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When there’s something we need here at the Maker Mama house–that we can’t figure out how to make-shift or do without–my first stop is always the thrift store.

Just today I was out hunting for baseball gear for two of my kids and I came home with two pairs of cleats, a pink baseball glove, and a like-new pair of grey baseball pants–all for under $20! Brand new it would have easily cost at least twice as much.

So if you aren’t already a thrift-store addict like me, here are 5 things you should be buying at the thrift store instead of big box retailers. Trust me, you’ll be thrilled at what you can find!

Home Goods

I love strolling down the household goods section of thrift stores, in fact, I always hit this section first. I’ve found a complete set of party dishes, new mugs, vases, candelabras, baskets, frames, mirrors, even a Christmas tree star–you name it, and I probably have one from the thrift store. Decorative items are especially great because of all the unique things you can find (I’m still kicking myself over a pair of brass peacocks I passed up–they would have been great painted white). Check out my kitchen full of thrifted finds here.


Especially kids shoes. I have a few favorite pairs of my own, but with the rate our kids grow out of theirs, there’s no way we can buy brand new shoes all the time. And with that, parents often donate nearly-new shoes that their kids have grown out of–which is great for you. Another recent trip scored me three pairs of Converse sneakers for the kids–not something I’d be able to afford brand-new.

Occasionally I have found a pair of mint-condition shoes for myself (like the pair above). I’m all about $100 brand new designer shoes for $6. Duh.


I very rarely buy new clothes (except when shopping for undergarments). You can find just about any size/shape/color of any article of clothing you’re looking for. I’m a sucker for a cute dress, and finding one for under $10 from a brand name I couldn’t afford otherwise? Pure joy. And just like shoes, kids clothes are a perfect thing to shop for at the thrift store. Most thrift stores weed out items with stains or holes, so you have an entire selection of great clothes to choose from.


I am physically unable to step inside of a thrift store without checking out the book section. I have a weak spot for vintage books, and I can spend an entire hour looking through every single book. I’m known for coming home with a box full of new books for the kids (and having to make more shelf room as a result). Take a peek at the thrifted goods in my hallway, including the books above.

Games and Toys

We have amassed quite a collection of family board games from our thrift store hunting. They’re often taped shut so you don’t always know if it has all the pieces, but most stores are good at checking before they put them on the shelves. I don’t think I could ever buy a new board game again. Check out all of the deets on my thrifted board game collection here.

And I love taking the kids shopping with their chore money. They can pick out an inexpensive toy of their choice without having to spend all their money, while learning the value of reducing waste at the same time. I was also able to buy each of our four kids their own tennis racket recently (they’ve been dying for me to take them to the courts at our local park). They’re not at an age where they could really take care of them, but I don’t mind if they get a little banged up–I can easily buy a new (used) one!

So, if you’re not already buying these five things secondhand–get to it! You’ll be doing your wallet (and the landfill) a huge favor–and having fun at the same time!

What’s on your thrift store shopping list?

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