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Thrift Store Shopping Tips

Thrift store shopping can be a daunting task even for regular shoppers. With racks packed with clothing and shelves overflowing with items of every nature, it can be a little overwhelming to find great items.

However, with the right mindset and a few thrift store shopping tips and tricks, you’ll be able to find excellent treasures that we’re once another man’s “junk”.

So don’t be overwhelmed by the sometimes dingy and dirty floors or bad lighting… there are plenty of quality and useful steals that can be found in almost any thrift shop or consignment store.

Not only is thrift store shopping eco-friendly by reusing what is already available, it is also a great help to saving money on your home and wardrobe. Additionally, many people have found success by purchasing items from thrift stores and reselling them online via sites like eBay, Amazon, Etsy, etc.

Here is a quick video we found on YouTube with some awesome thrift store shopping tips. (You can find even more tips below the video).

Map Out Your Local Thrift Shops was built to help you find thrift stores in your area. Find all the thrift store and consignment shop locations near you and map out your outing. No use saving money at the thrift store by wasting gas money for your car by running all around town.

Also, consider the area of town that thrift stores are located in. Many times the better quality items are found in higher income areas. However, this doesn’t mean that lower income areas should be avoided. Treasures can be found anywhere!

Don’t Forget Your Smart Phone

If you are a secondhand shopper or a reseller with an eye for antiques or valuable items, your smartphone is a must. When you find something you think might have value a simple search will help you decide if you’re paying a good price and if there’s the opportunity to resell the item in the future. If you don’t have a smartphone (yes, there are still some people that don’t have one), you could have a friend or someone at home do a quick online search.

For avid resellers, you will find the Terapeak Subscriber app very helpful for researching items on the fly.

Ask When New Inventory Goes Out

The bigger stores, like Savers and Salvation Army, tend to restock shelves throughout the day. However, the smaller stores may only stock on certain days of the week or at certain times of the day. Be sure to ask one of the staff members when they restock shelves so you will know the best time to visit to get dibs on the newest merchandise.

Look For Deals When Season Change

Many people clean and purge when seasons change. This is a great time to find new items! Just after the first of the year is a big donation time as well. After Christmas, people want to get their items donated so they can write it off on their taxes. People will also be donating at the end of the year to make room for all the new stuff they received for Christmas. During this time you will likely be able to find a lot of great items!

Repurpose Items to Meet Your Needs

If you are looking for a piece of furniture in a certain color or look, don’t forget that you can always repurpose or refinish thrift store shopping finds. Often, with a quick sanding, coat of paint and some new hardware an old piece of furniture can be transformed into exactly what you were looking for. The same goes for chair upholstery, vases, picture frames, and lamp shades.

Special Sales and Discounts

Many thrift stores have special tag sales with extra percentage off or fill-a-bag days. Some even have certain days of the week or month where certain items are a special price or steeply discounted. Be sure to ask your local thrift stores to find out which days they have special pricing.

Take A Good Look At The Item

More than likely, your local thrift shops will not take returns, therefore you’ll want to be sure to inspect the item thoroughly for flaws or defects that cannot be repaired. Decide if items can be mended, upcycled or repaired and consider how much it will cost you to do those things. This applies where you are purchasing for yourself or if you intend on reselling it.

Go Thrift Store Shopping Often

Stuff is constantly being added to shelves at second hand shops and the really good stuff moves fast. Sometimes it’s sold the minute the staff sets it out on the rack. Therefore, the more you visit the store, the more good stuff you’ll be able to find. Quickly stop in a couple times a week, look around the store for a few minutes and see if there’s anything new that catches your eye.

Try It Before You Buy It

If you’re purchasing electronics, find an outlet in the store and plug it in to see if it works. You can also ask the cashier or a staff member if they have batteries or light bulbs. You will want to make sure the item is in working condition before you buy. Items could have been broken after they were placed on the shelf, so don’t necessarily take them on their word that it is tested and working.

Thrift While Traveling

Whenever you travel try to hit up at least one or two thrift stores. You will likely find items that can’t be found in your local thrift stores. There is so much more to be found then just your local shops so stopping at other stores when you are out of town is a great way to find unique and different items.