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To celebrate my birthday on the 13th, I've compiled a list of 13 tips to help you score the absolute best finds on your next trip to the thrift.

1. Keep a physical thrift-wishlist
Call it manifesting or just a convenient reminder, but I highly recommend keeping a wishlist on your phone of things you're hoping to thrift and reviewing the list before you head into the store. This will keep those things in the front of your mind while you shop.
Bonus tip: Check off what you find, but never delete found items from the wishlist. This way you can look back at all your thrift-wins. 


2. Go Often
Thrifting is a numbers game so go often, go to different locations, and change up the time you shop. 

3. The Black Dress Theory
I heard a thrift tip years ago that stuck with me. A good way to determine if a thrift shop will have designer pieces is to check the black dresses. Lots of people have multiple black dresses in their closets and will probably donate one during a closet clean-out. If you can find a designer label amongst the black dresses, it's probably worth the time to look through the rest of the clothing racks that day. 
I think this theory can apply to more than just fashion and often use it while hoping to find things like antique books, vintage brass, specific brands, etc. 


4. Shop by feel
When shopping for clothes, save yourself some time and shop by feel. Higher quality pieces will usually feel different than mass-produced ones. Search for anything that is significantly heavier or lighter than everything else, or that stands out in some other texture-related way. 

5. Immerse yourself in inspiration
Become a Pinterest addict, scour design books, follow creators who inspire you, all in the effort to hone your personal style and be able to pick out pieces from a thrift store that align with the aesthetic you're going for or remind you of something you've seen or pinned before. Become so familiar with your style that you can spot it from a mile away.

6. Dig
Don't be afraid to get your hands dirty and dig through piles of mediocre finds to uncover the true treasures. 

7. Follow the money
If you're on the hunt for designer pieces, antiques, or just higher quality items, head to thrift shops in the nicest part of town. People donate where it's convenient so go where the money is to find the more expensive finds. 

8. Shop out of season
You never know what the thrift shop may have in store for you so be on the lookout at all times. Don't turn down the perfect vintage Christmas ornaments just because it's June! Shop out of season, pack away your finds, and let it be a fun little surprise for yourself when that season rolls around and you can finally wear the perfect sundress you thrifted last winter.

9. Wait it out
Thrifting takes a lot of patience, especially if you're on the hunt for something specific. Be ok with waiting for the right piece to come your way and take the time you spend waiting to figure out exactly what you're looking for. That way when it finally does come to you, you'll be totally sure it's what you've been waiting for.

10. Listen to your gut and get it anyway
When thrifting, it's great to practice discernment and only bring home things you have a specific purpose or place in mind for. But sometimes you need to ignore logic, follow your gut, and get it anyway. Some of my favorite finds were things I knew I should put back, but couldn't shake the feeling that I would regret leaving them and I eventually found the perfect spot for each of them.

11. Deviate
It's great to save time and only check the areas of the thrift store you usually score in, but every once in a while, deviate from your usual path and explore a section you never check. You never know what you may find.

12. You get what you give
If you've found yourself in a dry spell, it may be time to rack up some thrift karma. Gather up a box of treasures you're ready to pass on and send some great thrift finds someone else's way. I find I usually get something really great soon after I do this. 

13. When in doubt, walk it out.

The thrift shop is no place to be indecisive, but if you need some extra time to think over a purchase, put it in your cart and walk a bit. You can always put it back, but chances are it'll be gone if you walk away and try to come back for it later.   
 

Happy Thrifting!  

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