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Surviving the thrift store jungle takes patience and focus. Don’t get me wrong, thrift stores can be a haven for nostalgia; a treasure trove of items that will leave you chock full of flashbacks and laughs. And a perfect place to score some unique vintage duds at affordable prices in reasonably good condition.


But let’s be real

They can also get just a tad overwhelming at times.


Whether it’s locking eyes with another shopper over which one of you is going to get to that stack of China first, or getting carried away in a polyester paradise, thrifting can become just as competitive and exhausting as an Olympic sport……ok, maybe that’s an exaggeration but, you catch my drift.

Below, I am offering you a few tips I’ve used (and still do) to take with you the next time you head on down to the local thrift that will save you time and money. Read on to learn more.


Prepare, Prepare, Prepare

Collect pictures of an outfit you want to put together.

In my How to choose the perfect vintage silhouette in 5 easy steps post, I suggest that the easiest way to decide what you’re looking for before you go shopping is to bring photos of an outfit or two with you. This can be a real godsend in a place like a thrift store because it will help you stay focused and you won’t wind up spending hours upon hours deciding how to pair “this” with “that.”


What you’re gonna’ buy

With that being said, once you’ve chosen photos for the outfits you want to re-create, you will know EXACTLY what you’re going to buy. Thrift stores, although INCREDIBLY discounted, can become costly the more and more you place in your cart. Having a clear idea of what to buy will help cut down on all the cost.


Check new shipment days

Thrift store shipment days differ from regular retail stores; they don’t have a set schedule, so you’ll need to check your local thrift store and ask someone working there when they usually plan on getting new merchandise. Knowing when a new shipment comes in, means you get first dibs and access to a variety of some excellent items.



Plan your route

Category is…

I know you’re probably thinking, “route?” “In a thrift store?” but you’d be amazed how much of a difference this can make, especially when putting an outfit together.

For example, why would you go over to lingerie, score an awesome peignoir nightgown and then go clear across the OTHER SIDE of the store to look for a Satin headscarf to wear with it? Wouldn’t it make more sense to grab that nighty, then search for the matching robe and any other undergarment item first in the same category?

Now, depending on the store, you might not have the luxury of hitting up racks of clothes in a nice even “flow,” but if you can, try consolidating your way around the store according to which items will be closest together. It’ll save you time and a headache.


How to survive the thrift store jungle


Location station


Location is everything.

If you’re a thrift store regular, then this is a no-brainer. But I was pleasantly surprised to find that you can follow thrift stores on social media now. You can now gain access to the latest discount deals online instead of having to pop in the store and figure out what sales are going on for that day.



In 10 ways you can start building your vintage wardrobe today, I mention that you can come across some fascinating vintage items if you branch out from your area. The next time you hit the road, keep your eyes peeled for signs advertising for yard sales in other neighborhoods.


Variety is the spice of life and is that ever true! Being born in Long Island, New York, raised in the Hamptons, but spending my school days in Ohio, I can tell you right now that “style” between both states, was like night and day. And thrifting, my dears, is no different.


Thrift stores in the Hamptons, for example, is housed with designer wear discounted at fantastic prices, whereas Ohio has incredible décor items dating back to the 1800s at bargain prices.


Now I’m not suggesting you should drive 8+ hours to do some thrifting (unless of course, you want to—did someone say road trip?), but the next time you decide to do some thrifting consider going to stores in a different location.

How to survive the thrift store jungle



Well, that about sums it up for now. So, the next time you get ready to head on out to your local thrift keep some of these tips in mind.


Perhaps you already have some of your own tips and tricks up your sleeve.

How do you survive the thrift store jungle?

I’m always excited to read and learn new things, so comment below, because sharing is caring!~