Top 10 Thrift Store Shopping Tips

Learn how to make the most of every shopping trip to your Ohio thrift store so you can score the best finds at the lowest prices.

Hi there! It’s me, Debbie, your thrifting mentor. I can’t wait to share with you my best tips for making the most out of your trip to the thrift store. I’ll help you save time and money while being a smart thrifty shopper.

  1. Smart thrifters go in with a game plan. Have a list in mind of what you’re looking for. This will help you stay on budget and find what you actually need.
  2. Dig for the diamond in the rough in the T-shirt aisles. There’s an abundance of T-shirts in the thrift store. You can find a vintage band shirt, brand name shirts, or even shirts from your local high school chess team. How ironic.
  3. The first thing you should do with your new thrift finds is pop them in the washer. I like to wash things in hot water before I wear them. Just be sure not to shrink your new digs!
  4. January and April are the best times to shop. Many people clean out their closets around the start of the New Year and do a spring cleaning purge. Thrift stores are also gold mines for Halloween costumes and Ugly Christmas sweaters.
  5. Think creatively when looking at items like furniture. That table can be re-painted, the dresser could be a TV stand, drawers can be removed, and that picture frame could be a necklace holder. The best thrifting finds might need a little bit of TLC and upcycling.
  6. Dress for thrift success. I like to wear practical and comfortable clothes, like neutral leggings, a tank top and tennis shoes when shopping. This way, I can easily slip clothes on to see if they fit.
  7. Know the sales and discount tag colors. Volunteers of America of Greater Ohio marks down all items 50% on the last Tuesday of the month. On Mondays, all Veterans and Golden Buckeye card holders save 10% on all items except for sale tags. We also have sales every day, depending on the item’s tag color. Check the sign at the front of the store to see which tags are on sale that week.
  8. Think outside the box. Ponder how you’d use the item. Try to picture the furniture in your home or on your patio. For clothes, what do you already have in your closet that would match this item? Do you have something already like it? Think of how many times you’d use the item.
  9. Frequent your thrift store. The more you visit, the more likely you will be able to find something you love. Over 3,000 new items are added every day and nothing stays on the sales floor longer than 8 weeks. I try and stop by my local thrift store once a week to see what’s new.
  10. Thrifting is a give and take. Try to donate an item when you buy an item. This keeps your house from accumulating too much clutter and helps someone else find a super cute jacket.

Call us for a free home pick-up of items you’d like to donate at 800-873-4505. Or fill out this pick-up request form. Questions? Email us at

When you purchase clothing or furniture from any of our thrift stores, you’re contributing to programs across Ohio that help people reach their full potential. Find a thrift store in your city.