I love ordering ’80s merchandise on Etsy and eBay. I love shopping at antique festivals, garage sales and estate sales. But my greatest source of retro finds by far has been bargain second-hand stores such as Goodwill. This past weekend, I headed to my very favorite Goodwill location and was thoroughly delighted to find this set of ’80s Deco drinking glasses. Especially since I’d passed them up three weeks ago! Today we take a look at the ins and outs of bargain thrift store shopping…
1. Consistency is key.
Thrift stores such as Goodwill and Savers often display new merchandise each day. This means the more you go, the more likely you are to find treasures. My rule: If I’m in the area, I tend to swing by. Maybe it’s on my way home from dinner or an afternoon appointment. Or maybe I hit a few of my favorite stops on a weekend afternoon. The more you go, the more you’re rewarded for your loyalty.
2. Get to know the best thrift stores in your town.
If you live in a small town, there may only be one or two thrift stores in the area. In other words, taking your pick may not be an option. However, if you live in a town or a city where there are multiple bargain thrift store locations, it’s helpful to know which ones consistently have the best selection and regularly refresh their merchandise. I’ve got a couple of favorites, and I make sure I stop by in a regular basis.
3. Hit out-of-town thrift stores for variety.
I’ve found some of the best retro bargains in small towns where competition isn’t as fierce. So every time my hubby and I are on our way back from a short day trip, we make a point of pulling over when we spot a Goodwill while we’re on the road. We get tired of seeing the same stuff at our local shops. On the flip side, if you happen to be in a town (hello Miami) where ’80s design was fabulous in its heyday, take some time to hit a local bargain thrift store. You never know when the locals may be cleaning house and donating designer items!
4. Carefully inspect merchandise before you purchase it.
When you’re dealing with bargain thrift stores that accept donated merchandise, you need to know that these establishments will not be screening every item for chips and scratches. This isn’t the antique mall or a vintage boutique. That means it’s up to you to decide how much wear and tear you’re comfortable with. I’ve found quite a few awesome vases with minor damage, and it was worth it to me to grab them. But make sure you know what you’re getting before you pull out your wallet!
Do you have any tips and tricks for navigating the world of bargain thrift stores? Don’t hesitate to leave a comment…