How to Shop at the Thrift Store like a BOSS

Raise your hand if you like to shop at the thrift store!  It's become rather trendy over the years to shop at the thrift store, but that's just because everyone is catching on to how awesome it is.  You can find one of a kind clothing pieces, glassware, items for projects, housewares and books for pennies on the dollar.  I have been a thrift store shopper for so many years now, that I have developed some rules that I live by that help me to

Shop at the Thrift Store like a Boss!

Rules for shopping at the Thrift Store like a boss

Thrifting has become a family affair for us.  I probably wouldn't have been caught dead shopping there as a teenager, but my teens love going with me.  My husband even likes to go.  They all have keen eyes that help me spot things that I wouldn't have on my own.

If you take a few rules, along with your family, to the thrift store with you, you're bound to have a much better time and much better luck.

Go to the thrift store with an open mind

You never know what you will find.  Sometimes you'll need a cart to carry all of the treasures available.  Sometimes you'll walk away empty handed. Be prepared for either.

Go to the thrift store often 

Going to the store often will help you get the layout of the store, learn about the store's pricing system, and help you to know where to look for the good stuff.  I have specific places in my local thrift store that I know to check.

Don't buy something you don't want or need, just because it's a good price

No matter what price you pay, if you buy something that you don't love or isn't useful, it will just sit at your house, collecting dust.  Then you will eventually donate it back to the thrift store.  Not that I know anything about this.  My new motto is that I have to have a place to put my treasures or a purpose for them.  No more just buying stuff for the fun of it!  Although I may open an etsy shop soon, so I'll have a place to share all of my finds!

Have a discerning eye

While some things at the thrift store are over priced, it is possible to find so many good deals.  My husband is an avid book collector.  He finds $30-$40 books for less than $3 each time he goes to Goodwill.  My daughter can find the best vintage skirts and tops for $1-$2 that look like they came from Urban Outfitters.  The thrift store is my first stop when I am working on a project.  The one of a a kind housewares make the best project pieces.

How to shop at the thrift store like a boss- goodwill shopping, when to shop at goodwill

Go on discount days for even more savings

Goodwill sells everything for 50% off, on the first Saturday of the month.  That is my favorite day to go.  Sure, the store is a little more crowded, but the prices cannot be beat.  $4 for a pair of perfectly fitting Lucky bermuda shorts?  $2 for a pair of Target ponte pants?  $1 for a J Crew Tshirt?  Yes please, I'll take it all!

Be patient

The best thrift store scores require a bit of digging.  In order to find those perfect fitting Lucky brand shorts, you have to go through all of the racks of pants.  Most of the time I take a few laps of the store to make sure I've seen everything.

What to take with you

  • Hand sanitizer- this is self explanatory.  I also always have a pack of baby wipes handy.
  • Drink- We have a tradition of stopping for drinks at our favorite gas station on our way to the thrift store.
  • A good attitude - this is probably the most important thing to take with you.  Be polite to the other shoppers.  Make conversation with the cashiers.  Spread good vibes to the people that are at the thrift store with you!

What to do with all your treasures when you get home

  • Dishes or glassware goes straight into the dishwasher.  If the item is not dishwasher safe, like china, I wash it in the sink with hot and soapy water and a few drops of bleach.
  • Clothes get washed on a double cycle on cold
  • Everything else gets thoroughly cleaned with disinfecting wipes

My favorite thrift store finds

Set of 4 amber bicentennial glasses.  I kinda broke my rule with these- I don't know what I am going to do with them yet.  But I was drawn to them because of their color, how solid they are, and the year they were made 1976, celebrating the 200th year our nation was founded.

Almost everything in this vignette above my fridge is from the thrift store - the thermos' (collected one at a time), soda crate, metal cookie cutters, and the oval bushel basket.

I found these milk coolers several years ago.  I love them so much!  I use them to store decorative items I switch out in my house.  

Finding the good stuff at the thrift store requires patience, tenacity and an eye for detail!  It's so much fun though.  With the tips from above, you too can Shop at the Thrift Store like a Boss!