Thrifting101: quick tips by rouge & whimsy

I have been thrifting since I was a kid.  Raised by a single mom working 2-3 jobs at any given time, living in Southern California you can imagine finding deals was a great relief for her and fun along the way for me!  I remember going back to school shopping for main essentials and a few nice things at department stores, but I loved the fact that I got to pick out so much more stuff when we went thrifting.  Considering thrift shop visits are still a weekly hobby of mine, you can see that things haven't changed.

Thrifting has been enjoyed by many for years.  Its a great way to find affordable and adorable items for your home or closet, while benefiting community programs and organizations. If you haven't been thrifting or just don't know how to start I thought I would introduce a fun project called Thrifting 101.  With a few guest contributors along the way, in no time you will be ready to hit the bargain bins and come home with some cute finds and change in your pocket to spare!  To kick the series off Erika from Rouge & Whimsy is going to share a few quick tips to get you started.

I've always liked thrifting. Even before it was cool. (I know. I'm that awesome.)

It's like a treasure hunt and you never know quite what you'll find from the strangely bizarre and terrifyingly ugly to perfect, affordable and oh-so-stylish.

Some people are turned off by the thought of old stuff or dirty stuff or get frustrated with the process. But before you turn away from thrifting for either reason-- let me give you a few of my tips.

Go often to many places. Some days are just not good. I can walk into my favorite thrift store and not end up with anything! Or, I can walk away with a whole cart of exactly what I needed wanted. The trick with thrifting is that you need to go repeatedly because thrift stores and secondhand shops get new inventory all the time.

Know what you're looking for but be open. I have a running thrift list in my head. This helps me stay on track because I'm one of those people who could spend hours in a Goodwill and never end up with what I want. If I have a mission -- something I'm hunting for -- I do better.

Clip coupons and be ready to barter. This is weird but it honestly works! Some thrift shops-- especially big chains-- give out coupons! Use 'em! They could help on a pricier piece of furniture. Also, and my mom taught me this, don't be afraid to barter. Does it have a scratch? Is it torn? Ask for a discount. You may just get it.

Think about potential. Is that nightsand so adorable but a funky shade of green? You could paint it! In fact, you can paint most anything from figurines to vases and furniture. In regards to clothes, you may be able to fix small rips, hem skirts or take in dresses. Think about this while you hunt.

Is it worth it? Sometimes you do need to look critically at something. Yes, it's a great deal but do you need another cute, patterned scarf or mason jar?

but most of all...

have fun!

With these tips I'm hoping you get excited to head out for the hunt! And if you're wondering what to look for specifically, here are a few of my favorite (and easiest) things to find thrifting

- pyrex and cute dishes, mugs, cups
- mason jars
- embroidery hoops, yarn, wooden spools
- belts and scarfs
- skirts and dresses <-- pleated mid-length/maxi skirts are in right now and they can be found in nearly every thrift store as they were HUGE in the mid-80s and 90s.
- button-up shirts (I scored a denim button-up a few weeks back and now am searching for gingham.)

And if you ever want to see my haul-- check out my blog. A lot of my outfit posts incorporate what I find!

Rouge & Whimsy


  1. Great tips! I am a wedding planner and am always looking for decor :) Loved reading this, thanks!

  2. love these tips! My past few thrift strips have been depressing...but I won't lose faith. You never know what you'll find and nothing beats the high of a good thrift haul :).

  3. i love your tip about thinking critically. i always fill up the cart with whatever strikes my fancy {because you dont' know if it will be there on the second go-round} and then park off to the side and edit, edit, edit.

  4. These are great tips! I used to be turned off by thrift stores because of the thought of something being used or worn out. But I've learned that you gotta take your time! And like you said, go often! There have been times when I'd go twice in one week and the same store would have completely different items!

  5. oh i love it! and i love that you reminded people to have fun.
    i love to thrift with my little brother. sounds crazy, but he totally has me busting up with all the silly things he does.

  6. It's kind of weird but one of my favorite parts of thrifting is the weird, ugly, or sometimes scary things I come across. Of course my other favorite part is finding amazing things for amazingly low prices.

  7. I love thrifing too! I used to go to garage sales as a teen with my BFF (before it was cool to buy second hand). I'm a new follower from the blog hop.

  8. Awesome post! I'm visiting from live.laugh.rowe and am now following you on bloglovin' and fb! Hope you have a great weekend!

  9. LOVE this post! I liked thrifting before it was cool too...back in the days when you wouldn't want to be caught dead in a thrift store because the kids at school would laugh at you or you would never dare tell someone you bought something from a thrift store. I am so happy those days are over, because there are so many cool things waiting to be found in thrift stores. To be honest, half my wardrobe is probably thrifted at this time. And I never get tired of thrifting! I could spend hours going through a thrift store. Being a very frugal person, I love that I can buy a lot for a little. And just you wait until I move into my own place... I'll be all up in the homewares section!

  10. These are all wonderful tips! Found you from the blog hop! Have a wonderful week!

    Take care,


  11. I've never been thrifting!! But it's on my to do list!!

    Stopping in from the Blog Hop!!! Have a great day Heather!

  12. Hi there! I am loving your blog, stopping by from the Blog Hop and I am a new follower. Have a great day!

  13. I was also thrifting before thrifting was cool. In my area (Northern Virginia) you can really find some great stuff the rich people don't want anymore. Run across tons of great bargains. Thanks for sharing. I'm a new follower stopping by from the Blog Hop at It's Overflowing.

  14. HI~ I'm new here & your blog is adorable with sun a fun unique personality! Can't wait to look around. I'm your newest follower. Carrie ~ The Corson Cottage

  15. I love thrifting!!! Newest follower from the Blog Hop!

  16. Great tips! Thanks for sharing! I just need to make time to thrift without my kiddos so it's more productive :) Have a great rest of your weekend!

  17. I am always in awe of people who can thrift shop and not get frustrated. haha. My mom was also a single parent and while she gave us new clothes for school, she never bought anything new for herself. She still goes almost daily to her favourite thrift shop which benefits the Women In Need organization..I'd be lying if I didn't say a lot of my work clothes today are items she found for $2 or $3 at that store, she has a keen eye for finding nice work tops in perfect shape! (I can't go home for a visit without being presented with tops to try on, if they don't fit or I don't like 'em, back to the thrift shop! haha)

    I highly recommend people give it a shot, but I rarely can do it myself as I hate shopping in general. I do it every couple months and usually come out with something, but I can't manage to do it more often. I should start trying harder I guess!

    New follower =) I wanna see what treasure you find at the thrift shops!!

  18. you have a lovely bright blog-i am now your newest follower!

  19. These are great tips!

    I'm a thrift NUT (I even have an entire style-blog besides my primary blog where I post 100% thrifted outfits).

    And heck-to-the-yes on haggling over prices.

    If you buy a lot of things or find small flaws, you can almost always get them to give you a discount.

  20. What an informative post!! I'm visiting from the live.laugh.rowe blog hop.

    I'm a new follower. I'd love for you to come visit me!

    Jen @

  21. Cute!! I love this post. Am a huge fan of thrifting but not always the best at it. Which are you favorite thrift stores btw?
    Much Love,

  22. Love this. All super helpful & super accurate tips :)
    I've never thought of clipping coupons though. Definitely looking into that!


  23. This is great. I started a Thrifing 101 series a while back and it's been a lot of fun. This post makes me realize I have been slacking...and need to get back to it! Loving your blog!

  24. PS. I love the part of you thrifting as child. I am hoping my kids will someday appreciate me taking them, and maybe become thrifters themselves. I just bought my son a pair of kicks today to finish out the school year. Kids go through shoes and clothes so quick I almost hate buying new!