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Thrift Store Bargains

Thrift Store Bargains


I love to recycle. In fact, I recycle everything I can—cardboard boxes, newspapers, bottles, plastics, and cans. I guess it’s a good thing that the recycle container from my city holds sixty-five gallons of my empties. But I want to talk about a different kind of recycling—thrift store shopping.

To me this is the ultimate way to recycle. We spend all this time rinsing out cans and containers and hauling the recycle can to the curb each week, but there are other ways to repurpose and reuse.

Here are a few of my favorite things to shop for at thrift stores:


What a surprise right? But it’s amazing what you can find on these shelves. I have discovered many a new author as well as some old favorites. Most of the hardback classics on my keeper shelf came from the thrift store. As well as my vintage Harlequins. But for those books that I’ve read that don’t make it to my keeper shelf (I live in a small house, so I have to cull somewhere), I donate them to the women’s shelter and sometimes I even donate them back to the store where I bought them.


I love Pyrex—bowls, cake pans, and sauce pots. But my hands aren’t as strong as they used to be and sometimes I drop it. I hate to pay full price for something I can get for a fraction of that at the thrift store. I’ve found come great Pyrex bowls with lids, lids for my existing pans, and I also replaced my  9×9 brownie  pan that I broke last year when I set it on the stove burner. I clean them up with a steel wool pad and they are like new.

Glasses and plates

My dishes are a bit eclectic. I’ve been building my set for a couple of years now, that sort of shabby chic mix of plates and bowls that somehow seems cool. I love my plates. Though none of them were bought in a set.

My glasses are the same way.  I bought some beautiful stem wear in blue and green there with juice glasses that ‘match’.


My sister loves vintage Tupperware and I’m always on the lookout for it. It’s fun to collect it for her and send it to her. It doesn’t cost much to buy or sent. She cleans it up with bleach and everyone is happy.


I’m from the generation of faded and worn jeans. But why go buy full price (stiff) jeans when you can get a pair all broken in? Now, my confession is, I don’t wear jeans myself. And I don’t have a daughter (this may be different for girls). But my son loves his thrift store jeans. Since he wears a uniform to school, he outgrows his jeans before he can get the wear out of them. This is the perfect solution for us.


I love thrift store furniture. Not soft furniture, though the first couch my husband and I owned was from a fire sale. It was free and sat on concrete blocks because it had no legs. But we cleaned it with a steam cleaner (twice if my memory serves me) and it ended up being a great couch. But wooden furniture can be a great find at thrift stores. Check for things like the inside of drawers to see if it’s real wood or laminate. Wooden furniture can be refinished, repainted, or left as is for a shabby  chic/cottage look that I love.

Things to keep in mind when you are thrift store shopping.

Know the store’s return policy

Most stores won’t let you bring merchandise back for a refund, but some do allow for store credit. Some have a strict no returns or exchanges policy, so be sure to find out before you buy.

Check over the merchandise thoroughly.

Look for stains and unwanted wear. Some stains will come out with a spot treatment and a good washing, sometimes not. Is it a chance worth taking?

Check clothes for wear and tear at the seams. Check glassware for chips and scratches. Check furniture for scratches in wood and tears in fabric.

Make sure you are getting a value for your money.

Used furniture can be a great bargain, but make sure you’re not playing too much. Ask a sales clerk if you can put something on hold for an hour and do some research. Maybe drive to another store or a consignment shop to price compare.

One last thrift store piece of advice: If you are in transition, a thrift store can be a great place to see you through. Maternity clothes can be a great purchase from a thrift store. You can save a bunch of money and the wear is usually less since they aren’t worn for more than a few months. If you are on a new eating plan and losing weight, you might need some new clothes, even though you aren’t at your goal yet. A thrift store can give you some “new” things that fit while you are still on your weight loss journey.

Do you have any favorite thrift store, consignment shop, or garage sale items? I know I do! I’d love to hear about yours. Feel free to leave a message and tell us about your favorite bargains.

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Amy Lillard (52 Posts)

Amy Lillard is an award winning author who loves reading romance novels from Amish to contemporary. These two genres meet in her debut novel, Saving Gideon. Born and bred in Mississippi, she now lives in Oklahoma with her husband and their son. She loves to hear from readers and can be reached at amylillard@hotmail.com.


  1. Judy Smith says:

    We live in the small town of Stanley, NC and donate nearly everything we are ‘moving on’ to S.E.R.F. – Stanley Emergency Relief Fund. Funds raised from everything sold there are used to help Stanley residents in need to buy food, pay rent, utility and medical bills. Hubby & I like the fact that local residents are helped through our contributions and about half of our wardrobes were purchased there or in other thrift stores.

  2. I enjoy thrift stores and through the years I have bought a lot from them. At the Salvation Army thrift store books are 10 percent of the original cost. They have a wide selection available. Also like to shop for glass wear. You now , to replace the ones you broke at home. In St.Vincent DePauls I was lucky enough to find a Crystal whine glass in the pattern that my niece had ,for 75 cents!
    My daughter and I sometimes go to a huge thrift store in Dayton Ohio. You can find everything there. I like to shop for the clothes and many of them are new and never been worn. What I pay for these clothes is unbelievable. They have Alfred Dunner , Liz Clayborn and you name it. Vera Bradley in the purses or Donna Sharp.
    These stores are clean and well staffed.

    • It;s fun, isn’t it Shirley? And it makes me feel like I’m doing something good. Being a reconsumer. 🙂 Hey, can we coin that? LOL

  3. Lori Ewart says:

    I live in the small town of Ozark, MO., not far from Branson and Springfield. Our Goodwill is unique in that it gets a lot of new items from Target. I get great new items for my Operation Christmas Child boxes for a mere fraction of the cost. We also have a number of other thrift stores. My favorites have weekly bag sales, where I can stuff a paper grocery bag full of items for between $5-$7. I usually can squeeze in at least 30 items, if I roll them up. Many people have benefited from my thrift store treasure hunts.

    • That sounds like a great store, Lori! I’ll have to keep that in mind if I ever make it to Branson. Last year I bought a lot of my family’s Christmas presents at the thrift store. Especially with glass and other household goods, no one can tell the difference. I have a stray cat that has come up. (Not entirely true, he belongs to my neighbor, but has decided that he likes my house better.) He’s an outdoor cat. My next trip to the thrift store is to find him some shelter for the winter. 🙂

  4. I shop often at Goodwill stores around my area. I just can not see paying full price for anything. Any clothing I buy usually goes back to them as a donation when I get tired of them or outgrow them! We also have purchased books, pictures, silverware, knick Knacks and whatever! Love those stores!

    Judy B

  5. I love going and finding treasures. I got 2 paintings from artist at 3 dollars a piece both are signed and notarized . One is Thomas Kincaid the other is Nancy Noel, Both perfect shape. I know Nancy Noel is worth over 400 and Thomas Kincaid probably is also. I took get books. Glass ware is another favorite. One mans junk is another man’s treasure.

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