Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Thrift Store Shopping

I know many out there are quite leary of thrift stores.  They think they're dirty, smelly, and contaminated.  I know many people who choose not to walk into one or even consider second hand things.  I think it's time people change their minds.

I love thrift stores, but it can be a lot of work to find an amazing item.  Sometimes it will take multiple trips, but when you find it, it's so worth it.

My tips when considering thrift store shopping:

1.  Make sure you have cash for smaller thrift stores that do not accept debit or credit.
2.  Know which day is the best to attend.  In the town where I live, our MCC puts out all new stuff on Monday, so when the shop opens at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, you know you're going to find the best items of that week.
3.  Go to the area that interests you most.  If your passion is jewellery, head there.  Just because it's been worn, doesn't mean it can't be used again.  (now some of you are probably saying what if it has cooties???  Well, disinfect it.  Almost anything can be disinfected using vinegar, bleech, hot water, or even putting it in the freezer.) 
4.  Look for quality-thrift shopping isn't about how much you can buy for $10.  You're looking for quality.  Look for names and labels that you're familiar with and  look for the quality of workmanship.
5.  Make sure you have a place for it in your home when you buy it.  The item should bring joy and function into your life, not add to the clutter of your home.
6.  Find out what the organization does with their proceeds.  Our MCC and all MCCs across Canada are tied into one organization that are not only some of the first disaster relief officials to areas all over the world, but also are involved in many challenging projects with 3rd world countries.  The money you spend there, helps others.  So, it may be worth paying that extra few dollars for the antique hutch because you know the money is spent wisely.
7.  Look for silent auctions at your thrift stores.  You can get some amazing antique collectibles through them for a steal!

Our thrift store here in Portage la Prairie. 


  1. I always like to go to the ones in Winnipeg, and now there is a Value Village right in the Walmart Plaza by the perimetre!
    Though, I find VV tends to carry a large assortment, but it's mostly last season's stuff from walmart, zellers and sears. I buy a lot of cassettes (my car has a cassette player, and i drive a lot, and I like 80s music) the cassettes at VV are 99 cents, which I thought was a good deal, since buying blank CDs and burning them and downloading songs and all that can be rather time consuming. Then I visited the Salvation Army and found theirs are only 50 cents.
    Though i do love the harlequin romances that are 2 for a dollar :$
    I also have had much better luck at the VV in Brandon than I do at the VVs in Winnipeg. I got a brand new MLB licenced Boston Red Sox long-sleeve T-shirt NWT (retail would be around 45$) for 4$ yet, that same trip I also was mad because there was a purse, NWT, and the VV price ticket was higher than the "clearance" lowest marked price from the store it was purchased.
    I find going to Winners very similar ... hit and miss, and often requires frequent trips to multiple locations (if looking for something specific)

  2. I completely agree! I haven't hit the new Value Village yet, but I've heard good things, so I'm going to head there tomorrow...what I'd like to do when I'm up and running with a job once again is spend a whole day in Winnipeg just hitting thrift stores, consignment shops, and antique shops...I think it would be a lot of fun!