How to Find the Best Stuff in Any Thrift Store

Thrift stores can be intimidating and overwhelming, especially if you’re shopping at a larger thrift store. However, it doesn’t have to be. You need this guide if you’re tired of not knowing if you’re getting the best deal while thrift shopping! Thrift stores can be a fantastic spot to find all kinds of wonderful treasures, and using this guide; you can learn how to find the best stuff in any thrift store.

thrift store how to shop

How to Find the Best Stuff in Any Thrift Store

best stuff thrift store shopping

Did you know I worked at Goodwill when I was younger? I collected my thoughts from my time spent working there. Read more:
Lessons Learned From my Time as a Goodwill Employee

Know what is in stock at your thrift stores

Anyone who does thrift shopping knows each store has a different inventory. While some thrift shops can be a mishmash of miscellaneous items, others are a step above the rest. You can even spot differences between various Goodwills in your area. Start looking through your local thrift stores to get a feel for what kinds of items are the best “finds” at these thrift shops. For example, Habitat stores will have much better furniture, whereas Goodwill will have much better clothing and books.

This is the one tip I usually only share with my closest friends! It's my secret to finding the best stuff and always the section I look at first.

Shop the Rack

Unless I'm told I can't, I always shop the racks the employees are using to put the newest items out. The employees may give you the side eye but be respectful as you browse and stay out of their way so they can do their job. 


Don’t shop on a weekend

Weekends are the worst time to go thrift shopping. During the week, most people work and save their thrift shopping for the weekends. By Saturday, thrift stores will be crowded, and all the good items will already be gone. Not only that, most of the sorters that are sending out new items, usually aren't sending out the best stuff on the weekend. I use my weekends to shop garage sales!

My favorite thrift store is Goodwill Outlet. Don't miss these tips if you are shopping the outlet for the first time!

Be on the lookout for price gouging

This is where knowing your prices is very important. Stores such as Goodwill have even been known to price gouge. If a higher-end brand enters a donation bin, you can guarantee that any thrift shop will put a more expensive sticker on that item. Keep an eye out for deals on lesser-known name brands that might fly under the radar.

Find out when items are marked down

Stores will often run promotions or coupons, even at big-name stores such as Goodwill. Find out what days of the week items are marked down at your particular stores, and look out for special deals. Some stores also have big sales throughout the year, such as Halloween blowouts where prices are 50% off or random liquidation sales. Sign up for your local thrift store’s email list, so you don’t miss these flash sales and deals.

Don’t be afraid to do some price comparing

Do you want to know if you’re really getting a good deal or just buying something overpriced? Check Amazon or eBay on your phone while you’re shopping. You can comparison shop for similar items and ensure you’re not getting scammed.

shopping thrift shops

Know what not to buy

Some things aren’t going to be a good deal no matter how cheap you find them at a thrift store. If you find something you love, but it's not in the right size, unless you are a master seamstress, you are never going to fix it to make it work! Don't just fall for a good deal!

Smart people know how to make a thrift store work instead of just searching through piles of junk. Hopefully, this guide will help you find a great deal the next time you go thrift store shopping and even find something unexpected. Remember that prices and inventory change regularly, so if you want to find the best deal while shopping, you need to go to the stores regularly.

Don't miss this:
Thrift store decor finds!

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