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How To Shop Your Local Thrift Stores | 10 Things I Learned from Thrifting

Not too long ago, I mentioned my obsession with thrifting and how it’s replaced my weekly (*ahem* ~ daily) trips to Home Goods. There are a few reasons to why I’ve grown increasingly more interested in visiting my local thrift stores over Home Goods:

+ If you go to the right places and know what’s a bargain and how to bargain, you’ll definitely be saving money vs. buying retail

+ You create a home that’s original while bringing your personal style to fruition

+ It allows you to be more creative with designing your home

+ It’s exciting

I’m always posting my thrift store finds via Instagram stories, and with every new find, I receive more questions about thrifting – hence the birth of this post.

Today I’m sharing everything I’ve learned from my own thrifting experience and hopefully, will help you the next time you go thrifting!

1 // Thrift stores are not like any other store

Some thrift/antique stores don’t cycle through items quickly, so going back to the smaller mom-pop places often probably isn’t a great idea.

I realized this as an amateur thrifter after visiting the same antique store for 3 weeks in a row and noticed there was nothing new each time I went back. But I would say 99% of these stores have an overwhelming amount of items scattered about, so sometimes when I find a place I love, I’ll go back again soon after just to make sure I didn’t miss anything.

However, I visit my local ReStore on a weekly basis because the place is huge and they’re alwayssss getting new things.

It takes some time and frequenting the places in your area to know how often they’re replenishing items. And I usually tell myself “if I’m meant to have it, then my eye will see it.” I’m confident that if Aristotle was a thrifter, he probably would have said the same.

2 // Wealthier areas will have nicer (& pricier) items


The wealthier the town, the higher the likelihood you’ll find nicer, yet pricier items in local thrift stores. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t found treasures in not-so-wealthy area thrift stores.

It’s all about timing, digging and luck.

Also, many times I’ve walked into thrift stores in wealthier neighborhoods and noticed the same items that I’ve seen in the lower end/less wealthy thrift stores, but the cost was higher in the wealthier area. Thrifting takes practice and I’m glad I went to the lower end thrift stores before visiting the higher end thrift stores so I could spot similar items with the massive price difference.

3 // If you love it, grab it (or someone else will)…


A thrift store that I frequent has a sign at the register:

“If you don’t buy it now, someone else will.”

Talk about triggering HOARDERS.

But, they’re not wrong. If you see something you love and I mean LOVE, don’t walk away from it. If you’re unsure about it, take it with you and walk around the store with it to make sure you truly love it (but chances are if you’re unsure about it, you may not be head-over-heels in love).

I once witnessed two women arguing over a candleholder. According to woman #1, she “turned her back for just a minute” and woman #2 came and swooped up the candleholder that woman #1 was just looking at.

Just like watching a toddler – all it takes is a minute to turn your back and they’re 29 feet away in aisle 3 wondering who the unfamiliar lady next to them is.

4 // ….BUT, be wary of impulse buys


This book was staring me right in the eye during my weekly ReStore visit. 

I’m sort of contradicting myself based on the last tip but, you really need to know yourself and be cautious of what could be an impulse or buying something you truly love.

I’ve never been to a thrift store that accepts returns, so, unfortunately, if you change your mind you can’t just stroll back in with the product and the receipt.

But you coulddd try and sell it on FB Marketplace.

5// Keep a running list of things you’re looking for…

I have a running list on my phone of things I’m looking for. It includes vases, planters, decorative objects to match my color scheme, ornate frames, chinoiserie…the list goes on and on and I’m continuously adding (and removing) items from it. I don’t only buy things on my list (obviously), but it helps to have when I come across something and I realize “it’s on the list!”

6// …Because you’ll never find what you’re actually looking for


What I mean by this is…if I go into a thrift store LOOKING for a brass planter with certain ornate features…99% of the time I won’t find it. But if I go into the store not looking for a brass planter in a certain style…

You catch my thrift drift?

7// Inspect something carefully before making any purchases


A few times I’ve been in a rush to grab what I love, quickly pay and move on to the next store. And some of those times I’ve gotten in my car and realized the item has a chipped corner or a cracked surface. And again…can’t return it 🙂

8 // Thrifting takes practice


I mentioned above that I go to my local ReStore at least once a week, but I only visit local antique shops maybe once every few weeks. The first few times you go you’ll feel a bit overwhelmed, which is normal, but in time you’ll start to get used to and recognize what’s worth your time and what is not worth your time.

It will take time to understand what is valuable and what is not – but don’t buy something just because it’s valuable and not actually your style.

Brass is a good example. If I’m looking for something that’s brass (which is most of the time), I know it’s good quality when it’s super heavy. Also, if it’s handmade, in good condition, and older than 50 years…chances are it’s valuable and worth a good amount of money.

In time, you’ll also be quicker at thrifting. I walk into my local ReStore every Tuesday after work, quickly take my routine laps to see if I spot anything of interest or value and I’m out in ~15 minutes. Unless I spot something I like and I kill time there while I think about whether or not I should buy it.

9 // Read the reviews before visiting


A few times I happened to be in an area of NJ that I wasn’t familiar with (probably picking up something from FB marketplace) and I happened to search Antique stores in the area (via Waze) without reading reviews. Anyway, when I arrived at some of these places, it was usually a bust. But I wasn’t mad that I wasted my time because I knew I would never go back. Ha!

10 // Always ask if there’s a way to save $$$

Depending on the store, they may offer certain discounts on certain days or for certain items. You never know if you can save money if you don’t ask, so don’t be afraid to ask how you can save money during checkout!

Curious to see how I’ve styled some of my favorite thrift store finds in my home? Check out last week’s living room reveal!


What are some things you’ve learned from thrifting?! 


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How to thrift | I've grown increasingly more interested in visiting my local thrift stores over Home Goods - here are 10 things I learned from thrifting.



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