5 thrift tips: How to shop secondhand like a pro

Regular Goodwill thrifters know the key to secondhand success is keeping an open mind, having fun and knowing what you are looking for while remaining flexible. If you want to be in the know, too, we can help you learn how to thrift like a pro. Here are our five tips.

Check the fit and the color

One of the easiest traps to fall into when thrift shopping is to buy it all. That’s easy to do when you know you can add a lot for a little. The key is to be selective, so you find items that bring out the best in you and add flattering pieces to your wardrobe that you can’t wait to wear and wear again and again. You want your thrift treasures to become your go-to pieces.

Ask yourself some questions before putting it in the cart. Are the sleeves long enough? Is it a color you wear? Does it complement your skin tone or wash you out? Does it have a hole? If it does have a hole, that’s not an automatic no. We thrift pros know how to get out our needle and thread and fix a hem or a hole in the armpit of a sweater. No one will be the wiser!

Be in the know

Goodwill features a color tag system, and each week puts one of the colors at 50% off. That means that each week a portion of the store is 50% off. If you don’t know what the color of the week is, just ask or look around for the signs. And while you’re asking, find out what day of the week the color changes. (Hint: Goodwill NCW changes its color tag of the week on Sundays.) Who doesn’t love a bargain on top of a thrift-store bargain?

Also, join the rewards program and be rewarded with special perks and promotions. If you aren’t a member, ask your cashier on how you can become one.

Pick your favorites

Pressed for time but in a shopping mood? If you only can dedicate 30 minutes but you need your fix, don’t comb the entire selection of apparel, for example. Instead, check out the category or categories you love most and stick to those, such as skirts or patterned tops. Focusing while shopping never was a bad thing and it could pay off with a big reward.

Add value to your wardrobe

Take a mix-and-match approach to your closet to be budget-minded. Don’t buy anything when thrift shopping unless it goes with something you already own. By mixing and matching you can make your wardrobe go further and not add impractical purchases to your closet.

Take inventory

Before you head out to your local Goodwill thrift store, check out your own closet. Look for pieces that will match clothes you wear less often, or not at all, because you never quite found a great combo. Likewise, snap pics of pieces that you love and would wear more often if you had another item to go with them.

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