Woman thrifting
Dabl At Home Dec 2020
Presented By
Dabl at Home

The Beginner’s Guide To Successful Thrifting!

Whether you are looking for something to buy or trying to get rid of your old stuff, we have all the tips and tricks you need to make your thrifting experience a success!

People who haven’t tried thrifting before often turn up their noses at the idea because they don’t like the idea of buying products or clothing second-hand. But what they may not realize is that they could be missing out on name-brand items and designer clothing that have never been used or are only lightly used at a major discount. If you’re looking for holiday gifts on a budget, you may find some wonderful presents at your local thrift store. Similarly, now is a great time to clean out your closet and declutter your home before Winter is upon us. Many thrift stores and their patrons would be grateful to have your old things. 

When you buy or sell your old stuff through thrifting, you are also being sustainable and minimizing your personal carbon footprint. For example, manufacturing new clothes can be quite harsh on the environment. The process of making one new garment requires approximately 77 gallons of water and releases 17 lbs of greenhouse gases. In addition, it’s estimated that 50% of people throw their clothes directly in the trash instead of donating them or selling them. Of the clothes that are discarded in landfills and dumps, around 95% could still be reused or recycled. 

Plus, we really have no excuse not to participate in thrifting when it’s easier than ever to do so.  While you likely have local thrift stores near you, there are also online thrift stores for both buying and selling through companies like ThredUP. ThredUP aims to stop the fashion waste crisis and offers a variety of trendy and seasonal clothing and accessories for all ages and sizes. If you’re on the hunt for some new additions to your Winter wardrobe, filter your search with your custom sizing information and order online as you would from any other retailer. If you are instead looking to clean out your closet, ThredUP will send you a clean-out kit. When you’re ready, mail back your clean-out kit with your unwanted clothing and accessories. ThredUP will sell it for you and provide you with cash or shopping credits. 

Without further ado, let’s jump into our best tips for buying and selling your clothing and unwanted household items on the secondhand market! 


1.) You can always browse thrift stores with an open mind in your free time and will often stumble upon some exciting discoveries and must-have products. However, it’s typically best to go in with a plan of what you’re looking to buy to avoid overspending or purchasing items you don’t actually need. In other words, it’s best to have a goal in mind

2.) Find out your thrift store’s specialty before you go. While some thrift stores are a hodgepodge of everything, it’s a good idea to confirm that the store actually stocks what you are looking for before you arrive. 

3.) If you are looking for new clothes, dress for the occasion. Thrift stores often have a limited number of fitting rooms or none at all. Depending on where you live, there may also be restrictions in place because of COVID-19 that prohibit shoppers from trying on clothing before purchasing. But since most thrift stores do not allow returns, you need to make sure the items you are buying will actually fit. Therefore, we recommend wearing tight-fitting clothing, like tank tops, leggings, and biker shorts. This may make it easier to eye-ball if an outfit will actually fit and can expedite the time it takes to try on clothes if you’re allowed to do so. If fitting rooms are occupied, you’ll also be able to try on outfits over your clothes in the main store to save time. 

4.) You may need to be patient if you’re looking for something really specific, but the wait will be worthwhile. Thrift stores get new items all the time, so befriend the staff and find out when your favorite stores will be restocked so you can be one of the first to check out all the new stuff. This gives you the best chance of finding what you’re looking for before it is sold! 

5.) Remember your budget. Because you will be finding so many great items at huge discounts, it’s easy to get carried away with your spending because you are excited by the deals. However, you still shouldn’t spend beyond your means just because the prices are good. Some people stay on budget by only taking cash to thrift shops. When the cash is gone, they do not allow themselves to buy anything else. Similarly, you may be able to negotiate even lower prices with the store’s staff for damaged items that still hold some potential. 

6.) Shop off-season. Just like at normal retailers, you’ll find the best deals on products when demand is low. For example, you may find lots of success shopping for Winter jackets in the Summer and sundresses in the Winter. Similarly, people often choose to discard unwanted clothing items when they switch out their seasonal wardrobes as the weather changes. So, you may find this Winter’s lightly used fashion popping up next Spring as people start transitioning to clothes meant for warmer weather. 


1.) If you want to sell your pre-loved garments and household items, make sure you present your items to the store manager at their best. If you are selling your pre-loved clothing, make sure to wash and iron your items before bringing them to the store. Even clothing items that are in great condition can still be off putting if they are wrinkled and dirty. Similarly, any furniture or household items you bring in to sell should be cleaned in advance. 

2.) Do your research before you sell and know what your items are worth. Look at how much similar items have sold for and keep mental notes on items that do and don’t seem to sell well. For example, clothing with original tags, clothing items with high-end mall labels, and luxury items like designer purses tend to garner the highest prices. The store you sell your items with will likely take a share of the profits, so make sure you will be happy with your cut before you agree to cosign there. 

3.) Avoid selling in new consignment shops and thrift stores. Instead, find a shop with a good reputation and existing relationships with clientele. The trust and reputation consumers have for the store may mean your item sells faster and for a better price. A new store may not have had time to establish its reputation and build meaningful relationships with consumers yet. 

4.) Find the right store to cosign your items. Many shops have earned reputations for selling certain kinds of items. Start by researching stores that sell items similar to yours and are known for displaying products nicely. Ask staff questions to evaluate their success in selling items like the ones you want to sell. If the staff is already struggling to sell similar merchandise, there’s a good chance they’ll have a hard time selling your items, too. But if the same type of items is flying off the shelves, you could be in for an exciting payday in the near future! 

5.) Every shop will have different policies on setting prices, taking fees, and revenue splits. Before agreeing to cosign your items, make sure you are clear on the terms of the deal and get it in writing. In the event of a disagreement, having a written contract or agreement will protect you and your potential profits. If the store isn’t willing to put something in writing, you probably shouldn’t sell there. 

6.) Don’t give up if your item doesn’t sell right away. Sometimes, you have to be patient or try a couple of different thrift shops before you will be successful. Factors like time of year, type of product, and other inventory in the shop can all impact your potential sale. 

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