I'll be honest: I completely blanked that today is Thrifting 101 Thursday. I was working on an epic post about my failed childhood gymnastics career and resulting post traumatic stress disorder, with a brilliant tie-in to bad athletic wear (stay tuned) when my husband reminded me it was Thursday. Subsequently ending my little trip down memory lane.
So far, my Thrifting 101 series has included tips for newbies and those dealing with the squick factor, advice regarding how to shop at a thrift store, and thrifting for the clothing snob. Today, we're going to focus on ways to find the best thrift stores. Yay!
The easiest, and most time-efficient, way of locating a thrift store is to use a search engine. Duh, right? Well, it turns out there are specific search engines solely devoted to thrifting. Two of my favorites are:
- The Thrift Shopper.com: Maintained by two thrift store junkies, this site boasts a nationwide database of thrift stores, and includes information on store hours, location and reviews. A community forum includes advice on remixing, collecting and pricing.
- The Thrifty Planet Resource Guide: A collective database of businesses in the United States that sell recycled or previously owned merchandise. Over 1300 resale stores (consignment, thrift, antique) are included on their site.
But let's say you want to avoid larger thrift stores. You yearn for a small, undiscovered treasure trove of unpicked-over items, a store staffed by attentive employees who will remember you from visit to visit. Maybe you're new to thrifting and intimidated by large stores. Fortunately, many well-organized thrift stores (and consignment stores in addition) are sponsored by churches, hospitals, military bases, and other agencies. I often rely on Yelp to track down these smaller, independently owned, or charity-driven thrift stores. Reviewers can be scathing, but it's a useful tool for narrowing down stores in your neighborhood. And their Google-driven maps really come in handy when planning an afternoon of thrifting.
There are a number of blogs that specialize in exploring and reviewing thrift stores. If you're based in Dallas (like I am!) A Ladies Guide to Thrifting in Big D has a helpful list of thrift stores somewhat off the beaten map. High Plains Thrifter explores thrifting in the Twin Cities. Things I Found At The Thrift Store is another Midwest-focused blog worth checking out, as is Alabama-based Thrift Store Confidential. These are just a handful of blogs focusing on thrifting...just conduct a simple internet search using your city as a starting point to find more.
By now you've likely found some intriguing places to check out. However, before jumping in the car, it's crucial to contact each location by phone and inquire about hours of operation. Information available over the internet may not be accurate. Smaller thrift stores are often not open during normal business hours, largely due to their volunteer-based staff. When you call, it's also helpful to ask about special sales days and when they get their shipments in. In addition, some of my favorite smaller shops offer email lists through which they let customers know about discounts and when special merchandise comes in. Get your name included - you never know what you could end up with as a result!
Do you have any advice for locating thrift stores? How have you found your favorites?