How to Thrift for Clothes: 16 Tips — (2024)

Thrifting for clothes can be an exhilarating treasure hunt, offering not only a sustainable alternative to fast fashion but also the chance to uncover unique pieces that add character and flair to your wardrobe. Whether you're a seasoned thrifter or new to the game, mastering the art of thrift shopping can elevate your style, save you money, and make a positive impact on the environment.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through how to thrift clothes and discover the best finds. From strategizing your visits to understanding the best times to shop and learning how to spot high-quality items among the masses, we share 16 essential successful tips for thrifting for clothes. With these expert thrifting tips, you'll be well on your way to becoming a thrifting pro, ready to curate a unique and eco-friendly closet.

1. Research Before You Go

Before you even step out the door, do a little homework on where you plan to go and the best things to buy at thrift stores. Understanding the thrift landscape—online thrift stores, local thrift stores, consignment shops, and vintage havens in your area—can vastly improve your thrifting game. Not all thrift shops are created equal; each has its own unique flair and specialty. For example, secondhand shopping at an online thrift store like can expand your options exponentially.

Whether you're looking for high-end vintage clothing or everyday wear, knowing where to go saves time and leads to better finds.

2. Set a Budget

It's easy to get carried away in the sea of used clothes, but remember, wise shopping is budget-conscious shopping. Setting a budget before you start your thrift adventure ensures you don't overspend and helps you prioritize your finds. Thrifting is, after all, about smart, sustainable choices, not just accumulating more. When budget-conscious, thrift shoppers save up to $150 per month on average. However, if you go in without a budget, it’s easy to spend more than you intended on thrifting in the first place.

With a budget in hand, you'll find that the thrill of the hunt becomes even more rewarding, knowing you're making financially savvy decisions.

3. Make a List of Needs vs. Wants

Ah, the classic battle between needs and wants. Walking into your local thrift store without a plan is like navigating a ship without a compass—you might find treasures, but you could also get lost. Jot down what clothing items you genuinely need before getting distracted by the glitter of wants. This strategy helps keep your wardrobe intentional and clutter-free, ensuring that each thrifted item serves a purpose or sparks joy.

4. Wear Clothes That You Can Try Things On Over

One of the best tips to consider when thrifting for clothes is to dress for success. Wearing comfortable clothes you can easily slip items over (think leggings and a fitted top) makes trying on clothes a breeze, especially in stores with limited fitting room access. This little hack not only saves time but also helps you make better decisions about fit and style on the spot.

5. Get Familiar With Fabric Types

One of the joys of thrifting is the plethora of fabric types at your fingertips. However, not all fabrics are created equal. Learning to identify quality fabrics, from luxurious cashmere to durable cotton, can elevate your thrift finds from good to great. Plus, being mindful of materials will help you choose items that last longer and have a lesser environmental impact.

6. Know Your Sizes

In the diverse world of thrifting, sizes can be as varied as the clothing items themselves. Familiarizing yourself with your measurements and sizes across different brands and eras can be a game-changer. Remember, vintage sizing can be vastly different from modern sizing, so keep an open mind and always try things on when possible.

7. Inspect Items Carefully

Thrifting is a bit like detective work—inspection is key. Look for signs of wear and tear, such as stains, holes, or loose threads, and decide if they're fixable or deal-breakers. Quality over quantity is the mantra here. A well-made piece in good condition is worth its weight in gold in the thrifting universe.

8. Look Beyond Current Trends

True style knows no era. One of the most exhilarating aspects of thrifting is the chance to craft a personal style that transcends fleeting fashion trends. Vintage and retro pieces not only add character to your wardrobe but also speak volumes about your commitment to sustainability and individuality. So, go ahead, mix that classic '70s blouse with skinny jeans, and create a look that's uniquely you.

9. Understand Brands and Quality

Knowledge is power, especially in the realm of thrifting. Understanding the hallmarks of quality brands and how to spot them amidst the sea of thrift store clothes can significantly upgrade your thrift hauls or help you score big when thrift flipping.

Brands are not just about the label but the craftsmanship and durability they represent. A high-quality vintage item from a recognized brand can be a timeless addition to your wardrobe, offering a style that endures beyond the fast fashion cycle.

10. Shop Vintage Items

There's something undeniably enchanting about vintage clothing. Each piece tells a story, a whisper from the past that adds depth and personality to your wardrobe. Shopping for vintage items isn't just about style; it's a nod to sustainability, reducing the demand for new, resource-intensive garments. Plus, vintage finds are often unique, allowing you to stand out and express your individuality with pieces that aren't available off the rack in retail stores.

11. Check for Sales and Special Discounts

Who says thrift shopping can't get even more budget-friendly? Many thrift stores offer sales, special discounts, and promotions. Keeping an eye out for these deals can make your thrifting experience even more rewarding, ensuring you get the best bang for your buck while supporting sustainable shopping practices.

12. Keep an Open Mind

Thrifting is an adventure, and like all great adventures, it requires an open mind. What makes thrift shopping so thrilling is the potential to find something extraordinary in the most unexpected places. Maybe it's a designer piece hidden among the racks of a small thrift shop or a vintage gem that's just waiting to be discovered. Approach thrifting with curiosity and flexibility, and you're bound to stumble upon incredible finds that you might not have considered otherwise.

13. Be Patient

Patience truly is a virtue in the world of thrifting. The perfect find might not reveal itself on your first visit, but persistence pays off. Thrift stores are constantly receiving new thrifted clothing, so regular visits can increase your chances of discovering that dream piece. Remember, thrifting is more marathon than sprint; it's about enjoying the journey as much as the destination.

14. Visit Regularly

The dynamic inventory of thrift stores means that no two visits are ever the same. Regularly visiting your favorite stores or checking in on online thrift stores like can be key to snagging the best items. Seasoned thrifters know that timing can be everything—what's not there one day might magically appear the next, ready to find a new home with you.

15. Embrace Alterations

Not every thrift find will fit like it was made for you, but that's where the magic of alterations comes in. Embracing the potential for tweaking and tailoring can open up a world of possibilities, transforming an almost-right piece into your new favorite wardrobe staple. Whether it's hemming a skirt or taking in a jacket, alterations allow you to personalize secondhand clothing, ensuring they complement your style perfectly.

16. Wash and Care for Items Post-Purchase

After scoring some incredible secondhand clothing, it's essential to give them a little TLC. Washing and caring for your items not only ensures they're ready to wear but also extends their lifespan, furthering your commitment to sustainability. Not sure how to wash thrifted clothes? Follow care labels or opt for gentle, eco-friendly cleaning methods to keep your thrifted treasures looking their best.

Online Thrift with

In the digital age, the thrill of thrifting isn't confined to physical stores. Online platforms like offer a vast, constantly updated selection of clothing, accessories, and even furniture, bringing the thrifting experience to your fingertips. It's a great way to explore wider selections, discover rare finds, and support a great cause—all from the comfort of your home.

Thrifting for clothes is more than just shopping; it's a journey towards more sustainable fashion and intentional living. It's about the joy of discovery, the thrill of the hunt, and the satisfaction of making choices that reflect our values and individuality. Armed with these tips, set forth on your thrifting adventure with confidence, curiosity, and a heart ready for the treasures you'll find.


  1. Mezzacca, M. (n.d.). Top Cities to Thrift. Retrieved from

How to Thrift for Clothes: 16 Tips — (2024)


What are 10 tips for shopping at the thrift store so you don t get overwhelmed and find what you need? ›

9 Thrifting Tips to Ensure You Find the Best Secondhand Items
  1. Familiarize yourself with local thrift stores. ...
  2. Know what you're looking for. ...
  3. Take a tactile approach to thrift shopping. ...
  4. Check thrift stores often. ...
  5. Tailor your search when thrift shopping online. ...
  6. Check that you're getting a fair price.
Sep 20, 2023

How to successfully thrift? ›

10 tips for thrifting
  1. Create a budget. ...
  2. Clear out your closet in between trips to the thrift store. ...
  3. Keep hygiene in mind when giving away or looking for clothes. ...
  4. Get inspiration to help you pick the best items for you. ...
  5. Know what each store specializes in selling. ...
  6. Thrift with a friend. ...
  7. Wear something comfortable.
Mar 16, 2023

What is the best day to go to Goodwill? ›

While there's no “perfect” day to shop second hand stores, many regulars swear by shopping early on Monday and Tuesday. Homeowners tend to drop off garage sale leftovers on Sunday nights, making for new finds. Plus, the weekends are more crowded shopping days, so employees look to restock early in the week.

How to thrift without getting overwhelmed? ›

Turning your thrift trips into a routine will help you keep your eye on the prize and avoid stress and overconsumption. Stick to the intentions you've set for yourself. Set a budget and make sure not to go over. Make your list the day before and enter the store with determination to find those pieces!

How to bargain at thrift store? ›

Thrift store prices are low, but that doesn't mean they can't go lower. If you think something is priced too high for what is, ask if they're willing to take less for it. Just be polite in doing so and don't be discouraged if they're not open to bargaining.

What should you wear when thrifting? ›

Wear something that's easy to change in and out of

Thrifting outfits should be comfortable with shoes that aren't annoying to take on and off since you'll be doing a lot of it. Some stores don't have changing rooms so be prepared to change on the shop floor if you have to.

How do I start thrift flipping? ›

Here is a list of steps you can follow to flip items from a thrift store:
  1. Research various thrift stores in your area. ...
  2. Look for typically high-value items. ...
  3. Search for items you find online. ...
  4. Purchase items. ...
  5. Take pictures of the items. ...
  6. List the items for sale. ...
  7. Ship the items. ...
  8. Track earnings.
Jun 24, 2022

How do you thrift consciously? ›

How to Be a Conscious Consumer?
  1. buy local.
  2. shop secondhand.
  3. think quality over quantity.
  4. don't buy in to fast fashion.
May 9, 2024

Can you make a lot of money thrifting? ›

It's not uncommon to find thrift store flippers making close to $100k every year from thrift store flipping. It, however, still depends on how much you put in. If you're willing to put in enough time to learn about flipping and carefully research the items to sell, you can make a comfortable living.

Should you wash Goodwill clothes before wearing? ›

Given the concern around germs and smells when buying secondhand goods, here's what we recommend for “new to you” purchases: Wash the laundry immediately, using recommended settings and detergent. Recycle any bags or boxes they came in.

What are the best times to thrift? ›

According to Goodwill, the perfect time slot to shop at thrift stores is in the morning on both Monday and Tuesday. This is because, at least as far as Goodwill is concerned, people tend to donate garage sale remnants on Sunday, so the pickings are new and fresh come early weekdays.

What time is best for Goodwill bins? ›

Tip Two: Go at the Right Time

Another reason thrifting may seem difficult to you is because you aren't going at the right time. Goodwill replaces their items in the morning, and some stores replace their items just before closing as well. The safest choice is to go in the morning, right when the store opens.

How to thrift like a pro? ›

Dress comfortably: Wear clothes that are easy to change in and out of since trying on items is crucial when thrifting. Bring cash: Some thrift stores only accept cash, so it's wise to carry small bills and change for convenience. Keep an open mind: Be willing to experiment and try different styles and sizes.

How do I prepare for thrifting? ›

Thrifting tips
  1. Pick a day to go thrifting. Stores often restock over the weekend, so you may want to choose a Monday. ...
  2. Make a list before you shop. ...
  3. Wear clothing that fits close to your body. ...
  4. Have a budget. ...
  5. Bring bags.

How do I not spend all my money on clothes? ›

Buy offseason items. Most people have a buy now, wear now attitude and shop for what they'll wear that very moment. However, shopping during peak season, especially at full price, is expensive. Think ahead.

How do I stop being overwhelmed when shopping? ›

Here are five ways to stop overwhelm in its tracks and seriously smooth out your shopping experience.
  1. Get a better sense of your personal style. ...
  2. Don't bring style inspo with you. ...
  3. Be purposeful when you're shopping. ...
  4. Don't rush yourself in stores. ...
  5. Remember that you don't have to buy anything.
Jul 20, 2022

Why does shopping make me overwhelmed? ›

Add in narrow aisles and a barrage of smells and bright marketing, and the experience can be overwhelming. Shopping can also bring up financial and body insecurities. Fearing embarrassment over having to put something back because you can't afford the total bill can trigger anxiety.

Why is shopping at thrift stores bad? ›

Clothing and textiles that are donated to thrift stores are not laundered before they end up in the store and could contain lots of bacteria or even bedbugs. Some of these clothes are so dirty, a thrift shop will likely immediately throw them away.

Why do I get overwhelmed in shopping Centres? ›

For example, you can experience dizziness walking around the mall because your brain is trying to deal with stimuli, bright lights, arrays of products everywhere, and other people's movements. That can produce dizziness as a side effect, making you feel anxious and uncomfortable in a large space.

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