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Over the years I have come to love thrifting! It is possible to find some wonderful treasures but it is also possible to end up with a closet full of rubbish. In this post I will share some tips and tricks to make your thrift store experience great!

1. Just because it is cheap, does not mean you need it!

It is so tempting to buy a skirt that is a bit too snug or maybe not just the right shade because it is three dollars! I have been there and you know what? If it doesn’t fit right or is the wrong color, you know where it will end up. Right bag in the donate bag and back at the thrift store. It can take time to find exactly what you are looking for, which brings me to my next tip

2. Keep a list of wardrobe items you need in your purse.

You never know when you will stop at a thrift store that seems to have so many things you think you need and they fit and they are a good brand and the list goes on, but if you are trying to have a fashionable streamlined wardrobe you do not need to buy everything at thrift store. Hold out for the good condition, good quality brands that perhaps you could otherwise not afford. I have been on the hunt lately for a jean jacket, and an oatmeal colored cardigan and I want ones that are better than the old navy brand or target brand because frankly I am tired of clothes that shrink or only last one season without showing a ton of wear.

3. Get to know your brands.

Do you want to buy a used Wal-Mart brand shirt for 5.00 at the thrift store when you could buy it new for $7.00 or do you want to score a J. Crew sweater for $5.99 that would otherwise retail for $69.50?  Know your brands. Start by look at the tags of your favorite shirts, skirts, etc. Also, get to know what the tags for high-end brands look like, you never know when you might score. My favorite thrift store find ever was a multicolored Anthropologie-Free People sweater I scored for $9.99 that retailed for about $98.00 in stores.

Also, when you are at the thrift store take note of the brands that seem overly faded or worn or have excessive shrinkage. That will give you a general idea of what to avoid buying new only to be disappointed.

Did you know you can see the age of all Gap family brands by looking at the care tag? It will give you a season and a two digit year, so HOL 09, meaning Holiday 2009.

4. Get to know your local thrift stores.

Not all thrift stores are created equal. If you are looking for cheaper than usual designer items Buffalo Exchange is a good venue. They are picky about what they take in but they are not super cheap. However, I have been lucky enough to score Seven for All Mankind Jeans and Hudson Jeans, both which retail for $150.00 or more for about $20.00-$30.00. To me it is worth it because they have a good fit and last a long time.

Savers is like a “thrift” department store. They organize everything by color which makes my right brained self so happy LOL. They are not super cheap on housewares, etc but I have found really great quality clothing there. I recently scored a J. Crew green maxi skirt there that still had tags for $10.00. They run specials such as certain color tags 50% off some days and if you bring in a bag of clothes you can get 20% off your purchase. I have found Gymboree, The Children’s Place, etc for my kids there for good prices.

The website The Thrift Shopper  is awesome for finding the ranking of thrift stores in your area.

5. Search High and Low, Near and Far.

It seems simple enough, find your size and hope they have something you like. But you really need to look in the sizes before and after your true size as sometimes people stash stuff in the wrong places or the workers misinterpreted the woman’s sizes when they are 28, 29 etc not the typical 6,8 10.

I hope these tips help. Thrift shopping is not for the faint of heart but with a little work you can have a fabulous wardrobe for a very enviable price!