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27 tips to help you thrift shop like a boss this summer season.

Save some cash, save the planet, and dig for some hidden thrift shop treasures.

27 tips to help you thrift shop like a boss this summer season.
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Savers + Value Village

Summer is finally here! (Well, almost.)

As the weather heats up, we’re drawn to brighter colors and lighter fabrics — cue your desire for a complete closet refresh. It's tempting to invest in an entirely new wardrobe to match the coming season, but fashion can come with a hefty price — both for your wallet and the environment. Did you know that it can take up to 1,800 gallons of water to make a single pair of jeans? 1,800 gallons!

This year, instead of heading straight for the mall or diving into the abyss that is online shopping, consider checking out your local thrift store for all your summer fun needs — from poolside lounging to graduation parties or weddings. Thrifting can be a great way to save money (and the planet) while prepping for summer.


Like anything, thrifting can be an art. We're here with some tips and tricks to help you get your thrift on this summer.

Before you go:

1. Grab clothing and accessories from your own closet that you no longer need and are ready to recycle. Make room for those new finds and donate to local charitable organizations while you're at it.

2. Get on the mailing list or join the store's loyalty program. Research what days have deals for certain items — up to 50% off, or buy one get one free. You might even be able to get a discount on your birthday.

Image via iStock.

3. Set a budget. It'll help you stay focused on items you actually need. Even a small budget can get you quite a haul at stores like Savers, where nearly 95% of the items sold are under $10.

4. Bring a friend. You'll cover more ground in the store and have someone there to give an opinion on your more peculiar finds.

5. Looking for something vintage? Check out these tips on snagging awesome vintage finds (for instance, did you know that metal zippers and side-snap closures are a sign that something was made before the mid-60s?)

6. Wear something that you can try things on over — like a tank top — so you skip the dressing-room lines.

7. Brainstorm a list of five items you're looking for. If nothing else, this will give you a place to start when you get there. But...

8. Be adaptable, the best part of thrifting is an unexpected find.

When you get there:

9. Think outside your own box. Keep friends and family in mind: a friend who's a different size than you are or a niece who needs a new book for summer break.

10. Give yourself some extra time in the store — hunting for hidden treasures takes time.

Shopping for clothes:

11. Don't limit yourself to your typical size. Sizes vary so much by brand and era; it's worth looking through at least four sizes smaller and larger than your usual.

12. Plan to try on your items before you buy.

13. In the summer months, keep an eye out for seasonal finds: sun hats and swimsuits and flip-flops — oh my. Stock up on the essentials.

14. Don't be intimidated by the shoe section: high quality, barely used shoes at a huge discount. Check the soles for wear.

Getting crafty:

15. Even if you aren't a craft expert, you can probably sew a button back on, hem a dress, or cut out some shoulder pads. Or you can visit your local tailor.

16. Looking for jorts (jean shorts) this summer? Find a pair of jeans with a bit more room in the thigh, cut off the legs, and roll the hems for some quick, super-comfy new shorts.

Image via iStock.

Shopping for knickknacks and housewares:

17. Check out the housewares section for seasonal party decorations. Lemonade pitchers, margarita glasses, and festive dishes galore.

18. Keep an eye out for gardening supplies — it's never too late in the summer season to plant some flowers.

19. In books, you'll find great reads for your next beach vacation, including current best-selling paperback fiction. Why spend full price?

20. Recipe books too. Nothing beats perusing through a hard copy of "Grilling for Dummies" or "50 Easy Frozen Yogurt Recipes."

Image via iStock.

21. Looking for a complete set of dishes? You'll find matching plates, mugs, bowls, and more in any thrift shop.

22. Keep an eye out for cast iron pans — with just a little love, even pans that look pretty beat up can be good as new.

23. The kitchen appliance section might surprise you — cake-pop makers, cordless wine chillers, donut makers, milk frothers, juicers, and so much more.

Before you check out:

24. Look for an outlet (or ask an employee) to test your new appliance before you buy it.

25. Didn't find what you were looking for? Try again tomorrow — seriously. Thrift shops like Savers put out up to 10,000 new items at each store every day.

On Fridays, we go thrifting. What will you be hunting for this weekend? cc: @meg_swellvtg #Savers #findthefind #regram

A post shared by Savers Thrift Store (@savers_thrift) on

26. Or try thrifting in a new area. Each store is unique, so it's worth trying the location on the other side of town or wherever you happen to be vacationing.

27. Have fun. It's a no-brainer, but an important reminder.

Thrifting is a win-win-win for your wallet, the Earth, and your community.

According to the Savers 2017 State of Reuse Report, over 6 in 10 people said they shopped thrift in 2016. As more people choose a thrifted tee instead of a new one, over time, this can help reduce resource waste — like thousands of gallons of water to create that new tee or a pair of jeans.

See you in the aisles!

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When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

In the autumn of 1939, Chiune Sugihara was sent to Lithuania to open the first Japanese consulate there. His job was to keep tabs on and gather information about Japan's ally, Germany. Meanwhile, in neighboring Poland, Nazi tanks had already begun to roll in, causing Jewish refugees to flee into the small country.

When the Soviet Union invaded Lithuania in June of 1940, scores of Jews flooded the Japanese consulate, seeking transit visas to be able to escape to a safety through Japan. Overwhelmed by the requests, Sugihara reached out to the foreign ministry in Tokyo for guidance and was told that no one without proper paperwork should be issued a visa—a limitation that would have ruled out nearly all of the refugees seeking his help.

Sugihara faced a life-changing choice. He could obey the government and leave the Jews in Lithuania to their fate, or he could disobey orders and face disgrace and the loss of his job, if not more severe punishments from his superiors.

According to the Jewish Virtual Library, Sugihara was fond of saying, "I may have to disobey my government, but if I don't, I would be disobeying God." Sugihara decided it was worth it to risk his livelihood and good standing with the Japanese government to give the Jews at his doorstep a fighting chance, so he started issuing Japanese transit visas to any refugee who needed one, regardless of their eligibility.

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