First Time Thrift Shopping? Check Out These 5 Tips [Infographic]


Did you know about 16-18% of Americans shop at thrift stores every year? That number is comparable to about 21% of Americans who shop in major department stores. Thrift store shoppers can score unbelievable deals on clothing, home goods, books and jewelry. At Goodwill, we receive donations to our stores every day.

The savviest shoppers know that thrift shopping is different than shopping online or at a department store. Here are 5 tips to keep in mind the next time you’re heading to your local thrift store.

Goodwill Thrift Store Shopping Tips for First Time Thrifters

Shop on Sale Days

If you’re new to thrifting, you may not know that some thrift shops offer additional discounts to their already low prices. Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona offers daily 50% off select color tags, and weekly discounts of 25% off for Military, students and seniors. All you have to do is show your I.D. to receive your discount on the designated day. In the past, Goodwill has also offered 50% Sale Saturdays where every other Saturday everything in the store is half off. This is a great time to nab a deal on furniture and other larger items.

Check Goodwill’s website for upcoming sales and coupons for additional opportunities to save. It is important to note that not all stores participate in these discounts, so make sure to check with your local Goodwill before you make your purchase.

Think About Repurposing

Sometimes you have to look at things with the finished product in mind. Creativity and open-mindedness throughout the process is key to finding hidden gems at your local thrift store. An antique chair could be turned into a beautiful statement piece in your living room. A wooden desk that is sturdy but a little outdated can be transformed with a fresh coat of paint. A vanity mirror could be repurposed with a new frame and an inexpensive string of lights. The possibilities are endless when you find gently used items that provide the base for your next project.

Seasoned DIYers will tell you that it’s worth beginning a project with something rather than creating everything from scratch (which takes twice the amount of time and effort). Why not save yourself some time and listen to the pros? After all, Goodwill’s items are priced so cost-effectively that you would probably save money in the long run.

Walk The Whole Store

One of the biggest reasons people love to go thrift shopping is for the thrill of the hunt. You never know what you’re going to find that day you walk through those doors. An old stamp collection, a piece of artwork, a laptop or even an old record player could be waiting there just for you. There’s really no telling what could spark your imagination. We’ve heard lots of stories from our customers who weren’t expecting to pick up a new hobby but did because of their recent Goodwill trip. Sometimes it’s just starting a book collection. Other times it’s creating an entire at-home gym from their Goodwill finds.

Before your first time thrift shopping, it’s wise to go in with a plan. The trick is to walk each aisle of your local thrift store and make a mental note of anything that catches your eye, big or small. Once you’ve taken a lap around the store, go back and add the items you don’t want to live without to your cart. It’s as simple as that!

Sometimes you’ll even score a name brand item such as a Pottery Barn dresser for a fraction of the retail price. We’ve seen lots of name brand items come through our store in all conditions, oftentimes with the original tags still attached. That person’s donation just became your gain.

Here’s what to look for:

-Furniture
-Jewelry
-Electronics
-Collectible items
-Decor
-Gently used clothing
-Household goods

Visit Different Stores Often

One of the best things about thrift shopping is that you aren’t going to find the same exact inventory as the thrift store down the road. Thrift stores carry a variety of inventory and new items are stocked on the shelves every day. So even if you don’t find what you were looking for at the first thrift store you stop at, try a different location. Sometimes it takes a few days and a few different trips to find what it is you had in mind.

We suggest visiting thrift stores right as they open to get the prime picks of the day, then returning a day or two later to see what else got added overnight. With a little effort, you could find some of the best treasures before anyone else.

You Can Give Back By Donating

Thrift stores are notorious for having unique goods you won’t find anywhere else. From clothes to electronics, people in the community donate gently used items they no longer need to donation centers all across the state. At Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona, every donation supports our mission of empowering individuals, strengthening families and building stronger communities.

In a world that’s being globalized faster than we can imagine, supporting your own community has never been more important. Sometimes it’s easy to forget the impact that one person can make in your neck of the woods, especially if you feel as though you’re constantly pulled in different directions in your daily life.

When you donate clothes to Goodwill, you make an impact in our community. You’re helping sustain a non-profit business that provides job seekers with the tools they need to get ahead.

Our stores are known for their sizable selections, unique goods, fun finds, and of course our low prices! You never know what you’ll find on a Goodwill run. Practice your savvy thrift shopper skills at a Goodwill location near you. For more special offers and coupons, sign up for our email newsletter.

Thrift Shopping Tips at local Goodwill Store

Exciting Events this Week!

Amazing things are always happening at Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona! Whether you are looking for a daily special or want to participate in one of our job training events, we have something for you.


*Daily deals valid at select Metro Phoenix, Prescott and Yuma locations. Please check with your neighborhood Goodwill for details.

Discount valid on used merchandise only. Not valid on food or drink, new goods, seasonal or holiday items. Not valid at Goodwill Clearance Center. Our REDESIGN by Goodwill and Clearance Outlet are excluded. REDESIGN operates separate sales and discounts from other Goodwill stores.