To say I was intimidated during my first trip to a thrift store is an understatement. I had no clue where to start. Never have I been surrounded by so many cheap options. Knowing that I didn’t have to choose between this shirt and that shirt, because they were both $1.50, seems like it would be a dream come true for someone like me. However, it was nothing short of simply overwhelming. Fast forward a couple of months and here I am: a self-diagnosed thrifting sensei. Now that I have gained more experienced in the world of thrifting, I will share my not-so-secret thrifting secrets so that you will walk into a thrift store with confidence.

Shop the $20 Thrifted Outfit

This challenge is self-explanatory in that it states that you buy an entire outfit—shirt, jacket, pants, skirt, shoes, and accessories— for under $20. I recommend this method when you are looking to thrift for a short amount of time but not for anything in particular. This way, you aren’t just floating aimlessly from isle to isle and wasting time. Even if you don’t end up wanting the whole look, you might find little treasures along the way. Once you find you basic pieces, it is easy to construct an outfit around that.

 Shop with someone

Shopping with other people has some serious benefits. Since everything is cheaper at a thrift store, it is easy to forget that the pieces you throw in your shopping cart do add up. If you are comfortable enough, try on the clothes that you want to buy and let someone give you their opinion. This will help you eliminate the items that were cute on the rack but not too cute on you. Also, bringing a friend or family member can be beneficial for you both; you can divide and conquer. A friend may have noticed an item you completely overlooked and vice versa, so work together!

 Be willing to interact with other people

It can be awkward when you catch someone’s eye from the opposite end of the same isle and you both know your paths are going to cross the second you reach the denim jackets. Don’t shy away from conversation; part of the experience is interacting with all sorts of people! I’ve found strangers giving me plenty of great advice on which clothes seem to suit me. Honestly, an unbiased review can be a lifesaver.

 Be bold and have fun!

Thrifting isn’t meant to be a task in my opinion, so have fun! Try on clothes you may have overlooked elsewhere. Who knows, you might really like it, and a new look might inspire a new personal style! Don’t be afraid to try new things and if you have never gone thrifting before, try to keep an open mind. You truly never know what you might find.

If you liked my tips, make sure to apply them on your next round to the shop. Remember to have fun and thrift like a grrl on a mission!