Effective thrift store shopping takes time, but you can find beautiful items for your home and wardrobe without breaking the bank. When you shop at charity thrift stores, you can support worthy organizations that help your less fortunate neighbors. Its a win all around.
What really is a second-hand store?
You need to understand the differences between the different types of stores that sell second-hand goods. For example, you may not find many high-end brands at standard thrift stores, but consignment stores often sell designer clothes in good condition.
If you live in a medium to a large city, you probably have access to several different types of second-hand shops. You may find some overlap in the merchandise between different categories of shops. If you are looking for a specific item, you can visit the type of shop most likely to carry those goods to save time and stress and increase your chances of success.
Similar to nonprofit thrift stores, resale shops usually are part of a charitable organization or hospital. Resale shops are smaller than their thrift store counterparts and tend to have better-quality items than what you can find at a thrift store.
Resale shops are often particular on what items they sell. They need to be cleaned before donating. You pay a bit more than when you shop at a thrift store, but the difference is negligible, especially considering the quality of items sold in resale shops.
Pawnshops often sell higher-end items, such as fine jewelry, electronics, and musical instruments, though some sell all types of goods. Don’t expect to find huge discounts at pawn shops.
A consignment store acts as a middleman between item owners and buyers. People bring in items to the store, and if an item sells, the consignment store splits the proceeds with its owner or buys them outright from the seller.
Consignment stores sell higher quality merchandise than what you’ll find in thrift stores. If you like designer clothes or high-end home items, check consignment stores first.
Antique or Vintage Shops
These shops generally deal with older housewares and decor, and some sell retro clothing. Some antique or vintage shops specialize in items from a particular time period, while others offer a more general selection of older items. Some antique shops deal in genuinely rare items that can be costly; other shops offer great deals on unique items.
Things to remember
- Check the store policy on returns. Many have a final sale only policy.
- Take advantage of sales. Some have weekly or monthly sales or even end of season sales.
- Inspect items carefully. If they are damaged because of the return policy you may be stuck with them.
- Consider alterations, if its something you love and get a real bargain, it may be worth it.
You can save a lot of money when you shop at second-hand stores. I love the challenge of finding that deal.