I am a huge Thrift Store shopper. It is the first place I go when I need anything. As long as I’m not in desperate need of an item right away, I do my best to start my search at the local thrift store. These are my 10 best items to buy at the thrift store.
Top items to buy at the thrift store
1. Clothing, costumes, belts, purses, and anything else you might wear
When our kids were little we were blessed to be part of a community that loved hand me downs. It was amazing. I don’t think I bought many clothes at all for the kids in their first few years.
But, even with hand me downs there was always a few gaps in what we needed. I always kept a lookout for winter coats, snow pants, good quality winter boots like Sorel’s, touques and mitts. I still keep a close eye on whats available. It is a little bit harder now that the kids are older and there isn’t as much selection in their sizes.
You can often find higher quality winter wear in the off-season when people are cleaning out their closets. This also works in winter when the thrift stores start bringing out the spring and summer clothes.
My favourite purse I bought for only $2 at the thrift store. Often I need a change but don’t know exactly what I’m looking for in an accessory like a purse, so I hate to purchase brand new and have it sit on my shelf collecting dust.
Shoes are another thing you can buy used. You do need to look closely at what you are purchasing. Make sure that they aren’t too worn out inside or out.
2. Dishes, utensils and canning jars
One of the things that drives me crazy is losing cutlery and dishes to the void that is school lunches. I have the kids routinely check their lockers, desks and backpacks for misplaced spoons, forks and dishes, but it doesn’t always turn up the things that have gone missing.
So for all of those little dishes that kids use in their lunch kits, the thrift store is the great place to keep your collection stocked up.
Check out the utensils section at the thrift store as well. I was able to pick up a really nice slotted spoon to replace the one that broke in our kitchen for a fraction of a new one.
Maybe you want to start canning and don’t know if you will stick with it. There are so many women who end up deciding that they are finished with all of the work that it takes to process food at home. I often see huge boxes of canning jars for very little money at thrift stores.
A couple of years ago I was struggling to fit our home grown whole frozen chickens in my current round crockpot. I knew that an oval one would fix my issue and thrift store search began.
Eventually I found a really nice basic oval crockpot that looked about 10-15 years old. It was a little more than I wanted to spend at $10, but I knew a brand new one would be well over $50. So it came home with me and I have used so many times and it still going strong.
Other appliances that I have found have been an immersion blender and a hand electric mixer. I have also bought replacement parts for appliances too, like when we strangely misplaced the beaters for our hand mixer. I was able to buy ones that fit with out having to replace the set.
4. Extra bedding
We live a couple of hours away from family right now. This means we often have people coming over and staying the night. The first time we had guests I didn’t have enough bedding.
I was able to find extra comforters, pillows, sheets and pillowcases at the thrift store. If this makes you feel a little uncomfortable, don’t worry. I washed each and every item on my hottest cycle in my washing machine and then either hung them to dry or threw them in my dryer. This allowed me to save money on items we need but don’t use all that often.
5. Home Decor and seasonal items
Ever go through a fad in home decor? Well lots of other people do too. So pick up throw pillows, art or knick knacks at the thrift store.
Each season you will find the thrift store will bring out all the relevant decor and you can shop all you want. This is a great way to let your kids personality shine through without breaking the bank.
Holiday items like Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Halloween and Christmas are all available at the thrift store in the month leading up to the holiday.
6. Games and toys
Kids go through phases with their toys. Most of the latest toys only last a couple months and kids forget about them. Many families just box up outgrown toys and donate them.
We purchased a Thomas the train motorized train set a couple years ago for our youngest son for Christmas. I was able to get the entire set for $10. It has been a huge hit with our kids.
We’ve also been able to pick up many board games at a fraction of the price of brand new. It’s also been a good way to try out a few games that the kids have wanted, and then find out that they weren’t as fun as they thought. No big deal, we just boxed them back up and donated them back to the same thrift store we purchased them from.
7. Sporting Goods
When our oldest son was in grade one, we decided to put him into hockey. If you have ever looked at hockey equipment, you know that it’s not cheap and our budget was slim.
Over the last number of years we have been able to keep him suited up for hockey at the thrift store. From shin pads, elbow pads to replacement cages for his hockey helmet.
A quick glance at any thrift store will show you soccer cleats, shin pads, skates, baseball helmets and gloves. No matter what sport you and your family is in you will be able to find numerous supplies at the thrift store. You just need to be willing to dig and be patient to find the sizes your family might need.
8. Books, Dvd’s and Cd’s
Are you hunting for a specific book in part of a series? Or maybe you discover that CD of your favourite band that hasn’t been on the radio for decades. You might just find it at the thrift store.
We really used this when the kids were super little. I picked up so many Dora the Explorer, Veggie Tales and Curious George dvd’s. We’ve also found a couple classic Disney movies as well. You just never know what you might find.
Furniture is another item you can pick up at the thrift store. Don’t be afraid of old dressers, tables, chairs, lamps or any other furniture item. A little elbow grease, sandpaper, fabric or paint can bring outdated furniture back into today’s era. Plus you can’t find quality wood dressers like they used to make.
For a number of years I had a business that was all about refurbishing furniture. There are so many new paints out there, like Fusion Mineral Paint, that make redoing furniture a breeze. Don’t be afraid to put your own personal spin on it.
10. Wrapping paper, gift bags and greeting cards
With enough advanced notice, you can buy all of your wrapping and gift supplies at your local thrift store. Why spend a couple dollars for a gift bag, when you can buy one for $.25.
If you’re feeling overrun with gift bags after Christmas and birthday you can always donate them right back to the thrift store.
Many times you can put together a great collection of greeting cards, birthday cards, and Christmas cards just buy hunting at the thrift store.
Before you buy
It’s really easy to over shop when hunting at the thrift store. Here’s looking at you ‘$5 Bag Sale’! Remember what your actual needs are. Just because something is inexpensive might not mean you need it.
Make sure you and your family like or need the item you’re purchasing. I have re-donated far too many items just because I bought something I thought was fun, would fit or the kids would like only to take them back the next week.
Take a whirl at the fun of hunting for these items you should buy at the thrift store. You never know what you might find. Your home and pocket book might just thank you!