Thrift Basics for Beginners - How to Get Started

There are many reasons to purchase vintage and second hand, whether it be due to sustainability, your love for vintage or you just want to save money. There are so many options spanning from your local mom and pop thrift store to larger chains. Now, in the age of the internet you can thrift online. It has also become a big business and has been extremely popular with younger generations. Gone are the days where people looked down on you for bargain shopping. Now, it's the new trendy thing to do. Shopping for second hand items allows you find unique pieces and rare finds. It also allows you to be part of the "slow fashion" movement and save money by giving pre owned accessories a second life. However, with recently popularity many people still have questions, apprehensions and assumptions around thrifting. I'll cover a few basics on how to get started thrifting.
Many people ask this question and for varying reasons. Some people are overwhelmed at the thought of going into a local thrift store and others just aren't sure what options they have. We'll cover 5 tips to get you started


Set a budget and stick to it

Most people shop with a budget in mind. Especially, if you're in need of some retail therapy. If you don't I advise that you do, especially when it comes to thrift shopping online or in person. Since you can get deeply discounted items you don't want to go overboard by not setting guardrails.  Anytime you're spending your hard earned money you should have a plan for how much you're willing to give up. Setting a budget will help you stick to your goal and will keep you from overspending. It will also help you evaluate what you truly need when you end up with a shopping cart full of stuff.

Where to shop?

There are many options from your local mom and pop shop, to chains like Goodwill and online apps. Overall, searching for locations in popular shopping districts and areas where you can find highly desirable older neighborhoods will increase your chances of finding great gems and vintage dazzlers. Also, check out local estate sales within your metro area at For example, start driving to a higher end shopping location in your area and then use your GPS to find thrift and vintage stores in the area. If you want to couple an estate sale with that, to save on gas, locate an estate sale address and find thrift stores in the area. I personally use this tactic when I am trying to find inventory for my designer resale online store. You'll be surprised what you end up finding. Most of my luck has been through online auctions and estate sales. My best find to date was a Hermès Cabas Victoria Tote. That handbag actually started my interest and appreciation for Hermes quality.


Don't get discouraged and Don't just buy just to buy

Just remember that you may not find something the first, second or third time you go in. Remember it isn't a department store where you'll see multiples of the same item. Inventory for many thrift stores comes from donations so timing is key. You never know when that perfect item you're looking for will arrive. You'll have to keep coming back and keep trying. My personal experience has been that I've found better luck, more frequently, through estate sales rather than thrift stores. Just keep that in mind if you feel the need to switch up your routine.
Also, don't feel like you just need to buy something to feel like you've accomplished your goal during your visit. You're just wasting money, even if you saved a lot of money from the purchase. From a sustainability standpoint,  you're not helping by purchasing something you're not going to use. From a mindful consumerism standpoint, if you're not actually excited about it at the store chances are you're not going change your mind when you get home. You're pretty much allowing something you won't likely use to take up space. Depending on how much storage you have space can be extremely important, if you don't have much room.


Figure out when sales are happening (physical locations)

I know you're probably thinking "wait, you can get a discount?" Yes, you absolutely can. Many thrift stores have designated sale days. This information will be posted in a central location within the store so make sure you check it out. To save extra money, try to go shopping early on the sale days. Now, thrift stores already have good deals but it never hurts to save extra cash.

Thrifting can be fun, exciting and overwhelming. It's okay thrifting is not for everyone. Let the experts search for you! Contact us if you have any questions or would like to use our concierge services to locate authentic luxury pre owned designer handbags or other accessories.

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