When to Say No While Thrifting

It’s so easy to get sucked into buying everything when you’re out shopping at thrift stores because everything is so cheap. You think “well, this sweater is only $10 so what’s it gonna hurt?”.

But those cheap sweaters add up, and suddenly your closet is packed, you’re broke, and you still have nothing to wear.

Sound familiar?

Trust me, I do it too. I find myself clearing out my closet every couple of months, and I’m just appalled at how many items I’ve purchased and have yet to wear. Then I start thinking about how much money I’ve actually wasted on clothing that could’ve been better loved by someone else. Does that stop me from continuing this habit? Nope.

Why? Because I’ll wear it one day. I’ll fit into it one day. I’ll find a way to style it one day. I’ll buy something to style it with one day. And on and on and on …

This year I’ve decided to thrift consciously. I’m no longer buying willy nilly just because something is so cute and I just have to have it. I’ve come up with a handful of questions to ask myself whenever I find something I want while thrifting. Hopefully these questions can help you thrift more consciously, too!

10 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Thrift Something

I originally wanted to start this list of questions with the age old question of “do I need it?” but decided against that, because I’m a huge believer in treating yourself simply because you want something. Yes, we should determine if items are a need or if they’re simply a strong want, but I don’t think we should tell ourselves no just because it isn’t essential. You’re a human being with complex emotions and if buying something because it’s pretty will make you happy, by all means, get it. However, before you buy something just because it’s pretty, ask yourself these questions. If by the end you still want the item because it’s pretty, go for it gf, but at least determine if the item is actually worth it.

Does it fit PERFECTLY?

Does the item fit you like a glove? Do you love the way it looks on you? Is it comfortable? Can you see yourself wearing it for hours?

It is absolutely not worth it to buy something that doesn’t fit you perfectly. You’re never going to wear it. Why? Because it’s uncomfortable, you don’t like the way you look, or it only holds up for an hour and then you can’t wait to get out of it.

I can’t tell you how many items I’ve bought that didn’t fit me, and I chose to sacrifice not only my money, but my comfort, too. I end up never wearing these items because I know it’s going to be uncomfortable, and I’m a comfort snob. Something that’s just slightly too small, or slightly too big, or it’s tight in the shoulders, or you can’t sit it in – toss it in the no pile. Remember, you are not made to fit into clothing, clothing is made to fit you. If something doesn’t fit you, it simply isn’t meant to be. Don’t sacrifice your comfort or waste your money on something that you won’t ever wear.

And don’t even get me starting on buying something because you think it’ll fit if you lose 10 pounds. I am SO GUILTY of this. You know what happens? I never end up losing that 10 pounds and that items sits in my closet antagonizing me until I finally just get rid of it. It is not worth it. Don’t put yourself through that. You do not need to lose weight in order to fit into something. You are not made to fit into clothing, clothing is made to fit you!

Is it high quality?

Will the item last? Is it cheap? Is it of sound quality? You can usually tell the quality of an item by the feel. You can also check for materials to help determine If its made with high quality materials. You don’t want to buy an item because it’s cheap and only get one or two wears out of it before it looks dingy or gets holes in it. It’s not worth the money!

Fun fact; I know it seems like you’re saving money by buying cheap clothing, but in the long run you actually end up spending more. Clothes should be made to last and be reworn regularly. If you’re always buying cheap quality items, you’ll need to replace them far more often, causing you to spend even more money than if you would’ve spent a little more on a higher quality piece. Of course, you can only afford what you can afford so do what you can, but if you’re able to splurge a bit, do it! It’ll be worth it in the long run.

Does it have holes or snags? Are they easy to fix? Will you actually fix it?

I am so bad at checking for holes in clothing until I get home, put that item on, and suddenly there’s a gaping hole in the armpit. I’m also notorious for thinking “oh this is an easy fix! I can fix that” and never actually doing it.

Always check for holes – check the armpits, thigh area, and along the seems. If the item has buttons, check for missing buttons. If an item zips, check the zipper to make sure it works seamlessly. Any snags you can see? Always check for issues before purchasing an item so you can save yourself from heartbreak later. And don’t tell yourself you can fix it if you know you’re never going to fix it (@ me).

Is it a brand you like?

I once heard someone talking about how what they wear is a direct indication of their personal brand, and they won’t wear brands that don’t align with their personal beliefs.

My mind has been forever changed when it comes to shopping certain brands.

Now I tend to ask myself “is this a brand I would be proud to wear, support, and represent?”

If the answer is no, I won’t buy it.

Will anyone ever actually know the brand? Likely not, but it’s the principal. I am a walking brand. What I wear is an important aspect of my personal brand. I want to clearly show what/who I believe in.

I don’t want to wear brands that are cheap or unethical because I am not cheap or unethical and I don’t support brands who are.

This isn’t to say you need to research every brand of every item you come across – but there are certain brands we gravitate towards, and away from.

For example, I’ve recently fallen in love with luxury brands and would be proud to wear them, however I find myself moving away from fast fashion brands like SHEIN or H&M because of their unethical practices and cheap labor.

Do your best to wear brands you love! Don’t be afraid to try out new brands, too, though 🙂

Can you see yourself wearing it often?

This one is pretty self explanatory. Will this item become a staple piece in your wardrobe? Can you see yourself wearing it often? Or is it something you see yourself wearing maybe once and never touching it again? If it’s something you can see yourself wearing often, get it. If you only see yourself wearing it a time or two, ask yourself if it’s really worth it.

Can you create an outfit with it using items you already have at home?

A single item can become pretty costly if you find yourself having to buy other pieces in order to make a complete outfit with it. Make sure you have items at home that you can use to create an outfit with the piece you’re considering buying. I tend to buy brown sweaters and then never wear them because I don’t have proper brown boots … which might be more of an issue that I just can’t style the color brown than that I don’t have the right items. My point still stands – make sure you can make an outfit out of the item without buying anything new!

Can you afford it?

This might be a “duh” question, but I’m definitely guilty of swiping a credit card for something I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to afford. Don’t go broke trying to stay on trend. Make sure you can really afford an item before splurging on it!

Is it a hell yes? Do you love it?

If it’s not a hell yes, it’s a hell no. If you don’t absolutely love something, put it back. Don’t buy something because you think it’s kinda cute or you kinda like it. Spend your money on things you LOVE.

Could someone else appreciate it more?

I think this goes hand in hand with the last question. Do you feel like there’s someone out there that might appreciate an item more than you could? Is there someone who might wear it more than you might? If you only kind of like something, I can guarantee there’s someone out there who will absolutely love it. Leave it for that person to find!

Lastly, if it sold to someone else tomorrow, would you be sad?

Sometimes we don’t realize how much an item means to us until it’s gone. This is a new question I’ve begun asking myself because it helps me determine how much I really love something. If it was gone tomorrow, would I be sad? Disappointed? If yes, buy it right now. If no, it’s simply not meant to be. Let someone else love it!

Trust Your Gut

You know yourself better than anyone else. You know whether you love an item or only kind of like it. You know if you’ll actually fix a hole or if you’ll never get around to it. You know what you love and what you find yourself wearing all the time (and if you don’t, stick around because I’ll be teaching you how to find your individual style).

We work hard for our money, so don’t waste it on filling your closet with items you don’t absolutely love or don’t fit you perfectly.

I hope these questions help you thrift consciously! I’m excited to start implementing these questions when I’m out thrifting, too! Hopefully we end up with less cluttered closets and an easier time getting ready in the mornings!

Want to learn how to declutter your closet and find your personal style? Be sure to sign up for emails so you don’t miss our next blog post!

Thanks for reading!


Amy Kelley

Owner – Sunny + Olive

January 28, 2023

  1. Chelsea Christl says:

    This is such a great read❤️❤️❤️

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