Use these Thrift Store Tips for a successful shopping trip to the nearest thrift store in your community. It’s a great way to save money on so many items for your family and home. Happy Thrifting!
What was once considered something no one wanted to mention, Thrift store shopping has become a chic and sustainable option that’s also easy on the budget.
Not only does shopping at thrift stores make sense financially, but it’s also “green”. Think of all those resale shops with thousands of items being used again instead of headed to the dump.
If you are thinking, “I’m ready to shop the thrift store near me.”; here are some tips to make that thrift shopping experience even better.
Shop with a Plan
Thrift stores are packed with hidden treasures, so it can be quite daunting to just walk in the door. Having a plan of what you are looking for will help streamline your shopping trip. Maybe this time you are looking just for clothing and next time you’ll hit the housewares. I often head into my fave Volunteers Of America thrift store (VOA) with a specific objective: buy pieces for costumes, look for Easter outfits, find a new cake stand to add to the collection, etc. If you meet your objectives, then you can do a little browsing (I always hit the shoes and glassware). Another tip for having a plan is to know how your store is laid out. Where are the items you are looking for located and how are they organized? Most stores separate housewares per aisle. Also, my VOA organizes thrift clothes by color, not size. So you can find just the right share of purple shirt you have been looking for.
Shop the Thrift Store Sales
Did you know that most thrift stores offer additional discounts on top of their low prices? Often this comes in 2 forms, colored tag markdowns and special shopping days. Take the VOA thrift stores in Ohio, in the store each day you will find a sign alerting you to colored tags that have additional markdowns- up 75% off! The markdowns are based on how long the items have been on the shelf. Another fun way to save is on special discount days. At VOA thrift stores, the last Tuesday of every month is “half-off day”. Yep, the whole store is half off! Just keep in mind, with big savings, you can be sure to find bigger crowds. (So be sure to stick to the tip #1 plan)
Shop with a Friend
Shopping with a friend is always more fun and doing it at the thrift store has added benefits. A friend can help you see the potential in a piece or tell you straight up “don’t buy it”. I recently spent an afternoon with my daughter at one of the Columbus thrift stores, VOA on Henderson Rd. We had such a great time being silly and hunting for gems together.
Shop with an Open Mind
You know that I love to repurpose things, and shopping at a thrift shop offers the DIYer a dreamland of potential. Take those plain jeans and try distressing them, use that scarf as a throw pillow cover, paint that old frame and craft it up; the options are endless. There are so many wonderful things to be made with thrift store finds as long as you keep your mind open to creativity. (It might also be helpful to search Pinterest before shopping for fun repurposing and upcycling ideas)
Shop with Patience
Finally, the thrift store can sometimes be a place where it’s easy to overspend. You might think, I may never see this item again, or (my fault) load up your cart with low price items you may not really need. If you are truly striving for frugal living and not busting the budget, then shop with patience! Each week there are hundreds of new-to-you donated items arriving at thrift shops- so if that item isn’t in the budget today, you might still find a similar item when the funds are available. If you are looking for ways to organize your home and need something specific, don’t just buy something to buy it. You do need to keep that open mind as I mentioned before, as to how items can be used creatively. But don’t waste your time and money trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. Chances are, that just right furniture piece to upcycle or perfect party dress (with the tag still on it!) are waiting for you if you are patient in your search and timing.
Shop Like a Professional Thrifter
Before you step in a new resale shop, be sure to know some details; what forms of payment do they take, are there changing rooms and do they carry the category of items you are looking for. Most thrift stores are now able to accept debit or credit cards, but you don’t want to have to put back that designer find or perfect DIY furniture piece, just because you don’t have the right form of payment. Some smaller independent thrift stores do not have fitting rooms, so you will need to dress in layers in order to try things on “in the open”. Although many of the “chain” stores do offer them. And can I say the changing rooms in the new Pickerington VOA are super nice! Here’s another tip to make you look like a real thrift store pro; take off the hangers while you wait in line. It speeds up the checkout process for everyone.
Those are just a few things to consider before you head to the nearest thrift store. And if you are interested in donating to the inventory at the thrift store near you, then be sure to check out my post on thrift store donation locations. I especially love to donate to organizations like Volunteers of America which offer pick-up at your home options. You can pass on items you don’t use any longer, to someone who can- all without leaving your house! WIN-WIN-WIN!
I’d love to hear your favorite things to buy at thrift stores! I’ll start: shoes, glassware, costume pieces and clothes for my growing kiddos. Your turn, leave you fave and tips too in the comments below.
This post was written in partnership with Volunteers of America Ohio & Indiana. All opinions and tips are my own.