Thrift Store Shopping: A Guide to Saving Money and Finding Unique Items

Thrift store shopping is a great way to save money and find unique items. Whether you're looking for clothing, furniture, or home decor, thrift stores offer a wide variety of items at affordable prices. In this guide, we'll cover everything you need to know to prepare for thrift store shopping, find the best deals, spot quality items, and get creative with your thrift store finds.

What is Thrift Store Shopping?

Thrift store shopping, also known as secondhand shopping or thrifting, involves purchasing used or pre-owned items from a thrift store or charity shop. These items can include clothing, furniture, home decor, books, and more. Thrift store shopping has become increasingly popular in recent years as a way to save money and reduce waste.

Why Thrift Store Shopping is Beneficial

Thrift store shopping has several benefits, including:

  • Saving money: Thrift store items are typically priced much lower than brand new items, allowing you to save money on your purchases.
  • Finding unique items: Thrift stores often carry one-of-a-kind items that you won't find anywhere else, allowing you to express your individuality through your style and home decor.
  • Reducing waste: By purchasing pre-owned items, you are keeping them out of landfills and reducing your environmental impact.

How to Prepare for Thrift Store Shopping

Before heading out to thrift stores, it's important to be prepared. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your thrift store shopping experience:

Make a List of What You Need

Thrift stores can be overwhelming, so it's important to make a list of what you need before you go. This will help you stay focused and avoid buying items you don't need. Make a list of clothing items, furniture pieces, or home decor items you're looking for.

Dress Appropriately

Thrift stores can be dusty and crowded, so it's important to wear comfortable clothing and shoes. Avoid wearing jewelry or clothing that can easily snag or get damaged. Bring a jacket or sweater if the store is air-conditioned.

Bring Cash and Coupons

Many thrift stores only accept cash, so make sure you bring enough money to cover your purchases. It's also a good idea to check for coupons or discounts before you go. Many thrift stores offer coupons for first-time shoppers or discounts for certain days of the week.

Research the Best Thrift Stores in Your Area

Not all thrift stores are created equal. Some have a better selection of clothing, while others have a better selection of furniture or home decor. Do some research online or ask friends for recommendations to find the best thrift stores in your area.

How to Find the Best Deals at Thrift Stores

Thrift stores can be a goldmine for great deals, but it takes some effort to find them. Here are some tips to help you find the best deals:

Visit Often

Thrift stores are constantly receiving new items, so it's important to visit often to see what's new. Check back regularly for the best selection.

Check Racks by Fitting Rooms

Thrift stores often have racks of clothing near the fitting rooms that are filled with items that other shoppers have tried on but didn't purchase. These items are often in good condition and can be a great deal.

Shop on Days with Extra Discounts

Many thrift stores offer extra discounts on certain days of the week, such as 50% off on Wednesdays or 25% off on the last Saturday of the month. Check the store's website or ask an employee for details.

Shop Off-Season

Thrift stores often receive items that are out of season, such as winter coats in the summer or shorts in the winter. These items are often priced lower than they would be during their peak season.

Be Selective

Thrift stores can be overwhelming, so it's important to be selective. Only purchase items that you love and that fit well. Don't settle for items that are in poor condition or that you're not excited about.

How to Spot Quality Items at Thrift Stores

Thrift stores can be a great place to find quality items if you know what to look for. Here are some tips to help you spot quality items:

Look for Brands

Thrift stores often have high-end brands at a fraction of their original price. Look for designer clothing or furniture brands to find quality items.

Check Materials and Labels

Inspect the materials and labels of clothing items to ensure they're of good quality. Natural materials like cotton and wool are typically better quality than synthetic materials. Look for labels that indicate the item was made in a high-quality factory or country known for its textile production, such as Italy or Japan.

Examine the Condition

Make sure the item is in good condition before purchasing it. Check for stains, tears, and other signs of wear and tear. Minor imperfections can be fixed, but major damage may not be worth the cost of repairing.

Consider the Fit

When thrift store shopping for clothing, it's important to try items on to ensure a good fit. Look for items that are slightly too big or too small, as they can often be tailored to fit properly.

How to Get Creative with Thrift Store Finds

Thrift store items can be a great starting point for DIY projects and creative expression. Here are some ideas:

Tailor Clothing Items

If a thrift store item doesn't fit properly, consider taking it to a tailor to have it altered. A simple hem or taking in the sides can make a big difference in how an item fits.

Repurpose or Upcycle Furniture and Home Decor Items

If you find a piece of furniture or home decor item that needs some TLC, consider repurposing or upcycling it. For example, you could paint a wooden chair to give it a fresh look or turn an old suitcase into a unique side table.

Mix and Match Different Pieces

Experiment with mixing and matching different pieces to create a unique look. For example, you could pair a vintage blouse with a modern skirt or mix and match different patterns and textures.

Online Thrifting

If you don't have access to any thrift stores or charity shops then there are alternatives online. Below is just some examples:

  • Thriftify: An online charity shop that sells preloved and never-worn items donated by individuals and retailers. They review every item for quality and authenticity, and ship them in compostable packaging. On average, 90% of each sale goes to charity.
  • Oxfam Shop: An online shop that sells second-hand and ethically sourced products, such as clothes, books, accessories, homeware and more. They support Oxfam's work to fight poverty and injustice around the world.
  • thredUP: An online consignment store that offers women's and kids' second hand clothing. They have more than 52.6 million sellers, and millions of items across 35,000 brands—from Gap to Gucci.
  • Thrift2U: An online thrift store that sells everything for $1.00. They have a variety of items, such as clothing, shoes, jewelry, books, toys and more.
  • GoodwillFinds: An online thrift store that sells items donated to Goodwill Industries International. They have a wide range of categories, such as clothing, accessories, home decor, electronics, collectibles and more.
  • Pretty Little Thing Marketplace: A fast fashion brand aiming to be more sustainable by creating a marketplace for customers to sell their old clothes
  • Asos Marketplace: An online platform that allows you to buy and sell new, pre-owned and vintage fashion from independent brands and vintage boutiques from around the world


In conclusion, thrift store shopping is a fun and affordable way to find unique items and support sustainable fashion. By following the tips and strategies outlined in this guide, you can become a savvy thrift store shopper and score some amazing deals on clothing, furniture, and home decor.

Remember to always keep an open mind and be willing to get creative with your thrift store finds. With a little bit of tailoring, repurposing, and mixing and matching, you can create a style that is truly unique and reflective of your individual personality.

We hope that this guide has been helpful and informative, and that it has inspired you to give thrift store shopping a try. Happy thrifting!