Tips and Tricks for Thrift Shopping!

Ah vintage shopping. To some, thrifting can be a bit of an overwhelming waste of time, but with the right tips and tricks, thrift shopping can be a fun experience of searching for pieces from the past to bring into your current style! I personally love thrifting and could spend hours at a time going through racks of clothes, piles of purses, and finding that perfect piece of furniture! Read on for my tips and tricks on how to become a pro at vintage or thrift shopping!

Prepare Yourself

  • Go Early- One of my favorite activities to do on a day off, is wake up at the crack of dawn to hit the stores right when they open. This way you’ll most likely beat the crowds, and feel relaxed sifting through clothes while drinking your morning coffee. ( I also find that Sundays are the best, especially when it comes to Good Will type stores! New product is generally added, as well as the announcement of the new sales of the week!)
  • Be Ready to Sift- If you’re the type of person who finds Forever 21 overwhelming, thrift shopping might not be the best option for you. Thrifting is all about sifting through the not so lovely pieces to find that adorable mod dress, bright belt or that perfect handbag. Trust me, finding a piece that you love means so much more, as you had to dig to find it!

  • Narrow Down your plan to look for a certain piece or item– If you’re the type to get a bit frazzled, make a list! I tend to go into each thrift store and look at any luggage first, shoes and hats next, then clothing, and lastly the jewelry. I find that it’s a good system where I can see all of the things I want without jumping around and missing things I could love!
  • Know what you’re willing to Spend- While the Salvation Army and Goodwill offer a variety of pieces at low prices, those $2.00 teacups will add up quick! Pick a budget that you’re willing to stick to and exceptions are okay as long as the item is amazing!


  • Check for tears, stains and unpleasant smells- Always look over your possible purchase for any rips, smells or stains. However, keep in mind that some stains and some rips can be fixed! I managed to remove stains from an awesome 1930’s dress using a toothbrush and bleach.

  • Wash and Sterilize Everything Before you Wear It- I’m serious about this one, no matter how much you love it, wash it first! Be careful to pay attention to any care instructions, or if none remain, look into the care of the particular fabric. I’ve had to dry clean several of my favorite dressy vintage pieces, but they have been worth the bill to keep them clean, fresh smelling, and avoid shrinking.
  • Get Some, Give Some- When thrift shopping it’s always good to take a look into your closet to see if there are any pieces that no longer fit you, your style, or that haven’t been receiving any loving attention. Someone out there could love that cable knit sweater like you never could!
  • Envision that Blazer without those Shoulder Pads!- Oh the 80’s how I love to hate on most of the fashion from that era, I mean shoulder pads? Come on! Yet many of those dated pieces can be reused and repurposed in a way that is both modern and completely unique. So cut out those shoulder pads, turn those mom jeans into cutoffs and hem that skirt for a piece that is totally yours!
  • Look at the Tags- If you’re a serious thrifter for a specific item or just happen to know a bit about vintage clothes, luggage, etc, it’s all about the tag! Finding brand and designer name items for a steal is what thrift shopping is all about! Generally these stores don’t have the time to look into every brand that comes into the store and as a result you can snag pricy items at a huge fraction of the usual cost!

  • Educate Yourself– I have just recently become very interested, obsessed, with vintage luggage. As a result I have been scouring Etsy and Ebay, but tend to also look at Goodwills and Salvation Armies. The best part about doing some research is I can find the popular brands, the more expensive brands, and know what I should be willing to spend extra for and the things I should pass up on.

Furniture & Other Items

  • Look Past that Dark Ugly Varnish- Much like clothing is all about seeing the potential, furniture can be a bit misleading in it’s current, sad state. However, with a little bit of time, spray paint, and some good old fashioned elbow grease, that piece can be restyled to fit your style and space perfectly!
  • Check out that China!- I love shopping through the fancy silver serving trays, china and glasses at thrift stores and start to slowly collect pieces that I adore!
  • Be Wary When Buying Fabric Based items- All thrift stores inspect their furniture very carefully but be sure to look for yourself! Know how to spot signs of bugs or rot, but thrifting can be a wonderful way to find new chairs and rugs! Like any other fabric be sure to clean it before you use it!

Do you love to thrift shop? Have any favorite stores? Or tips of your own? Let me know in a comment below! 

*Sparkle On and Wear Bows*

**All of my photos feature the amazing pieces from Vintage in Vogue located in New Orleans, (Cape Cod) MA**


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