It’s been about a month since I’ve ventured back out to flea markets and thrift stores and one of the more common questions I’ve received are about thrifting in the time of COVID 19. Since I hit up the flea market and thrift stores in the past month, I’ve gotten so many questions about thrifting in the time of Covid 19. Flea markets were one of the first businesses to open in Los Angeles, with thrift stores following suit a bit later. Either way, I thought it best to put together my tips for shopping safely amid Corona, as I know we’re all collectively stressed about the ‘best’ way to do things. these are my tips for shopping safely even though we’re all concerned about Corona! Please note that I am NOT a medical professional. There is a lot of information, tips, and opinions from experts, so please do your research. These are my recommendations based on my comfort level and what is allowed in my area.
Thrifting in the Time of Covid 19
One of the first things you’ll notice when entering a thrift store is the new addition of a security or staff person at the door, supervising the amount of people entering and exiting the store. They’re only allowing a certain number of people in store at a time. You will be asked to sanitize your hands and wear a mask before entering as well. The staff person will also make you sanitize your hands and wear a mask as you enter. If you find yourself at a thrift store that doesn’t do this, enter at your own risk. I’ve been so pleased to find that the stores I’ve gone to are taking the safety of their patrons and staff seriously. A small thrift shop I went to in Oxnard even provided gloves upon entry to all patrons. The Long Beach Flea Market requires masks upon entry and has many sanitizing stations throughout the market for everyone to use.
Many thrift stores have directional signage and limit traffic flow to one way in the aisle so you can properly socially distance. None of the thrift stores I’ve visited are packed (thanks to the staff that help to limit patrons) but people are also very respectful at maintaining a distance. We’re all so dang happy to be thrifting, none of us want to ruin it! The flea market was much busier but I wasn’t as worried since it’s outside — again, do what feels comfortable for you.
Thrifting Safely During Corona
MASKS REQUIRED: Masks are the new ‘it’ accessory – bring it and wear it! Bring and wear your mask, obvi! Some of you have asked about wearing gloves and I don’t wear gloves since for them to be effective, you’d need to constantly change them to prevent contamination. Experts recommend washing hands or using a hand sanitizer works just as well. Hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol works best (at least 60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol). I love the brand Olika since it’s a clean beauty brand plus the sanitizer dispenser is refillable making it sustainable too! I pack my sanitizer plus these wipes for cleaning my hands, phone, keys, etc. after I’m done shopping.
(BODY)SUIT UP: I recommend wearing a bodysuit or something that you can easily slip clothes on over like biker shorts and tank. A long slip dress also works since you can try on pants under the dress if needed. Fitting rooms are completely closed at thrift stores so if you want to try something on, you’ll need to try it on in the store over your clothes. This is the same advice I give for flea markets in general since there are no fitting rooms at the flea market.
PHONE IN: Most of us don’t leave the house without our phones, but be sure to bring it along to the thrift store to help serve as your mirror. Since fitting rooms are closed, you likely won’t have access to a mirror to see if something fits. I prop my phone somewhere and press record on the video function and just try things on quickly over my clothes. After I’m done trying on everything, I’ll quickly watch the video to see if anything is a keeper. I’m not worried about trying on clothing over my own clothes. Although Covid can stay on surfaces, the majority of transmissions, according to experts, comes from close contact with no masks.
THE AFTERMATH: When I get home, I throw the clothes I’m wearing plus everything else I bought at the thrift store in the dryer. I have done this for years since the high heat kills bed bugs immediately. After the dryer, I then throw everything into the wash and dry it according to the label. I always get questions about this but yes, you can throw silk and wool into the dryer without damage so long as the clothing is not wet.
Thanks for sharing this. I love thrifting too but have been nervous about going out.
I’m so glad you found this helpful, Jaye!