Top 8 Tips for a Successful Thrifting Trip

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It is safe to say that thrifting has become a popular past time in the last couple of years, and people that might not have previous even considered doing are now enjoying it.

For me personally thrifting has always been a massive part of my life growing up and I never saw it as a negative thing. I do think it did have negative connotations back in the day, and it was seen as something you did if you didn’t have a lot of money. However, I was lucky that I had friends that were similar to me and we all didn’t mind going into charity shops or going to markets. We actually all loved doing these things together.

In saying this I love the fact that more people are becoming interested and learning or attempting to thrift because it can be exciting. Not only can you find some key pieces, but we are keeping clothing or items from going to the landfill that are still in good conditions.

There is still a long way to go in terms of a lot of clothing or home items donated don’t tend to end up in the charity shops but that is a topic for another day.

people young smiling clothing
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If you are new to the thrifting world then you might want some tips or a little guidance. Sometimes it can be tiresome and overwhelming. Especially because it isn’t like your average shop and you cannot guarantee all the time that you will find what you are looking for. It does tend to be going in quite a few shops before you find those pieces that you want.

However, if that is making you feel a little on edge then I am here to help you make the most out of your first or next thrifting experience!

8 Tips for a Successful Thrifting Trip

person holding red dress shirt on hanger part of thrifting
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Have a list

First before you even go out thrifting it is important to have that list. You need to know what you intend to buy and what you are looking for. Otherwise, you will feel overwhelmed because there is so much to look at and a variety of shops.

Make sure you go through what you already own and then create that list to help you note down what you need. This can be either a mental list, on your phone or even a traditional notepad.

Remember to have some cash

A lot of charity or thrift shops do have card machines, however sometimes it can be cash only so do note that down and take cash.

You could also use this as a way to budget and just take a certain amount of cash, then this way you are not overspending and it will keep you on budget! This is useful because it can be addictive when you are surrounded by a variety of bargains.

Inspect the clothing

Do remember that when you are thrifting you are potentially buying clothes that have been worn before (not always the case but most of the time). Therefore, make sure you are inspecting each garment.

It could be that there are tiny holes or stains and if this is not something for you to work with then it is best not to purchase them. This is also something to note if items are especially quite low priced but not always the case.

Check sizing

Sort of linked to the point above but when you are inspecting the clothing items specifically, ensure they fit or you believe they would fit.

A lot of the time there are not available changing rooms so it is important that you make sure the items are best for you. Also most of the time you cannot return or get a refund when you are thrifting so again if you are buying clothing items just note that down.

woman in white long sleeve shirt sitting on brown wooden chair
Photo by cottonbro on

Research the stores

Something else you can do before you head out thrifting is to research and understand the stores before you head to them. This is because, certain stores specialise in certain items. For example, some stores might focus predominantly on homeware whereas others may focus more on fashion.

This will also help you to avoid disappointment and heading to a store where you are looking for a certain item and realising they don’t sell it. Therefore, learn about the stores before you go!

Ask when stores restock

It is always nice to get to know those that are working in these thrift stores, and I am always up for a conversation. However, something else that is important is to ask when they normally restock their stores.

This is crucial so that you don’t miss out on key pieces and you can essentially get there before everyone else. It can also be helpful to know when you want to go to these stores and potentially avoid the crowds.

Do not impulse buy

Similar to how you should avoid impulse buying in your average shopping experience, this should be the same when it comes to thrifting.

As I have mentioned before it can be easy to be put under the spell of these amazingly priced items, and you feel dragged in to buying more than you need because it is a great price! However, it could actually not be benefiting you by doing this.

If you just walk into every store and impulse buy you are just buying for the sake of it and not actually taking the time to think about what you actually need. Again this links into why you should be making lists because it should help you stick to that list and not over buy.

Shop off season

My last top tip for thrifting in this post is to shop off season. I know this might sound weird and if it is summer time you are probably thinking “well I don’t want to buy a thick coat in the summer”. I totally understand this BUT this is actually the best time because the demand for these items is low.

It makes sense because most people are going to be thinking what I put above so this is your chance to grab those bargains but also those key pieces for your wardrobe. Also this helps you get ahead and you will be prepared for the winter in advance!

You might even find that they are even cheaper than when you buy them in season too!

women removing clothes from the chest
Photo by cottonbro on

There you have it my 8 top tips for a successful thrifting trip! I hope these are handy and next time you go thrifting they will help you enjoy the experience even more.

Do you go thrifting? What are your top tips?

OUT NOW : You can grab my step by step guide to budgeting now! Super affordable and helps you begin your budgeting journey in a simple, basic and beginner way.

Thanks for reading,

Gemma Jayne x

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  1. Great post! I think it’s so important to know how to thrift properly, and I’ve always shopped from charity shops and jumble sales πŸ™‚ I will continue to do this x

  2. I love thrifting! I enjoyed it before becoming a parent and even more now. I call it treasure hunting. I think something you didn’t list, is patience. Unlike retail, you never know what a store is going to stock. Also, you have to make the time to really look around to make sure you find something that’s in good condition and the price you want to buy. I can’t imagine buying retail for my kid. She’s growing faster than I could keep up with and would have been out SO MUCH MONEY! Great tips all around.

    Happy Thrifting!

    ~ Cassie |

    1. That is great! Thank you for sharing that point I think I only briefly touched upon that it is not easy to look around and takes time etc. But like you said patience is key. And absolutely that is such a good point about your kid they do grow up so quickly!! Thank you xx

  3. I’ve never really had success when thrifting, but I think that a lot of that had to do with the stores that I was visiting. I’ll have to do some additional research and then keep these tips in mind when planning my next thrift trip. Great post!

    1. It can be quite difficult finding the things you want but yeah definitely research and again go at times when they restock as well. Once you find the best places it can be so much fun! πŸ™‚

  4. Fab tips! I think having a list of what you’re looking for as well as avoiding impulse buys are both super important things to remember, and I also love the idea of shopping off season! Thanks for sharing x

  5. What an awesome tip to shop off season! I will have to start doing that more often, as it is a wonderful way to stick to a budget in a creative and useful way.

    I always check clothing as carefully as I can, because a missing button on a tiny tear is a huge annoyance to discover after the purchase. Sizing is a bit iffy, as often brands do not size consistently with their counterparts, so being able to try on a big plus. πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you I am glad I could share that tip πŸ™‚ I actually found my winter coat in the summer last year and it was in great condition for a fraction of the price!

      Yeah absolutely, which you can do so in shops. Sadly this cannot be done on apps like Depop or Vinted so you have to trust the person and I have had instances where they don’t mention a stain or rip etc which is annoying. I agree about the sizing though I can vary from a size 8 to a size 12 depending on the shop!

  6. Some great tips. I don’t regularly go in, other than for jigsaws, but my nan used to regularly get first dibs on clothes at her local charity shops thanks to knowing the manager and staff.

  7. I love thrifting, but I have learnt the hard way that it’s important to closely inspect the item and try it on before buying. πŸ™‚

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