Thrifting 101: 5 tips you need to know

hrifting-the art of scouring thrift stores for your shopping needs-is a lifestyle and, speaking from experience, it’s hard to quit. There’s a sense of euphoria you get when you spend $20 and walk out with a bag full of clothes.

That feeling is what unites all of us who run on tight budgets but still want to be fashion-forward. I’m not going to lie, thrifting can be intimidating at first. It’s a beast some are not willing to conquer because of what’s available in thrift stores: practical, re-usable things like clothes, jewelry and furniture, and then maybe things you wouldn’t touch with a 10-foot pole, like used dentures. (Yes, dentures.)

Some may take a liking to the plethora of options, while others might run screaming in the other direction. But if you’re willing to warm up to it and need guidance, here are five tips to make your next thrifting experience golden.

1. Take a seasoned thrifter. If it’s your first time and you have anxiety, don’t go thrifting alone. We don’t need you hyperventilating. Ask a friend who’s a seasoned thrifter to tag along to help ease some of that stress.

2. Be patient. You’re not going to find that perfect vintage garb by quickly skimming the racks. Take your time and observe everything, because you never know what you can discover.


3. Try DIY. Don’t be afraid to cut and dye those blue jeans or alter that top. If you want a certain look and can’t find it, create it yourself. Do-it-yourself projects are always a fun challenge, and Pinterest and YouTube are great resources for DIY clothing projects.

4. Learn to haggle. Here’s a secret most people don’t know. Some thrift shops are willing to price items lower than the tag price. (Some Salvation Army and Value World locations are known for doing this.) Don’t be afraid to negotiate.

5. Wash your clothes! Launder what you buy in warm water or have it dry-cleaned. I’ve had clothes that smelled like a moldy basement and, after a few washes, instead smelled like roses and daffodils. Wash, wash, wash.

e gave four shoppers $25 each and sent them to metro Detroit thrift stores to find stylish spring and summer outfits. Here’s what they pieced together.

Brian Oscar

Total amount spent: $25

Store: Detroit Clothing Circle

Found: '90s-era casual shirt, $15; gray sneakers, $10

Anika Madison

Total amount spent: $23

Store: HIPS Resale Boutique

Found: Blue fitted blazer, $5; yellow relaxed-fit slacks, $18


Imani Etay

Total amount spent: $19

Store: Salvation Army

Found: African tribal print dress, $8; patterened cloth belt, $4; black leggings, $5; yellow wood bangle, $2

Kes Iena

Total amount spent: $14.20

Store: Value World

Found: Purple lightweight jacket, $5.80; pink and gold patterned skort, $3.80; purple sparkle t-shirt, $1.20; red over-the-shoulder-purse. $3.40

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