Ok, to get started I must say that these are MY rules. This is MY approach to thrifting and some tips I have learned. If you have more, please share!
I started by going to Habitat for Humanity's ReStore when we were redoing the kitchen cottage a year ago. I scored a full set of cabinets for a fraction of the cost and was hooked on finding the deal. I redid the whole kitchen on thrifty finds, but that is another post.
I then ventured into a Goodwill. My rule was to by-pass the clothing, shoes and hit the home accessories. Each GW has an aisle of Target items that are new (have been returned to the store), discontinued or damaged. My first few visits, I would only buy from this aisle.
Like most things, I have evolved. I am no longer a thrifting snob.
I hit the furniture first. Pick it up, turn it over, shake it, sit in it. I whip out my measuring tape and toss it in my cart or run to get a worker to put a sold sign on it. Yes, I said run. Act fast or it'll be scooped!
Then I go down each aisle. I get on the floor and look at the bottom shelf. I pick things up, look for a stamp, I run my finger along the edges. If necessary, I put a magnet on it to see if it's real.
Then, I walk the textile area. I look for fabric that I can reuse.
As a last effort to find the treasure, I checkout the area behind the front cashier (showcase). This is where they keep the valuables.
Once in my car, I use handi wipes and get the crud off me. It is a dirty sport and I dress accordingly. Learn from me, do NOT wear white!
Eat before you go, or bring something with you.
Avoid using the bathroom at all cost!
If you cannot see beyond the obvious, do not thrift. I rarely use an item for its intended purpose.
Go often. Places restock constantly.
I have two fabulous friends who are starting out on their thrifting journey. Both are classy, well dressed and stick out like sore thumbs! That was once me. Now people ask me questions since they think I work there!
No need to shower before you head out. You may want to shower after!
A well stocked purse: gloves, tape measure, magnet, handi wipes, a pair of reading glasses.
It may be wise to buy a netti-pot. Tons of dust at these joints and not good on the sinuses.
By no means am I an expert. People have asked me questions and this is what I do.
Got tips? Please share!
Hope this helps!