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Tips for navigating second-hand shops

Tips for navigating second-hand shops

Tips for navigating second-hand shops
August 05
13:00 2022

With inflation reaching new heights, more people have begun looking toward thrift stores and antique shops for clothes, accessories, furniture and so much more. It’s an easy, low-cost way to find everyday things someone might need, and there’s always a chance to strike gold and come across a rare, vintage find. 

The question on most people’s minds after selecting a second-hand shop is usually how they are going to approach their shopping trip. Being prepared is key when tackling these types of shops. With so much to choose from, it might get tedious having to look around without a plan. Don’t fret just yet. The following tips will help navigate any thrift store or antique shop to cross your path. 

Know where to go

The first and most essential part of any shopping trip — knowing which stores to hit first. This task could be difficult depending on whether there’s familiarity with second-hand stores in the area. 

New thrifters can resolve this issue by determining what they’re shopping for. Is it going to be a shopping trip for clothing? Or for cool, vintage furniture? The answer will quickly determine whether the right fit is a regular thrift store or something closer to an antique mall or shop. 

An antique mall will have more things like special furniture, glassware and vintage decorative pieces, like old signs and statues. Occasionally, there is vintage clothing in these malls, but the selection is usually small. Regular thrift stores are the best bet for finding unique shirts, pants, shoes and accessories. 

Cover the entire store

The first error that people make when second-hand shopping is starting in random areas of the store. Instead, begin the trip by starting on one side of the store and slowly make way to the other side. This helps cover the entire area so everything featured in the store is seen. 

This tactic is good to use when you aren’t looking for specific items. If the goal were to find a pair of cool sneakers, hitting the shoe racks would obviously come first. Even then, it doesn’t hurt to take a quick skim around the whole store because there might be something you’d regret not noticing. 

Do not be afraid to dig. A great way to find stuff is taking time to look through each rack. Avoid being lazy when it comes to thrift shopping because taking time is part of the search. It could take a couple of hours to find something good, which is why it’s ideal to have a good plan in mind.

Know your measurements

This helps avoid spending what could be another hour in the fitting room trying on all the day’s finds. Although, if there is time and you want to make sure the item fits perfectly, a fitting room isn’t a bad idea. 

A person never knows what they’ll get at a thrift store and clothing can run big or small depending on the brand. Vintage clothes can be especially deceiving because a medium could actually fit like a small or vice versa. Specific measurements should be recorded on one’s phone or somewhere readily available to reference.

Some people even carry a small measuring tape to measure the clothing and see if it’ll match their own measurements. Use this tactic to save time, or if you prefer to wash thrifted finds before trying them on.

Examine and narrow down items

The last thing keeping you from the cash register is narrowing down the items to purchase. It’s exciting to find multiple items but inspecting each one is important because nobody wants to purchase an item with holes or stains.

This is the same for antique finds. Make sure furniture and house decor don’t have any cracks or tears in them either. Although, if the item is still salvageable, there’s no reason to not purchase it.

Along with examining items for any wounds is checking the price. If there’s a budget to maintain, adding up prices can help gauge how much is going to be spent. Luckily, items are usually priced fairly since they are pre-owned. 

Some of my favorite shops to visit in Denton are Thrift Giant on 1701 Brinker Rd., Denton Thrift Store on 708 W University Dr., Denton Mini Mall II on 118 N. Locust St. and The Antique Gallery on 5800 Interstate 35 #400.

These are just a few solid tips to help make the most of the second-hand experience. With such a big selection of varying items, thrift shopping might be intimidating at first but just remember to ease into it. Once the search has started you won’t be able to stop.

Featured Illustration by Jazmine Garcia

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Melanie Hernandez

Melanie Hernandez

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