4 Online Thrift Tips to Make Shopping Easier
Quote of the day: “There are many things that seem impossible only so long as one does not attempt them.” Andre Gide
After my friend, Cathy, asked me to write a guest post about thrifting on her site, I thought I could follow up with another idea. Sometimes having the right online thrift tips can make or break your shopping experience. The above photo shows a jacket thrifted from thredUp, while the rain boots and dress were both bought at brick and mortar thrift shops.
Now that I’ve been co-hosting the Instagram monthly style challenge– #thriftedchicstylechallenge for the last year, I’ve definitely been upping my love of second hand finds. It’s been truly amazing to find some fabulous deals at both the online thrift stores along with the local ones around my area.
While I may not be the most experienced shopper out there….I’ll leave that title to my mother, I certainly love making it easy. So I came up with 4 online thrift tips to make your experience more successful.
4 Online Thrift Tips
There are certainly pros and cons to shopping online versus the brick and mortar second hand stores. Both can be overwhelming at times, and both have times of feast and times of famine depending on what you are looking for that day. But let’s break down some of the reasons to consider the online variety.
What are the online thrift options? ThredUp, Poshmark, Swap, eBay, and etsy, (with its vintage selections) all offer preloved items. Heck, I could be missing some, so if you know more, let me in on the info.
1-Use the Search Option
This is the best way to find what you really want. In Cathy’s post, I recommended keeping a list of things as part of your wish list. Yet, if you don’t want to wait to find that item over a course of weeks or months, then you might want to go online.
That’s how I finally purchased the leopard coat pictured above. I scoured all of the online sites for about 3 days, before I found this one on Poshmark. I kept going to each site and searching for leopard coat. You may not find one on the first search, but at least you don’t have to get in your car and use up precious gas this way.
2-Filter, filter, filter
Each site has different ways to make your search easier, but here are some of my ideas. I always select the option for my size range if it’s available. To me there is no sense checking out anything too big or too small which isn’t going to work in the long run.
Many of the sites also allow you to filter the items by price. If you know you’re not going to spend over $25 on the item, why even bother looking (or tempting) yourself?
On top of that, there can be an option to filter by brands. Therefore, if you are a huge J Crew lover, you can also filter by certain brands that work for you.
3-Make sure to Favorite or Like the things you love
This is one of the advantages I adore about the online thrift shopping. When I see a product that I think might work, I favorite it or like it depending on which site I’m on. Think of this as putting an item in your shopping cart when you’re at a brick and mortar store. We all do that as we are perusing the place. Then you stop and really evaluate it at the end of your trip.
The best part when you’re online shopping? You can actually come back days later to evaluate the products. Sometimes I find if I can’t get an item out of my head, then it’s really going to be a better buy. You can’t do this at the local stores. I guess, you can drive back to the store, but you’d have to search for it all over again. In fact, I will favorite items on thredUp and come back later to see if they’ve gone on sale. I’m still watching a certain coat that I’m hoping to get for under $50.
4-Evaluate the Product
Once you’ve found the item, selected it, and fallen in love with it, you should really think about how it will work for you. This has many levels to think about if you really want to make your purchase successful.
A-Will it Fit?
I always say there are items that you can’t go wrong buying online. Things that don’t have a size are always more successful. For example purses, jewelry and scarves will fit no matter what.
Another item that works pretty well are skirts because there aren’t as many fit points in a skirt. Most sites will give you some measurements, so read them. And take our your measuring tape and compare. This is the only way you can try on the items before you get them, so I always take the time to do this step.
It’s also good to analyze the style of the piece. If it’s a fit and flare dress, I only worry about the bodice size and length of the dress. The hips should work fine for me. This is when you need to think about your body type and how it will work in your closet.
Those items that are hard to fit for you? They are not the ideal things to purchase from these sites. Of course there are exceptions to this rule. If it’s a brand and style that you already have and knows it fits fabulously, then this can totally work.
B-What is the Material?
Since you can’t feel and touch the items, it’s important to look at the material content. This information can help you with how you will wash it, and if works for you.
C-Can I return it?
Most of these sites do not accept returns. And that shouldn’t put you off from purchasing items. It just makes analyzing the items more important. But you should absolutely check the policies first before clicking that purchase button just to make sure.
Some of these sites have an area to ask a question or comment if you’re not sure of a detail. That can be extremely helpful.
I do know that thredUp accepts returns. I have returned a jacket when it ended up being damaged and the return amount was given to me as credit on their site. If you want the credit returned to your original type of payment, then you have to pay a fee or pay the shipping.
D-Do not try to match the color
This is the one detail that is too hard for online shopping. You may see the color as blue on your computer monitor, but in real life it has more yellow in it, so giving it a green tint. So my thought is don’t only buy an item to go with something in your closet. Buy the item because you love the style and/or print. Once you get it in your closet, then you can see what other pieces it’s going to play nice with.
These online thrift tips may seem like a lot of steps and work to get your perfect items, but in the long run they can save you precious time and money. I know I’m always trying to make my shopping experiences easier and more successful, so if you have a great tip, I’d love to hear it!
Since I mentioned my thrift box in the description of some of these photos, you can read about my experience with it. The three of us also worked with thredUp last fall, and I discussed my history with preloved items recently. When I describe the brand of the items each of us wears in a blog post, I also try to mention if it’s been thrifted, if that interests you.
If you liked any of these photos, it would help me if you pinned them to your own Pinterest board. It’s one way that others can see our outfits.
Even if you wouldn’t consider purchasing your clothing online, it can be helpful to look through my links to see what is available! It certainly doesn’t hurt my feelings, if you click on them but don’t like them. Just so you know, one of the ways I make money from this blog is through these linked items.
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Also, feel free to Shop My Instagram items.