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12 Tips to Teach You How to Thrift Shop

There is no one right way to thrift shop, but there are some techniques that work better than others. Whether you're planning your first visit to Peace by Piece or you come every day, check out our 12 thrift shopping tips to prepare you for your next visit.

1. Learn What the Thrift Store Has

All NYC thrift stores carry different items, so it’s important to check what your local shop has. We are always stocked with clothes for all ages and household items such as kitchenware and children’s toys.

2. Stick to a List

When you are learning how to thrift shop, it can be easy to get overwhelmed when figuring out where to start. It may help you to make a list ahead of time to keep track of what you’re looking for. That way, you can search for the specific sections you’re interested in instead of looking at every clothing rack or shelf.

3. Bring a Friend or Two With You

Thrifting with friends is not only more fun – it can be more effective, too. You can keep each other from straying from your lists and get a second opinion before you make a purchase.

4. Wear Clothes Related to What You’re Shopping for

If you’re shopping for business attire, wear nice shoes so you can see how the outfit looks together and check the length of the pants. If you’re looking for a winter coat, wear a sweater so you can feel what it would be like to wear layers. You want to replicate as best as you can how you will dress when wearing these items.

5. Try Things On

Before you buy clothing, you’ll want to try it on to make sure it’s right for you. Sometimes, the same size can be different across brands, so trying it on can help you guarantee the item fits. And clothing often looks different on you than it does on the hanger. Even if it’s your size, you might find when you put it on that it doesn’t fit your style.

6. Don’t Just Shop for the Current Season

Unlike commercial stores, NYC thrift stores have clothes for all seasons all year. Why wait until the fall to buy a new jacket? You don’t need to be locked into clothes that you will be wearing in the next few weeks. Shopping for items out of season can help you find clothes when they aren’t in high demand.

7. Ask Employees About Sales and Discounts

Our workers are here to help you find your new favorite outfits and household items. If you have questions about a product or want to find out if we have any sales or discounts (such as our veteran's discount or the Dollar Day every Saturday), don’t hesitate to ask! We are happy to help however we can.

8. Upcycle Items

Upcycling items is the process of taking household items and clothes and repurposing them as other items. You can turn a mug into a candle with a wick and some wax melts or use your art skills to paint a denim jacket. Upcycling gives old products new life, and it will give you a chance to think creatively when you go to a thrift store.

9. Get Clothes Altered

Just because an item doesn’t fit perfectly doesn’t mean you can’t buy it. If you’ve found the perfect top or your new favorite pair of pants and they don’t quite fit, it could be worth it to find a place to get it altered. You’re already saving money by thrifting, and an item that makes you feel confident can be worth spending a little extra.

10. Look Up How to Style Unique Items

If you find an item you love and you aren’t sure what to wear it with, don’t let that deter you from buying it. You can look up outfits online or on Pinterest for inspiration. It’s one thing if you don’t think you’ll wear it, but if you just aren’t sure how to style it, go ahead and make the purchase. You can find ideas online to make use of your new clothes.

11. Shop Often

Because we put out new items daily, we have many customers stop in multiple times a week or even every day to see what’s new. Although we’d welcome you if you come every day, you can find gems without doing so, but the more you come, the more you can find.

12. Donate

After you visit a thrift store, you’ll need a space to put your new clothes. Before you go thrifting, gather all the clothes you don’t wear anymore and donate them to us. NYC thrift stores like Peace by Piece can’t operate without each thrift store donation. By giving us your old clothes, you will make room in your closet and keep us open.

Now that you know how to thrift shop, you’re ready to see what treasures you will find! When you thrift at Peace by Piece, you can be sure that the proceeds from our sales will be used to go right back into the Bay Ridge community. Our community center offers classes and hosts community events throughout the year.

What are you waiting for? Check out our extended summer hours and come visit us!

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