

Don’t expect an Instagram worthy haul your first time out.

Don’t put too much pressure on yourself, you’re probably not going to come home with a giant haul. Instead, trust your gut. Focus on trying to find one or two pieces you really love and can see yourself wearing. Because if you don’t like something, you don’t like something. Don’t buy a dress or a sweater just because it’s vintage or it’s a name brand, just because it’s your first time out. No matter what, if you don’t like it, you won’t wear it. Lastly, remember possibly the most important rule of thrifting: be patient.  A good thrift haul takes time. Dedicate an afternoon to the thrift shop, not just an hour in-and-out.

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I hope you’ve found some of these tips helpful! But overall, I have one more note to add… Out of all these points to consider in your first time thrifting, what is the most important thing of all? Have fun!

Do you have any additional tips or tricks to add? Leave them in the comments below, or come on over to my Instagram @thegingerintrovert to start the conversation! I would love to chat 🙂

Until next time!

"Love Liz"

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