Don't Make These 11 Mistakes the Next Time You Go Thrifting

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Thrifting Pitfalls

Thrifting can be a great way to embrace sustainability, protect the environment, and save some serious cash. (Who said you can't be thrifty and fabulous at the same time?) Shopping at secondhand stores allows you to unearth unique vintage items, reduce waste, and look fly as hell — all the while making your wallet happy. As fun as thrifting can be, though, it's important to avoid common pitfalls such as overlooking quality or buying items that don't fit properly or suit your style. 

But don't worry — we've got you covered. Here are 11 common mistakes to avoid during your next thrifting adventure. 

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Ignoring Quality

Neglecting to carefully assess the quality of thrifted items can lead to disappointing purchases that wear out quickly or require repairs, potentially costing you more money in the long run. To avoid this, take the time to closely examine items for any signs of wear, damage, or poor craftsmanship. Be sure to check seams, buttons, and zippers, and don't forget to inspect pockets and cuffs for any hidden or hard-to-see stains. 

I don't think I'll have enough money to buy everything I want!
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Impulse Buying

We've all done it, but getting caught up in the thrill of finding a bargain can result in purchasing items that don't fit properly, suit your style, or have a purpose in your life. To avoid impulsive buying, take a moment to pause and ask yourself if you really need the item, and consider whether it's something you would regularly use or wear to ensure that every purchase aligns with your needs. 

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Not Trying on Items

Sometimes clothes look great on the rack, but once you try them on, it's a whole different story. To prevent the frustration of going home with ill-fitting thrifted clothes, remember to always take the time to try them on before buying. This will allow you to assess how they truly fit and whether they flatter your body or not.

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Forgetting a Shopping List

Sometimes, heading to a thrift store without a well-defined shopping list can result in aimless wandering that ends up in an array of impulsive and unnecessary purchases (guilty). It's always helpful to have a clear idea of what you're looking for to avoid buying things such as an entire set of Care Bears for absolutely no good reason (also guilty). 

Related: Thrifting 101: What Is a Thrift Store and How Is It Different From Other Shops?

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Overlooking Cleaning Requirements

Forgetting to take into account the cleaning requirements of specific thrifted items, such as delicate fabrics or china, can result in unexpected expenses — or even render the items unusable. Remember to be mindful of these factors before making a purchase to ensure you're prepared for proper maintenance and to avoid any unwelcome surprises and expenses. 

Related: This Oscar Winner Wore a Tux He Thrifted From an Unclaimed Baggage Store

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Not Checking for Authenticity

While you might not have an issue buying cheap knock-offs, thrifters on the hunt for designer items will want to verify the authenticity of their purchase. Buying counterfeit products when you think you've bought the real deal may lead to serious disappointment. It's essential to be vigilant and ensure the legitimacy of these items by familiarizing yourself with the specific features, logos, stitching, and craftsmanship that are characteristic of the brand or designer you're interested in. 

Related: 12 Things You Should Never Buy at a Thrift Store

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Ignoring Return Policies

Taking the time to understand and inquire about the thrift store's return policy before making a purchase can be helpful in case the items don't meet your expectations or you encounter any other issues later on. By familiarizing yourself with each store's policy, you can make confident decisions knowing that you have options to get your money back if the item doesn't turn out as expected. 

Related: 8 Thrifting Tips You Need To Know, According to Redditors

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Not Using the 'Sniff Test'

While that sweatshirt or dress may look appealing, it's important to give it a good sniff before buying. Used clothing and linens can carry overwhelming odors resulting from excessive detergents, fabric softeners, and scent enhancers that can trigger allergies or respiratory issues. This also applies to used furniture and home decor, as fragrances from room sprays, candles, and plug-ins can seep into fabrics and wood and permanently alter their smell. 

Related: 17 Places to Donate Clothes and Clutter for Money

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Shopping at the Wrong Times

Timing is key when it comes to thrifting. Busy times such as holidays or weekends often result in larger crowds, making it harder to navigate and find the best deals. Arriving late may also cause you to miss out on the most coveted items, since they're likely to have been snatched up by other savvy buyers who arrived earlier. To maximize your chances of scoring great finds, aim for quieter times such as weekdays or after the store replenishes its inventory in order to improve your chances of snagging the best hidden gems. 

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Not Checking for Sales

Thrift stores will often have special promotions, discounts, or clearance sales that can significantly lower prices and offer even greater value. By forgetting to inquire about or keep an eye out for these sales, you may risk bypassing fantastic bargains and limit your chances of discovering the best deals that fall within your budget.

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Being in a Rush

A well-defined shopping strategy is vital to a successful thrift haul, but rushing through the process may hinder your ability to be strategic. When time is limited, the vast selection of clothing, houseware, and other quirky finds can become overwhelming and frustrating, instead of exciting. Our advice? If you have less than an hour to spare, it's probably best to postpone your shopping excursion for a day when you can dedicate ample time and attention to explore and find the best deals.

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