Friday, July 13, 2012

Top ten or more BEST Things to buy at a Thrift Store!

I recently read an article that claimed a bunch of decorating stuff was the top ten things you should be buying at a thrift store.  I have to disagree. 

The busy mom can use a thrift store to her advantage by knocking out major purchases not just knick knacks and brick-a-brac!  

Baby stuff:
If you are expecting you can find your whole nursery in the thrift store and most times this stuff will be brand new, or worn once nearly new.   Tee shirts, onesies, diaper pails, bumper pads, crib sheets or bed sets, dresses, shoes, wall decorations, lamps, coats and jackets, swim wear…..   You will also find tons of Maternity clothes and items there too.  I only wore some of my maternity clothes for a couple months and then it was no use to me anymore. 

Toddler stuff:
Once your sweet bundle has started walking and talking they are still growing pretty fast so you can get next year’s snow boots or swim shoes at almost any thrift store depending on the season.  I LOVE, Love LOVE to buy one size too big when my thrift store is having their big sales like all children’s clothes for a dollar or fill a bag for Five bucks or all kids’ stuff half off sale.  You can really save on all items of their clothes from socks to jeans to jackets!   Then there are the toys  make sure you check for safety and recalls but most of the toys you will find will be complete steals because someone else’s child has already moved out of the stage your child is in now.  My son usually gets one “treat “ toy every time we go to a thrift store because they are usually a dollar or two and just as wonderful as if I paid full  price for it at Toys R Us or Walmart.

Books of any kind are usually a steal at most thrift stores but the ones that will save you the most green are recipe books and children’s books.  Unless you are an avid reader these two books are usually your best bets at a thrift store.  You can still use them for decorating like the other article claimed but I liked to claim was the only reason to get a thrift store book.  Huh I like to read I guess. 

Puzzles and Games:
These are typically a steal also at a thrift store but make sure you count the pieces yourself or you know that your store has solid reputation of not putting out any crap and they always check to make sure all the pieces or each item works before they set it out for sale.  Buying puzzles and games got us through one really rainy and wet summer at rock bottom prices!  

Clothes for all members of the family: 
This varies greatly by store but if you find a good thrift store they will typically have great items that you can find if you just look.  When my step-daughters used to come up for Christmas in Maine from Tennessee I always found them scarves, hats, gloves, snow boots and jackets to keep them toasty warm.    You can surprisingly find good quality snow boots if you look and just keep looking.  I love to get a new pair of jeans or shorts from a thrift store for a buck or two I look good and feel good about not spending a fortune on a new seasonal item.  This is really great too if your size is currently fluctuating like before and after a pregnancy or while dieting. 

Kitchen gadgets: 
If your bread maker dies you should really check out the thrift store before you purchase one brand new.  Tons of ladies get the newest gadgets use them once and let them collect dust before they get rid of them.  You can look inside the gadget and tell if it is new or nearly new or not.  And just like before if you know that your store tests out their items first you are typically safe to purchase it. 
Other kitchen items are a steal at thrift stores like vintage bowels, decoration pieces, cake molds and bread pans.  I love to have as many bread pans as possible because they stack easy in my freezer and are the perfect size for a family casserole. 

Seasonal Items:
Moms if you need Halloween costumes go thrift store’n first!  If you want to decorate your Thanksgiving Day table special because the in-laws are coming get all of your place mats and chargers there!  I love Christmas items at a thrift store too, because one momma’s ugly Christmas decoration is another momma’s Truly AWESOME TREASURE!  

One year I bought tons of Santa Claus figurines and salt and pepper shakers for $.50 or less at the thrift store and gave the kids a hot glue gun and some string and we made the most fun ornaments EVER!  If you decide you would like to decorate your tree in all purple or blue this year then check out the thrift store because you might find your whole set up in one location! 

I should also tell you that you can find tons of decoration supplies like for graduation or birthday parties that would work perfect for your event.  Even wrapping paper and boxes!   Sometimes you can find gifts there too, like bath sets that have never been opened or graduation gift sets also brand new! 
Don’t forget to look for Beach towels, or mats or shovels and buckets and forms to build your favorite sand castle.

Small furniture:
Most thrift stores have a furniture section and it is kind of hit or miss if you will find some awesome treasure or not.  You may have to use your creative imagination and see the bones of the furniture and what you can turn it into.  Like if you have to spray paint it all chocolate brown and put stainless steel handles on it or if you can take the pretty scalloped molding off and make it a more contemporary.  I find most of my side tables, patio furniture or shelves for closets in thrift stores and I typically only pay a couple of bucks for it.  

Arts & Crafts Supplies:
If you like to get your craft on you will always find sweet deals at the thrift stores in the craft section.  Like fun stamping supplies (works great in play dough for and after noon of rainy day fun!)  Paints, patterns, yarn, fabric scraps, paint, paint brushes you name it!  Tons of people buy all the supplies they think they will need for a new hobby or craft and then they never use all of it!   Use that to YOUR advantage.

Items for One specific intention:
Lots of folks donate something that never gets used and just sits in their garage or closet and you can save money buy only paying a dollar or two for these items instead of full price These items can be anything from a step exerciser to an inner tube.  Basketball hoops, hula hoops, soccer goals, boogie boards, snorkeling equipment, hammocks, faucets, towel racks, iron or closet organizers, As Seen on TV items. Dog crates, children’s furniture like little tikes kitchens or picnic tables.  Or even wedding supplies! 

Bedding or Household items:
I know that I have went over ten items but this one is worth listing because you can find some really good deals on curtains, sheets, rugs and other kinds of bedding.  I hate it when I buy a new set of sheets and they start to ball up on me after a few washes, well if you get them at the thrift store they will already be pre-washed a few times!   If you move or want to redecorate your windows this is an easy way to get a new look for more than half the cost.  I always look for new shower curtains, window curtains and little trash cans.  You can find throw pillows that you can recover for a fraction of the cost of buying a new pillow too.  Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and get some items  to craft with or re-do to make all your own.  I found this beautiful old quilt that was pretty blue and white that worked out perfect for my guest bedroom.  I only paid $1.50 for it! 

Baskets are good things for decorating and organizing that you can find in a thrift store, but you can also use these for Easter and pay a small amount of change instead of several dollars at Easter time.  I like to have one nice basket for each kid and just re-use them every year. 

So here is an idea of some of my finds at a thrift store:
I paid $1 each for two sets of high end quality snorkel set for my son which included goggles. 
I paid $2 for a small book shelf that I turned sideways and used as a shoe rack/shelf in my closet. 
I paid $3 for a brand new bread machine that makes my perfect bread which is great in the winter time to pair with a stew or something in the crock pot so my dinner is made and smelling yummy when I get home from a long day!
I paid $1 for my son’s next year’s snow boots and they are spendy Sorels’!   Last year he wore “thrift store” Columbia’s.  
I think every scarf I own was either given to me as a gift or I bought for less than a $1 at a thrift store!
Once I tallied up my clothes cost that I was wearing and except for my undergarments everything I was wearing cost less than $10!  (I was wearing some cute pants $1.50 , a cute top$2.00 and a pair of flip flops that I got at an Old Navy $1 sale!)
I purchased all but two pair of my son’s current shorts for summer at the thrift store and I paid $.50 for each one of them at the thrift store’s children’s clothes half-off sale.
I decided I wanted only blue coffee cups and I got all of them at the thrift store for about $.25 each. 
I found three sleds at the thrift store that was perfect for our first winter in Maine. 
I found an extra-large dog crate with a nice sheepskin type pillow inside for my dog for only $8 at the thrift store and those crates alone are over $100 brand new.  (My dog was NOT offended!)  J
I find tons of dresses and clothes for me just about every month and I like to wear new and cute things.  Just because you shop at a thrift store does not mean you have to look bad! 
I wanted to decorate my kitchen with copper colored molds and kitchen items and over a few months I found them all at the thrift store for a dollar or less.
I wanted to take up painting again and I scored big one day when I found a whole box full of painting supplies for $5 dollars and a table top easel for $2! 

Keep in Mind:
Not all thrift stores are the same.  Some will only have junkie junk and you should take a look around check it out and if it is just all nasty junk walk out and wash your hands. 
You will find a good store in your area if you look.  I have moved around a lot and my favorite stores across the entire country have been not for profit stores.  The top favorite stores have all been to raise funds for animal shelters.  These stores take donations and sell those donations to sell them.  So they don’t typically over price and since it is all donations you just never know what you will get! 
You will find the best deals at thrift stores during the change of seasons.  See my post on “Now is the time for Thrift Store Shopping.”


  1. Hi! Stopping by from the blog hop and am now your newest follower:) Hope you can come check out Crazy Mama Drama !

    1. Wow!! That’s a mind blowing place! It is really beautiful Thrift Store to buy kids toys and others. Kids are being very impressed to go the thrift store. I think it is the best thrift shop in the world. Every people should go the thrift store to buy toys and other things for their needs. Thanks for the nice posting.

  2. Oh I so heart thrift stores and am drooling over your awesome finds.


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