Kiera Jeuitt is an expert at the three r’s: reducing, reusing and recycling. She is the founder of “I Love Thrifting” and an expert on how to use thrifting to live more sustainably by reusing what’s old, reducing the waste produced by new items you might possibly buy instead and offering amazing tips on how to recycle what’s already there. Jeuitt shared some of her tips with Inhabitat.

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

Jeuitt: During changes of season, people tend to declutter to free space in their homes and often donate their items, so the onset of spring, fall and winter are all ideal times to thrift for deals. During the holiday season, people also typically are looking to declutter to make space for newly-acquired and anticipated gifts, and will donate their off-season items. Many thrifters, including myself, frequent more thrift stores during this time of year to snag great deals.

Related: Thrifting and gifting something extra nice Secondhand Sunday

A good tip if you are planning to visit thrift stores for an extended period of time: be prepared with essentials to help you shop, including disposable gloves to wear while browsing, a fanny pack so you can keep your hands free and a Hydroflask with a strap to stay hydrated as you search.

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

Jeuitt: Oftentimes, I 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’m definitely picking it up. Books are always relevant and a must-purchase 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’s versatile and can be distressed, painted or just polished up for a vibrant new look. Typically, if I find a unique piece I’ll bring it home.

Miscellaneous items like clothes on a rack top and bottom, a shelf of accessories with a dinosaur figure on top of it

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

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

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

Jeuitt: Try to thrift shop often if possible — by going out frequently you’re more likely to find good items as inventory is always changing over. The best places to find thrifty deals are local thrift stores that have close proximity to you, so you can visit often, which increases your chances at scoring a deal. Personally, I appreciate smaller, less mainstream thrift stores for deals and there is less competition from other customers. If I’m looking to shop at a larger thrift store, I’ll check my local chains such as Salvation Army, Goodwill and Savers. If you are able to go thrifting on weekdays when most stores are putting out new items, you will find some amazing deals.

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

Inhabitat: How can items be reused and repurposed in a creative way?

Jeuitt: Reusing and repurposing items is what makes thrifting so enjoyable! I gain a lot of insight about repurposing and reinventing thrift finds by looking at Facebook Groups such as my group I Love Thrifting. 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 to take older sweaters and convert them to throw pillows. This is such a fun project and allows for you to easily reinvent a space in your home with just the small detail of new pillows. There are lots of quick tutorials online, and members post these types of projects in our I Love Thrifting Facebook Group as well.

Vintage denim is very versatile and most thrift stores carry an array of denim pieces. Distressing denim can really spruce up and modernize an older pair of jeans. Also, cutting up your denim jeans into shorts is lots of fun.

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

Images via Pexels