Do: become a regular! Thrifting works best when you make regular-ish trips to your local thrift store. My mom, the thrifting queen, stops by her thrift store every Saturday. I like to go on late Friday afternoons because not as many people are in the store and I have more access to the dressing rooms. That might be too often for some, so find what works for you, and of course, your budget. Frequenting your store(s) helps you to learn when they put new merchandise out, and what days they may have huge sales (50% off!!!).
Don’t: expect to find something great every time. Thrift stores are not like Wal-Mart where you can walk to aisle 8 and find the item you’re looking for. Thrifting is a treasure hunt. Sometimes you score, and other times you walk out empty-handed. Walk in with an open mind each time!
Do: give yourself plenty of time to find items you have on your mind. (caveat: be very careful about having a narrow search in the first place*) For example, I have been wanting to find a white dress for an upcoming trip. Every time I make my thrifting rounds, I peek around for a white dress. I’ve been looking for a few months and I still haven’t found “the one.” Thankfully, I have a little more time to look around. So, if you are pressuring yourself to find an item for a trip or event in the next week, thrifting is going to become stressful and most likely, unsuccessful.
*Regarding a narrow search: don’t. ever. do. this. I am searching for a white dress that looks good on me. I’ve had enough trouble finding this as a (self claimed) semi-pro. If I were walking into thrift stores searching for a knee-length, off the shoulder, white dress made of cotton, I’d have more luck finding a unicorn. Stay broad, young padawan.
Don’t: leave without trying everything on! This is one of my mom’s biggest mistakes (love you, mom!). Yes, even royalty succumbs to the temptation. Sometimes she’ll be in the checkout line and spots an item that she missed. In the interest of time, she’ll throw it on the pile and buy it without trying it on. What happens to these items? Ninety-nine percent of the time, they are tossed into her donation box and end up back in a thrift store. That’s money you could have saved or used to buy something that doesn’t make you look like your grandmother’s couch cushion.
These are just a few to get you started! Feel free to add more in the comments below!