How to Thrift Shop to Save Money

Volunteers of America Mansfield Thrift Store

There’s no doubt that there’s an art to thrift shopping. There’s a sense of adventure walking into one of our thrift stores and not knowing what you’re going to go home with. Volunteers of America thrift stores aren’t just a place to save money (although you’ll certainly do that), they hold a little sliver of history in each item. 

Whether you’re looking for a unique piece to complement your closet, children’s books, home decor or any number of treasures, you’re sure to find something original. Not only do our 10 thrift stores throughout Ohio serve a critical role in upholding our mission to serve communities and families in need, but they’re also a pretty good time.
If you’re new to thrifting or just need a fresh take, look at these five tips from Volunteers of America before you hit the store.

1. Find inspiration.

The incredible thing about our thrift stores is that they aren’t like department stores. Each piece is one-of-a-kind and comes with its own story. The trick is to get a sense of what you’re looking for before you ever set foot inside the store. Read style and decorating blogs, start a Pinterest board or find a friend whose style or decor you admire. Having this vision will not only give you a clear picture of what you’re searching for, but also open your eyes to diamonds in the rough that you might have otherwise passed up. This inspiration will also help you formulate a battle plan before you get in the front door– saving you time and giving you momentum.

2. Start with plenty of time.

Thrifting should be an enjoyable adventure, not a stressful rush. If you’re new to thrifting, be sure to give yourself plenty of time to scour the racks and shelves without having to dart off to the grocery. You never know what you might miss. Start with your favorite section, like Better Coats or Baskets, and work your way through. 

3. Mix old with new.

Don’t be afraid to choose pieces that might seem outdated. Mixing older pieces with timeless classics, like high waisted jeans with a structured blouse or a mod chair with your new end table, creates a personal style. Our thrift stores contain items from nearly every era. It’s just up to you to find what’s right for your taste. This is where finding your inspiration truly comes into play. By having a vision in your mind, it will be easier to combine pieces you never would have imagined.

4. Check the sales.

While our prices are already well-below department store prices, we also offer daily sales labeled by color. Make sure to check which color tags are on sale when you first enter the store. In addition, everything in the store is half-off on the last Tuesday of every month.

5. Stop in frequently.

Once you find your favorite sections and get a feel for the stores, you’ll be able to get in and out in half the time. This only comes from practice, so make sure you stop in frequently. With our 10 locations in Ohio, it’s easy to find a thrift store near your home or office.

How you can help

Volunteers of America accepts donations at any of our stores or drop boxes around Ohio. You can know that when you donate or purchase an item at one of our thrift stores, you are helping people learn job skills, find affordable housing, learn to read, overcome addiction and regain independence.

Donating to a Volunteers of America thrift store is so easy. Fill out our online donation pick-up request form to schedule a time and place for your donations to be picked up. You can also call us at 1-800-873-4505 to schedule your thrift store pick up today. Our drivers will come right to your home, haul your stuff to the thrift shop, all for free!

You can donate your unwanted items to Volunteers of America and rest easy knowing your donations are tax deductible and you are supporting your community.