How to make the most out of your thrifting trip

For shopaholics there is nothing like the thrill of the hunt, especially when it’s bargain hunting at a thrift shop.

You search and search for that perfect item and after hours of blood, sweat and tears, you finally lay your hands on that one unique piece.

All of a sudden, your day spent digging through used clothing finally seems worth it. Although that feeling is comparable to little else, finding that gorgeous item for a minuscule price makes the rush only that much better.

These reasons are why thrift shopping has recently become the hottest shopping outlet in fashion. You can find unique vintage pieces or barely used designer brands for next to nothing, if you’re willing to take the time to search.

Hours spent in a dingy second-hand store might not be your idea of fun, but there are ways to make it more enjoyable and beneficial.

Stephanie Santucci, a junior human resource management and organizational leadership major, is a thrifting fanatic and after weekly trips to her local Goodwill, she has mastered the art of thrift shopping.

“My biggest advice for thrifting is to have patience and look in every department of the store,” Santucci said. “I literally look everywhere from men’s shirts to children’s shoes.”

When faced with a warehouse full of every piece of clothing imaginable, it is easy to get overwhelmed. Just take a breath, pick a spot to start and search as thoroughly as possible.

Be prepared to dedicate a large chunk of your day to the task at hand – if finding buried treasure was easy, everyone would do it.

Karla Reed, famous Instagrammer and thrift shopping guru, is a wealth of information when it comes to thrifting. She posts daily thrift finds, shopping tips and styling advice on her Instagram account, @karlareed. She proves weekly that you can find anything for a bargain.

“I guess the key to thrifting is perseverance. Know what you want and be willing to dig for it,” Reed said.

Location is important when searching for thrift store bargains, so traveling might be necessary. Generally, thrift stores in high-income neighborhoods tend to house the more expensive brands.

Jake Johnson/Photographer Goodwill, located at 302 Landmark Dr. in Normal, is a useful spot to bargain shop.

Jake Johnson/Photographer
Goodwill, located at 302 Landmark Dr. in Normal, is a useful spot to bargain shop.

Yes, people actually do donate designer items to Goodwill. It’s rare, but it does happen and who better to find these mythological items than you?

In the Blo-No area, some of the popular and affordable thrift stores include Goodwill, BroMenn Thrift Shop and Mission Mart. The more expensive, but equally popular vintage stores in the area are Retrofit Culture and Waiting Room Records.

Even in the shopping world, timing is everything. You have to be at the right place at the right time in order to get the very best deals.

On certain days of the week some thrift shops have great sales, and other days they restock the shelves with brand new (used) merch. Figure out a schedule, so that you can get the deals and the coolest items before anyone else.

“I like to go to Goodwill on Sundays and Mondays when some of their items are 50 percent off. I typically go twice a week. They are constantly getting new stuff, so every day is a different experience,” Santucci said.

When thrifting you’ll find some great deals, but you have to keep an open mind.

You’re paying next to nothing for a one-of-a-kind item and if it’s not perfect, spend a couple more bucks and have it altered, or add some razzle-dazzle yourself. If you’re thinking out-of-the-box, you might find a use for something seemingly useless.

Thrift finds are great for DIY projects and I’m not just talking about clothes. A used dresser can be restained and reknobbed to make it the perfect conversation piece for your bedroom. Old picture frames can be painted and hung in a cluster for an artistic collage.

“I also enjoy redoing furniture, [it’s] another way to get items from the thrift store and make them your own,” Santucci said.

If all of this strategy and planning is giving you Black Friday flashbacks, make light of the shopping trip. Grab some friends and have fun playing dress-up.

Before you know it you will have found a treasure and developed a new outlook on shopping.


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