5 Tips for Thrift Shopping During COVID-19

By Liam Wirsansky on August 2, 2020

A trip to go thrift store shopping can be a great way to find some great new vintage and trendy clothing at affordable prices, or an opportunity to donate and unload some of the unwanted articles of clothing out of your closet. With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to keep your health and safety in mind as well as those around you. Here are some tips to thrift safely and effectively to find the styles and prices you are looking for this summer.

Make Sure You Bring Your Mask and Gloves:

While this one seems like a no brainer, it is worth mentioning time and time again because ensuring safety should be everyone’s priority during this pandemic. Make sure you keep a face mask handy when travelling to a thrift store, as most businesses are requiring them for entry. Many places are also taking customers’ temperatures upon entering the thrift store premises, so expect to be stopped at the entryway upon arriving at the facility. You will most likely be touching and dealing with a lot of different items or clothing that may not have been disinfected and could have been touched before you. Keeping a pair of disposable rubber gloves handy can help to keep your hands clean and free of contamination, while thoroughly washing your clothes in the laundry before wearing them will ensure that any germs or unwanted residue has been removed from the articles of clothing that you buy.

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Deals of the Day:
Thrifting has become somewhat of a trend lately and organizations have begun to catch on and raise their prices slightly, turning a typical mega-bargain, into just a normal one. Avoiding big thrift store chains, or knowing how to make the most of your experiences at them is beneficial for those looking for those incredible deals. Many thrift stores hold weekly sales, many times for a specific type of item, a colored tag, or even the age of the customer. Always be sure to ask an employee what deals are going on when you enter the store.

Thrift by the Pound:

Big chains like Goodwill have regular store locations, but have also diversified customers’ thrifting experiences by creating thrift by the pound locations, where items are valued by their weight and category, rather than on an individually determined price system. You may have to dig around a little bit, but the prices are much lower and the items are restocked much more often. The large piles and quantity of bins also makes it much more likely that what you are searching through has not been seen as widely as in a normal store’s display.

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Thrift Online:

With the ongoing pandemic it may not be desirable or feasible for some thrifters to leave their home and go to an in-person store. With the online shopping industry experiencing even more of a boom in terms of successful entrepreneurship, many thrifting chains have created online websites and stores to cater to those customers who want a completely hands free and socially distant thrifting experience, as well as new applications and businesses designed specifically for buying and selling second hand items and clothing. Sales, great deals, and a constant renewal and replacement of stock, highlights some of the advantages of shopping online all in the comfort of your own home. Even social media apps like Tik Tok or Facebook can sometimes offer some of the best deals or guidance on finding those deals in their marketplaces and general newsfeed. Check out some of these sites for some great online thrift finds:

https://www.depop.com/

https://www.shopgoodwill.com/

https://www.thredup.com/

https://www.swap.com/

https://www.thrifted.com/

Shop in the Middle of the Week and Ask when the Store Restocks:

Avoiding as much social contact can be beneficial for more than just social distancing and safety measures, as less people in the store means that less people are looking through the same stock of inventory that you are. Weekends are typically the busiest times in thrift stores, so making a trip to the thrift store in the middle of the week is the optimal time to shop and avoid a larger amount of competition. Another good suggestion to keep in mind is asking the employees of the thrift store when new shipments are received and the inventory is restocked. Scheduling your trip to thrift store as close to when this happens ensures that you have the biggest possible selection of stock to look through.

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No matter what you are looking for and what you find, thrifting is an affordable and exciting way to define your own style and dress how you want to. Staying safe and healthy is far from impossible while thrifting and can be executed in a multitude of ways. You may not know what items you will find, but fun is always on the clothing rack when it comes to thrifting so long as you are keeping yourself and those around.

Liam Wirsansky is a Senior at Florida State University, pursuing a double major in Theatre and Information, Communication, and Technology (ICT). He serves as the President and Artistic Director of White Mouse Theatre Productions at FSU and is also the playwright of the plays, Moonchildren and Finding a New Year.

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