Pop Some Tags: 3 Things To Know Before Thrift Shopping

You’ve reached rock bottom. Even Forever 21’s and H&M’s reasonable pricing isn’t cheap enough for you anymore, and you may as well forget about Urban Outfitters and Free People. What used to be the joy you felt walking into these stores has been replaced by hopeless torture from all the beautiful items that can’t be yours. Your debit card is crying, and your wallet is constantly telling you, “No.” It’s time to channel your inner Macklemore and pop some tags, but where to begin? You step foot into your local Goodwill and what surrounds you seems to be exactly what you expected; old junk that nobody else wanted. How do people do this?

1. Avoid “mainstream” thrift shops like Goodwill and Saint Vincent de Paul. 

Your first mistake was even going to Goodwill. Every once in a while you’ll find a jewel there, but generally speaking, Goodwill is where people take the belongings their local consignment stores rejected. What’s the difference between a consignment and thrift store? The key determinant is the prestigiousness of items they will accept and therefore, inevitably, the pricing of those items. Since the objective here is to save as much money as possible, a thrift shop is the way to go. Finding the perfect shop for you may require a bit of digging, and you may have to think outside the box. Try using your handy Siri app or whatever you may utilize for projects like these, and you’ll be sure to find a store with your name written all over it and with a much broader selection than Goodwill.

2. Finding what you want will take a bit of extra time, but it will be time well spent.

You’ve found your ideal place. What determines the characteristics of that place is entirely up to the individual. Maybe it’s the feeling you got upon entering, like an exciting yet rewarding challenge was upon you. Maybe it’s the marvelous selection of high-waisted shorts that someone’s grandma probably wore on a date to the drive-in, back before chivalry was dead. Whatever that place may be, take a deep breath, and realize that time is money, and if you don’t want to spend that extra money, you are going to have to sacrifice some of your time. Don’t be afraid to really search through all the clothes they have, because if you do, you may be surprised at the adorable vintage findings you stumble upon. Coming from someone who once volunteered at a thrift shop, I will be the first to confirm that the workers are typically pretty laid-back about the organization of the establishment, which creates a bit more work on the customers’ side. However, you and your bank account will both be smiling in spite of it.

Pictured below (on the left) is an example of one of my many thrift shop finds; this particular one I was able to wear to a tea party senior year. As it turns out, the dress was originally from a boutique in England. Cheers to that.


3. Spotify not satisfying your needs? Thrift stores are also an excellent place to discover new music. 

An interesting factoid that not many people know about thrifting is the awesome music and mix tapes that you can find while you’re at it. People like to burn CD’s and sometimes when they are done with them, they take them to a thrift shop. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and if you’re anything like me and are always looking for new music to listen to, you may find that this section of the store tickles your fancy.

If at first you don’t succeed, try again. Just like with anything else in life, perfecting the craft of thrifting takes practice, and you may leave the store frustrated and unsatisfied your first few tries. Fear not, for your time will come, and if you persevere, you are bound to become a thrifting connoisseur in no time. Screw the “vintage” and overpriced clothing from Urban Outfitters. Within you lies the ability to find authentic vintage clothing without giving all your money away to a large moneymaking corporate machine.

Featured Image via Screenshot from YouTube.


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