We have noticed that South Africa does not have massive retailers that sell pre-owned clothes, shoes and accessories etc. compared to overseas stores. We have to depend on street vendors mostly located in the CBD. We have also noticed that it is not everyone’s cup of tea as it can become overwhelming for some. For those that are brave enough to walk the streets of the CBD, or looking to do so, we have listed the top 10 tips that may make the process easier for you.
Tip 1: Make a list
This rule has helped me avoid getting overwhelmed and spending more money than I had intended or worse, buying items I did not need. Street thrifting is usually busy and can become congested so having a list is vital to sourcing the items you have targeted. This will also assist you filter through all the vendors and what they are selling so that you are able to get what you want in a speedy manner. Get in and get out!
Tip 2: Carry Cash
Most if not all thrift street vendors only accept cash as a method of payment, so it is advised to carry cash and to set a budget for what you are looking for.
Tip 3: Be Comfortable
It is also advisable to wear comfortable clothes such as your basic sneakers, a sweater and pants with lots of pockets (for cash). There are no trolleys when street thrifting so you will be guaranteed to have HUGE bags to carry. Be prepared to exercise honey!
Tip 4: Have PLENTY of shopping bags.
There are many people selling shopping bags in those areas, but it’s usually best to bring your own to avoid having to spend extra money on this. Unless of course you would like to support a brother or two! You could also ask the seller to not wrap your goods (usually in plastic) as you will put it in your shopping bag in any case. That will help reduce the use of plastics - which is environmentally friendly.
Tip 5: Be Vigilant
This is self-explanatory. We know very well that someone who will try us outchea in these streets! So keep your eyes and ears open and remember…like most mommas used to tell us…don’t talk to strangers - unless they are a vendor.
Tip 6: Parking
Drive around the area to find secure parking, preferably with a car guard that will keep an eye on your vehicle and please give the guy a tip when you come back. It just shows good will.
Tip 7: Have hand sanitizer & a medical mask
The nature of pre-owned clothes is such that we advise you ALWAYS sanitize and clean your hands after you are done thrifting. We would also recommend a medical mask for those that suffer from sinusitis especially in the Winter. The wool material and the material from the coats can weigh heavily on your sinuses.
Tip 8: Ask
Most of vendors will be willing to assist or point you in the right direction when you’re looking for something specific. They tend to work together, which is extremely helpful for buyers. Another tip is if you would like to be one for the first to grab your hands on new stock, ask for their numbers and always communicate with them or check out their Whatsapp stories, which brings us to the second-last tip…
Tip 9: The earliest bird catches the fattest worm
That phrase is highly applicable with street thrifting. Find out from the vendors which day they usually have new stock. Then wake up VERY early in the morning to dive in. They open and release new stock or bales around 5AM- 6AM. The beauty about this is that you will be guaranteed to get the most dopest and lovely items with sizes, however…be prepared to pay a higher price (Thrifter’s higher price).
Tip 10: Have fun
It is a thrilling adventure for some of us so enjoy the thrifting. It is like digging for gold and there’s nothing as satisfying as knowing you have struck gold by the time everyone begins their day!
We hope the above will assist in making your experience as seamless as possible, if you have any more tips or tricks that we have left out, remember that sharing is caring.
Share with us by commenting below and don’t forget to share the post with someone interested. Happy Thrifting!