Thrift Shopping: Save Money by Finding Recycled Treasures

~posted by Siri A.

Shopping can be tough when you’re living on a budget – but thrift shopping is a great way to get what you need at a discount. Not only is it affordable, but you can also find some unique, quality items that you wouldn’t find in a regular store.

Here are some great items to look for when you’re thrift shopping:

T-Shirts, Pants, Dresses & Accessories: Thrift stores often have a bunch of low-priced, comfy T-shirts, pants (hem them if the fit is wrong or cut them to make shorts for the summer!), dresses, and accessories, such as jewelry and belts.

Kitchenware: Find sets of china, platters, pots and pans, mugs and glasses, tea kettles, etc.

Furniture: Keep in mind that you can always repurpose things, so look at items with a creative eye!

Home décor: Find affordable wall art, lamps and vases and more.

Books and Records: There are often tons of books and records to choose from! These make great gifts for cheap.

Odds and ends: Need buttons, vintage postcards, quirky sunglasses, etc.? Chances are your local thrift store has some great, unique finds.

And keep these tips in mind for your best thrift store shopping experience:

  1. Have a goal in mind so that you don’t get overwhelmed.
  2. Set a budget for yourself beforehand.
  3. Try visiting the thrift store when the seasons change, since people may be cleaning their homes and purging a lot of their items during those times.
  4. Watch out for sales for even cheaper prices.
  5. Consider thrift shopping online, such as Good Will at
  6. When you look at an item, think about the possibilities! If it isn’t quite what you wanted, what if you paint it, hem it or add new fabric?

The library has some great books about thrift, vintage and flea market shopping to get you started. Check out this list to get inspired! My favorite way to find thrift stores is to visit Just plug in your zip code and find thrift stores near you!

And don’t forget that beyond thrift shopping, there are also places to get FREE items in Seattle. Support the “freecycling” movement by checking out FreeCycleSeattle, Seattle Craigslist: Free Stuff, and Trash Nothing.

Happy thrifting!

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