Top 10 Tips for Thrifting

top 10 tips for thrifting
hi! i’m erica from style of a songbird.
I am thrilled and honored to be posting for Stephanie while she enjoys her newest bundle of joy! I pray she’s soaking in every moment and spending lots of time snuggling.
it’s no secret. i love finding a great deal. whether it’s saving a few cents at the gas pump, a dollar or two at the grocery store or clearance sales at the mall–my heart starts to beat faster and i can feel the endorphins pumping.
at least half of my wardrobe is from thrift stores, like the salvation army or goodwill. that includes shoes, accessories and every ‘genre’ of clothing: work out, casual (jeans + t-shirts), fun and funky, and professional/dressy attire.
i have been a ‘thrifter’ for quite a few years.  and i would love to share some of my strategies with you!
erica’s top 10 tips for thrifting:


10. Never thrift in a rush or on an empty stomach. It’s just no fun. Thrifting can be exhausting. In order to get my ‘fabulous’ finds, I search through basically the entire store.  It can take quite a while, but it’s also a stress reliever for me too. It’s nice not to feel pressured to hurry, but to truly enjoy the thrifting experience!

9. If you have the time/energy, TRY IT ON. This works both ways. Sometimes a dress looks GREAT on the hanger, but when I try it on…it’s most certainly a ‘NO.’ However, sometimes I will pick up, for example, a t-shirt in an XL (I usually wear a small/medium) and it fits great (lots of clothes at thrift stores have been washed and shrunk!)

8. Don’t limit yourself to certain sizes. Like I said in #9, often clothes are labeled as a certain size but have been shrunk or stretched out by their previous owners. Sometimes (no fault of the store employees) clothes are put back in the wrong sections. I have found a few items that were my size in the completely wrong area.  You never know where your ‘fabulous find’ is hiding!

7. Shop with an open mind. Even if you think you are looking for something in particular, you will often be surprised! You never know what treasure is hiding in the next section or row that you might have overlooked. You may just find something you never knew you needed or wanted! ;)

6. Don’t just buy it because it’s cheap. It’s so easy to fall into this trap.  Something is sorta your style, or kinda cute, and because it’s 2.99, you can easily justify it to yourself. As I have matured as a ‘thrifter,’ I realize it’s easy to grab items because they are cheap and say, I might wear this, someday. As my thrifting partner in crime, Kara, says: If you don’t LOVE it, don’t buy it!

5. Check the dressing room bars and ‘new’ item racks. I always glance to see if there are a lot of items hanging on the bar or rack right outside of the dressing rooms. Sometimes trendy shoppers have done all the hard work for me and scanned the racks for awesome pieces but they just didn’t fit them. I always start there first. Also, as you become a ‘frequenter,’ you will notice when stores put out new items and where they go. At one of my favorite local Goodwill stores, they have two metal bars for all the new merchandise.

4. Find your favorite few stores and check back often! After visiting nearly every location of thrift stores around the area, I have found a few favorites. Most of them are close to my house (for convenience sake) and I become familiar with their inventory and specials (lots of thrift stores advertise their specials online now via Facebook or twitter or their websites!)

3. Don’t forget accessories. Don’t skip out on the jewelry, shoes, bags, and home decor sections. Sometimes I get so ‘clothes’ minded (ha) that I forget the smaller items (but they are often ‘big ticket’ items!) Check out the funky pattern on this Saks Fifth Avenue purse I got this weekend at Goodwill for $6.99:

2. See the potential and possible re-purposing of an item. I don’t sew. So I’m totally not talking about altering an oversized shirt or hemming a pair of pants. However, Kara (my thrifting partner in crime) made this adorable headband from a stretchy shirt.
And often times, I don’t necessarily alter something, but just use it in another way.  A prime example is folding a silk scarf into an adorable headband/headwrap. SO cute and SO cheap (usually no more than $1.99).

1. Set a budget. Yeah, this sounds like no fun. But sometimes, If I go in saying, I’m going to spend no more than $20.00, I won’t walk out with a ton of extraneous items that I bought impulsively.  Thrifting is tons of fun, but I don’t let myself go crazy. :) It’s actually kinda of like a game when you see how much you can get for a certain amount, like 15 or 20 bucks.
Happy thrifting!


chases 3 small kids and edits Hello Natural

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  1. says

    great tips! i love thripting but havent been in months. i think i have been inspired to go this weekend :o) to go only with #10 – i always take my ear buds and turn on my favorite pandora station. it allows me to really focus on the items im looking thru and helps to me to enjoy that time to myself. if not, i tend to get distracted and people watch then leave fustrated that i didnt find anything.

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