Thrift shops, second hand stores, surplus shops, ukay-ukay, wagwag– they come in all sorts of names but they all mean the same thing- shops where you can find clothes, shoes, bags and accessories at a bargain.
Some people may snub at the thought of buying used items. But the fact is, second hand shops aren’t really so bad. You can find even find vintage items and authentic designer pieces that have never been used before at incredible prices.
So if you haven’t tried raiding thrift stores before, it’s really worth the try. Here are some tips to make your shopping experience fun and hassle-free:
Schedule your shopping. The best way to find the best deals from thrift shops or ukay-ukay is to spend time digging for the great stuff. If you’re beating an appointment or if you’re in a hurry, schedule your shopping for another day. If you’re really serious about getting good finds, be ready to spend at least half a day or the entire day.
Bring small bills. Thrift shops don’t accept credit cards so expect to pay for your purchases in cash. Smaller bills make it easy for you to hop from one shop to another without having to wait for change for a long time.
Bring a body bag. A body bag is great for raiding ukay-ukays so you can have both your hands free for rummaging through stacks of clothing. Some really good finds are hidden on a stack of clothes on the floor so make sure you can move comfortably.
Watch out for pickpockets! Buying clothes on a bargain would be useless if your wallet gets stolen. It’s best to use a purse or pouch that you can wear on your neck than a wallet. This doesn’t only keep your money safe, it also enables you to pay for your buys without hassle.
Bring your own shopping bag. Don’t expect a chic paper bag from ukay-ukays. Usually, your purchases will just be placed in plastic bags. Don’t forget to bring a large foldable bag so you can just dump all your buys in. This way, you don’t have to carry around different plastics as you shop around and it also keeps all your items in a safe place.
Dress to fit. Unlike boutiques, thrift stores usually don’t have fitting rooms. If they do, they usually provide very little privacy. To be able to fit clothes without hassle, wear tights or leggings and a tight fitting shirt or tank top so you can try on clothes over them without having to strip.
Try them on! Remember, you can’t call it a bargain if you can’t wear them anyway. Before you buy anything that you absolutely love, try it on first and see if it looks good on you. Remember, just because it looks great on the hanger doesn’t mean it will look good on you as well. A blouse or dress that seems to be your size may actually be too small or too big once you’ve tried them. So try on everything!
Wear comfy shoes. You can’t go raiding shops without comfortable shoes on. Expect to do a lot of walking and standing and you don’t want to kill your feet by wearing high heels or shoes that don’t fit. Flats or slip-ons are best.
Check, inspect, scrutinize your buys. Before you hit the counter, find a corner in the shop where you can check all the items you’ve chosen. Look for snags, rips, scratches, stains, or any damages. Just because it’s a bargain doesn’t mean you have to compromise on the quality.