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How to Be a Savvy Thrifter- Step One

Parting the Sea

At this point in my life, I feel I am a professional thrifter.  Much like watching American Pickers, I’m the picker of clothing.  And I thought I’d pass along to the masses how to be a savvy thrifter. Today we’ll talk about step one- parting the sea.

Image source Orin Zebest via

First off, don’t let yourself get overwhelmed.  Walking into a Goodwill or Salvation Army or any thrift store can feel like you’ve just been dumped into an ocean of clothing (which is what I love about it).  But I can  understand how it can give others heart palpitations.  You definitely don’t want to be there on a day when you can only shop for twenty minutes and are trying to find a black shell or any other specific item.  Thrifting takes time, patience and an adventurous spirit.  It is not for the faint of heart. Pinpoint why you are shopping.  Are you shopping for fun?  Are you on the hunt for something?  Are you here only for the dresses?  This will help you narrow down what racks you hit and how much time it’ll take.  If you are only there to see what formalwear they have, you might be in and out.  If you’re looking for lots of spring basics, you’ll need an afternoon.  Etc. And remember that almost always you can’t hit every rack in one visit.  There are some thrift stores where the items are at least sorted by size.  Or supposed to be.  And then there are those that are also categorized by color.  This helps immensely.  That said, some of the best finds are those that were “misfiled,” if you will.  Poking through racks that are not your size, right by the dressing rooms or towards the cashier can prove to be valuable time spent. Getting good at thrifting means going often, not only to get accustomed to shopping in the sea of clothing but also to get great deals as they come in. Tomorrow- thrifting, search and rescue.


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