You make hope possible.

The Ultimate Thrift Guide

Thrift shopping isn’t your average shopping experience; it’s a treasure hunt! When you go to a thrift store, you’re sure to find something unique that speaks to you… but it isn’t going to jump out of the aisles. Finding that perfect piece might take a little time and effort. Here are some pro-tips to help you maximize and navigate your experience:

1. Make Room in Your Closet

Coming home from the thrift store with an excellent haul is the best – but not if you don’t have anywhere to put it! If your closet, garage and basement are overflowing, chances are, there are a lot of items not getting any use. Why not begin your trip to Volunteers of America with a donation? Your gently used items could be someone else’s treasure; but the real prize is the difference that your donation makes. The money made from your donations will go to one of the many services we provide, like our Permanent Supportive Housing program that houses homeless families and helps them find employment.

2. Make a List

Finding something you love while thrifting is almost a guarantee, but making a wish list is always a good idea. On the hunt for an on-trend item? Seeking something vintage? Or are you trying to piece together a collection of wardrobe essentials? (Like this? Or this?) Having a list makes things a whole lot easier. if you’ve got a home makeover in mind, bring some pictures for inspiration, as well. These will give you a better sense of direction upon your arrival.

3. Get Your Shopping Ducks in A Row

Do you like to scour the entire store when you go thrift shopping? Make it easy on yourself and go in an order that’s convenient. For instance, if your main purpose is clothing, head to housewares first. May sound counterintuitive, but really, it will save you some trouble. If you find an amazing lamp or set of glasses, you can set them at the bottom of your cart and pile your clothing finds on top. That way, you won’t have to move them when you head to the fitting room. And if you’re creating an outfit, build it from the bottom. Start with a solid base, like a skirt and top, and then move on to shoes and accessories to finish the look. Going in the right order is a great way to save you valuable time.

4. Make Yourself a Playlist

Sometimes, when you’re on a mission it’s a great idea to have your own personal soundtrack playing. Whether you’re rocking out to some seriously motivational tunes (Eye of the Tiger, anyone?) or you want something that’s going to keep things mellow, a playlist is a great way to keep you in the zone. It can even establish a rhythm to keep you going, so bring some tunes and settle into your treasure hunt.

5. Go Often

Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. If hitting up the whole thrift store is overwhelming, come back tomorrow, or plan yourself a weekly outing. Don’t forget, new donations are coming in every day, which means if you didn’t find your dream item this time, it could be waiting for you the next.

These hints will have you shopping smart, and for a great cause. Make a difference in your closet and your community by thrift shopping with Volunteers of America of Greater Ohio. Good luck and happy hunting!