How to thrift: 5 Tips for buying used clothing

Jun 13, 2014 at 12:34 p.m. ET

With a growing family, I have to be smart about the way I shop and where I shop. Thrift stores in particular can be a great resource, and one I've personally come to rely on.

So from having my favorite thrift store, to knowing how to shop once inside, I wanted to share some of my personal thrift store tips. Believe me, there's a method to my shopping madness.

With every new season, I love to add some new items to my wardrobe. I also do the same for my four sons, my daughter and my husband. I always think it's fun to add some brand new items to my closet at the start of new season because it's just fun to bring in some fresh new styles and trends. My husband lets me shop for him, and he's always gotten a kick out of the new items I'll "magically" place in his drawers and closets. My sons and daughter, the same thing.

How to thrift:

  1. Walk in without a plan. You can't go in looking for something in particular. You need to sort of let the shopping trip be about trying to find some treasures. It's fun shopping. You go in not knowing what you're going to leave with.
  2. Give yourself a solid 30-45 minutes. It's so much fun to go in and just walk around and go through the racks. You don't want to rush yourself. Give yourself time to see what they have and what will work for you.
  3. Think of others. Since you are able to get clothing, housewares, furniture, collectibles and vintage finds, keep in mind friends and family members. You might find something that would be perfect for your mom, your best friend or your cousin.
  4. Consider costumes. Halloween costumes are treasure finds. I not only have gotten costumes for Halloween, but great play costumes for the house. I'm telling you, total perfect finds there in this department.
  5. Discover designer brands. There are gems just waiting for you. My girlfriend found Tory Burch flats at our Savers last year. I was so jealous. You just never know what you'll find, and know that there are designer brands in there, too.

Where to go:

One place I love to pop into is Savers (I go there to stock up on new items for my family about once a month), and there are five huge reasons why it's the perfect place to shop.

  1. Affordability. The prices are phenomenal. With five kids, it's important to be able to find places where I can get stuff that all my children need, but at a cost that makes me happy and won't break the bank.
  2. Stylish clothing. I love that I can find the latest styles and trends for me and my family. I recently picked up some cargo shorts and plaid shorts for my sons and an adorable pink dress for my daughter (pink is the hot color this summer).
  3. Extraordinary company. Savers was founded in 1954 on principles such as giving back and providing opportunities. They partner with more than 140 nonprofit alliances that share this mission and are also inspired by it. When you shop at Savers, you help support many local community programs. Right here in my home state of Rhode Island, our Savers partners with the Little Sisters of Rhode Island program. I think it's just incredible.
  4. Shopping trips are easy. The staff is always friendly and willing to help out in any way that they possibly can. My husband bought a table there last year for our playroom and he had two people help him take it to our car without his even needing to ask. That generosity goes a long way.
  5. The store is constantly changing. Because Savers nonprofit alliances drop off thousands of items every day, no two shopping trips are ever the same. You will never walk into the same store twice and that's a fun fact to know.
    Find a Savers store near you to check out all their unique items. While Savers did sponsor this post, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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