How to be a Thrift Store Ninja

How to be a Thrift Store Ninja


I recently had a very successful trip to my favourite local thrift store, and realized I hadn’t shared with you in a while a thrift store haul. And than after looking through old blog posts I realized I hadn’t really shared tips with you on how to have a successful trip to a thrift store!

So here it is, my best tips and tricks on how to slash your spending and become a thrift store ninja!

Slash your spending by being a thrift store ninja

1. Give yourself time. You can’t be in a rush when you enter, or you might miss something amazing. You also want to have time to thoroughly inspect the items (see tip #4). Have time to give each item some thought, as in “do I really need this?”. You don’t want to pass up something great, but you also don’t want to become a hoarder!

2. Know what you need. Like I said, you don’t want to become a hoarder, so know what you need, and try not to buy everything in the store! Sure I could have bought my girls about a dozen beautiful dresses each yesterday, but we just don’t need them. A random Star Wars sweatshirt and a Scooby Doo shirt, however, made my basket because my oldest is obsessed with both and I haven’t seen those anywhere else.

3. Know what a good deal is. I’m sure you know what you normally spend on clothing for yourself and you family, so you know what things cost brand new. If you see a shirt in the thrift store that’s from a less expensive store or one that often has sales, maybe you should buy the item brand new when it is on sale, and not second hand. I’ve seen clothing that I know I can get for cheaper or the same price at the original store if I wait for a sale, and that way I’m getting a brand new item, instead of one that’s been washed and worn already. And the opposite is true of more expensive pieces: finding a designer brand or something from a store that hardly ever has good sales is a dream come true for a thrifter!

4. Check the quality. Some items are pretty grubby looking. They are faded, or pilling, and sometimes they even have stains, so they might not be worth purchasing. Always check that zippers, snaps and buttons work. It’s very heart breaking to get home and discover that a snap doesn’t stay closed or a zipper is broken. Of course repairs can be made, but it might not be worth it (see #3 about knowing what a good deal is).

5. Watch for sales. Yup, you read that right, even second hand stores have sales! Lots offer stamp cards, have seasonal clear out sales, discount days for seniors, or offer deals when buying multiples. If you know of a time when you can get a further discount, wait and shop on that day.

6. Be prepared. Some thrifters take the hunt very seriously. They know the days when new items are put out (just ask, most stores will tell you), and get there early to get the best stuff. You can do that too! Also bring hand sanitizer, and feel free to breathe through your mouth if the scent bothers you. And if you are hunting for furniture, bring a vehicle that can transport it home, or know if the store will hold an item until you can come back for it.

7. Give back. You don’t want to fill your house with lots of clutter, so clean things out regularly and take it to your favourite store for someone else to discover! Some places will give you a discount for donating, or if you have really nice stuff find a consignment shop to sell it you.

8. Spread the word. Share your finds on social media! I love seeing what others have thrifted, or hearing about hot new shops that have opened up. There are so many amazing ones in my town that I keep meaning to go to, but I usually just make it to the kids one! By purchasing second hand you are keeping items out of the land fills, and so many thrift stores are associated with charities too, so encourage others to get out there are thrift!

But perhaps you are you someone who refuses to even go to a thrift store. I know there are those people out there. Maybe you think they smell (some do). Maybe you think you won’t find anything good (sometimes that happens). Or maybe you just enjoy spending loads of money on full priced brand new clothing and other items (well that’s just silly).

Those are some valid points but let me tell you this: smelly clothes can be aired out on a sunny day and then washed, and will no longer stink. Sometimes you will go and spend an hour looking through all those racks and won’t find anything, but when you do find that perfect piece you will be thrilled! And you say you want brand new clothing, well the thrift stores have new items! People buy stuff all the time and never use it or wear it, and it gets donated. A good percentage of the second hand items I buy still have the tags from the original store on them!

Hopefully I have convinced you to venture out and give your local thrift store a chance, just follow my tips and you too can become a thrift store ninja!

If you want to see my hauls, follow along on the Not A Coupon Queen Facebook page.

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