What Does it Mean to Go Thrifting?


If you’ve ever heard someone say they’re going to go thrifting, you might be wondering what they mean. Simply put, thrifting means to go shopping at a thrift store, garage sale, or flea market where you’ll find gently used items at discounted prices. Thrifted items have been loved by a previous owner, but are usually in good shape with enough life left to be useful to a new owner.

There are plenty of people you’ll find at a thrift store including:

  • Those who prefer a home filled with one-of-a-kind items that create a homey, creative feel
  • Creative dressers who love to experiment with their personal style
  • Smart shoppers who know you can find great things at a much cheaper price, and so many more

How is a thrift store different from other stores?

A thrift store sells gently used clothing, furniture, and other household items at a discounted price. At Goodwill, we receive donations from the community every day, so our shelves are always stocked with tons of unique finds. The big difference between a thrift store and retail store is that the items for sale at a thrift store aren’t brand new, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t in good condition. Thrift shopping is a way of giving those items new life.

Shopping at a thrift store is different than shopping at a retail store. When you go to a thrift store, you don’t necessarily go with a list. Thrift shopping is more about the hunt than locating one particular item. Because thrift stores are full of vintage and off-season goods, it’s fun to see what you might find. Whatever speaks to you, whatever you love, that’s what you buy! Plus, when you get to the checkout line, you’ll notice your bill is significantly lower than it would be at a retail store.

Why do people like to shop at thrift stores? 

When you shop at a thrift store, it’s exciting to think about what you might find. The thrill of the hunt is what compels most people to shop at a thrift store. Most thrift store shoppers are also creative people. They’re able to think outside the box to envision new life for a gently used item. For example, clothing at a thrift store isn’t necessarily in-season, but those who buy clothes at a thrift store are able to get creative to express their own personal style in a way that is relevant to what’s in-season.

Most thrift store shoppers can get lost in the aisles of a thrift store. The aisles of old books. Clothing racks with vintage designer finds. Board games that aren’t sold anywhere else anymore. There’s so much to sift through. A thrift store is also a great place to find collectible items, valuable jewelry, and items that you literally can’t find anywhere else.

When you’re shopping at Goodwill, you never know what you’ll find. You might walk into a thrift store wanting to look for clothes and leave with a pile of books or a piece of art. If you love the thrill of finding something completely unexpected and unique, then you’ll love shopping at a thrift store.

When is the best time to shop at a thrift store? 

Unlike retail stores that typically have dedicated inventory delivery and stocking days, thrift stores that rely on donations don’t. Thrift stores accept donations any day at any time. Plus, the staff works around the clock to get those donations out on the shelves as quickly as possible. With that being said, there’s really not a specific day that’s best to go to a thrift store. However, if you want to be a strategic thrift store shopper, the trick is to go often. Because thrift stores are constantly selling and restocking, you could shop on a Monday and a Friday of the same week and find a completely different inventory.

Most thrift store shoppers tend to do quick runs every so often when they’re feeling inspired to go on a hunt for unique finds. One day you might not find anything that speaks to you and another day you might leave with bags of stuff.

What kinds of things can I find at a thrift store? 

Some thrift stores only sell clothing, but others, like Goodwill, sell just about anything. The most popular items you’ll find are clothing, shoes, handbags, furniture, household goods and linens, jewelry, art, kitchen supplies and so much more.

At Goodwill, here’s a list of what we accept.

  • Appliances
  • Bedding
  • Books & Media
  • Clothing & Accessories
  • Cooking Accessories
  • Drapery
  • Electronics
  • Furniture
  • Games
  • Household Goods
  • Kitchenware
  • Knick-knacks
  • Linens
  • Mobility Items
  • Musical Instruments
  • Outdoor Items
  • Shoes
  • Sports Equipment
  • Tools
  • Toys

Why should I go thrift shopping? 

Thrift shopping is not only a fun way to find unique finds, but it’s also a way to give back to the community. Goodwill’s mission is to end poverty through the power of work. By shopping at or donating to Goodwill, you’re helping Goodwill provide no-cost career services to the community. Essentially, a clothing or household donation to Goodwill helps fight unemployment in our community. It’s nice to know that when you’re shopping, you’re also helping place Arizonans in jobs.

If you’re thinking about donating your gently used items to Goodwill, it’s a great way to give back even if you don’t want to shop there. Just by donating your items, you’re helping to keep the shelves stocked so people can purchase those items at a discounted price.

Donating to your local Goodwill has never been easier. Thanks to your donations and your goodwill, you help individuals achieve self-sufficiency when they land a job thanks to the no-cost services from Goodwill. This helps Goodwill carry on its mission of ending poverty through the power of work. Goodwill never turns down donations and will happily sort and sell just about anything.

Are you ready to go thrifting? Goodwill 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. Find a Goodwill location near you. For more special offers and coupons, sign up for our email newsletter.

What Does it Mean to Go Thrifting | Blog

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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.