Saturday, February 5, 2011

Shopping at Thrift Stores

You don’t shop at thrift shops?  Why not?  If you have a picture in your head of dingy floors, bad lighting, and torn clothing heaped together, you might be pleasantly surprised.  Oh sure, there are a few like that around but for the most part, you will find that they are well organized, brightly illuminated and a veritable gold mine of unclaimed wealth. 

6 Reasons to Shop at Thrift Stores

1. It’s an inexpensive way to bolster your wardrobe, stock your cupboards and beautify your surroundings.
2. The goods are in better condition than you might think. A lot of the merchandise is barely used and it’s not uncommon to find designer labels and high quality brand names.
3. You’ll find things there that you can’t find anywhere else, like vintage jewelry & collectibles, unique t-shirts, and cool jackets.
4. It’s environmentally-friendly. You are re-using existing items, therefore decreasing the demand for new products. In turn, fewer resources are burned creating new goods and you saved a fantastic, perfectly usable item from a landfill site.
5. You’re supporting non-profit organizations doing good work.  The proceeds from thrift stores help disadvantaged people find jobs, rebuild their lives after a tragedy and also fund medical research.
6. It’s fun. If you have bargain-hunting tendencies, thrift stores might be a little piece of heaven for you. I love finding a good deal and knowing that if I’d bought that sweater new, it would’ve cost five times as much.

Here are some tips for getting the most out of your thrift store shopping experience…

Go in with a plan…know ahead of time what you want to look for but keep your eyes open for any unexpected deals.  You’d be surprised the amount of well-made, expensive clothing that is hiding in thrift shops, just waiting to found. Sometimes you have to dig for it, but it’s there.  Keep in mind that there might be some quality pieces in brands you’ve never heard of, or with the tags completely missing.  Check for holes, stains, missing buttons, and loose seams, and pass on something if it looks pretty worn or stretched out.  Always try things on. If it doesn’t fit well, then it’s a needless purchase and will only clutter your closet.

Don’t take children along if you don’t have to.  Shopping at thrift stores means having to sift through lots of aisles of crammed-full racks.  It takes time and children will get bored quickly.  Find out when your local store’s sale days are, the bargains are even better!  Go often.  If you don’t find anything this week, try again in a week or two.  Store inventory changes constantly, so you might strike gold one week, and come up with nothing the next.

One of the things that I always look for are quality, vintage beads to use in my jewelry projects.  I love the thrill of the hunt; that one in a million chance of finding a real treasure!  It keeps me going back again and again.


  1. This is an excellent blog full of information and tips! I liked reading this, Bonnie.

  2. Thank you, Bonnie. I'm glad you are enjoying it.