* TIME IT RIGHT: Go at the beginning of spring and fall. That's when most people clean out their closets and drop off unwanted pieces.
* SCOOP IT UP: Clothes with broken zippers, long hems, or missing buttons are cheap--and easy fixes!
* PASS IT UP: Cracked leather, items with rips not on a seam (they're hard to sew), and anything smelly.
Stores that are so worth a road trip:
BOSTON: The Garment District, 200 Broadway, 617-876-5230 Everything downstairs is just $1.50 a pound ($.75 on Fridays!).
LOS ANGELES: Buffalo Exchange, 131 N. La Brea, 323-938-8604 Bring in your old clothes to see if they'll accept them for cash or store credit here!
CHICAGO: Land of the Lost, 614 W. Belmont Ave., 773-529-4966 Find everything from "hippie" printed dresses to costume jewelry.
ATLANTA: Junkman's Daughter, 464 Moreland Ave., 404-577-3188 Cute hipster tees and Halloween costumes. For super deals, check the sale racks!
PHILADELPHIA: Retrospect, 534 South St., 267-671-0116 Stop here for amazing finds for as little as $10!
MIAMI: Fly Boutique, 650 Lincoln Rd., 305-604-8508 Reasonably priced clothes from every decade.
SAN ANTONIO: Texas Thrift, 6776 Ingram Rd., 210-521-3336 Great jeans under $20!
NATIONWIDE: Goodwill (800-664-6577) and The Salvation Army (satruck.org) Ask about family discount days and student discounts!