Secrets to successful thrift shopping

Long gone are the memories of seeing grandma sifting through crocheted handkerchiefs, sofa arm coasters and porcelain figurines in thrift store. Today you’re more likely to see hipsters, fashionistas and bargain hunters of all ages. Still likely to see grandma to be honest.

With this much competition here are few tips of the trade to help you bag your bargain and find a nugget or two.

Make the time

If you don’t have the patience then you will most likely be disappointed. With time you find that luxury designer item and they are there. I’ve seen the moment someones face brightens as they realise the significance of their find. Boss. Giorgio Armani. Lacoste. It can often be described as gold mining. The nuggets are there. You need to be thorough. BUT you may not always be successful, but your persistence will pay off.

Go often

you may not walk away with the Tommy Hilfiger sports jacket on your first go but you may have better success, once you get an idea of which stores get the best stuff. 9 times out of 10 it’s the posh suburbs. I used to work near a store years ago and I would make my calls while walking the isles of the thrift store. The staff would say hi. New stuff comes in daily, but I may make a purchase once a week.

My favourite find was a near new (probably worn once) pair of English Sheepskin Steptronic shoes for $15… valued at $250 USD. Never before did I have a dress shoe that felt like I was like walking on air.

Look around

Thrift store have massive amounts of stock come through daily and small staff numbers doing every job available, be it sorting, stocking shelves and racks, pricing, dealing with customers and the rest. It very common to find a mens jacket in the kids section. If you have the time do the loop. Things often end up in weird places.

Stay the course

Repeat after me. “I’m here for quality. I will not fill up my house with… stuff”. People let go of brand new and near new clothes all the time. With everything written above in mind you will find quality. Name brands in excellent condition. The moment you you say “this looks fun” and you know it will end up in your wardrobe for the next 3 years before you throw it out again you have lost. You can’t be trusted in a thrift store.


Get out during the week and don’t be afraid to get in there and get dirty. No one is going to lie to you about how that jacket looks great on you or how the pants are slimming. It’s up to you. Go hunting. You won’t regret it.