In this quick guide to thrifting I’ll share everything you need to know about thrift stores, items to buy and how to find scores!

Everone is all Marie Kondo-ing their house right now, as am I. It’s great to reduce clutter and find those things of ours that spark joy. But where does it go when it no longer serves us? Many people donate really great things that are still in excellent condition, and maybe those things that no longer serve them, can begin to serve you. Here is my 5 minute guide to thrifting: what you need to know.

I am not saying go buy up all the junk you think you need, because that is not what thrifting is about.

guide to thrifting: everything you need to know

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I’m saying, some great, useful, even purposeful items can be found for pennies on the dollar at your local thrift store.

This is a 5 minute guide explaining how to thrift.

First, I’ll briefly share with you my why.

My Mom started my love of thrifting at a young age. She started when she was a child with her mother, it’s basically in my blood, ok? My Mom is the coolest person I know, so anything she does, I wanna do. This includes thrifting (and being a Browns fan, there’s always next THIS year, we love you Baker Mayfield!)

Back to my humble thrift beginnings.

I remember I could pick out anything I wanted, price was no issue and as a child, that was really cool. As a kid, brand names did not really appeal to me, but camping, and beach houses did. I appreciate that my parents spent money on things like vacations rather than that really cool shirt at Limited Too I was probably asking for.

Throughout my life, I have had different “why’s”. Before I had all these kids, I had so much time to craft, I love repurposing and redecorating, paint and mod-podge. Crafting is my stress-reliever, and I used to have so much time to do it. I would hit the thrift store up and buy ugly things with plans to make them beautiful and useful. I once bought a couple kitchen chairs for $25, gave them a fresh coat of paint, and they lasted us 4 years.

These days, as a mother of 3 growing boys who seem to only fit into clothes for like, 2 months, it just makes sense to thrift. Every item I buy is in great to excellent condition, and I save so much money!


It’s not always easy, and it can be time-consuming, if you’re searching for something specific such as matching Easter outfits for your fam, I don’t recommend holding out to find it at Goodwill.


The hunt is fun to me, it actually helps reduce my anxiety. I focus on the items I look at, evaluate the ones that catch my eye, and most importantly: assess if it fits our needs. This guide to thrifting will help you decide if thrifting is right for you and your family, and how to go about it.


Ok, now that you know my why, here is how to be successful on your thrift trip.

Know the lingo: things you find that bring you so much joy are called SCORES!

My Mom coined the term, I use it, my son uses, it, I think everyone should use it. We celebrate when we find something cool, or odd, or that we totally needed and were gonna pay full price for anyway.


This one is important, so listen up.

I only buy if it serves a purpose for my me, or my household.

I used to just buy things because I liked them, the print, or the shape of something, but those days are over. It’s really easy to buy a vase or 9 (yes, I went through a thing where I kept buying odd shaped vases to put my pretty dried out flowers in.) It can get out of control, and you could start a dead flower cemetary on top of a bookshelf, but that’s a conversation for a different day.


If you absolutely have to have it, but have no place or purpose for it, buy it and gift it to a friend.

Once, I found a Dunder Mifflin shirt in a size way too small for me that I could not pass up for 3 bucks. It brought me so much joy as I was flipping through the racks and came across this gem. I knew I would never be a size small, so I sent it snail mail style to a friend who loves The Office almost as much as I do. It made her smile too.

Worried about pre-owned clothes? Check out my guide of what to buy at the thrift store where I share how to properly clean and disinfect items I buy at the thrift store.

Everytime you make a trip, be sure to bring a bag of things from your home to donate.

This should be taken seriously. As a rule, for every new “score” I find, and bring home, I get rid of whatever it’s replacing. That sweater thats scratchy, but so cute-ditch it. Those toys that end up all over the floor everyday, but never get played with- toss them in a bag and turn them into the donation center. Some stores will give you a coupon to use on your next purchase, mine does 20% off every time you donate. SCORE!


This brings me to my next tip.


Get a loyalty card.

I know, I hate having a bunch of little tags on my keychain too, but how am I supposed to find them without all of those little tags to spot out? If your thrift store has a loyalty program, it’s beneficial to have a loyalty card. Mine offers 30% off a total purchase once a month, and for every $100 you spend you get a 20% off coupon. They can even look me up in the system so I can ditch that little blue tag.


Get the scoop on half off days.


Many thrift stores offer some major discounts. Take these discounts to the next level by shopping on half-off days. There’s a store near me that does everything 50% off on Mondays, or a certain color tag 75% off on specific days. Become familiar with these sales as they can save some serious dough.

Inspect everything!

  • Looking at clothes?

Be sure to check all lining, buttons, zippers, and look closely for stains. Once I bought an Under Armour hoodie that was in perfect condition, or so I thought for 4 bucks. I got home and discovered there was a tear on the sleeve cuff, not noticeable, but I wouldn’t have bought it had I paid more attention.

clothing aisle at the thrift store
  • How about accessories

These are another thing to inspect meticulously. You can find a great purse, or wallet, or belt. Just be sure to check every pocket and compartment for wear and tear. (Or money, once I found a 10 spot in a pocket, heeyyyyyy!)

  • Shopping for house wares?

Inspect for nicks, scratches and imperfections. you can find some great things, I have found quite a few fun coffee mugs that I love, but not every trip is one full of fabulous finds.

  • Appliances

Appliances that work can be found. I highly suggest plugging that lamp in before you buy, and if you absolutely have to have that cake pop maker, you risk it not working in proper fashion. But, cakepops. AMIRITE?

  • Furniture

This can be total hit or miss, the only real furniture I have ever purchased from the thrift is a bookshelf. A big, sturdy, very heavy bookshelf. I was getting ready to purchase a very expensive, low quality bookshelf online out of necessity (our old one fell apart, and we had books covering our kitchen table.) This was something I was not going to wait around for, I needed it. I ended up finding one at the thrift store near my house for $24. Bonus, it was half off that day, so I got a very nice, large bookshelf for 11 bucks. Major SCORE!

Take your time!

I know, time is hard to come by, I can spend 2 hours easily, just browsing my thrift store. I imagine these tiny little teacups in a tiny grandmas house, while serving pie on this pretty pie plate that has the recipe printed right on it. And it’s oh-so-vintage and fabulous. I don’t need it, but I like looking at it. It can be a time-consuming activity if you’re not focused.

There’s alot of junk in these stores, so be prepared to hunt! What are your best thrift store finds? Share them with me in the comments!

Now that you know HOW, take a look at what the best things to buy at the thrift store are with my guide: 8 BEST things to buy at the thrift store!


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