Thrift shopping is its own art form. World class thrift shoppers can find the latest fashion trends at a fraction of the price—and you can, too! 

Here are 12 helpful tips and tricks on how to thrift job to guarantee you’ll find the best deals:

1. Shop Off-Season

People usually shop for clothes they’ll wear that season. In for-profit retail stores, this makes sense–and these items are frequently the only pieces on display. However, many people donate clothing at the end of a season. 

Because shoppers are less likely to buy shorts in December, these items may be offered at a discounted price. If you’re okay waiting until the season’s appropriate, you’ll find some great items for a fraction of their “in-season” price. 

2. Shop During Spring and After Holidays

Similar to the point above, many people donate clothes after seasons change or specific holidays pass. Also, spring cleaning is a thing! Many people choose to declutter their lives after winter ends and our days get longer, which means there will be more items for you to check out. 

3. Look for the “Color of the Week”

Different Goodwill stores have different rules, but most of them have a color system in place. For example, the Goodwill of Greater Washington as a weekly sale calendar, where certain color tags are 50% off

4. Shop Mid-Week

The best times to shop around are always when stores are less crowded. You’re much more likely to find a great deal on a Tuesday or Wednesday rather than a Saturday, so go mid-week instead!

5. Befriend Employees for Insider Tips

Do you want to know when the best items are on sale, or when the best day to shop is? Ask the people who work there. By making friends with thrift store employees, you’ll learn all the ropes and hear about the upcoming deals. If you’re looking for something specific, they can also help you find it. 

6. Wear Tight Clothing

Thrift stores don’t always have fitting rooms–especially since the pandemic. However, we don’t recommend stripping in the middle of one of our stores to see if a pair of jeans is your size. Instead, wear tank tops, leggings, and other tight fitting clothing to best determine whether the chic outfit you’re eying will actually fit you. 

7. Remember: Vintage Clothing May Be Smaller

What one designer considers a medium, another may deem as a large. This is especially the case with vintage clothing. Just because the tag says it’s in your size, it doesn’t mean it’s. Try it on before buying. 

8. Explore the Whole Store

Thrift stores usually aren’t as organized as an Old Navy or Express. Sometimes you’ll find the perfect sweater in the kid’s section, or a cool looking jacket in the men’s area. There’s no harm in looking!

9. Thrift Shop in Wealthier Areas

Not all neighborhoods are created equal. However, people from all types of neighborhoods want to donate clothing where it’ll do the most good. Figure out where some of the wealthier neighborhoods are and which thrift stores are near them. You never know where you’ll find designer clothes at a discount price!

10. Follow Stores on Social

Many thrift stores, including Goodwill, will highlight some of their new wares on social media. They’ll also post about special deals and upcoming events. By following your favorite thrift store on social media, you can stay in the know. 

11. Become a Regular

Our store inventory is always changing. The more frequently you check to a local store, the more likely you are to get a first peek at our new additions and better deals. 

12. Dress the Part

If you’re looking for someone specific, dress accordingly. For example, if you’re on the hunt for a new cocktail dress, wear heels to see how it’ll fit you. If you’re planning on leaving with a new dresser, wear tennis shoes so that you can get it to your truck more easily. 

For more thrift tips, check out our website to learn when our next amazing deals are happening.