If you follow my spirited shenanigans on Instagram, you already know that I *might* have gone thrifting twice this week. I had to. I have been solo parenting and dealing with Texas homework and having a wee bit of adjustment difficulties. This was not the first time I’ve gone thrifting a few times a week and I’m sure it won’t be the last. For me, thrifting is not about “need” – at least, my need of clothing or goods; I have clothes for all seasons and now live in perpetual summer, and have been collecting more summer options since arriving in Houston. Nope, I don’t need to thrift for clothes but I do need to thrift for self-care. Self-care has become a buzzword, kind of like mindfulness was/is and I think they’re both part of the same thing called self-regulation
but don’t get me started on that because it’s been a long time since I practiced as an Occupational Therapist and I could go on for hours. Seriously though, we are all driven to do things that keep us able to function and though it looks a little different for everybody, it’s hard-wired, neurologically based truth. The next time your husband asks why you went thrifting just say, “I needed some dopamine.” You’re welcome.
For me, thrifting is regulating; it makes me feel better, it relieves my stress, it inspires my creativity, it gives me peace. I hope everyone finds their self-care self-regulation thing! I wish mine was cardio, I really do, but it isn’t. Thrifting is my sure thing whether I buy anything or not, and just in case you’re wondering if it’s your thing and how to give it a go, here are some thrifting tips that have served me well over the years.
1. Wear easy clothes.
I usually wear a layering tank so that I can try on shirts in the aisles, a skirt in case there is no fitting room and I have to try on some bottoms without flashing anyone, slip-on comfy shoes,
my great big panties practical undergarments, and some simple accessories so I can get an idea how my selections might be styled.
2. Take sustenance.
Be it drive-through daiquiris or a granola bar in your purse, some bevvies and snacks can make the thrift trip more enjoyable.
3. Start in the shoe section.
Wear any maybes around the store while you shop so you can gauge comfort and wearability. This strategy has saved me from countless bad purchases. (And others I bought anyway out of pure love.)
4. Have a thrift-hunting list.
A list can help direct your attention when you have a limited time to thrift and can help you make good purchasing decisions when you finally hit the till. On my list right now: red shorts, red cardi, green cardi, replacement olive dress, replacement navy shift dress, red sandals and a sleeveless chambray. Okay, there’s more but that’s my short list! Use your list as a guide but be open to whatever the thrift store sends your way! I wasn’t looking for shoes when I found my Prada loafers! Great thrifting is in the balance!
I keep a list on Work Flowy and Pinterest and that is how I knew what I needed for my kids’ Halloween costumes yesterday. (Is it my fault I also found two skirts and a couple tees for me???)
5. Scan for quality then labels.
I do have, e-hem, a little thrifting practice but even for the untrained eye, it’s not hard to spot good quality in a sea of average. I usually handle the garments as I sift the racks because quality tends to have a better feel. If something catches my eye (or touch!), I check the label and do a quick Google search if I’m not familiar with it. You don’t need to thrift only designer goods but knowing the regular retail value informs your purchasing decisions.
6. Select first, edit later.
Put everything that catches your eye in your cart. You probably won’t get back to it and even if you do, it could be gone and most thrifted pieces are one-of-a-kind. Better it ride around in your cart and be cut at the last-minute than end up with a severe case of thrifter’s remorse! And don’t feel you have to shop the whole store. If you have half an hour, shop one section, checking the size above and below your usual.
7. Try on.
A bargain is not a deal if it doesn’t fit. Here in Texas, I’ve discovered a few thrift shops that don’t have a fitting room. In that case, you do your best (see my IG story!!) and decide if the risk is worth it. I bought a couple of pieces for 25 cents that did not end up working out – totally worth the risk!
8. Have some wipes available.
I think my past 5 years of thrifting have debunked the myths about thrift stores being dirty and gross… That being said, handling all those hangers, garments and goods does warrant a little freshening up!
9. Wash before you wear
This is true of any garments – secondhand or regular retail – because you just don’t know. My purchases go immediately in the washing machine with a good cup of vinegar to remove any scents. For any stains, I pre-treat with bar Sunlight soap and stain spray. I rarely dry clean a thrifted piece unless it is really special and I’m not sure if washing will wreck it. I recently thrifted a dry clean only Theory dress for $5.60 and washed it… turned out just fine.
10. Get ready for thrifting to change how you shop.
When I started thrifting, I had no idea I would never be the same again! Now, I hate the mall. I can hardly stand the noise and the overall atmosphere. I usually have to go to a thrift shop after to recover!! Then there’s the prices! And the fast fashion… sigh, that’s now the biggest reason to thrift IMHO. It would be irresponsible not to warn you that thrifting can be a little
addicting regulating and chances are, you’re going to want to do it again and again! If so, welcome to the #thriftingsisterhood! It’s real and it’s growing and we are a pretty awesome community!
If you are looking for more tips, be sure to check out the Thred Up blog. They recently posted a series of tips, featuring yours truly and several other fab bloggers! If thrifting isn’t your self-care, no worries. Maybe reading blogs is your self-care, maybe just being with your friends out on the town! I’m curious though – what IS your self-care go-to? I love hearing what other women are passionate about so share in the comments and let’s all agree that whatever it is, self-care is a need!