8 Thrift Store Hacks From a Professional Thrifter

By: Capri

Hi Everyone!

My name is Capri and I am the maker and owner over at Craftinista Girl where I firmly believe that everything has a repurpose. My business is built on the idea of using and repurposing every single salvageable scrap to make something new and useful. The primary material that I work with when creating is t-shirts. I take them and turn them into a number of products including baby bodysuits, infinity scarves, pillow covers and much more. A single t-shirt can provide materials I need for up to six different projects.


Lucky for me, Volunteers of America thrift stores is right in my backyard and I’m always able to find a variety of awesome shirts at great prices to work with. My favorite day to thrift is the last Tuesday of every month when they offer 50% off the ENTIRE store. I also almost always can be caught there shopping with my thrift-partner-in-crime, Kelly, from Twinzzshop! Today I wanted to share some of our best thrifting tips to make sure that you have as much fun shopping Volunteers of America as we do!


If you’re a thrift-a-holic like me, a list is necessary or you’ll walk out with the whole store! Having a list helps me keep focused when there’s so much to see. I’m usually looking for specific team shirts or colors for my projects so keeping a running list of what I need at home and taking it with me ensures that I get everything I’m looking for in one trip.


Every time I thrift I make sure to bring recyclable bags, hand sanitizer, a stain remover pen (to quickly get an idea if stains on an item might easily be removed), and my list! If you’re visiting Volunteers of America for the last Tuesday sale, I’d also recommend taking some sort of portable rolling cart because sometimes getting a shopping cart that day is impossible.


Kelly and I love thrifting together because as I previously mentioned, there’s so much to see! It’s almost inevitable that you’ll miss something. We share with each other what items we are looking for that day and keep an eye out for those things for one another as we are perusing the racks.

Watch Kelly and Capri's Thrifting Tip


Buy with confidence! Once purchased, items CAN NOT be returned to Volunteers of America, so you’ll want to make sure you’re picking up items that you 100% know will work. One of Kelly’s best tricks is to trace the outline of her kiddos shoes onto a piece of paper prior to coming to the thrift store. She will cut that out, slip it in her purse, and pull it out to measure when she comes across a pair of shoes that she thinks will be perfect for one of the kids. From time to time, I might also bring one of the sewing patterns I’m using with me to make sure that the graphic on a shirt will fit into the allotted area.


Don’t be afraid to buy in bulk. Volunteers of America has the best prices on many of their items and if you know you’ll use something eventually, take the risk, buy the thing - because chances are it will be gone when you go back for it! Some of my favorite things to stock up on when I find it is yarn, fabric yardage, and picture frames.


Make sure that each item you select has a tag attached or wrote onto it. If an item at Volunteers of America is missing the price you will not be able to buy it that day, unfortunately. You will have to wait for the item to go through the production process and be priced. Production is usually during the week so if you shop during normal business hours Monday through Friday, you might be able to get an item priced for you within a few hours, instead of having to wait over the weekend.

If an item isn't priced, you can't buy it


Speed up the checkout process by removing hangers from all items while you’re waiting in line.


Pop those tags and bask in all of the goodness you found! I also immediately wash all of the clothing items that I bought that day so I can start making with them as soon as possible.


The next last Tuesday sale is December 26th and I would love to see what treasures you find there or anytime you thrift with Volunteers of America. Drop me a line at hello@craftinistagirl.com, and include some pictures too :-)

Thrift on my friends!