7 Rules for Shopping at any Second-Hand Store

Taylor Kloss of New England Vintage Chic
Today I’m thrilled to welcome Taylor Kloss of New England Vintage Chic as a guest blogger. A seasoned second-hand shopper, she’s here to share her tips for shopping thrift. As you can imagine from the name of her blog, Taylor and I share quite a few interests in common and I’m looking forward to doing some vintage hunting with her in the fall!

You’ve always wanted to go into your local second-hand store, but the thought of the unknown has deterred you. Second-hand stores, especially thrift stores, can be overwhelming. Most are large, with racks and racks of clothing, shoes and housewares. When walking into one of these stores you need to have a mental game plan – especially if you’re a newbie at shopping second-hand.

One of the biggest perks to shopping at these stores is saving money! Most offer very affordable pricing. Accessories such as ties, jewelry, scarves and gloves range from $1 to $5, while clothing ranges from $4 to $10, and winter coats can go for under $15. Talk about budget friendly!

While saving money is great, the very best perk to shopping second-hand is the hunt. There is no bigger excitement than finding a one-of-a-kind 1920’s vintage dress. Basically, you never know what you will find. Never! This is the number one reason you’ll fall in love with thrift shopping. To help you get started here are my rules for shopping any thrift store:

1. Have no expectations. When walking into any second-hand store, it’s important to have no set expectations. Go into the store with a carefree and easy attitude. Never have a pre-notion about what you might find. If you do, you may end up disappointed.

2. Buy quality clothing. You may be shopping at a thrift store, but that is no excuse to buy sub-par clothing. Inspect each piece of clothing for rips, stains, missing buttons and broken zippers. Check the label to understand where the article came from. For example – a sweater from L.L. Bean will probably last a lot longer than a sweater from Forever 21.

3. Try things on. Most of the time second-hand stores won’t take returns. Whether you bought the item for $5 or $105, if it doesn’t fit, you won’t wear it. Don’t waste your money – make sure it fits!

4. Ask about sales and discounts. Most stores have weekly or daily sales. It is important to ask a sales associate or look around so you can shop accordingly. For example – at Goodwill on Mondays, all the blue tag items are just $1, so look for them to save a few bucks.

5. Have patience. Plan to go through racks and racks before finding the diamond in the rough. That one-of-a-kind piece isn’t going throw itself at you, so get ready to hunt for it.

6. Shop affluent towns. To find high-end frocks head to an affluent town. Once you’re there, make a beeline for the thrift store to find amazing clothes and accessories.

7. Get creative. Have fun with your shopping! Pick-up a festive belt to spice up a little black dress. Buy a pair of jeans and cut them into shorts. Purchase a stack of mismatching plates and give an edge to your next dinner party. Take an old bread box and turn it into a new planter. The possibilities are endless!

Interested in finding a thrift store near you?
SAVERS: Visit www.savers.com to find locations
Goodwill: Visit www.locator.goodwill.org/ to find locations
Salvation Army: Visit www.salvationarmyusa.org to find locations

If you’d like to see more from Taylor you can follow her blog here and see her instagrams here.


7 thoughts on “7 Rules for Shopping at any Second-Hand Store

  1. These are so true! I only go into thrift stores on the days when I have patience – or plenty of time to kill! And there’s a huge difference between the Goodwill in Lancaster PA and Palm Beach FL. What town you shop in definitely affects what pieces you find.

  2. These are great tips, I usually stick to Wellesley and the Newbury Street Second Time Arounds and other thrift shops. Another rule is to stay away from black as many times it is more faded than you can tell in the store from previous wash/wear xo

  3. This post is like a trouble-shooter for me. I never do #4 and #5 when on shopping for a second hand store. Hahahaha, asking for discounts is always a wise move. If we don’t ask, we might not ever get aware of it :p
    And yeah patience is the key :p
    Jessica x

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