How Often Should I Thrift If I'm Selling Vintage?

How often should I thrift if I'm selling vintage? This is the million-dollar question.

It's one that I get asked about frequently. It comes up in conversation when I'm talking to random folks about how I run my online vintage clothing shop. They get a wide-eyed gleeful look when they hear that I get to do what I love (thrift for vintage) and make money from it.

But the amount of thrifting is a surprise to them, as if hard work wasn't involved in the process of a successful business; as if repetitive behavior wasn't involved in creating a future I wanted that happens to be enjoyable.

Most people can thrift and do it efficiently, even if they work another job. But thrifting is work. Yes, it's nice work, but it's still work and it can be a bit grueling, particularly if you're not having much luck (not finding anything).

Success in thrifting comes with dedication. It isn't so much the time spent in the store as it's getting out there repeatedly and making sure you know what you're looking for.

So, how often do you thrift? That's a hard and fast standard question. And it's a good one. The answer is as diverse as the person looking to do the same, the size of their shop, what they're looking for, and ultimately, how hard they want to work. 

If you want a large shop, you're going to have to shop a lot more than someone with a small shop. If the vintage you want to sell is hard to find, say, vintage Levi's, expect to leave thrift stores with nothing.

The more rare an item, the more you'll have to hunt for it. If you want to sell polyester stuff, well, the hunt won't be so bad. It's everywhere.

But at the end of that question, how often do you thrift? comes a simple answer. 

As often as you possibly can.

I suppose this is both a vague and specific answer simultaneously. It may be what you want to hear (for me this is pure joy; treasure hunting is where it's at for me.) 

Or, it may not be what you want to hear. But the truth is, it's consistency and patience that will get you what you're looking for, whether it's a successful shop or finding exactly what you're looking for.

I love scouring thrift stores, garage sales, tag sales, and estate sales looking for what I love and want to sell in my shop. Thrifting is a dream come true. I've been thrifting for decades and I suppose I'll be thrifting until the day I die.

So, if you want to be successful with selling vintage, you're going to have to learn to love thrifting and you're going to have to thrift as often as you possibly can.

If you want to find good vintage, here are a few fast and hard rules.

Thrift every day, even if it's for 10 minutes: This may seem pointless. Trust me, it's so far from pointless that this should be posted to your mirror to look at every morning. I can't tell you how often I find things in just five minutes of thrifting. 

Yes, it can be tedious... especially when you leave thrift store after thrift store, day after day, not finding a thing. But the day will come when you do, and you'll be grateful you were there to find said treasure. Thrift every day, just for a few minutes, you will eventually find what you're looking for.

Have a favorite thrift store that you know by heart: I have a thrift store one mile from my house. It's usually on my route to errands or appointments, so I hop in almost five days a week. I use the first rule I just mentioned, thrifting for only 5-10 minutes because that's all I have some days. 

But I know this store like the back of my hand. Because I've memorized the place, it helps me see new items, and specifically the stuff I'm searching for. Knowing my store makes the vintage I'm looking for stand out. Get to know your local, nearest, or most favorite thrift store.

Thrift when you don't want to: This is key. I've had people ask me about this, and they inevitably say, "I don't want to thrift on my way home from work. I'm so tired." Well then, tough cookies! If you want the vintage, if you love it like you say you do, then you thrift when you don't want to. 

I understand you're tired after a long day. I also know thrifting store after store is mind-numbing. Trust me, there is such a thing as thrifting fatigue. I used to do eight thrift stores in a row, regularly. It's hard. After a while, your eyes glaze, and you don't know if you're looking at jeans, sweaters, dresses, or shoes. They all run together. So what! Do what you have to do. Thrift, even when you don't want to.

Thrift when you do want to: This is also imperative. It's the action that will keep your love for thrifting alive. I always want to thrift. So, this isn't a problem for me. My point here is to make sure to keep doing this because you love it. That reinforces positive behavior: doing what you love is a soul-pleasing and dopamine-kicking action. 

Thrift when you want to, especially if you want to every day! Your love for thrifting and all things vintage will stay alive because you're reminding your brain how much fun it is... because it is.

Thrift as often as you can, every day, know a favorite thrift store, thrift when you don't want to, and especially thrift when you do want to. Have a running list in your head of what you're looking for. 

After years of doing this, I can walk into a thrift store, knowing what I want, see what I want, and get out of there (to get to the next thrift store) in a short amount of time.

Do what you want, of course, because in the end, that's what you'll do. But, if you're looking to have a successful vintage haul, love selling vintage, want to find vintage, and want to know the secret to the success of finding vintage, then it's as easy as that. 

Thrift as often as you can, keep the love for vintage alive in your heart, and you will find success. Sometimes it takes time to find. Let time bring them to you. The more you thrift, the more you find.

Don't despair, stay consistent, and be patient.  Happy vintage hunting!

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