By: Key Michel

As the thrift community continues to grow in popularity and size; new thrifters are actively seeking knowledge to cultivate better thrift skills. There is a common thread of thrift tips that we hear many seasoned thrifters state; such as be patient, have great observational skills; and thrift frequently; and don’t get me wrong these tips are all very valuable. Too add to this list; there are several other thrift tips that aren’t always discussed.

On my recent thrift trips, I made the mistake of not taking my own tipd; and instead of harboring on the mishaps, I decided to share these experiences with the intention of making someone else better.

Here are the 6 Thrift Tips That Aren’t Talked About Enough

Always find a corner of the store; where you can do a process of elimination.

A process of elimination is a very vital part of your thrift trips. This process can prevent you from taking home items that you don’t really love, or items that you don’t necessarily need. After thrifting, find a secluded section in the thrift store that is far from any incoming traffic. You don’t want to be disturbed during this process; by continuously moving out of the way to let people walk by with their carts (unless the store is packed). Once you find your section; use the cart handles as your decision scale. Make one side the yes pile; and the other side the no pile.

If you are uncertain about particular items, you can put them in the yes pile; or create a maybe pile, but either way; you will do this elimination process at least twice until you are down to the items that you favor the most.

Take your time during this elimination process to look over your items for any, stains, holes, or worn areas. For example, I recently went thrifting and I saw this bold yellow jacket; and I was sold on getting it until I did my process of elimination, and saw all of these stains it had on the back.

In addition, during your elimination you can try items on; especially the items you are unsure about in your yes pile.

One you have gotten clear on your yes pile and your no pile; but all of your no pile back in their rightful place.

1) This is a kind and respectful thing to do

2) You may see items that you really love while putting items back

3) If you shop at a thrift store often; this shows employees that you are a trustworthy thrifter.

They don’t have to clean up after you, they won’t watch you like a hawk as you’re eliminating items to see if you are stealing; because they trust you.

Always try things on that you like but are skeptical about

Now people have their own personal opinions and level of comfortability when it comes to trying things on at the thrift store. Some people find a mirror and place the items up to their body; and allow their imagination to be the decision maker.

Some people try their items on over their clothes; and some go to the fitting room if the store has any. Others wait until they wash their items to try everything on. To be frank, all of these ways will work; but if you like an item and you are really skeptical about it; always find a way to try it on.

I recently went thrifting and I found this nice long wool coat; perfect for the fall and winter season. I was skeptical about it because it had a latch of buttons in the back and they looked droopy. I said to myself maybe I should put this back; and I did.

Soon after as I was getting ready to check out, I said to myself let me go back and get that coat; but when I went back the coat was no longer available. Once I arrived to the coat section I witnessed a woman with the coat on; and a man that she was with taking a picture of her in the coat.

The coat looked so nice on her, and I instantly noticed that the latch of buttons that I was worried about weren’t droopy at all. I knew once he showed her the picture; that she would immediately throw the coat in her cart; and in that very order that is exactly what she did. Immediately I felt a wave of regret for putting it down without trying it on; but I was happy that she got a coat that she really loved.

After pondering about the coat for an hour; I eventually learned the lesson; and I said to myself I will always try on all items I’m skeptical about before leaving the thrift store.


I decided to go to the same thrift store three days after that happened; my intuition kept telling me to go. I was wondering if the coat would be there; but I quickly let the thought go.

When I arrived at the thrift store, I started browsing through the handbags, the sweaters; before making my way to the coats and jackets.

As I’m looking through the section, I’m seeing other amazing coats I like; and then wahla!

The same exact coat that I wanted days prior was on the rack! The coat looked better; and it didn’t have the latch of buttons at the back which I actually preferred.

This definitely taught me a life lesson, that in life you will get what you desire; or you will get something way better; all you have to do is surrender and let go.

Keep an eye on your cart

If you’re a thrift wander like me; than it’s common for you to walk far away from your cart without even trying.

There have been times I have been at one end of the aisle; and my cart is on the opposite end. As much as this allows me to have some freedom and be in the thrift zone; this also gives thrift store cart swippers the chance to take an items from my cart and run.

I have caught a thrift swipper red handed in the moment, and it’s a constant reminder that as a thrifter you have to keep a close eye on your cart. If you are putting items back after your elimination; take your cart with you. Don’t make the mistake of leaving your cart in the secluded section; giving the swippers a chance to snag something from your cart.

Be Kind & Give A Thrift Item Away

Now this may be an interesting segway after the cart swipper discussion; but there is one thing for someone to take an item out of your cart without your permission; and another thing for you to kindly give it away.

Sometimes as you are eliminating items; someone might come over and tell you that they like something from your no pile; give it to them. In other cases, as you are thrifting someone might tell you that they like something in your cart, if you know in your heart you don’t love it as much as they do; give it to them.

I do this all of the time; and people always walk away looking so happy and joyful; and seeing that is always a heart warming site. It also sheds a positive light on how community-oriented the thrift experience can be.

Always take off the hangers before you go to the register

There are two important reasons why this tip is so important.

1) If the store is busy, it makes the employees job a lot easier. Even if the store isn’t busy it makes your checkout experience a lot faster.

2) Sometimes when employees are rushing during checkout; they can stretch tops when they are taking out the hangers. To avoid your tops being stretched out; take the hangers out yourself.

Always bring your own plastic bag or recycle bag

This tip is common; but is frequently forgotten about. A lot of thrift stores don’t sell plastic bags anymore, they only have brown paper bags; or they don’t have bags at all. Always bring your own reusable recycling bags; or plastic bags with you. If it can fit in your purse you can role it in there; or you can put it in a small backpack or duffle bag.

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