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10 Thrift Store Rules to Live By

Takiela Langley

Thrift Store Commandments

If you have a friend who has a thrift store habit, then I'm sure you've heard her brag once or twice about an amazing find. Who would blame her, right? Did it spark a small tinge of jealousy in you? Thou shalt not be jealous. Today you can learn how to be just as adept at snagging brag-worthy finds as your gloating friend!

Photo by Nathaniel Tetteh on Unsplash

Play by the Rules

1. See it, like it, grab it: When in a thrift store, if you find something that you're on the fence about, the smart thing to do is to grab it up and put it in your cart. You can make a final decision right before checkout, but if you put it back to ponder on it while you shop, it may not be there when you get back.

2. Color of the day/week: Most thrift stores will have a color of the day or the week. Items with that color tag will offer special discounts only valid for the specified time period.

3. Shop alone: Leave all distractions behind. This means, kids, husbands, best friends who aren't die-hard thrifters, pets...you get the picture. You will not feel rushed or miss any goodies if you shop alone. If you want advice while you're there, you can always snap a selfie and text a friend.

Photo by ANGELA FRANKLIN on Unsplash

4. Run a comp: Not sure whether that "over-priced-for-a-thrift-store" shirt is worth the price? Use your Smartphone to run a comparison on Ebay to find out. You could be about to walk away from a great value.

5. Carry cash: So many of us are use to swiping at checkout, but there are places that still deal only in cash, so don't assume that a thrift store will accept your debit or credit card. This happened to me once, and I had to leave behind some great items. It was a sad day.

6. No glove, no love: If you've never gone to a Goodwill Outlet, or "the bins" as resellers know it, you may be raising your brow about this one. See, at the bottom of those bins lives crusty hair-covered crumbs and gook. Gloves will shield your hands from the bin crumbs!

7. Inspect: I can't tell you how many times I have made it home and in the middle of my listing process, discovered a teeny hole or some child's name written in  permanent marker inside their shirt. It happens! Thanks, Sky! Find the brightest light in the store and inspect inside and out before you checkout.

8. Cart or haul: If you go to a popular bins site, you may be enthralled in hand-to-hand combat, in which case a cart will only slow you down unless you can skillfully maneuver it to block your opponents! If you're at a retail thrift store, you may miss out on a find in the time that it takes you to go back and grab a cart. Decisions, decisions! Scope out the atmosphere when you walk in the door, and go with your gut.

9. Be nice: Being nice or playing nice; same thing. Do it to the employees. Doing so can get you dibs to the "fresh" finds from the backroom or an extra discount at the register. If you frequent the same thrift store(s), build a rapport with the employees. I've gotten extra discounts just by complaining about the price in a non-threatening tone.

10. Be a loner: This is different from shopping alone. Being a loner is when you keep yourself separated from the crowd. The odds of finding and grabbing a sweet deal is much better when you don't have 3 other pairs of eyes looking at the same thing the same time as you. I have found amazing things at the bins after everyone has left a bin for dead and moved on to one just brought out onto the floor. Like a leather-HoBo-wallet-for-$3 kinda amazing! Hint: they retail for over $100.

The Take-Away

You are a thrift store braggart waiting to happen! If you follow these 10 thrift stores rules, you should not come up empty handed! If nothing happens, then all that I can say is that you must have done something in a past life to offend the Thrift Gods!

Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash

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  • Madonna on

    Didn’t finish that. When I was young, my sister taught me to go threw the pockets….

  • Madonna Regis on

    So when I was young, and I’m telling you my silly secret, this may be lame, but I go threw the enire women’s pants. Check all the pockets. I’ve probably found over $100, combined, in pockets, $20 bills, it’s amazing!


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