10 Tips for Shopping Thrift

In honor of my birthday this week one of my best friends in town has gifted me with a guest post and I’m so excited to share it with you today.  Sarah owns the local thrift store and does an amazing job of it.   She knows the ins and outs of how to get the best deals and selection and is here today to give us the low down on how it’s done so you can reap the rewards of all a thrift store has to offer.  Thanks Sarah!!

This is me,

and this is my store

I have to confess that long before I was a thrift shop owner … I was a thrift shop junkie! I have always been and more than likely, will always be a bargain hunter. My mother who over the years taught me many valuable life lessons also taught me the art of efficiently shopping 2nd hand. She referred to our local store as the “boutique” so as to avoid my embarrassment when sharing our weekly finds. Thanks to her, my eyes were opened to the world of consignment, thrift shops, 2nd hand stores, new-to-you and garage sales. So, when I found out that my dear friend (and previous owner of What’s In Store?) was planning to sell the business to relocate, I was eagerly hesitant – but none-the-less jumped in with both feet. I am now a full 2 years into my life as a business owner and happy to report that my life has been gloriously rearranged.

With a little encouragement from my org-junkie pal Laura, I have put together some helpful tips for those thinking of shopping thrift.

1. TAKE TIME– It is important to go with enough time to be able to look at all the store has to offer, it is so easy to get distracted and lose track of time.

2. BUDGET BASICS – Know your limit, spend with in it. It is normal to want to buy something because it has a great price tag but a bargain is only a bargain if you need what you are buying.

3. BRING a FRIEND– a friend or a spouse can sometimes provide prospective & “help-control” when your self-control fails. They know you and your tastes and can help to find what you may have overlooked.

4. PLAN THE ATTACK– Have a plan (any plan is better than no plan) and then work it out from there. If you need a shirt start in the shirts- if you have the time start in one section, work your way through all the sections that interest you.

5. SCHEDULE– Whether it be weekly or bi-weekly, stopping in regularly will allow for you to know your store. You will get a feel for what is new, what was there last week, how quickly the turnover of inventory happens. Knowing all of this will help you to shop more efficiently.

6. DIG DEEP– from the bottom of crafts baskets, to the ladies tops, you never know what you will find if you search all the way through.

7. OPEN MIND– Be open-minded to repurpose, launder, scrub, or refinish your treasure.

8. THINK AHEAD– seasonal item that can be stored are a great alternative to purchasing new the following season. Sporting gear such as soccer cleats or skates, Halloween costumes, snow pants or rubber boots all can be stored to save time and money.

9. KNOW YOUR STORE– Zone in on what type of shop suits your preferences and test the store out. What are the quiet times to shop? When are the busy days that all the new things are put out? When are the sales? Are weekends so busy that you don’t get to look as effectively as you want?

10. JOIN THE CIRCLE– make it a goal to recycle your things regularly. A bag in a bag out. Find a place in your community and donate. Think homeless shelters, halfway houses, churches, thrift shops, animal shelters, play schools, consignment or free cycle… There is a need in every community for giving.

In closing I will leave you with our mission statement of why we do what we do.

Mission: Our aim is to provide our community with quality used household items and clothing at reasonable prices. Through the generous support of the community we are able to circulate used household supplies that would otherwise end up in the landfill. We believe in providing an opportunity to shop local as an alternative to mainstream shopping. We strive to do all of this by providing all who donate and shop with us the BEST possible customer service.


Filed under: Guest Bloggers


13 Responses to 10 Tips for Shopping Thrift

  1. 1
    Pam says

    Great tips! I volunteer at a Habitat for Humanity ReStore and all of your ideas are right on for getting the most out of a visit to this type of store.

  2. 2
    Newlywed & Unemployed says

    Great tips! Time and budget are my two favorites. This stuff can’t be done quickly because it’s not like running into Target and grabbing that great shirt you saw online – but you already know their larges run small and you’ll need an extra large.

    Giving myself plenty of time lets me be thorough and setting a budget is more of a personal thing because I hate to spend money, so it’s more like giving myself permission to spend money on myself. I usually budget $25-30 and remind myself that that’s the price of one item at a department store!

    I also try to enter a thrift store with a goal rather than just browsing. “today I’m buying shirts” or “today I need a pair of jeans and black shoes” or “just sheets today!”

  3. 3
    Leigh says

    I sadly moved across the country from my favourite thrift store last month. The Little Fox Shop in Arlington Massachusetts is a children’s shop to benefit the library (and located in the library). All donations.
    My tip is to work at a charity shop if you can. Nothing like putting the stuff out to get first dibs on it.

  4. 5
    LuAnn says

    Great ideas! Both of you rock!

    My personal best thrift store find was a red velvet floor length skirt that I turned into a strapless cocktail dress for a grand total of about $4!

  5. 6
    LisainKC says

    I love going to thrift shops/consignment shops, etc. You can definitely find the best bargains in town there. It is a great tip too, to make sure you have enough time to really browse the stores. Every store is a bit different in their choices/offerings. You can get fantastic deals at these stores and if you do go looking for specific items, you can almost always find what you are looking for at one of them – if not, try another. Great way to save money and feel good about saving it too! Thanks for a great post!

  6. 7
    Verena says

    Good tips Sarah. The best thing in your store is the customer service, not to mention the selection. You have blessed many people with your generosity.

  7. 8
    Heidi says

    I confess: thrift stores terrify me.

    Everything is so cluttered and unorganized. Used to the sleek, organized by color/size department stores, I find it stressful to dig through racks of random articles.

    My solution? Go with a friend who is a pro at thrift stores!

  8. 9
    sarah says

    I’m just going to add: bring the RIGHT friend or family member. Don’t bring an enabler. I spend more money when I’m with my sister. Of course, this doesn’t mean that I don’t love what I’ve bought… it’s just a bit out of the budget!


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