Hana’s Guide to Successful Thrift Shopping

I love thrift shopping! It’s a bit like a quest. You go and sometimes you get treasures, and sometimes you come back empty handed, but it’s always an adventure!

In this post, I will include my tips for successful thrift shopping. These rules can also apply to going to markets and similar stores.

Before you head out, plan your day. Do your research and look for as many different thrift shops in one area, then, widen your search. If you just go to one store, you won’t have as good as a chance at finding something good. I must also recommend going to thrift shops in wealthy areas, as they seem to be the ones with the good stuff… but I’m not saying to skip the others, they can be just as good some times.

Packing for the day

There are some essentials that cannot be ignored. You need a bag, but not any bag… It needs to be light weight and comfortable. I really depends on what kinds of bags you like, but I would definitely recommend using one that keeps you hands free, so you can rummage around in piles of stuff to your heart’s content. Also, make sure your bag can fit a lot of stuff. It’s the worst thing when you have to stop thrift shopping because you have ran out of bag space. Pack stuff tightly. When you buy an item of clothing, roll it up, and stack all the clothes in your bag on top of one another, this way, you won’t run out of room.

Snacks and water are a must, because you don’t want to be using your thrift shop money to be buying snacks and drinks in the middle of your trip. I would highly recommend taking foods that don’t need to be in direct contact with your skin, other wise you may have to wash your hands. Foods like Muesli bars and similar foods are great for this. If you don’t mind getting your hands dirty, (maybe you have baby wipes in your bag or something) Then trail mix is a must! It is healthy, tastes great, and it keeps you going for ages.


We have become so dependent now on credit cards, that vending machines now have the option to use your card. Believe if or not, most thrift stores or markets don’t have the facilities to be able to be paid by card, so make sure you have plenty of cash on hand. What I do is, I set a limit of what I can spend on that day. Lets say my chosen max is $100. I have $100 in cash and I leave my card at home. Some people may not want to leave themselves that ‘vulnerable’ (“What If my car runs out of gas??”) so you could just leave it in your purse. But, setting a particular amount as a max is good, because once you run out of money, you can end that day of thrift shopping. The problem with credit cards, is if you are buying a lot in one day, you can often over spend, and this is a big problem. Having all your money for the day in cash can help you keep an eye on how much you have left and it helps you pace yourself.

Tape Measure

A tape measure is super useful if you are thrift shopping for clothes in particular. If you take your measurements at home, and save them on your phone, you can work out what will, and what won’t fit you. This is really good to have when you are at a market stall or thrift shop which doesn’t have a change room. You can just work out by measuring the piece of clothing, if it will fit.

Comfortable clothing/shoes

Wear comfortable clothing and good walking shoes, because it isn’t very good when you have to limp home early because of blisters or sore feet. It’s also good to have these clothes and shoes easy to get off, so that if you need to try on some clothes, you can do it quickly.

One last tip, if you find nothing for a few stores, don’t be disheartened, they may just have had nothing good there. Look around, try different days of the week, days of the month, times of the year; you may find really good stuf on Tuesdays, because that’s when the restock the thrift shop. Or, you may find good stuff during spring, because that’s when people are doing spring cleaning and they are donating at this time. Talk to your friends, see if and when they thrift shop. You could invite them along for a thrift shopping date!

Do you have any thrift shopping tips you would like to share? 🙂

Hana xx


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