Secrets of Successful Thrift Store Shopping

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I am constantly finding bargains in thrift stores such as Goodwill and Salvation Army stores. I have even come home with items that still have the original new sales ticket still attached or still in its original packaging. My friends are simply amazed and complain that they can never do the same.

Here are some helpful and easy to use tips for finding great bargains in thrift stores:

Make it a point to drop into thrift stores whenever you are close by.  Since employees are processing donations every day all day, the inventory of any given thrift store is perpetually changing. It stands to reason that the really great items don’t stay in the store for very long once they are put on the sales floor.

I do this regularly and as a result I can go in and quickly browse through the inventory of the day in order to spot the newer items in the store and be out within 10 to 15 minutes if I don’t buy anything and within 15 to 20 minutes if I make a purchase.


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Is It Really a Bargain?

When deciding to buy something you like in a thrift store, you should examine it closely and determine if it is a good bargain.  By following these steps, you can find out if what you want to buy is in good repair or if it is really something that should have been thrown away.


Examine the garment closely and check it for worn cuffs and thinning in areas such as the knees and the seat of the pants.

Grasp an area of the cloth and spread out with both hands and tug on the fabric between them to see if it tears easily. If it does, then the fabric has becoming rotted and will continue to weaken, leaving you will be stuck with something that can only be worn for a short time.

Take the time to inspect the fabric by checking it for stains,persperation stains, tears, fading  colors and missing or loose buttons.  You want to also make sure that the zippers work and for buttonholes that have been stretched out.


Examine electronic items to determine its durability.  Check them for cracked cases.  It is a good idea to give the item a little shake to make sure there are no broken parts inside,  Plug in the item and turn it on to make sure it is working properly.  If it is a television, leave it on for awhile to make sure it doesn’t malfunction after it warms up.  Be sure to check the cords and buttons to make sure they are in good condition.

Other Items

Check toys thoroughly to make sure there are no loose parts or sharp edges.  I have bought stuffed toys and washed them.  Then I brushed the pile with a wire type hair brush to make them look brand new.

If you are buying a book, look at the edges of book abd check it for tears on the cover.. By looking closely at the end of the spine with the book squeezed shut, you can quickly determine if any of the pages are missing.


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Jewelry comes in all shapes and sizes in thrift stores.  If you are dilegent and take the time to look at each piece closely you can sometimes find antique pieces as well as ones that are made of gold.  Once again, people have many times donated items after the death of a family member or simply because they weren’t aware of its value.

You would be surprised how many collectables and antiques I have found in thrift stores.  Many times they get donated by people who aren’t aware of their value.

By taking the time to haunt thrift stores on a regular basis, you can end up with designer clothes and other unique and collectable items.

Always keep your receipt and avoid removing the price tags after you get home until you are absolutely certain you want to keep it.  You can return certain items for a store credit as long as you have the receipt and the tags are still on the item.  Keep in mind that there is a very short time limit on returns.

Good luck and happy bargain hunting.


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