DIY, Money Savers / Life

Picking the Best Thrift Shop for Your Family


Sorry, I got distracted by baking and forgot that I’d promised to post some tips on thrift shopping in this post.

By following a few tips, you can find some INCREDIBLE deals and even name-brands for pennies on the dollar.

Location, Location, Location


  • The number one rule in real-estate applies to being a thrift shopper, as well. The Goodwill nearest my house is an excellent example. Since it is the closest thrift shop to our local Target, overstocked and out-of-season items are unloaded at the Goodwill door and marked at thrift-store prices! Locate a Goodwill near stores that you like and check the racks for items from that store. You’ll know when they’re fresh off the rack because store tags will still be attached.
  • If your city is like mine, there are well-know pockets of affluence. Thrift shops near the money-centers of a city will have higher-end brands. Mind you, they tend to also have higher prices, but still beat the store price by an average of 50-85%!

This can be helpful with more than your favorite brands, though.

  • I’m not sure all cities are like this, but St. Louis is full of cultural pockets. Dogtown, the Hill, and more are known for having large populations of “x” ethnicity or culture. This is great news for thrift shoppers. Your local thrift shop will reflect the culture of the immediate area. (There are always hundreds of long jean skirts at my Goodwill, and I attribute that to the large Pentecostal churches right up the street). Anyway, if you aren’t happy with the selection at your store, go find one in an area that reflects your culture! They’ll have what you are looking for.

In Clothing, Go for Classic Pieces: Don’t Shop Trends

  • You’ll be disappointed if you go into a second-hand shop expecting to find this season’s latest fad. IF the trend doesn’t sell out, THEN the stores will donate to second-hand shops. Trends will always be at least one season behind. (If you’re like me, that doesn’t matter in the least. I like what I like and could care less, but you need to know if that’s how you dress).
  • Some things never go out of style. Find those deals by looking for store tags. Some items, like undergarments, really shouldn’t be handed down. However, I’ve gotten 3 bras at my Goodwill with store tags STILL ATTACHED. They were Target overstock. In the end I got bras valued at more than $18 for less than $4.
  • If you have a trend in mind, however, you CAN GET LUCKY. You will be able to find mini skirts, lace, neon, etc. at second-hand stores…but it may not be the latest cut.

In Household Goods, Understand the Power of Paint.


Afraid to spend $35 to add those neon lamps to a kid’s room? Worried that you won’t ALWAYS like metallic candle sticks? Paint.

  • Unlike clothes, the exact opposite is true for household items because ANY piece of furniture, ANY lamp, ANY picture frame or candle holder can be made into the latest trend (*ahem* metallic) with some simple paint.
    -We just purchased a 6-drawer, 2 cabinet dresser which was priced at $34 but I caught it on 1/2 price day, so it was $17.50. I can of primer ($8), 1 piece of wood cut to size ($13) and some leftover paint later and we have a new entry-way shoe sorter/catch all. (Posts next week sometime on that). So we have an awesome new, trendy piece of statement furniture for $38.50. 
  • I have spray-painted end tables silver.
  • I have turned hideous candle holders into tasteful wall art.

Make a Master List


We’ve all seen (or at least heard about) Hoarders. No one wants to be that. Don’t fill your home with useless crap just because it’s cheap.

  • Make a master list of everything you want/need for your home.
  • Stop in frequently to check the stock and see if they have what you’re looking for. If so, take it home!
  • Be warned: they will have a lot of things you want but don’t need. Know your budget and know the difference!

Complete the Circle

Second-hand stores depend on donations, some even offer cash for goods. Make sure you donate to the stores you shop at. You may not need those horrible drapes or out-grown toddler jeans, but it might be just what another family has always dreamed of.

  • Donate!

Here’s a link to a new site called Just put in your zip code and get a list of the thrift shops in your area. There are even some really helpful shopper-reviews, a 5-star rating system and links to websites, if they are available.

I hope these tips have helped you in your shopping! Let me know what you find.

One thought on “Picking the Best Thrift Shop for Your Family

  1. Pingback: I Love My Goodwill and It Loves Me | Being Happy...

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s