Second-Hand Shopping: Yay or Nay?

" 5 Tips on How to Master The Art of Finding Diamonds In The Rough"5 Tips on How to Master The Art of Finding Diamonds In The Rough

When it comes to buying used, there are plenty of thrills to be had. Finding bargains, haggling over prices, and discovering hidden treasures are just a few qualities that have inspired some Olympic-level second-hand shoppers. But how do these shoppers go about maximizing their time and money? Here’s their strategy:

  1. Resist the impulse buying

While there is bound to be some degree of impulse buying when you go in without a list, try to avoid buying items you already have or which might be useful one day. Instead, focus on purchases that you know to be more valuable than what is being asked or purchase items that you actually need.

  1. Be prepared to try on clothes

Meaning, don’t wear an elaborate outfit while you shop. Otherwise you will find yourself changing in and out of it at a slower pace, or you may just forgo the trying-on process altogether (Really, try it on! Second-hand shops don’t always allow returns.) A dress and sandals is a good default outfit.

  1. Practice kindness at all times

Being kind to the staff everywhere you go will set the stage for you to negotiate prices later on. They will be keener to give you what you want if you are polite. Rude shoppers might even risk being asked to leave the store! Apart from that, the staff might even help you find some treasures if you ask politely.

  1. Know your stuff

Make a habit of learning how to spot antiques or designer clothes. Brush up on Antiques Roadshow episodes, browse antique books, and follow high-end fashion designers. If you know what you’re looking at from the get-go, you’ll save a lot of contemplation time and a lot of stealthy smart phone research time.

  1. Geography matters

If you go to second-hand stores in more upscale areas, you may have better luck when it comes to finding things like designer clothing. Or, if you go to second-hand stores in different climates, your yields may look drastically different. For example, if you hit up thrift stores in a ski town during the offseason, your odds of finding discounted ski gear and jackets will be greater.

With a little practice of these five steps, you’ll begin to see your collection of treasures growing in no time! And once you do succeed in finding some diamonds in the rough, it’s also imperative that you follow some of the post-purchase good practices. This includes washing any clothes or linens, appraising and insuring valuable items if called for, or having some ill-fitted items tailored.


Sophia Mest is a Content Manager at, where she aspires to put her writing passion into practice and spread her words across the world. She spends her free time travelling and exploring the wonders of nature.


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