Every year the cost of pretty much everything gets ever higher. Due to these constant price rises, more and more people are shopping at thrift stores. Thrifting is fast becoming hugely popular with people from all walks of life looking for those bargains. Many thrifters are simply there for a bit of fun, to save some cash, and to buy a few things.
However, there are another group of serious thrifters that have turned thrifting into a thriving business. It’s this group that has supplied these 10 thrifting tips that can help you go from amateur thrifter to seasoned professional thrifter in no time at all!
Thrifting as a hobby is relatively easy – you can browse at your leisure and there is no rush. However, if you want to start taking thrifting more seriously, then it can be more stressful if you are not prepared.
These 10 thrifting tips are going to help you thrift like a pro. Learn the benefits of making lists, looking for high-end brands, following trends, and much more!
By the end, you will be ready to take your thrifting to the next level!
10 Incredible Thrifting Secrets Seasoned Professionals Know
Here we are, the 10 thrifting tips that could change you from a hobby thrifter to a serious player!
Check shipping conditions
The first, and one of the most important thrifting secrets is to fully understand how shipping works.
Make sure packages are labeled correctly as you don’t want packages going to the wrong customer. Whatever platform you use for selling your thrifted items, make sure you have read and understood their terms and conditions. This is a vital step as it helps minimize losses as some platforms will require you to use their labels, otherwise, they won’t accept that the item has been shipped. If there is a dispute, you could lose both funds and the item in these cases.
Looking for the cheapest shipping options may seem smart as it saves money. However, if the carrier is cheap, it could be a sign they don’t fully insure items, or the service is poorer than others. Check reviews carefully to see if they have a history of missing delivery times or not refunding lost items. Sometimes it’s worth paying a little more to guarantee a better service.
These days there is a huge range of shipping options available. Ultimately, you want to ship your items for the least amount of money possible and your customers don’t want to wait too long for their items. Learn as much as you can about the various shipping platforms – some offer discounts if you are shipping multiple packages a month. Use these offers to your advantage to save money.
By knowing how shipping works and the costs involved you can avoid costly mistakes. It should also mean your customers are happy as they receive their items on time.
Shipping may sound like a daunting topic as there are so many variables. Don’t worry! As you gain experience before you know it you will also be an expert on shipping costs, labels, and much more!
Don’t miss out on Goodwill Outlets A.K.A The Bins
When you are searching for items to buy where do you look? Thrift stores, online auction sites, yard sales, and adverts online for people giving items away are all obvious starting points. However, one place that you should not overlook are the Goodwill Outlets.
What is a Goodwill Outlet?
As you know, Goodwill Stores sells donated goods. Have you ever wondered what happens to stock that hasn’t sold?
Any items that can’t be sold are sent to a Goodwill Outlet. During the day large bins (hence the nickname) filled with goods are available for you to purchase. Clothes, shoes, toys, textiles, and much more are all found in these bins. Anything that isn’t sold is then disposed of.
The first thing that makes shopping at a Goodwill Outlet amazing is how most items are priced. You don’t pay per item – you are charged by the pound. Fill your cart and when you get to the end it is weighed on a scale. All you pay is the price per pound which does vary, but is often around $1.50. Awesome!
There are some items – books, furniture, rugs, and blankets – that are not priced by the pound. These items are priced individually so look out for them and check the price stickers or price list on the nearest display.
Remember – check the items you want to buy are in good condition before heading to the checkout.
Shopping at a Goodwill Outlet is a completely different experience from shopping at the stores. You will be competing with other shoppers, and this can mean long waits. It’s not unheard of for shoppers to bring snacks, drinks, and even chairs! The bins of goods are wheeled out and once picked over, replaced by another bin. Outlets vary, but you could expect a new bin to look through roughly every hour or so.
Goodwill Outlet shopping can be a fantastic way to find amazing bargains!
Have fun! Reward yourself 😉
One tip that may be surprising is to buy items for yourself. Clothes are a common choice – look for clothes that suit your style and will fit you. That way you always have a fantastic wardrobe, but you still make money when the clothes sell. Any clothes that don’t sell, you can keep them!
This idea isn’t limited to clothes only – anything you buy could be resold. Keep this in mind when you need something for yourself or your home. Buy items that you are happy to use until they can be resold. Make sure to look after them, keep them clean, and try not to break them! That way the resale value will be worthwhile.
A benefit of doing this is that you always have new things to wear, use around your home, or toys for the kids to play with. It also means when the items are resold that you can recoup the money you paid with a tidy profit on top as well!
Approaching thrifting using this method also makes it easier to find bargains. If you are shopping for things you like, then it usually means you know more about the item and its potential for resale.
If you are new to thrifting, learning what sells and what doesn’t is one of the hardest things to learn. Buying things you know about is a great way when starting out to get used to how the pricing and popularity of certain items work. Plus, you have new things for yourself until they sell!
As you get more experienced, you could branch out into other items that you don’t know as much about, but you should have more confidence thanks to your experience of selling on goods you do know about.
Always be prepared
To become a serious thrifter means potentially spending a lot of time hunting for the best deals possible. Before you even leave the house, you should have already spent time online researching places to go thrifting, products that are of interest, and which platforms you will use to sell your items.
Once you are out, you don’t want to have to return home and miss those bargains! You must be prepared to spend the entire day finding those special deals that will make you some money. To do this it is essential that you are prepared.
The first thing you must bring with you, which is arguably the most important, is a phone charger. If you run out of battery power, then your ability to successfully thrift will be severely hampered. This is because the internet is such a necessary resource these days. Finding deals, flash sales, and directions to where you want to go are all accessible thanks to the power of the internet in the palm of your hand.
Having a fully charged phone and headphones means you also have entertainment. A lot of your time will be spent queueing or waiting for stock to be replenished. Being able to listen to music, play a game, or phone a friend is a great way to help pass the time. Or you could be searching for the next place to go!
Other things you should carry with you include food, water, hand sanitizer, and tissues. Food and water are imperative as hunger and dehydration can impair your decision-making. Plus, serious thrifters don’t have time for a lunch break! Make sure you have enough to get you through the day.
Even before COVID, it was always best to carry hand sanitizer and tissues. That’s because some second-hand items may be dirty, and they’ve possibly been touched by other shoppers. You can wipe them over once bought and keep yourself germ-free as well.
One thing that some stores don’t provide or don’t have enough of is bags. Bring your own bags when thrifting to make it easier to carry your purchases. Always bring one more than you think you need in case you hit the jackpot and need to buy more than you thought!
Know when to buy / sell
Knowing what is popular is a good way to make sure you always find popular clothes and other items that will sell well. One of the easiest ways to stay up to date is to watch reseller content on YouTube. This will keep you in the loop of what to look out for when you are out thrifting.
Having a fully charged phone with you can be of enormous help. When you are in the store looking at items you may find things that look good, but you haven’t heard the brand name before. Using your phone to quickly check if a brand is popular and get an idea of the potential price of the item is super helpful when you are out and about.
Seasonal changes should also be kept in mind. During the winter months, things like sweaters, coats, and jeans are going to sell better than in the summer. Likewise, in the summer items like tops, skirts, and shorts are going to be better sellers. Although you shouldn’t pass up a bargain to buy these items when you see them, selling them will be easier at appropriate times of the year.
As you become an experienced thrifter, you will gradually start to know what things sell best and at what times of the year. For example, in the run-up to Christmas toys, books, and other items that make great gifts will sell much faster.
Before buying anything make sure to give it a thorough check. Rips, tears, and stains could all reduce the value and may make some things unsellable. If buttons are missing or zips are broken, this also presents a problem. You could fix things yourself, but this is more time and money spent that may not worth it.
Although these things don’t have to be a dealbreaker, you need to decide whether you want to spend your own time fixing or cleaning things, or just stick to buying things that are ready to use and sell.
Make Sure To Allocate Enough Time
Thrifting can take up a lot of your time. Therefore, it’s essential to plan your time wisely. Make sure you schedule enough time to visit everywhere you want to go each day. By having a thorough plan, you can avoid rushing around and potentially missing deals!
When it comes to planning your route, the internet is your friend. Check online for best routes, store opening times, and any traffic warnings. Some stores also close through the day to restock. Armed with this information you can plan where to be and when throughout the day.
Things to keep in mind are that early mornings are often the best times to go. Earlier in the day usually has fewer people in stores and the best stuff hasn’t been snapped up yet. Thrift stores do sometimes have sale days as well – check often for these and find bargains that are even cheaper! Sales are often put on around national holidays, sometimes on the day, after, or both.
Spring and summer are often great times to get things as donations tend to be higher at these times.
Earlier in the week is often the best time for thrift shopping. Many donations are made over the weekend and hit the shelves on a Monday or Tuesday. Plan accordingly to make sure you don’t miss out on any great deals!
If the stores you use have an app or website, remember to sign up. Doing this means you can be kept informed of any sales and changes in opening times.
Although you may be thrifting to make some money, that doesn’t mean it has to be stressful. By taking the time to thoughtfully plan your day you aren’t rushing around. Knowing the best times to find certain items also means you can save time. Not going to the store when you know there won’t be anything you want means you can use that time for other things!
Look for high-end brands
Thrifting for high-end brands can be extremely worthwhile as the returns are high. Prada, Gucci, Chanel, etc are all highly desirable items that if genuine will resell instantly, and for a decent resale price.
Many people love fashion and other high-end items, but are priced out of buying these things new. To affordably buy designer clothes and other accessories, getting them second-hand is the only way for most people.
The biggest challenge is knowing if the item is authentic or not. Start by thoroughly inspecting the item – tags, logos, and materials it’s made from should help identify if the item is genuine.
Most high-end brands have serial numbers and dates on the item. Use this information to check online and verify the authenticity of the item. Some store staff may be able to help with this – try asking for help if you are unsure. With practice, you will be able to spot the difference between replicas and authentic items in no time at all!
Your smartphone is your best friend when thrifting for high-end brands. Use it to search up items whilst in-store to check valuations, authenticity, and popularity. Some brands you find may be ones you haven’t heard of – that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth buying. Look up the brand on your phone to find out more about them and if there is a second-hand market for their goods.
Another great reason to look out for high-end items is that you can use them yourself! Until you sell them on that is – just make sure they don’t get damaged!
If you choose to focus exclusively on thrifting high-end items, you could save yourself time over the week. The potential returns on these highly sought-after items mean you don’t have to sell as much to make a decent profit!
Join thrifting groups
Serious thrifters take thrifting…seriously! That means that some thrifters think they always know best and try to tell others what they should or shouldn’t do. There is nothing wrong with offering advice and support, but crossing a line into making others feel bad about their choices is not necessary.
Ultimately, there is no right or wrong way to thrift!
Sure, there may be tips and tricks you can follow that make you more money, but many people want to enjoy thrifting whilst making a profit at the same time. And that’s OK!
If you join thrifting groups online, there will be some members that judge your purchases. You paid too much, the item isn’t worth anything, and other comments like this will be made by a small minority. Sometimes these comments may make you feel down. However, try not to let these types of comments get to you!
It doesn’t matter what internet strangers think about the decisions you’ve made. If you are happy with your purchase, then that’s all that matters. When you are new to thrifting, you will probably buy many things that weren’t worth it, but the only way you can learn to become a successful thrifter is by trial and error. As you gain experience, your purchases will eventually be more hit than miss!
Thrifting should be something you are doing for yourself. To make money and to enjoy doing something at the same time. Although advice from other experienced thrifters can be helpful, hurtful comments are not. Remember, thrifting is something you do for yourself, not others!
Try to connect with like-minded thrifters that offer encouragement and support. Doing this will help boost your confidence and mental health. At the same time, make sure you are encouraging your fellow thrifters.
When you are out and about running personal errands, you might see a new TV, designer handbag, or new car that you want to get. However, most of the time you wouldn’t buy these things straight away. You might wait for sales to see if you can get them cheaper. Sometimes they may be expensive, and you must save up to buy them.
Shopping for your own things means you can wait to get them, and if the item is no longer available when you go back, or you’ve changed your mind about the purchase that’s not a problem.
Should you do the same when thrifting?
The short answer is, no! First of all, thrift stores don’t want to keep stock indefinitely. Plus, lots of other people thrift, either for their own use or as a way to make some money. That means if you see something you want, you should get it straight away! Otherwise, it will probably be gone the next time you visit the thrift store.
Another temptation may be to wait for sales and get those items even cheaper. Thrift stores often have sales, especially around national holidays, but you shouldn’t wait for these.
To start with, thrift items are already cheap. A sale price won’t save you much more. Also, if you don’t buy the items you want, and wait for a sale, what might happen? The items are gone as someone else got their first! You miss out because you might have saved a couple of dollars. It’s not worth it.
Keep in mind – if you know an item is worth buying as it has resale value, then so do other thrifters! Don’t hesitate to buy thrift items you want immediately. There is no good reason to wait!
Start a thrifting journal
When you are out thrifting, it can be easy to get carried away and buy up many different bargains as you find them. Sometimes this isn’t the best approach as you can end up with more things than you can sell, or you could end up buying things that won’t sell.
The best way to avoid buying unnecessary items is to make a list.
Make detailed lists of what you need or want to find. As you spend more time thrifting you can make more lists covering which thrift stores are best for certain items.
Some thrift stores run deals on certain days or use a color of the week system. Add to your list which days the deals are available and mark which stores use color tags to show items that are on offer. Utilize this data to maximize your thrifting by planning your routes around the times you can get the best deals.
Making lists and tracking offers is another situation that is made easier by always having a fully charged smartphone with you!
There are lots of awesome apps that you can use for making lists on your phone. This saves you from carrying around lots of bits of paper! If you prefer using a pen and paper, then maybe invest in a ring binder to make it easier to carry with you and stay organized. Most people prefer to use apps as these allow multiple lists to be made, you can color-code items, and tick off anything you find. However, the choice is yours!
To make sure you don’t miss the deals day at each thrift store make sure to utilize your calendar on your phone. Add each day and set reminders to pop up. Doing this means you shouldn’t miss out on any offers.
Many thrift stores such as Goodwill offer a mobile app. Downloading these apps gives you some fantastic benefits. You can keep up to date with opening hours, offers, and store locations. Use all these tools to your advantage!
Thrifting Tips – Wrapup
Now that you’ve read these 10 thrifting tips from seasoned thrifters, what do you think? Are you ready to take your own thrifting to a higher level? Yes? Excellent!
At first, you may feel overwhelmed by all the advice here – that’s OK. Although these 10 tips are tried and tested methods to help be a better thrifter, you don’t have to implement them all at once!
Start by using the ones that you believe will help you the most. For example, you might choose to focus on 3 tips to start with. Lists, shipping, and time management are great thrifting tips to get started with. Then, as you grow in confidence you could add all the other tips to your game and become a thrifting master!
Don’t forget, technology is your friend if you want to get serious about thrifting. Your smartphone should always be with you and kept fully charged. Use apps for lists, thrift stores, and comparing prices to make sure you are finding the best deals you can. As a bonus, many of these apps are free!
Another awesome benefit of technology is the support you can find. Online thrifting groups are abundant – just remember to block those negative comments! As well as support groups you can find information about thrifting online. Guides like this one for example will help you learn all the things you need to know as you get started.
Other online resources you should use can be found on sites like YouTube and Instagram. Follow people for advice on what items are popular for reselling. Remember to check this often as it’s constantly changing. Armed with this information make sure you update your lists regularly with the latest popular items people are looking for. You could even check these sites when you are in store!
Anyone wanting to be a serious thrifter must use all the tips and help they can. Start with these 10 thrifting tips from seasoned professionals to improve your thrifting.
Most importantly, remember to enjoy yourself. If you find yourself not wanting to go thrifting because you no longer look forward to it, then something has gone wrong. Taking thrifting seriously doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it. So, remember to relax, use the advice here, and have a great time thrifting!
There is just one more thing you need to do now – get out there and thrift!