A lot of people avoid thrift stores because they don’t know which items are safe to buy in those of palaces of value. That’s a huge mistake because there are actually a lot of great bargains at thrift stores if you know where and how to look.
Here are a few items that you should definitely shop for at thrift stores:
- Men’s dress and business clothes, especially pants, sport coats, and shirts. Most men own more than a few of these and they rarely or never wear them. You can often find clean dress clothes in good condition at thrift stores. I’ve found Brooks Brothers and other high quality pants at my local thrift store. Wash them before you wear them.
- Specialty small appliances, such as bread makers, ice cream makers, and popcorn poppers. Lots of people buy these and never use them.
- Coats and jackets. Many people have coats and jackets that they do not wear. Look for outwear with little wear and tear. Thrift stores in warm climates often have such items from people who have moved there from up north.
- Books, especially bestselling fiction from recent years. You can pick it up for a fraction of what you would pay at a bookstore or on Amazon. Try to find a clean copy so you can resell it on eBay when you’re done. I’ve sold books I’ve picked up at thrift stores for up to $40 on eBay.
- Plumbing fixtures. The Habitat for Humanity Restores have vast numbers of perfectly good plumbing fixtures donated to them, some of them brand new in the boxes. Complete sinks are often available because people didn’t like the color.
- Glasses and cups. If you don’t care about matching sets, these are often cheap and easy to find at thrift stores. Wine glasses, in particular, are easy to find. Make sure you run them through the dishwasher before you use them.
- Tools. Many handyman types have lots of tools they never use. At some point, they end up donating them. Look carefully, especially with power tools, to make sure there is not too much wear and tear. Try to avoid heavy duty tools like those contractors use because they can be subject to more wear and tear.
- DVDs. Huge numbers of these that have only been played once or never get played get donated. If you’re willing to watch a movie from a couple of years ago, you can get blockbusters for $1 or $2. Look closely and watch out for former rental and library copies.
- Kitchen utensils. Lots of people have lots of kitchen utensils they never use. When they move, they donate. Look closely for wear and tear and run them through the dishwasher before you use them.
- Women’s shoes, especially dress shoes. Lots of women have closets stuffed full of shoes. At some point, most of them end up donating those shoes. If you’re willing to buy shoes a couple of years out of fashion or classic looks, you can find some bargains here.
- Furniture. This can be a real hit-and-miss proposition at the thrift store because a lot of it is in bad condition. If you’re furnishing a place where nobody cares about looks or décor, such as a bachelor pad, you can save some money.
- Hats. Many people own hats that they do not wear. I’ve found brand new hats at some thrift stores.
These are some of the items that you can usually find in great condition and save money on at the thrift store. Always take your time and look over everything carefully because many thrift stores do a poor job of sorting and processing stuff.