5 ways to thrift smartly

REduce waste

In today’s hustle and bustle, thrifting is like stumbling upon a hidden oasis in the desert of conventional shopping. It’s not just about snagging unique pieces; it’s a whole vibe, a savvy move that’s kind to both your wallet and the planet. So, come with Abby Berthelsen as she dives into how thrifting can be a game-changer, with a sprinkle of her own experiences thrown in for good measure.  

Shopping second-hand isn’t just about scoring unique fashion finds – it’s a wallet-friendly game-changer. Picture this: you stroll into a thrift store, and suddenly, the world is your oyster. With price tags that are practically love notes to your budget, thrifted items offer serious savings compared to their retail counterparts. Whether you’re eyeing off designer pieces, vintage accessories, or household treasures, thrift stores are like a treasure map leading to hidden bargains waiting to be unearthed. 

But here’s the real kicker: thrifting isn’t just about the dollars and cents. It’s a rebellion against the fast-fashion frenzy that’s swallowing our planet whole. You see, fast fashion churns out clothes like there’s no tomorrow, leading to 6,000 kilograms of textiles dumped into Australian landfills every 10 minutes. Thankfully, thrift stores swoop in like eco-warriors, rescuing around 300,000 tonnes of textiles from the landfill abyss each year.  

And here’s where it gets personal: thrifting isn’t just about being eco-conscious; it’s about making savvy choices that put money back in your pocket. By opting for second-hand goods, you’re not just reducing your carbon footprint – you’re giving items a second chance at life while enjoying some serious financial perks. It’s a win-win scenario that speaks volumes about the power of sustainable living. So, the next time you’re debating between splurging on retail or taking the thrift store route, remember this: you’re saving the planet and saving money. That’s what thrifting is all about. 

How to thrift smartly

Couple thrifting

Know what you’re looking for

In order to be successful at your local op-shop it is important to have a clear idea of the items you are looking for before you start browsing. Whether it’s a specific item of clothing, a trend, or even household décor. Having a focused mindset will help you navigate the aisles more efficiently as we all know how overwhelming it can sometimes be. However, don’t get put down if you are unable to locate your dream pair of shoes, because you never know what else you might find on the way.  

Be patient and persistent

Thrift shopping requires patience and perseverance. Not every visit will yield treasures, so don’t get discouraged, persistence pays off. Embrace the journey, and don’t get discouraged if your first few attempts don’t provide the desired results. Thrifting is all about the thrill of the hunt, and the satisfaction of discovering hidden gems amidst the racks and shelves. So, embrace the process, enjoy the thrill of discovery, and trust that your patience will be rewarded with remarkable finds that add character and charm to your wardrobe or home.  

Check quality carefully

Whilst thrifted items come at bargain prices, it is essential to inspect their quality before purchasing. Look for signs of wear and tear, stains, missing buttons or a broken zipper. By inspecting each piece before buying, you can ensure you have the skills to make the necessary repairs. Furthermore, prioritising quality over price ensures that you’re getting the most value out of your thrift shopping experience. So, next time you’re perusing the aisles of your favourite thrift store, don’t forget to give each item a thorough inspection before adding it to your shopping cart. Your future self will thank you for it!  

Explore different stores and sections

Expanding your horizons beyond one thrift store or section can truly transform your thrifting game. Let me share a little personal anecdote: you see, most of my favourite shirts aren’t from the women’s section – they’re actually from the children’s aisle. Yep, you heard that right! I stumbled upon this realisation one day when I decided to venture beyond my usual browsing area. And let me tell you, it was a game-changer. Suddenly, a whole new world of possibilities opened up before me. 

So, here’s my advice: don’t limit yourself to just one spot. Explore different thrift stores, consignment shops, and online platforms to uncover hidden treasures. And don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone and explore new sections within stores. Who knows? You might just find your next favourite piece in the furniture section, the bookshelves, or, yes, even the children’s aisle. The thrill of discovery is what makes thrifting so exciting, so embrace it and let your adventurous spirit lead the way. 

Be open to creativity and repurposing

Don’t be afraid to unleash your creativity and think outside the box when it comes to thrift shopping. Embracing creativity opens a world of possibilities for repurposing and upcycling thrifted items to suit your needs and style. Instead of viewing thrifted finds as they are, consider how you can give them new life and purpose through DIY projects and creative transformations. Not only does embracing creativity add a personal touch to your wardrobe or home decor, but it also allows you to express your individuality and reduce waste by giving old items a new lease on life.  

For more thrifting tips straight from the locals, check out this TikTok video showcasing the best thrifting hacks according to Brisbane residents.


Abby Berthelsen

As part of Abby’s business and fashion studies at QUT, she is currently interning at Brisbane Sustainability Agency. With a knack for creativity, she thrives on challenges and enjoys exploring sustainable practices.

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