Thrifting Made Easy!

by Natalie Bencivenga


June 15, 2022

I don’t know about you, but I have a tendency to get overwhelmed in thrift shops. There’s so much product to pick from, so many pieces to be inspired by and so many things to try on … it can be too much to take in. I often leave frustrated and empty-handed. But over the years, I’ve compiled some tips to help move beyond the mental blocks and hone in on how to make thrift shopping fun and easy! 

Have an idea of what you need: Thrift shopping is sort of like grocery shopping — don’t do it hungry. Have a list, make a plan and stick to it. Before you shop, write a list of items that you need. Looking for a new pair of jeans and a summer dress? Great! Focus on those pieces when you arrive at the secondhand boutique so you aren’t distracted and overwhelmed by a new display of purses, for example. You’ll leave with what you need and your wallet will thank you! 

Dress comfortably: Wear clothing that is easy to get on and off. When you are trying on clothes, it can be annoying to have awkward clothing to change out of. Even better, wear things like leggings so you can try on dresses or skirts right over them. Make the experience pleasant by creating ease for yourself in the dressing room.

Look for quality pieces: Many thrifted items, while gently worn, can be of great quality. Note the type of fabric — natural fibers last longer and are better for the environment as well as for your skin. Take note of tears, buttons missing or stains. If you are handy with a sewing needle, these things may not be a dealbreaker. But if you are like me, put down any item you know that you won’t repair and focus on items in excellent shape. You’ll be more likely to wear them! 

Shop with a friend: It’s easy to get frustrated when shopping alone. Sometimes we need another set of eyes to check out a piece we like. Even if you like it — will it work for you? Is it your style? Does it make sense for your lifestyle? Having a person to shop with isn’t just fun — their advice can save you time and money, too! 

If you have children … look for the kids’ section: Because children grow out of their clothes so fast, why not pick up items that are secondhand for your little ones? It’s better for the environment, easier on your wallet and you won’t feel as bad if they spill juice down the front of their gently-worn t-shirt.  

Remember, shopping second-hand can be a joyful experience. You will feel good about keeping items out of landfills, reducing your carbon footprint and saving yourself money — all while looking eco-chic!  


Natalie Bencivenga is a regular columnist with The Green Voice Weekly Newsletter.

Follow Natalie Bencivenga on Instagram and Twitter @nataliebenci.