Disclaimer: I collaborated with America’s Thrift Stores for this post, however all opinions expressed in this post are my own.
A few weeks ago, I was invited to visit America’s Thrift Store in Gardendale, AL. With a $50 budget, I set out to see what treasures I could find. Now, this was not my first time at the rodeo, so I had an idea of what types of items I was interested in and what things I needed to keep in mind while shopping. Here are a few of my tips for thrift store shopping:
- Use signage to guide your shopping: Thrift stores can be overwhelming. Rows and rows of racks packed with clothes often characterize these stores. Thankfully, they are often marked with signs (e.g. Tops, Skirts, Dresses, etc), to help guide your shopping. If you have an idea what you’re shopping for – perhaps you are looking for an interview suit or a dress for a wedding – then use the signs to help guide your visit that day. In my case, I was open to everything and anything, so I shopped ALL the areas of the store. 😀
- Know the store’s discount policy and pricing for the day: Thrift stores often have discounts they offer on certain days of the week. Thursdays may be the day they discount all blue tagged clothing an additional 50% off, for example. So, before you begin shopping, know what color tags have additional discounts. This is especially helpful if you are shopping on a budget.
- Inspect all clothing carefully: I cannot emphasize this enough. I once found a pair of designer jeans that were priced at $5. I was super excited until I got home and realized they had a huge gash on the inner thigh area and were completely unusable. Sigh. So, carefully inspect the clothing for holes, stains, tears, the works. It will be worth the extra two or so minutes to make sure you’re actually getting a good deal.
- Wear fitted clothing: This may sound silly, but you some thrift stores don’t have fitting rooms. They do, however, often have full-length mirrors. So, if and when they are void of fitting rooms and you want to make sure a garment is going to fit, you’ll want to be able to try the garment on over the clothing you are wearing. This may mean wearing a fitted top and leggings if at all possible. This will allow you to try on dresses, skirts, tops, and jackets. Pants get a little trickier. For pants, it helps to wear flowy skirts so you can try them on underneath the skirt. Which begs me to tell you about the next tip…
- Plan head: If you know you will be shopping for pants, plan to wear a skirt so you can try those pants on even if you don’t have a fitting room to use. Also know what price you are willing to pay for said pants. Have you already checked clearance racks at your favorite retailers? A brand new pair might be priced similarly or sometimes less than what you might find at a thrift store…and they pants will be brand new. So, do your research in advance of your visit!
So, with these tips in mind, I got to work. I found A TON of stuff. I’ve been meaning to post all my finds, but time has gotten away from me, so I’ve only managed to photograph two of the looks thus far. That said, they are probably the best two looks I found at America’s Thrift! The first look is a suit from The Limited. The suit was originally $5, but was marked down an additional 50% off that day! Score! I wore it to an important meeting last month and loved how it fit, looked, and most of all, how versatile it was. I wore the suit on the first day, then wore the jacket with a different outfit the second day. A $2.50 suit and two outfits!
I also found a brand new (or maybe used once) Ellie Tahari dress which I wore to a wedding this past weekend. I gasped when I saw how much it was…$5 buckaroos!! I could not believe it. I’m telling ya, treasures await your discovery at these stores!!
So, if you’re looking for a good thrift store experience, be sure to visit any of their seven locations in the southeast! Also, if you happen to have items to donate, you will get an additional 10% off your purchase. So, be sure to keep them in mind next time you are in the thrifting mood, OR on a super limited budget for clothes-shopping! Finally, stay tuned for the second round of outfits from this shopping trip. I’ve got 5 other outfits to show you from this single trip and my $50 budget!
Until next time! Stay ‘Chic’!
Founded in 1984, America’s Thrift Stores is a for-profit company that supports Christian ministries. A significant portion of our net profits are donated to local, regional, national and international family-centered ministries and charities. This funding enables these organizations to carry out their charitable works. America’s Thrift Stores pays federal, state and local taxes and receives no government funding. We provide over 1,000 jobs, as well as pay all of our operating expenses such as rent and utilities. This allows us to support the local community while providing quality products that everyone can afford.
America’s Thrift Stores relies on the generous donations of the local community, to collect used clothing and household items. We resell those items back to the community and share our profits with local Christian-based charities, providing vital funding to help serve needy families and individuals in your community. Your donations empower these ministries in their ongoing efforts to strengthen families, improve lives affected by substance abuse, and teach others about the love of Christ.
America’s Thrift Stores has 18 stores in the following states. Find a location near you.
What You Will Find In Our Stores:
- Name Brands & Great Values
- Gently Used Clothing and Household Items
- “Thrifty Treasures” (Unique finds and one-of-a-kinds)
- Friendly and Helpful staff
- Quick, courteous, and reliable donation pick-ups and drop-offs
- Over 8,000 items added daily in every store