Expert thrifting tips for reducing, reusing and recycling

Kiera Jeuitt is an expert in the three r’s: reduce, reuse and recycle. She is the founder of “I Love Thrifting” and an expert on how to use thrift to live more sustainably by recycling what’s old, reducing the waste produced by new items you might buy instead, and giving great tips on how to recycle what’s already there . Jeuitt shared some of his tips with Inhabitat.

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Inhabitat: What’s the best time of year to shop for bargains?

Jeuitt: During the change of seasons, people tend to declutter to free up space in their homes and often donate their items, so early spring, fall and winter are all ideal times to save on bargains. During the holiday season, people are also typically looking to declutter to make room for newly acquired and anticipated gifts, and they will donate their items out of season. Many thrift shoppers, myself included, visit multiple thrift stores during this time of year to snag bargains.

Related: Thrift and gift for something extra nice Secondhand Sunday

A good tip if you plan to visit thrift stores for an extended period of time: be prepared with the essentials to help you shop, including disposable gloves to wear while browsing, a fanny pack to hold your hands free and a Hydro Flask with a strap to stay hydrated while searching.

Inhabitat: What items should people buy every time they find them?

Jeuitt: I often feel like I’m in Cinderella at the thrift store because most shoes are not my size: size 10. So if I come across a shoe that I love in my size, I definitely pick it up. Books are always relevant and a must-buy for me. Most of my local thrift stores have a good selection. I personally love vintage cookbooks, autobiographies and children’s books for my daughter. Vintage wooden furniture is always a good idea. It is versatile and can be distressed, painted or simply buffed up for a vibrant new look. Typically, if I find a unique piece, I take it home.

Various items such as clothes on a rack above and below, a shelf of accessories with a dinosaur figure on top

Inhabitat: How can you tell if something is high quality?

Jeuitt: The very first indicator that something is of quality is the material(s) it is made of. Usually at a glance I am able to spot something of quality, so touching and examining the item will strengthen my opinion. A material like real silk will be very soft to the touch, while real leather has a firm feel that is very different from the feel of “leather”. Next, look at the craftsmanship, the stitching, how the seams and patterns line up, and the finish, all of which tell the story of an item’s quality.

Inhabitat: Where are the best places to find thrift deals?

Jeuitt: Try to thrift often if possible – by going out often you’re more likely to find good items as the inventory is always changing. The best places to find thrift deals are local thrift stores that are close to you, so you can visit them often, increasing your chances of scoring a bargain. Personally, I appreciate smaller, less mainstream thrift stores for bargains and less competition from other shoppers. If I am looking to shop at a larger thrift store, I will check out my local chains such as Salvation Army, Goodwill and Savers. If you’re able to thrift on weekdays when most stores release new items, you’ll find some great deals.

There are also many thrifty deals on Facebook Marketplace. You can search locally and score some great stuff, all from the confines of your home. If you really want to grab a deal, check out your city or neighborhood’s Facebook Buy Nothing groups, where people shop and give away useful items to members of their community.

Inhabitat: How can objects be reused and recycled in a creative way?

Jeuitt: Repurposing and recycling items is what makes thrifting so enjoyable! I get a lot of insight into repurposing and repurposing thrift finds by looking at Facebook groups such as my I Love Thrifting group. Group members are constantly reinventing their newly purchased thrift finds, sharing styling tips, and inspiring and supporting others!

A really fun thing to do is take old sweaters and turn them into throw pillows. This is such a fun project and allows you to easily reinvent a room in your home with just the little touches of new pillows. There are plenty of quick tutorials online, and members also post these types of projects in our I Love Thrifting Facebook group.

Vintage denim is very versatile and most thrift stores have a wide variety of denim pieces. Distressed denim can really spice up and modernize an older pair of jeans. It’s also fun to cut your denim jeans up into shorts.

Another favorite of mine is turning old buttons into earrings. There are almost always cheap old buttons for sale at thrift stores, so try to find some that are really unique and turn them into cute earrings.

Images via Pexels


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