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!
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?
OMG I totally share your love of thrift!!
How exciting–it's always great to hear when others love thrifting as much as I do!
I too share this love. In fact, I took my husband for the first time last week to my favorite thrift store as he's losing weight and in between sizes. (No use spending lots on new pants that won't fit in another month.) After our trip I told him, "now you know all my secrets." I occasionally find some decent small furniture items, pictures frames (large and small), doll clothes, fabric/patterns, and craft supplies (especially at Goodwill). Give me a day off w/o child and what will I choose to do? Go to the thrift store! Love your posts.
What a great idea for a post!
Ann–that's exactly what I'd do with some kid-free time! And that's great that you took your husband thrifting–did he enjoy it?
Thanks Pamela! I just hopped over and visited your blog and I love it! Can't wait to see what you have o share next in your blog to book series!
This post is great! I am buying nothing new for the whole year and I've discovered thrift shops in a big way!! I'm sure thrift stores in the states are bigger and better than in Australia, but they're getting better! X
I have been saving up this post for when I had a quiet moment … I knew I would love it! The photos are AH-mazing!!! and I can certainly vouch for your adorable wardrobe. So happy to get a chance to spend time with you & by the way, your last commmenter Kymmie!! SO sweet – love her
I am learning so much from you, oh wise thrifter! Today we walked by a garage sale and with this post in mind I let the kids each pick a board game to bring home. Thanks for the tips!
Thanks Kymmie, what an awesome goal to have! I'd love to see some of your finds–thanks for showing so much love on Facebook and Instagram!
Stacy, you're so sweet! I'm glad you enjoyed it–you can stash away my blog posts anytime! I had a great time this weekend; y'all did an awesome job!
I'm glad you're getting so much out of it! And that's awesome that your boys ate reaping the benefits too! Hey, did you see that BlogHer Food is coming to Texas next year??
I am definitely loving the "things you can buy at the thrift store." I am always a little skeptical of some things, but you have helped narrow down the "good stuff." Thanks for such a great post and helpful info! Next post should be 5 things you SHOULDN'T buy at a thrift store.
Adore your blog! 🙂
Yes, yes and yes!
Having bought my son a new pair of Converse boots yesterday (gulp) I'm all for this …
A big thumbs-up for toys too!
I disagree on one of your items and for the sake of your children I hope from a medical stand point you will reconsider. It is documented that; Used shoes have been molded to their previous owner’s feet. Poorly fitting shoes can cause pain and health problems over time.
I stumbled over this post on Pinterest on my quest to begin thrifting. We only have one or two stores in our area and I'm hoping to score a lot of fun home items (I love spray paint!).
I do have to agree with the anon poster — while it is frugal, used shoes are frowned upon for any child that's walking, especially one just learning. Infant/crib shoes and booties are fine, but a shoe moulds to the wearers foot. Wearing used shoes causes strain on the feet, ankles, knees, and spine, leading to balance issues and other health problems.
I agree 100%! Since we've switched to shopping at thrift stores, we've finally been able to afford to get all of the things we've needed. It's so much fun too!
I'm always surprised at how many things still have the tags on them or boxed and never been used. Ive been able to find really nice things easily.
I'd also like to add to your list…purses and bags. I finally get to carry nice leather purses and designer handbags. I can even have several fbecause they are cheap enough to change out with the season. Before, I would buy one bag and carry it for a year or more until the strap would break.
LOVE this post! I'm a BIG time thrifter–hints my blog name! 🙂 I ALWAYS buy from Thrift stores i never buy from the mall or anywhere else! when you have a chance stop by blog! I think you will enjoy it–I just got back from Maui and recently thrifted every single outfit i wore over there at Goodwill– I'm working on posting all my outfits possibly on Monday 🙂
XOXOXO Andrea @Keepin It Thrifty
I'm a thrift store junkie also. I don't understand why people spend so much on their children's clothes when they are just going to out grow it in no time flat. We call going to the thrift stores antiquing. My Gramma started taking me when I was young and I've never stopped.
And here i had just decided i was going to stop shopping for all of my kids clothes @ the thrift store, and you talked me into it again. I totally agree with you, there are treasures to be found.
Great post! I linked through from pinterest!
I love the thrift store. I buy most of my clothes from there. We have a GoodWill that usually get Targets items. Most of the jeans I have bought still have the tags on them. And I buy them for Under $5. GoodWill also has a discount card you can buy and you get 10% off your purchase. I bought furniture, children's clothes, tons of books, and baseball stuff. LOVE THE THRIFT STORE!
As a physical therapists wife, I second this!
I love thrifty. The only place to do so around my neck of the woods is Goodwill. Our Goodwill has the same prices as Walmart.
Although I don't shop at Walmart for various reasons, it irks me that the prices at Goodwill aren't like a true thrift store. I go when they have a sale, but that's it.
I wrote all of that to say, "Jealous!" I love what you can find and wish I could also!
I always look for baking pans and serving platters that I can use to take to work or parties and not have to worry about getting them back…so much nicer than disposables.
With the increase incidence of befd bugs lately, does the idea of bed bugs coming home with these your finds ever concern you?
You've uncovered my master plan! 😉 Thanks, Julie, and I'm glad you enjoyed the post!
Thanks for pointing this out! This wasn't something I had considered before, and I'll definitely do some research to better educate myself on this subject–I appreciate your concern!
I hope you find some great home items–and thanks for your concern about the shoes–that wasn't something I had thought of it before–thanks for sharing the info!
That's awesome–I love the affordability of thrift stores, too! And there are a lot of things you can find still with the original tags. That's great that you've been able to start a nice bag collection!
Thanks so much Andrea–I'm happy to be in the company of so many thrifters! I can't wait to see your outfits!
Good–we could all use a little thrifting! Thanks for pinning my post!
Goodwill is definitely one of the higher priced thrift stores–but remember that it is going to a good cause and reduces your carbon footprint by buying used instead of new (thus creating demand for more new things). I would definitely keep an eye out for smaller mom and pop thrift stores–and there's always garage sales, too!
That's another great thing to look for–we even bought of full-set of party dishes so we don't have to buy disposables for birthdays and other celebratations. Thanks so much for stopping by Pam!
Yes, it does concern me–and it's a must to inspect items carefully before deciding to buy, although they're found in many other places than just thrift stores! Here's a great post on how to avoid bringing bed bugs home: http://sammydvintage.com/thrifting/bed-bugs-in-thrift-store-clothes/
I sooo agree! Was thrift store shopping today and got my grand daughter a Pucci Pup & Carrier, like new for $1.99! I bought a Tonka fire truck for my grandson, like new for $4.99 & they run approx $30 new and a pair of shoes for him also, leather loafer type with Velcro straps, like new for $1.99 and my older son got a really cool pair of Under Armour shoes, LIKE BRAND NEW for $8.99 – easily cost $50+ new. It definitely pays to thrift shop!
This is so spot on! I can't leave the thrift store without a book, usually a classic from my childhood that I'm just dying to read to my children! I've picked up the entire Little House series there. Also, I find great school and craft supplies there: colored pencils, binders, paper, etc.
It does pay to thrift shop–so excited about the finds you made!
Hi Josee! I love finding school and craft supplies there too–thanks for stopping by!
Hello, It's shame. in France (Paris),we have not a good thrift Store. I'm sorry my english isn't good
Sorry, i want said "what a pity !"
Wow, that is unfortunate, but maybe consumerism isn't as much of an issue in your culture? Americans tend to have quite an over abundance of stuff. Or maybe it's more antiques and flea markets? I would definitely love to travel there one day!
I LOVE thrifing. I can never pass up good sturdy old frames that I like to repaint, books for my kids and classroom, candles, mason jars, and baskets. I have found the BEST buys of very nice name brand, well-made clothes for under $3. It's such a treasure to find well-made, perfect fitting, expensive jeans for only $6.99! That's how the addiction starts!
I'm SO going to the thrift shop after I'm done at the gym this morning !
I love love LOVE thrifting !
Hi! I found this post through Pinterest. I'm an avid thrifter, so when I saw "Five Things You Should Always Buy," I had to make sure I was getting them! haha. Then I read and realized the five things basically covered every area. 🙂 So I totally agree! haha. For those concerned with shoes, if you find almost-new shoes, they haven't formed to the previous owners feet yet, so there likely isn't much risk there! As for bed bugs, just keep the stuff in the bag until you can get home and immediately through it in the dishwasher/laundry on a hot cycle. I've never had problems with that! 🙂 Thanks for the post; I'm always happy to find fellow thrifters!
I'm glad you stopped by and enjoyed the post Becca! And thanks for your helpful tips! I'm so glad to hear from so many other thrifting lovers!
Yes, we have more antiques and flea markets but it's expensive. There are the secondhand trades or ebay or "le bon coin", it is better.But it is not every day and it is outside as a market. It is direct with the seller and we can haggle.
Love it! I'm so glad you shared this link with me and I'll be sure to pass it along. Your collection of vintage books has me drooling. I LOVE old books too. The illustrations are to-die-for.
Thanks so much for stopping by Rachelle! I'm a big Tinkerlab fan! And the books pictured above are actually in my Etsy shop if you're interested–I need to make more shelf space for my habit!
I've never had an issue with buying like new shoes and my youngest kid has planter faciatis (I'm sure its spelled wrong but hopefully you know what I'm saying) that she's had before ever even wearing shoes so if they weren't good for her feet she'd complain for sure. She can't wear payless or Walmart shoes for this reason. I've even gotten near new with a fat stuff on the toes & glued cute stickers/fabric or my fav glitter over the scuff. I'm always surprised that parents donate them rather than fix them but if it saves me money I'll spend the 10 minutes glittering them so those new shoes are wearable again. I love your post 🙂
Didn't read all the replies but LOVE to look at the purses too.
I am sorry you didn't buy those sensational peacocks .. WOW!!!
I always start with jackets first and then go to sweaters. My girls love JCREW, Banana Republic & GAP … I save a fortune in that section!
Just found your blog through Pinterest … love it!
(thrift store blog)
Me too! I can't wait until my girls are old enough to go shopping with me (or maybe I shouldn't be too eager?). I started thrifting with my mom in high school and loved it–and it is a HUGE money saver! Thanks for stopping by!
right there with you, I go once a week 🙂 We have some serious gems in this area that I go often too. I find all the things you do and my kiddos clothing all name brands like gap, gymboree and h&m all like new conditions for 2$. Its crazy the amount of money you can save by buying thrift and living frugal. Im all for it. Great blog
Hi Amy! do you have a list of the thrift stores you usually buy from?
Hi Marce! I don’t have an official list, but I mostly visit Goodwill, Texas Thrift, and Community Thrift here in San Antonio!