One of my favorite things to do with my family is thrift shop. Although we’d seen movies like “Pretty in Pink” several times growing up, we didn’t start thrift shopping until buy, sell, and trade companies popularized in the 1990s. We found that it just makes sense and over the past decade, it has become our thing to do. Have you ever thrift shopped? If not, here are ten reasons to love thrift shopping and tips on how to get the most out of your thrift shopping experience.
1. Saves Money
This is a no-brainer — and not a no-brainer. You can save money on an individual item, but you can also lose money buying more items than necessary because of the temptingly low prices. Before you know it, you’ll have an arm-full of things and need a shopping cart! It helps to make a list in advance and stick to it as much as possible. Try not to purchase extra things that you will have to declutter later. You may be able to bring in items to sell or trade, too.
2. Reduces Waste
I’m not an expert at reducing waste but rather a learning advocate. Although there are several ways that thrift shopping reduces waste, the most obvious is that it gives old, reusable things a new home. This lessens the accumulation of garbage and the need to process it.
3. New with Tags
Sometimes, you can find high-quality brands that are still new with the tags on. Some clothes still have the extra buttons and thread attached!
4. Discontinued Items
Other times, you can find items that were discontinued, such as the “My Little Pony” dress that sold like hotcakes or your frosted glass-and-nickel table lamp that broke.
5. Unique Items
Unique items, such as nostalgic or novelty items, can be found. You may question certain clothes and home decor at first, but with the right styling, you can make them work! There may be items that were originally purchased in other states or countries and are not available in any other local stores.
6. Special Occasion Items
Thrift stores are great for finding holiday, seasonal, or other special occasion items, such as costumes, decorations, and props. They’re also great for finding affordable travel or vacation clothes that are perfect for anticipated climate differences or for your site seeing photo ops.
7. Upcycling Materials
You can find materials to embellish, modernize, or transform into something else. For example, you can find an outdated or a plain piece of furniture to flip, pictures from an expired calendar to make bookmarks, or tiles to make coasters. Walk around and get your creative juices flowing!
8. Fun Pricing System
The thrift store may have a fun pricing system in which the tags are color-coded and the colors of the day drop prices even further by 25, 50, or 75 percent!
9. Fun Music
The thrift store may play fun music — songs that span the decades, from the 1950s to the 1990s.
You get a sense of community. People of various backgrounds and ages share the common interests of getting out, listening to music, and shopping for great deals. It’s fun to see people sing or dance to songs and get excited about their finds. Some may strike up a friendly conversation.
Thrift Shopping Tips
- Keep an ongoing list of things to look for on shopping trips.
- Budget. Set aside a cash allowance.
- Find out when the store gets new arrivals and is least busy.
- Block out enough time to peruse and get inspired.
- Make efforts to look for hidden treasures; examine bag bundles.
- If hoping to sell or trade items from home, consider calling the store beforehand to confirm that they are accepting items for sale or trade.
- Check clothes for any possible holes, tears, missing pieces, marks, or stains, and try them on — even if they’re only ninety-nine cents.
- Ask employees to show you that items requiring electricity work. Don’t be shy to ask or afraid to say “nay.”
- Check items for manufacturer insert or label instructions. If purchased, clean or re-clean them as soon as you get home.
- Be sure to minimize the risk of contagious disease for yourself and others. Follow general guidelines to cover your nose and mouth, wash or sanitize your hands, and distance yourself socially.
Thrift shopping can provide retail, creative, and social therapy without breaking your wallet. Do you go thrift shopping? What do you like or love about it? What has been one of your greatest finds? Comment and share this post below.