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What is a Thrift Store?

Updated on June 13, 2013

According to, a thrift shop is a a shop that sells secondhand articles and especially clothes and is often run for charitable purposes.

The first and only thrift store I've been to is Goodwill. Goodwill is scattered throughout the United States and over the years, Goodwill leaders have traveled the world spreading the vision of helping people in need to reach their fullest potential through the power of work. There are currently 165 Goodwill organizations in the U.S. and Canada with 13 Goodwill affiliated organizations in other countries around the world.

$3 and I wear this fun shirt ALL the time!!
$3 and I wear this fun shirt ALL the time!! | Source

Why would I want to shop at a thrift store?

  1. Save Money- I often shop our local Goodwill. Here, most shirts for men, women and children are $3. Pants are also $3. If you are looking at an expensive brand it may be an extra dollar or two. Purses are $3 and wallets are generally $1. If you go into Goodwill planning to spend $20, you can home with 6-7 items. If you go to a department store you are likely to only get one item for $20, possibly 2.
  2. Support your community- After my husband experienced a lay-off last year, I thought about how I could support unemployment. According to Goodwill's website, Goodwill works to enhance the dignity and quality of life of individuals and families by strengthening communities, eliminating barriers to opportunity, and helping people in need reach their full potential through learning and the power of work. My purchase helps supports the programs that are in place to reach success!
  3. Help the environment- By keeping these items out of the landfill and giving them a second life, you are helping the environment!

My new summer purse for $3!!
My new summer purse for $3!! | Source

Are you a thrift store shopper?

See results

Tips for Thrift Store Shopping

  1. Give yourself plenty of time to shop- I can very easily go into the store and spend two hours to feel like it was only twenty minutes. Obviously there is not an easy way to sort the clothes as their inventory changes daily with new donations. You will have to search the racks to find that "just right" item.
  2. If you don't love it, don't buy it- I usually end up with 5-7 items in my arms after searching the racks. I then look at each piece and think about how often I will actually wear it. Does the item pair well with my current wardrobe? At the end of the trip, I walk out with only 1-2 pieces.
  3. Best time to shop- Goodwill gets most of it's donations over the weekend so the best times to shop are Sunday-Tuesday. After Christmas is a great time to shop, when people are getting rid of items that were replaced by gifts. The beginning of spring and fall are also great times because most people are cleaning out their closets/house as they switch seasons.

Think Outside the Box

  1. Resell items- Several people raid the racks looking for items they can resell on eBay or Amazon. You have to shop more frequently, I think, to keep on top of these "treasures." I once spotted the last two books in the Hunger Games series. I snatched them up for a $1 a piece and later sold them for $5 a piece.
  2. Gifts- When my brother got a new job, I was able to pick him up 5 ties for $10 versus going to a department store and getting 1 tie for $10.
  3. Decorate your home- Although, roughly 75% of our store at least, is filled with clothes, you can find items for your home. Our local Goodwill often has paintings, mirrors, knick-knacks, shelves and sofas.

Goodwill Facts

According to Goodwill's website the results for 2012 are:

  • People served through employment and training programs: 6.7 million
  • Mission services provided: 134 million
  • People who earned a job with Goodwill’s help : 216,000
  • Estimated total earnings of people who earned a job with Goodwill’s help: $3.62 billion
  • Total revenue generated by Goodwill organizations: $4.89 billion
  • Total revenue spent directly on programs: 82 percent
  • Total number of donors (includes repeat donations): 83 million
  • Total number of retail stores: Over 2,700 and an online auction site,

I truly LOVE thrift store shopping and I am a person that doesn't like to shop in general. I have not bought any "new" clothes in the past year. All of my clothing purchases were made from our local Goodwill! As they say, "One man's trash is another man's treasure!"


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    • stephanieb27 profile image

      stephanieb27 4 years ago from United States

      Thanks, BStoneBlog! Glad to help! :)

    • BStoneBlog profile image

      Jay Dickens 4 years ago

      Great article! I've found some beautiful things at thrift stores. I never thought about going on certain days though - now that school's starting back up I need tons, so I'll try checking it out earlier in the week! Thanks for the tip!

    • stephanieb27 profile image

      stephanieb27 4 years ago from United States

      Rajan Jolly, glad to hear you enjoyed your experience! Bought my son a new outfit from Goodwill yesterday that looked brand new and only cost me $2!! :)

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      I have shopped at thrift stores and Goodwill while in the U.S. Love it.

    • SavannahEve profile image

      SavannahEve 4 years ago from California

      That's where we get all our clothing! Thriftstores rock! Great hub. Voted up!

    • stephanieb27 profile image

      stephanieb27 4 years ago from United States

      Billybuc, that's okay! I appreciate your support!!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I have no idea how I missed this, Stephanie, but I apologize for the oversight. I love thrifts stores. I have no qualms about using secondhand man's junk is my treasure for sure.

      Have a great weekend!

    • stephanieb27 profile image

      stephanieb27 4 years ago from United States

      Drpennypincher, I agree! Great suggestion!! :)

    • drpennypincher profile image

      Dr Penny Pincher 4 years ago from Iowa, USA

      I like shopping for books at thrift stores- I can take the whole family and everyone can get a couple books for about $10 or so total. Doing this at a bookstore would cost much, much more!

    • stephanieb27 profile image

      stephanieb27 4 years ago from United States

      Thanks so much, Faith Reaper!!! :)

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 4 years ago from southern USA

      Oh, I have found many a treasure at thrift stores!!!

      Yes, it is important to know the best days to go shopping at a thrift store no doubt.

      Thanks for including that important fact.

      Voted up +++ and sharing

      Blessings, Faith Reaper

    • stephanieb27 profile image

      stephanieb27 4 years ago from United States

      Gypsy48, thank you!!! I have yet to go without my children. I would probably find more treasures if I could take as much time as I want! :)

    • stephanieb27 profile image

      stephanieb27 4 years ago from United States

      CroftRoan, thank you!! Good luck in your search! :)

    • Gypsy48 profile image

      Gypsy48 4 years ago

      I visit a couple of thrift stores in our area. I like to take my time going through the store and I have found some very good quality items there. Voted up.

    • CroftRoan profile image

      Kate Rolands 4 years ago

      This is a great hub. I have a Goodwill not too far from where I live and I plan on making a stop there when I settle into a place of my own. Finding some good inexpensive furniture will help out a lot.