Thrift shopping isn’t for the faint of heart. It requires tenacity, dedication, time, and luck. The good news: there are a host of reasons why you need to embrace the thrift shop, second-hand, consignment shop experience. In these shops, you’ll likely score unique finds at very low prices, many stores support worthy causes, and best of all, you’re conserving resources by giving old items new life. When you pick up someone else’s (potentially perfect) castoffs, you’re saving those items from a slow demise in the landfill and you’re saving the ecological resources needed to create new products.
Whether you’re scouring your local junk shop, an antique boutique in the next town or a yard sale down the street, here are our six tips for your next eco-friendly, thrifting experience.
- Shop as the seasons change. People are more likely to clear out their closets and make donations to thrift stores when their current wardrobe no longer matches the season or trend.
- Shop early and often. If something is good, it won’t last long on the store shelves. The more often you visit your favorite thrift shops, the more likely you are to find a gem. Also, ask store employees when new merchandise will arrive, and make sure to pass by on those days.
- Shop with a plan. Rows and rows of knick-knacks, trinkets and tchotchkes can be overwhelming. Go in with an idea of what you’re looking for—whether it’s a new nightstand or a colorful scarf—to prevent you from leaving with a bunch of items you’ll never use.
- Shop for stuff that never goes out of style. There are certain clothing items you should never thrift (don’t make us name them!) and others, which are great finds, such as soft, worn-in denim and great costume jewelry.
- Shop with a budget. In fact, leave the credit cards at home and only bring a set amount of cash. This will keep you from buying an item you don’t really need, but are likely purchasing because of its low price.
- Shop with an open mind. You might be looking for something specific, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get creative with what’s available. Maybe you found an old, ornate trash can that you can repurpose for holding magazines. Or swap out an unattractive piece of artwork if what you really want is the great frame.
Whatever you do, take your time and be prepared to come back – often – to find that perfect item you’re looking for.