Through the years, I’ve been known to visit a thrift store or two in search of a Halloween costume, a good book, a coffee table or a flower vase because the prices are too good to be true. However, it wasn’t until recently that I became obsessed with shopping there on a more regular basis. I still shop at TJ Maxx and Marshall’s — of course, sifting through the sale racks mostly, but nothing compares to finding an adorable antique china plate to then use as a ring dish, for only 96 cents!!! Unbelievable! Or finding a brand new set of mini candles from Archipelago to gift to a friend.
I have scoured our local thrift stores and Good Will locations to find perfectly good gifts for friends and family, home decor for my condo, kitchen items, clothing, and TONS of books. The possibilities are endless for what one can find at a thrift store. I love the hunt and not knowing what you’ll find at each location, since inventory changes daily. Also, I love donating my gently used items to thrift stores and giving back to the community, knowing that someone else will enjoy these items, too. So what’s not to love about saving money and finding awesome items at the same time?
Here are my thrifting tips to make sure you don’t leave empty handed:
- Shop with an open mind.
- You never know what you’ll find until you’re in the store. For example, my local thrift store recently sold herbs for 50 cents a pop! I don’t have any garden space, nor do I have any flowers in my condo. So I never would have thought that I’d leave the store with a basil plant, but I did! It was such a good deal! (The plant still lives and is easy to take care of and has garnished a few of our dinners.)
- Ensure that you have plenty of time to shop.
- I need to have at least 1-hour to roam the aisles and casually stroll through the racks to get a good look at the inventory. So I’ll only go when I know I have sufficient time to leisurely walk through the store and not be pressured by time for another appointment.
- Pay attention to the tag sales of the day.
- Usually, when you walk into a thrift store, they have sales on certain items depending upon the day. That way you’ll know that the blue tagged items are 15% off that day and you can expect an extra discount at the counter. Woohoo!
- Follow stores on social media.
- I follow my local thrifts online and receive their monthly online newsletters. Not only are these helpful memos about what’s going on at each location, but they almost always have further discounts for your next trip to the store. (i.e. 15% off your next purchase during the month of June.)
- Get artsy!
- I have purchased a few items to re-purpose around the house (thanks, Pinterest!) . My coffee table cost $7 from the thrift store and I went to Michael’s Crafts to make my own chalk paint (left over paint, plaster of Paris, water, glass container, paintbrush. Simple!) I also added a sticker stencil to the top (Keep Calm and Carry On) and it looks great. Also, when I tire of this table, I can either repaint it or donate it and get another thrifted table and not spend a fortune. How great is that? There’s endless possibilities to what you can do to the existing items and what you can create.
- Most importantly: HAVE FUN! Shopping is always fun and sifting through the many racks of clothes or reading the titles of hundreds of books at a thirft store to find THE ONE, is amazing. And the prices just can’t be beat. If I could make a living out of thrifting, I would.