Thrift stores can be messy and overwhelming and it can seem pointless to sift through all those racks, but once you get in the groove thrifting can be fun.

Why should I go to a thrift store instead of Forever 21 or Urban Outfitters?

Thrifting is cheaper. That leather jacket at Urban might be super cute but I can almost guarantee you that with a little time and digging, you can pay $20 instead of $150 for the same look. In addition to saving a few dollars, you are also helping save the planet. The fast fashion industry is killing our ecosystem just as fast as you can click “Add to Cart.” Buying clothes secondhand can help to reduce the strain on the ecosystem.

But I never find anything I like at a thrift store. What am I doing wrong?

You are probably just not spending enough time. I know it can become tedious looking through rack after rack and not finding anything that suits you, but honestly the only thing that can guarantee you a find is lots and lots of time. If you’re seriously having trouble finding anything, try going back in a couple weeks when the stock has changed out. Sometimes after a big holiday or weekend, the good stuff seems to be all gone. As soon as everything switches over, your winning piece will appear.

How can I be sure to find something?

You can’t. But, here are some of my tips for always bringing home something you love.

  1. 1. Pick up everything you think you might like. You can put it back later but those purple corduroys might just end up being your new favorite pants.
  2. 2. Try everything on. I know it can be annoying to spend thirty minutes making sure everything you want to buy actually is wearable, but you won’t regret it. You’ll end up saving even more money by not buying things you thought would fit but don’t. If the thrift store doesn’t have a dressing room, don’t be afraid to slip something on over what you’re wearing! You’re the only one who’s going to think you look weird.
  3. 3. Be sure to check out the section meant for the opposite gender. Not only do some things end up in the wrong spots, but you might be able to find something that fits you better than what’s stocked in your section. And grrls, let’s be honest, the men’s t-shirt section is always better anyway.