Second-hand fashion is durable and chic. More and more people are giving pre-loved clothes a second chance and for good reason. I love savings, it’s so interesting and so much fun. The excitement of the store’s unknown and untapped potential, the story behind the garment’s past life is so interesting. Another thing is that it can be a social outing. I love inviting my friends over to save with me and make a day out of it. Also, it’s a more sustainable option than going to the mall and buying all new clothes. With all of these positives comes the reality that sometimes saving can be a challenge. Trying to find something specific or a good deal can be difficult. But never fear, here are my top 6 tips that will have you saving like a pro in no time.
1. Plan your adventure on a day when you have plenty of time.
It’s super important! Having plenty of time and a semi-outlined plan of what you are going to do and where you are going to save yourself a lot of stress during the day. It also avoids hastily buying items you don’t really like. If you are going alone, I would recommend doing it on a day when you have nothing else planned, so you can focus on saving as an experience. If you’re going with friends, being able to discuss how much time you want to spend in a place and then reevaluate after you’ve been there means a more thoughtful and synchronized economy.
Note: I can’t stress this enough!!! TRY EVERYTHING, so you don’t waste your money and spend time on something that doesn’t suit you or compliment your body. During your shopping expedition, you also plan time for this. You will thank me in the long run.
2. Donate some items first so that you have room for your new purchases.
I love having loads of different clothes so I can build the perfect outfit. But that often means my closet is too full for something new. If you know you have a big thrift day coming up and you’re in a hurry to buy a new piece, then my advice is to donate clothes you haven’t worn in a while or ones that don’t fit anymore . Because that means you’re also giving back to the store and continuing the cycle of savings for other savvy shoppers. Plus, donating clothes is much better for the environment than just throwing them away.
Note: I would check store guidelines to see what condition the clothes are in and what stock they take if you are donating anything other than clothes.
3. Save time browsing the racks.
Big time saver! Besides preventing you from looking over the clothes, you know you won’t buy or love. Scanning the shelves means instead of flipping through each item of clothing you are looking at based on:
1. Color, depending on your aesthetic or if you are looking for a specific look, eg pastels.
2. Texture/fabric, if it looks good or something you know you’ll like to wear. Also useful if you’re looking for a specific thing like a silk dress or a cotton button-up shirt.
3. Sizing. If you know you only fit in a particular size, save time by scanning the racks and looking at the pieces that fit your size, and if you’re not sure what size you’re looking at, specific clothing helps also.
Scanning the racks also means that you already have an idea of what you are looking for and what you want.
4. Be friendly and connect with staff.
I cannot stress this enough. Being nice to the staff is super important. Same as if you have a favorite thrift store and you go there regularly, get to know the staff and build a friendship so later you can get to know them (thanks to Karen at the slaves.) Like when do they restock? What day are sales tags put on? And what days do they accept donations? Many second-hand shops in Australia are run by volunteers. I think it’s good to brighten up someone else’s day and the best way to do that is to just have a conversation. Connecting with the staff also means you have someone on the inside who is able to tell you if there are any good items that just arrived or not. They can give you an honest opinion if it looks good or is worth buying.
5. Keep an eye out for sales or discount tags.
Who doesn’t like a bargain? It’s even better when it’s even smaller! Watching these tags means you’ll get more bang for your buck as well as, most likely, last chance items. It’s so good to come home with 5 items for $50 that are better for the environment than 1 from the mall. These discounts also mean you can get last season’s clothes for less, especially chunky sweaters and jackets in the summer. It’s also important to check the quality of ALL used products to make sure they don’t have any stains, tears, or are simply worn out.
6. Watch all sections.
Believe it or not, the men’s section actually contains some sensational articles. Looking in the men’s section for button down shirts you can crop or groovy patterned t-shirts is actually a surprisingly untapped world. I love looking at leather jackets and sweaters for a more industrial vibe. Also, the children’s section. For the cute little baby t-shirts and also in the boys section, well-fitting jeans for once. It also gives you the chance to explore clothes outside of your comfort zone and provides opportunities for a new DIY project. Plus, you never know what you might find.
Other useful tips:
— Use cash to avoid impulse purchases. Also, some places only accept cash, but it’s good to be prepared.
— Research the location/area, check if there are any garage sales or flea markets in your area. They usually have such great finds.
— Look at thrift stores online. They are awesome and also have a lot of great products that you might not be able to find and rank much higher if you are looking for specific items or brands.
— Go to several stores in the same area. Makes the day run more smoothly and also provides more opportunities to find interesting coins.
— Look for quality rather than brand. This means you will get more wear from your new item.
— If you’re creative, consider refurbishing/reusing an item or turning it into something you love.
Overall, saving is meant to be a fun experience, so don’t get too discouraged if you can’t find something on every trip. The other plus side is much more ethical and sustainable than buying from Shein or other fast fashion websites. If you have a savings tip or a favorite store you like. Let me know on my Instagram!