Thrift store shopping can be an overwhelming task if you’re not sure what to look for. Often, stores are cramped and have shelves upon shelves that are overflowing with junk. It’s enough for anyone to have a minor panic attack and buy random items simply out of stress.
Learning what to buy is the first step to a successful thrift store experience that will have you leaving with gems instead of clutter. Keep reading, and you’ll learn what to keep an eye out for while thrift store shopping.
Baby Clothing Should Never Go Unnoticed
One minute your baby is wearing a three-to-six months garment and almost the next day they’ve grown a few inches and need the next size up! It’s a known fact that buying baby clothing can result in financial strain. Thankfully, people have come to realize that thrift stores will take old baby clothes off your hands!
Stop going to high-end baby boutiques for your growing-like-a-sprout child. Instead, head over to your local thrift store or consignment shop. There’s bound to be some cute options for a reasonable price!
Lifetime Warranty Tools Are The Handyman’s Loop Hole
For those who are handy and love DIY projects, you know that good tools can get a bit pricey. We’re here to tell you to stop going through the Home Depot catalog and head over to a thrift store. Various thrift stores cater to home goods, such as tools.
And if you’re able to find a brand that has a lifetime guarantee, snag it! Specific brands, such as Craftsman, have a no-cost replacement policy. So, if the tool you bought isn’t working, return it for a free repair or new tool.
High-End Clothing Brands For Less
High-end clothing brand lovers, stop going to retail stores and start frequenting consignment and thrift shops. Typically, there will be a section dedicated to specifically branded clothing, such as Free People, Flying Tomato, and Lilly Pulitzer.
If you’re a fan of the former, you know that their clothing items can cost upwards to a few hundred dollars. And that’s just for a sweater! Before buying off the website or in the store, check out a second-hand shop. They might have the same piece for a fraction of the price.
Vintage Jewelry Is A Great Gift
Vintage jewelry found in thrift stores does not necessarily equal cheap costume sets. In fact, it’s the opposite. You can find some quirky pieces in thrift stores that equate to a lot of money, especially if it has priceless gems.
There are also unique pieces, like funky rings, that make for great gifts! Who wants something that everyone has because it’s mass-produced? Go thrift store hunting and pick out something personal that your friend will have for years to come!
All The Hangers
If you’re now in that stage of your life when your adulting, then you’ve probably noticed that nice hangers are expensive. We’re talking about the sturdy wooden ones and the no-slip grip that is the ever fantastic velvet hanger. The problem is, who wants to spend upwards to $20 on hangers?
Thrift stores are here to save your wallet and your clothing. Typically, these stores have sections designated to hangers. So, you can buy a huge bundle of them for about a dollar or two.
Bicycle, Bicycle, I Want To Ride My Bicycle
Yes, you can buy bicycles at a thrift store. Genius, right? The only pro-tip we have, though, is to bring someone mechanically handy with you, just in case there is something wrong with the chain or tire frames.
Then again, those are cheap fixes and will be a lot more doable than, say, buying a bike that’s brand new. If you go the thrift store route, then you’ll most likely save a hundred or so dollars buying a nice bike.
Wooden Furniture Because Retail Is Expensive
Never underestimate a nice second-hand piece of wooden furniture. If you see a desk, chairs, dresser, or even end tables lying around a thrift store, they are definitely worth a few minutes of your undivided attention.
It’s understandable if you are iffy about buying secondhand. If you’re ever unsure of how well a piece is put together, ask one of the workers if there is any dovetailing — a joinery style that will indicate a handmade item. Quality is everything!
Maternity Clothing Can Get Pricey
There is no telling how big your belly is going to get when you’re pregnant. And it’s safe to assume you’re going to be stocking up on a lot of baby apparatus before your bundle of joy makes their way into the world. Paying for maternity clothes should be the last thing on your mind.
The good news is that a majority of thrift stores cater to maternity wear! So, instead of buying expensive clothing you’ll never wear again, try perusing a thrift store first.
Thrift Stores Have Some Of The Best Halloween Costumes
It’s common knowledge that retail shops such as Party City sell great Halloween costumes. The only issue is that they are ridiculously overpriced. And if you have more than one person in need of a costume, forget about it!
On the other hand, consignment shops and thrift stores have traditional costumes as well as funky, retro outfits that you are able to piece together for a unique costume. Seriously, just find a black shirt, a wig, and a Wayne’s World hat for $10 and you’re good to go!
Cast Iron Skillets That Are Already Seasoned
Now is the time in your life where you should stop buying niche kitchen appliances like cast iron skillets. They’re pricey, and unless you use that skillet every week, they’re most likely gathering dust in some long-forgotten cabinet.
Instead, if you find yourself hosting fajita night, run down to a thrift store. There are typically a few cast iron skillets lying around. And the best part about them is that they’ve already been seasoned!
Vintage Pyrex Is More Durable Than The New Stuff
Like other kitchen wares found at thrift stores, if you’re lucky enough to stumble across some vintage Pyrex, buy it. Maybe it’s because the vintage collection is more durable than the newer selection, or because they’re more colorful, but the retro stuff is becoming increasingly popular.
Either way, you’re not going to want to miss a chance to own old Pyrex dishes. Even if you don’t want them taking up space in your house, collectors will surely take them off your hands for a nice price.
Keep You’re Eyes Peeled For Jadeite Kitchenware
Jadeite is a popular line of kitchenware produced by Anchor Hocking in the 1940s. The glassware is jade-green, or, if you’re lucky enough to find it, baby blue, and is known to be quite durable. If you need some beautiful vintage items that give your kitchen a splash of color, start walking through some thrift shops!
If a store happens to have Jadeite, you’re going to want to grab it fast. As retro items are coming back into style, products such as Jadeite kitchenware are flying off the shelves!
The Original Fiestaware Is Perfect For Parties
Other brands of vintage kitchenware have discontinued, but Fiestaware is still around today. Although, they have changed the color shades since the original 1936 line. The line has bowls, dishes, and a special platter that is comprised of a large orange plate, four moon-shaped bowls that fit together to form a donut, and a tiny dip bowl that fits snug in the center of the circle.
These sets are still around and being produced, but if you know what you’re looking for, the original colors would be a cool find!
Board Games Can Be Flipped For A Lot Of Money
For some thrift store shoppers, it isn’t about finding hidden gems but rather finding pieces that they can flip for a substantial amount of money. That is particularly prevalent in games. Someone might find an original 1935 Monopoly board game sitting on the shelf of a thrift store and buy it for $3.
According to auction sites such as eBay, a vintage Monopoly set with the year or “patent pending” on the box can go for between $300-$900 depending on its condition. Next time you’re in a thrift store, keep your eyes peeled!
Textbooks Because No One Can Afford Those Gen. Ed. Books
Anyone who has ever had to buy a textbook will say that they are ridiculously overpriced and expensive. And for a poor college kid, the funds are steep enough to have them rationing out two Ramen packets for a week’s worth of food.
Instead of going to the college bookstore to buy your class texts, try a second-hand shop first. There are other students who’ve had to go through the same classes. You’d be surprised what thrift store bookshelves may offer.
Emergency Equipment To Prepare You For Zombies
Ever since the zombie fad of the 2000s, more and more people are getting prepared for the zombie apocalypse. This means buying flashlights, battery-operated radios, batteries for pretty much everything, tents, and sleeping bags.
The good news is, there is no reason to break the bank buying these emergency supplies. A majority of thrift stores will have a camping section. So, as long as all of the equipment is in working order, pick them up!
Craft Supplies For Your Little One’s School Projects
If you love crafts or have a young one who has a lot of school assignments based around art projects, then you know the price of materials adds up fast. Colored construction paper, crayons, markers, felt, pom-poms, popsicle sticks, and even hot glue guns don’t have to cost you a fortune.
Second-hand shops are known to have craft sections. So, the next time your little one comes home saying they need to build a diorama of George Washington crossing the Delaware River, you know where to go!
T-Shirts Because You Can Never Have Enough
Although t-shirts aren’t the most expensive clothing item, buying a lot of them can add up fast. And, aside from saving money, there are benefits to purchasing pre-worn shirts! For one, they might actually fit better because they’ve been worn and washed a few times.
You also won’t have to worry about the shirt shrinking because it’s most likely been dried in a machine and not hung-out. Also, there is something to be said about a unique shirt from a thrift shop that everyone asks you about!
Wooden Cutting Boards Are A Thrift Store Must Buy
If you’re like us, then you’re getting tired of your modern plastic cutting board not standing the test of time. The good news is that there is a solution. Thrift stores tend to have a nice selection of heavy wooden cutting boards.
Older boards often have a better quality about them, and they are also able to be restored close to their original state by using mineral oil. With the restoration, you don’t have to worry about food that’s previously been on the board!
Picture Frames (Forget The Picture!)
When you’re searching through thrift store artwork, keep in mind the object surrounding the art — the frame! There is no rule that states you much buy a picture frame because of the artwork nestled inside.
If you like the way the frame looks and have a photo you think will look nice in it, snag it! Frames at thrift stores are going to be significantly cheaper than those at their retail store counterparts.
Second-Hand Exercise Equipment For At-Home Workouts
You know those people who spend every New Year saying they’re finally going to get back in the gym and get in shape? Well, those are the same people that should stop buying expensive gym memberships because there seems to be an ongoing pattern of not using the membership.
There is a solution, though. Tell that friend to go to a thrift store and buy second-hand equipment. That way, they have the means to workout without breaking the bank when they decide to stop working out.
Used Books Are Good For The Soul
There’s nothing quite like snuggling up on the couch with a good book. And with hard copies becoming increasingly expensive, it’s nice to know there’s an alternative to buying novels. They may not be exactly what you’re looking for, but thrift stores tend to have shelves upon shelves of used books.
The best part is that the prices are usually super low. Next time you find yourself in a thrift store, be sure to check out the books. You might find a new favorite author!
You Can Never Have Enough Baskets
Baskets are good for any occasion, but especially in the fall when you can decorate them with apples, pumpkins, and other festive gourds and squash. Single baskets don’t tend to be too pricey, probably around $20, depending on where you go.
But that number will quickly skyrocket depending on how many you need. Try going to a thrift store first. They have a variety of shapes and sizes that are typically in good condition, and the price will be marked way down!
Old Video Games To Fuel Your Nostalgia
Even though old games will go on mega-sale once the newest version is released, there are a few exceptions that you’re going to want to look out for, while searching through a thrift store.
If you find yourself in the gaming section, keep an eye out for old games, especially those that were released at the end of a gaming consoles reign. For example, the last game to be released on the Nintendo 64, Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3, can be resold for up to $40 if used, and up to $90 is new!
Find Some Funky Lamps
You wouldn’t think it, but lamps are oddly expensive. A typical desk lamp can be priced at $30 or more, while a standing lamp can be in the hundreds! There is no reason to break the bank to get a little light in your room.
Think about going to a thrift store before shopping online. A lamp found in a thrift store will most likely be a funky conversation starter, and the most expensive component will be the light bulbs!
Vintage Clothing Never Goes Out Of Style
When looking for vintage clothing in a thrift store, there are a few things to look out for. Mainly, keep this motto in mind, “just because it’s old doesn’t mean it’s vintage.” If you’re interested in switching up your style to more vintage garments, keep an eye out for these two things:
First, see if it’s made in the U.S.A. Second, check if the article of clothing is carrying an old brand logo or has a “union” tag. If so, it’s most likely vintage, and you should snatch it up!
Some Coffee Mugs Are Collectors Items
If you’re like a majority of people who go thrift shopping, then you walk straight past the coffee mugs. They tend to be dusty with a few chips on the lip, anyway! Well, take that mindset and throw it out the window.
Next time you’re in a thrift store, browse the mug selection. There might be a gem hidden among the porcelain. Especially keep an eye out for any name brands or sports team logos, as they’re collector’s items.
Gardening Supplies Stand The Test Of Time
Since gardening tools are meant to withstand the elements, the chances are that if you spot a shovel or plant pots at a thrift store, they’re in decent shape, and you should buy them.
Depending on the quality you buy, retail gardening supplies can run up a hefty bill, especially if you’re like us and like to have everything with matching handle colors! That being said, if you see gardening tools at a thrift store, check them for any obvious issue, then buy them.
Maps And Atlases For Your “Bug Out Bag”
Remember all of that camping gear for your survival pack? Well, be sure to add physical maps and atlases to your list of things to look out for, while thrift store shopping. People who use hard copies of maps are few and far between, so a lot are lying around in stores.
The good news is that because the majority use digital maps, paper copies are going to resell for cheap! Take it from someone who watched The Walking Dead too many times, buy the map!
Silver Utensils (No, Not Stainless Steel)
While sorting through the silverware section of a thrift store, keep an eye out from silver! No, not stainless steel, we’re talking the real deal — sterling silver. It’s a treasure hunt, but there are times that a silver spoon or fork gets mixed up with the regular silverware.
If you have the time and patience and are able to tell the two types of utensils apart, then it’s definitely worth sifting through everything.