8 Thrifting Tips You Need To Know, According to Redditors

Close-up view of a selection of different used clothes for men, women and children on the rack in a second hand shop or thrift store

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Southeast Asian Woman Looking For Clothes at a Charity Bazaar

Treasure Hunt

We get it: Everything is expensive nowadays. But by shopping at thrift stores, you can find rare and vintage items while saving money and adding character to your aesthetic. Unlike traditional retail shopping, thrift stores offer a wide range of hidden gems — from antiques and jewelry to collectibles and designer clothes — at discounted prices. With a bit of patience and a keen eye, you can uncover unique treasures that will make you stand out from the crowd. We went down the Reddit rabbit hole to find some of the best thrifting tips for making the most out of your next haul. 

Related: The Best Online Thrift Stores for Buying Used Furniture (and Other Household Goods)

Hanging T Shirts

Invest in Higher-Quality Fabrics

Opting for high-quality fabrics such as linen, wool, or cotton while thrifting can be beneficial in several ways, advises one Redditor. Since these materials tend to be more durable than synthetic or low-quality fabrics, it means they'll stand up to wear and tear and remain in good condition for a longer period of time. Additionally, by choosing natural fibers over synthetic materials, you're doing your part to help the environment by reducing the amount of plastic waste produced by the fashion industry. Go you! 

Related: The Best Online Thrift Stores for Buying Secondhand Clothes

Blue jeans

Have Multiple Options Handy

When thrifting, it's important to remember that sizes can vary between brands (and even within the same brand!). That's why it's a good idea to check multiple sizes of the same item when browsing the racks; trying on different sizes can also help you find the best fit for your body type. "When you're looking at clothes, look at other sizes than what you normally wear," writes one Redditor. "I usually wear a six in pants, but I will check anything from a 2-10 because stuff can be mislabeled and some brands run big/small." 

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Hunting pre loved clothes in vintage store

Do Quality Control

Before making a purchase, inspect the item carefully to ensure it's in good condition and is free of defects or damages such as stains, rips, or faulty zippers. Be sure to pay close attention to seams, pockets, and cuffs for any hidden or hard-to-see stains. If you do find any issues, there's no shame in asking for a discount. "I've gotten discounts for clothes if I pointed out loose threads or hems that I could easily fix at home," writes one user.

Shirts dirty caused by roll- on deodorant

Hold It Up to the Light

Some smears, especially armpit stains, can be hard to spot unless examined under a light. "For shirts and tees etc, hold it up against the light and check the armpit area. Most deodorants and anti-perspirants leave black/yellow stains that show clearly when shone through a light source," another Redditor writes, adding, "These are hard/impossible to wash out." I can't believe I never knew about this nifty trick!

Woman shopping for clothes at a goodwill type store.

Check for Additional Discounts

Checking in with your local thrift store can be another great way to learn about special deals such as weekend and holiday sales. "Check to see if the Goodwills around you do the weekend discounts," writes one user. "Also, check their holiday sales. On Memorial Day weekend, Goodwill has 50% off all tags, and the one color that would normally be on sale that weekend, [results in] everything in that color selling for 1 cent. It was a MAD HOUSE," they wrote. We can believe it — who doesn't love a good sale?

Young Female Customer Shopping in Clothing Store, Retail Sales Associate Helps with Advice. Diverse People in Fashionable Shop, Choosing Stylish Clothes, Colorful Brand with Sustainable Designs

Keep an Open Mind

Since thrift stores offer a variety of items that may not necessarily fit into your usual style or taste, you might discover a new favorite piece by keeping an open mind and trying things outside of your comfort zone. You may even find items that can be repurposed or altered to fit your needs. "Don't go looking for something specific. Have a mental list of things you'd like to find, and then keep your eye out for all of those," writes one user, adding, "Don't let color dissuade you. Things can be painted or dyed."

Two young men holding up clothes to look at in clothes shop

Partner Up

Having an extra set of eyes while thrifting can help you spot sweet deals that you might have otherwise missed. "Go with a friend. What you miss, your friend might catch. My best friend and partner have been a huge help when thrift shopping," one Redditor writes. It can also be helpful to have a second opinion when trying on clothes you're on the fence about. (Let's face it, there's no feedback more honest — and sometimes brutal — than your bestie's). 

Woman buying jeans at retail store.

Deploy the 'Neck Rule'

The "neck rule" is a technique that involves holding the waistband of the pants against the back of your neck while standing upright. If the ends of the waistband meet comfortably at the nape of your neck, the pants are considered a good fit for your waist size (the rule is based on the idea that the circumference of your neck is roughly equivalent to the circumference of your waist). 

"Sometimes items are missing tags, but most of the time you can tell if pants or skirts are going to fit you by wrapping the waistline around your neck," writes one user, adding, "While it may look a bit odd testing out clothes this way before you hit the dressing room, it can save a lot of time and hassle."