I have an obsession – with Facebook Marketplace. At least once a day, I scroll through it to search for anything from clothing to bags to home decor. I sell a lot on it, too, as I find it’s a great way to stay local and shop sustainably.
I’ve had luck with buying and selling on this platform, but it’s not the only way to thrift online. Sites like Depop and Poshmark provide even more variety and choice, as items are shipped right to the purchaser.
When I first started thrifting online, I was a bit intimidated and had to Google a lot of abbreviations lol. Unlike a new online purchase, you can’t always return a thrifted item of clothing (although some sites do allow this). So, a little more care is needed when you’re thrifting. If you’re starting to get into the online secondhand space, here are my top tips for thrifting clothing online.
tips for thrifting clothing online
get to know the abbreviations
Like I said, I did some Googling. If you’re looking for a brand new item to purchase secondhand, you’ll want to search BNWT (brand new with tags) or BNWOT (brand new without tags). You can find so many secondhand items that have never been worn!
If you’re not purchasing a brand new piece, you’ll want to understand the condition of the item you’re buying. Items that are EUC (excellent used condition) and GUC (good used condition) will still have a lot of life in them.
If what you’re searching for is a piece that’s generally hard to find, type HTF into your search!
make a decision quickly
Some items can sell fast online, so if there’s an item you might regret losing, be sure to make a decision quickly. Once you have some experience thrifting online, you’ll start to recognize items that sell immediately. New items from a popular brand will likely go quickly, for example. However, I would encourage you to not buy anything you’re not fully sure about. The great thing about thrifting online is that you can usually find the same or similar items.
A great way to speed up your decision is to…
know what you’re looking for
It’s fun to browse secondhand sites for the sake of browsing, because you can definitely find some gems! But it’s also great to have a strategy when you’re thrifting so that you (1) don’t buy items you don’t need and (2) know exactly what to search for and when to hit that buy button.
If you know you want to buy a wool coat for the fall, try searching online first. You may find a coat that’s BNWT, or one that was only worn a few times. If you’re purchasing on a local site, like Facebook Marketplace, think about how far you would be willing to drive to pick up that item.
Like you would in a regular store, shopping seasonally is helpful when thrifting online. For example, August is a great time to start thrifting fall pieces, as sellers will be getting them up on their profiles. There may also be less demand for seasonal pieces if you start looking earlier.
know when to barter (and when you shouldn’t)
You can absolutely barter, but it will serve you well to know when you should do so.
If it’s a new piece that’s still in stores, and there’s already the savings of tax plus a little extra, the seller likely won’t want to sell at a lower price. Do a quick search online for that item if you’re unsure. In this case, you may already have intended on buying that piece but want a small cost savings of the tax.
Feel free to barter when the item is older, the listing has been up for a while, or there’s a flaw in the piece. But remember to respect the seller; if a sweater is listed for $35, you can try offering an even $30, but you shouldn’t offer $15. Also consider the material of the item (merino wool will be more expensive than polyester), the brand, the amount of wear on it, and the article of clothing itself (are you buying a t-shirt or a coat?)
I hope these tips for thrifting clothing online are helpful in getting you started with secondhand shopping! Do you have any thrifting tips to share?