Ready to Start Thrifting? Here are 7 Tips All First-Time Thrift-Shoppers Should Know

About two years ago, I stopped focusing on brand-names, and started thrifting. My personal style and aesthetic was changing from frilly grandma to 90s tomboy quickly, and I wanted, no - needed all the flannels, and stat.

Yep, that looks like something I’d pick out now.

Yep, that looks like something I’d pick out now.

After doing my due diligence researching on Pinterest all the outfits and styles I wanted to find, I visited (a couple) of my local Goodwills, and bam - my love for thrifting was cemented. Now, almost two years later, I can happily say that more than half of my closet is sourced from thrift stores, and I couldn’t love the clothes I wear more!

To help anyone who’s interested in thrifting get started on the right foot, I’ve compiled a list of the seven pieces of advice I wish I’d been given when I started out. Let’s get into it, then!

Research the best thrift stores in your area

I did my research, and so should you! First of all, find out what kind of thrift stores are available in your area. Depending on where you live, there might be several different chains or mom-n’-pop shops you could try! Try checking if any stores have reviews online - this might help you stay away from the shadier spots.

Some of my favorite pieces have come from Goodwill, Uptown Cheapskate, and Buffalo Exchange, all of which have several locations across the country!

Inspect carefully for defects

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Some shops like Buffalo Exchange check clothes before they acquire them, but that doesn’t mean that they catch everything! When you’re sifting through the racks, make sure to inspect for any unrepairable holes, rips, or stains.

Shop in all the sections

Something I learned quite quickly is that the ‘rules’ of regular clothing stores don’t necessarily apply in thrift stores. I’ve found some of my most treasured pieces in the men’s and kid’s sections!

Here’s what I’ve found to be generally true:

  • The best flannels are in the men’s section.

  • Same goes for t-shirts (plain and graphic)

  • Goodwills are best for people with more feminine styles, but Buffalo Exchanges carry more androgynous styles

Throw sizing out the window

We all know the sizing system is messed up anyway, so here’s your chance to finally through caution to the wind entirely. If it looks like it might fit, or looks like the good kind of baggy, it probably will.

Look for high-end brands (if you’re into that)

Thrift stores aren’t just a place to find unknown brands! If you look hard enough, you can find super high-quality pieces for affordable prices, like Levi’s jeans, Gucci, and Doc Martens!

Bring a friend

Shopping is just objectively better with the people you love! And if you’re worried about going to a new place, having them there can help you feel more comfortable. Who knows - you both might find your next favorite outfit!

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Wash whatever you buy before you wear it

Now this should go without saying, but you never know! Wash the clothes before you show them off to your co-workers or friends, trust me.


Whether you’re just starting thrifting or still trying to decide whether or not it’s for you, I hope these tips and tricks were helpful. Good luck!

Have anymore tips? Let us know in the comments below!