how to thrift shop

How To Thrift Shop Like A Pro

Follow these eight simple tips to make the most out of your next thrifting trip.

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Thrift shopping: it's one of those many things where the payoff depends on the amount of time you put into it. For cash-strapped college students, getting vintage clothing for the lowest prices seems ideal -- but often it requires a concerted effort to find even one piece of clothing that suits your style. Still, that one shirt or pant or jacket may become the most cherished item in your closet. To avoid all the hassle that comes with thrift shopping and find clothing, you'll love, follow these simple tips:

1. Don't be afraid to get your hands dirty

It's true; some thrift stores will require you to dig through piles of musty clothing that may not have been touched by another human in ten years. Though this may be a little weird at first, do not despair -- at the bottom of this pile lies that one item you need. You may come out smelling like your grandmother's living room curtains, but that's okay. It's normal.

2. Check, check, check all the clothing before you buy it

I cannot tell you how many times I have walked out of a thrift store thinking I've found my new favorite t-shirt, only to discover that this shirt has a football-sized stain on the back. Remember, some of this clothing has already been well-worn, and this fact will show itself through loose threads, missing buttons, and the like. Don't get caught paying for dysfunctional clothing, and unless you have a sewing kit at home, don't fool yourself into thinking that you'll fix it one day -- you won't.

3. Ask for a better price

Given that thrifted clothing may be a bit battered by the time you get to it don't be afraid to negotiate a price that is fair to the item you're buying. At some smaller thrift stores, prices are fluid, and the cost of one jacket may not be the same for another similar one. If you're comfortable with asking for a small discount here and there, you may find yourself saving even more money in the long run.

4. Search online for coupons

At some thrift store chains like Value Village and the Salvation Army, you can find discounts by going online and looking through various coupon sites. Value Village even has a savings club that will get you in on exclusive offers in stores. It might take some time to find these sites, but it's worth a try.

5. Always wash before you wear

It's okay to try some clothing on in-store, but make sure that you put your purchases into the laundry once you get home. And make sure that wash is thorough, especially for heavier items. Here's why: after a successful thrifting trip, one friend of mine discovered a pile of cigarette butts in the pocket of her denim jacket. She put her hand inside the pocket and there it was, unbeknownst to her. Don't be that friend. Wash before you wear.

6. Be aware that sizing may be radically different from what you're used to.

Though it seems obvious, it's worth noting that you'll be sorting through a bunch of different labels and brands at any given time while thrifting. It's often difficult to decipher if one item will fit you or not regardless of the size that's printed on the tag. If you have any doubts about the fit, don't buy it. You'll only regret it later.

7. Shop online.

Did you really think that you couldn't do this online? There are plenty of sites that act as digital thrift stores with a wide variety of clothing that can be delivered right to your door. My personal favorite: ASOS Marketplace, where you can find cool vintage designs at a low price from independent sellers. Other popular sites include The Vintage Twin and thredUP.

8. Discipline yourself -- even thrifted clothing can cost you.

When you first enter a thrift store, you may be overwhelmed with just how much clothing is being sold. It's tempting to throw anything you love at first glance into your cart, given the cheap prices. But be mindful, you may be spending money on clothes that you'll never wear. Before you check out, take a moment to figure out what items you're sure you want, and leave those that you're feeling iffy about.

Thrift shopping can be kinda overwhelming. It's a tiring hobby, but it's also a useful one, and one that gets easier each time you do it. It'll also make you seem exponentially cooler. The next time you decide to thrift, keep these tools in mind, and you'll become a pro in no time.

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To The Person Feeling Like They're Losing Their Hometown Friends

Don't fret to much, if they are truly your best friends, you aren't gonna lose them.

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When you grow up and leave home to go to college or whatever your plans are after high school, you and your hometown best friends promise to make time for each other. You promise to always get together over breaks and to visit each other if you aren't going to the same schools or living in the same town.

But you realize over time that maybe those promises aren't gonna be kept.

Life gets complicated. School starts to become harder and harder, there are extracurriculars and work, and trying to figure out the rest of your lives; things start to get in the way. Visiting starts to happen less and less, getting together over breaks gets more complicated, you try to stay in contact but the hours in the day seem to get shorter and shorter. There are too many things that you have to accomplish in one day that it's difficult to know if you can even get together.

You start to ask yourself "Am I losing my closest friends?"

And the answer to that question is no, your lives are changing and things are starting to become real but they will always be there. Just because you don't talk all the time or you go a few months without seeing each other, they are still your friends. They will always care and always be there. Don't stress about it too much, they are always gonna be there, it's just that your lives are pulling all of you in different directions and it can get hard to keep up with everyone because you are all so busy.

You are growing up but you're not necessarily growing apart!

If they are truly your best friends they will always be there, and you there for them. As time goes on, your lives will continue to change but you are always gonna be friends. Just know that they are there when you need them, and when you do get to see each other, it's like nothing has changed and you pick up right where you left off. Your friendship is important to all of you. Don't let a little bit of silence or a busy life cause problems. You haven't lost them, trust me, you all are just figuring out life. Don't take it personally when you don't talk for a while.

"Amigas, Cheetahs, Friends for life" — Cheetah Girls

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You Know You're From Trumbull, CT When...

The best memories are made in this boring, little, Connecticut town.

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1. The majority of places you will consider to eat at are in Fairfield or Westport... Colony, Shake Shack, Country Cow, Playa Bowls, BarTaco

2. But if you find yourself too lazy to get on 95 for food, Panchero's is the go-to... never Chipotle. If it is past midnight, the choice always comes down to the McDonalds in Monroe, where you are almost guaranteed to see a group of people you know, or Merritt Canteen.

3. Once you got your license, your Friday night plans consisted of picking up friends, driving up and down Main Street, and, somehow, always finding yourself at the THS parking lot seeing who's car is there because there is nothing better to do.

4. In the Fall, you couldn't wait for Friday so that after school you and half of your grade could walk to Plasko's Farm for ice cream and apple cider donuts... and hope you could get them before the owners would yell at you to leave. (This one only applies to Hillcrest Middle School kids, AKA the inferior middle school in town).

5. You couldn't wait to be a senior so you could officially lead the BLACK HOLE at football games... if you were even willing to go in the cold.

6. You looked forward to the annual Senior Scav, the last week of summer before your senior year where a list of tasks is passed down by the recently graduated class... the official kickoff to senior year.

7. You pass by Country Club Rd. and get flashbacks from the worst Cross Country practices ever. Driving up Daniels Farm Rd. in the Fall and Spring, you are conditioned to yell "hi" out the window to your friends at practice.

8. You knew someone who worked at Gene's gas station... and found yourself spending more time there on the weekends than you would like to admit.

9. You are convinced Melon-heads are real after frequenting Velvet St. to see the abandoned insane asylum with your friends, IF you didn't want to drive all the way up to Fairfield Hills in Newtown.

10. You have had/have been to at least one middle school birthday party at the Trumbull Marriott.

11. You know that the 25mph speed limit on Whitney Ave. is way too slow... and can't help but hit a little air going down the huge hill at the top.

12. The guy at Towne likely knows your name.

13. You never find yourself turning right out of THS... that side of town is irrelevant for those who do not live there.

14. You know to avoid the Merrit Parkway from 4:00-7:00pm at all costs.

15. You know more than you would like to about people you aren't even friends with... in a town so small, things get around very quick.

16. Going shopping really means going to Target, or any store in the mall, for the millionth time that week.

17. The marching band was the best in the state and you would see them practicing, literally, every time you drove by THS.

19. Depending on the side of town you lived, you spent a lot of time at Five Pennies Park or Indian Ledge Park.

20. You would say you couldn't wait to leave, but when you got to college, you find yourself excited to come back to your hometown so you can reminisce on old traditions and make new memories.

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