Thrift Shopping Tips

Shopping at thrift and antique stores is my favorite way to save money and ensure that I am sending less items to the landfill. By reusing an item, I am giving it a second, third, or fourth life.

Most of our shopping is done at thrift  stores or Craigslist before anywhere else. We don’t find it is necessary to always shop fast fashion when we are likely to find just what we need at Goodwill (even if it takes a little more time before we find that specific item). By being more conscious and intentional with our shopping, we realize that we don’t need something as much as we thought we did, just because it was easy to purchase with a click of a button. We are also able to be more mindful of the quality of an item, and whether, with a little more time and effort, we can fix to our liking an item that is well used.

When we shop at thrift stores, we are usually able to find items that are made from quality, durable materials. We are also likely to find items that are unique and not available anywhere else which makes the item that much more special and cherished! Items such as clothing & shoes (adults and kids), home decor, linens, drawing supplies, furniture, books & music, and toys are all items that we have purchased secondhand, in good condition, for a fraction of the cost that it would be at a corporate store. Personally, I don’t see why there is a reason to shop anywhere else!

We have been shopping this way since the beginning of our marriage (five and a half years ago), so we’ve gotten pretty good at finding items that we want to welcome into our home and getting a little more use out of them before passing along to someone else or sending to a landfill.

Therefore, I want to share some tips that I’ve discovered over the years for thrift shopping that I think may be helpful for those who are new to shopping secondhand or just want to get more out of their shopping endeavors!

Thrift shopping tips:

  1. Don’t be afraid to shop secondhand! Items are sorted by employees before being sent out onto the floor, so you can rest assured knowing that items have been checked before being available for purchase.
  2. Visit all types of stores: Goodwill, Salvation Army, antique stores, church-run stores, estate sales, garage sales, church sales, Craigslist, etc.
  3. Additionally, visit a couple of different stores in your area. There are certain Goodwill stores in my area that are better quality than others, so I often visit the better quality stores on rotation. *Better quality meaning more stock and good – excellent condition.
  4. Have a list of specific items you are hoping to find. I like to keep a list of items that I’m searching for on my phone. I’m always adding items to this list so that when I go shopping, I can search for specific items. Since I don’t often find what I am looking for right away (and I’m not shopping at a corporate store for a specific item), a list helps me to not forget past items that I have been wanting to find.
  5. Be open-minded. Keep in mind that not all items are going to be perfect. Some clothing may need to be mended (or can be transformed into a new garment altogether!), cups and bowls may need to be  scrubbed a little more, furniture may need to be painted. All of these things are a good sign of wear and quality, and if not completely broken or damaged, can be fixed with a little TLC. It will still cost you considerably less than buying brand new items all the time.
  6. Thrift shop online. Even if you aren’t able to find what you are looking for at your local thrift stores, you can still thrift shop via online shops or websites. Sites like Craigslist, Ebay, Let Go, Etsy, Calico and Twine, or Flea Market shops like Trouvaille Market (of which I am a vendor!) are good places to shop secondhand.

I hope these tips serve you well on your thrift shopping endeavors!

Lastly, I thought it would be fun to share some of my recent thrift finds with item descriptions, store location, and price:

Waldorf doll and Amish doll purchased at church-run thrift store around the corner from my house ($1 & $5)

Amish dolls made from clothespins found by my husband at an antique store ($5)

Reader’s Digest Wonderful World of Music for Children 6-record set purchased at Goodwill ($1)

Wooden dollhouse furniture set (20 pieces) purchased at Goodwill ($5)

L.L.Bean 100% linen shirt, DKNY shorts, and Falls Creek shorts purchased at Goodwill ($5 each)

Do you enjoy shopping secondhand? Where are some of your favorite places to shop? What type of items do you like purchasing secondhand?