If you’re wondering “where are thrift stores near me?” You will most likely have several options to choose from. Because we live in a world of abundance, many people have too many items in their houses and sometimes donate these items to thrift stores. You might even be looking for a thrift store so you can donate your items.
Some thrift stores get their entire inventory from donations, and some get so many items that they run out of room to display everything for sale. It’s nice to live in a world of abundance, but lots of things end up being thrown away because there is simply too much stuff being produced. Thrift stores serve a good purpose by reselling items that are still usable that would have otherwise ended up in a landfill.
What is a Thrift Store?
Thrift stores are businesses that sell items they receive as donations from the public. You can usually get the items for much cheaper than what you would pay at a retail store, so you can save a lot of money by choosing to shop at thrift stores.
Most of the items thrift stores sell are in used condition, so you might have to sacrifice quality for price. You may be able to find brand new items and you never know what you’re going to find so it can be like a treasure hunt.
Most thrift stores are non-profits or support a charitable cause so you usually aren’t only supporting a business when you shop thrift stores but are also helping them in whatever mission they have. Thrift stores can also be for-profit businesses though and in that case, you’re only supporting their business when you buy something.
How to Find Thrift Stores Near Me
To find thrift stores in your area, get on a maps application of your choice and search “thrift store”. You can click here to go to Google Maps and begin your search. The great thing about searching for thrift stores using a maps application is that you can instantly see the location of the store and the directions to get to it.
Searching for thrift stores on a maps application will pull up the local stores in your area that maps recognizes as thrift stores. Some stores may not have an internet presence, so you should keep an eye out for them in your local shopping areas.
Finding stores in your local area should be pretty simple unless you live somewhere rural that doesn’t have many shops to choose from.
What are the Best Thrift Stores Near me?
If you live in a relatively busy area, you’ll probably have more than a handful of stores to choose from. Not every store is created equally, so the best thing to do is visit each store in your area to decide for yourself which one you like best. Donations come in all the time, so if you go back to a store that didn’t have anything good, you may find something nice on your next visit.
There are a few thrift store companies that have locations all across the country. Here are some you might find in your area:
- Salvation Army
- Savers/Value Village
- The Society of St. Vincent De Paul
Goodwill Thrift Stores
You’ve most likely shopped at or at least heard of Goodwill. The company is one of the largest of its kind in the US and they even have stores in 12 other countries. Goodwill was founded in 1902 and its mission is to help people acquire skills to advance their careers. They have stores and donation centers all across the country so you will most likely have one in your area.
Salvation Army Family Stores
Salvation Army is a Christian charitable organization that supports the less fortunate by providing food, shelter, rehabilitation from addiction, and emergency relief for disaster survivors. They have thrift stores (they call them “family stores”) where they sell items that have been donated and use the funds to help those in need. They have many store locations as well as drop off centers that accept donations.
Another thrift store chain with lots of locations all throughout the country is Savers, or in some areas, their stores are called Value Village. They are a for-profit company, but partner with lots of non-profits by purchasing items from them to resell in their own stores. On the Company’s about page, they say they help “kids, the disabled, and people suffering from diseases”.
The Society of St. Vincent De Paul
St. Vincent De Paul thrift stores are a part of a Catholic organization whose mission is to feed, clothe, house, and heal people who don’t have anywhere else to turn to. They have store locations throughout the US and most stores are completely run by volunteers. The fact that they’re run by volunteers differentiates them from the other big thrift store chains.
Small Local Thrift Stores
Other than the big thrift store chains, there are thousands of small, independently owned stores. Sometimes, local churches will have a thrift store to fund different things or sometimes people will open a thrift store and run it as a for-profit business. In my home town, a thrift store near me uses all of its profits to fund a shelter for women recovering from addiction. The store is run by the women recovering and it’s a pretty neat program.
I personally like small local thrift shops myself because they usually have better deals than places like Goodwill. It’s also nice to know I’m supporting small businesses in my area that are trying to do some good in this world.
Here’s a good article for the best thrift store in every state.
Good Items to buy at Thrift Stores
If you’re looking for a good deal and don’t mind potentially buying something used, thrift stores are a great place to shop.
Here are the top items to look for while you’re out thrifting:
Thrift Stores Near Me: Clothing
The number one item thrift stores receive as donations is clothing. You can buy clothing for pennies on the dollar compared to what you would pay at a retail store and often times the clothing is in great shape. Just be sure to look each piece you’re interested in over thoroughly if you’red worried about any defects. If you shop thrift stores often enough, over time you can create a wardrobe filled with high-end clothing and pay barely anything for it.
Thrift Stores Near Me: Furniture
You can find some really nice furniture at thrift stores for great deals! Furniture takes up so much room in people’s houses that when they’re ready to get rid of something, they want it gone quick to free up space. So, they often donate furniture. A lot of times people are getting rid of things because there is damage, so be sure to look over the furniture carefully if you don’t plan to make any repairs yourself.
Thrift Stores Near Me: Books
Another common item people donate is books. If you like reading a lot and don’t mind the random variety you’ll find, you might enjoy shopping for books at thrift stores. They often sell for less than a dollar, so it can be worth it to buy a book instead of borrowing from a library if you like to own the books yourself.
Thrift Stores Near Me: Vintage Items
One of my favorite reasons to shop thrift is the wide variety of unique, vintage items I come across. Thrift shops are one of the best places to find vintage decor that you can’t find at retail stores. It isn’t uncommon to find things you’ll never see anywhere else and that makes shopping at thrift stores fun to me.
Items to Avoid at Thrift Stores
While there are great items to buy at thrift stores, there are also items you may want to avoid.
Here are the top things you shouldn’t buy at thrift stores:
Things like helmets and car seats are items to avoid buying used. Helmets can lose their integrity after use and degrade in quality. A head injury isn’t worth saving a few bucks. Car seats and other child safety items shouldn’t be bought used because the items may have been recalled or something might be wrong with them which could result in your child being injured.
You never know where an item has been when you buy it from a thrift store, and stuffed animals can carry all kinds of germs on them. You can try washing a stuffed animal in your washing machine, but this may cause damage to it.
Just like stuffed animals, mattresses can have germs and bed bugs in them. Unfortunately, there isn’t a good way to tell what’s on a mattress and it’s also hard to clean them. If you can’t afford a new mattress, you might try looking for a new one at a discount store, or see if someone you know is getting rid of one. At least if you buy it from an individual, you can ask them about its history.
Choosing a Thrift Store to Donate to
If you have a lot of stores in your area, and you want to donate some items, it can be hard deciding which store to give to. If the stores have a website, see if they have a mission statement so you can find out what they do with the money they make. If they don’t have a website, call them and ask about their business.
Spending a little time getting to know the stores in your area allows you to make the best decision for where your items should go. It’s a good feeling when you drive up to the store you’re going to donate to and know that the money is going to a good cause. Some of the larger thrift store companies have donations centers just for dropping off your items so these can be convenient.
Another thing to keep in mind when donating to items is that you can write the donations off on your taxes. You’ll have to keep track of the value of the items you’re donating to be able to write them off for the proper amount.
The bottom line – Shop and Donate to Thrift Shops
Whether you want to donate items or get some deals, start shopping at your local thrift stores. The smaller stores are usually just scraping by and need all the sales they can get. I often buy things and resell them for a profit on eBay and it feels good to support small local businesses as well as charities by doing this.
Some people wonder if it’s wrong to shop at thrift stores when you aren’t broke, and I think the answer to that is no. These stores depend on sales to keep the doors open and contribute to their charitable causes, so the more we buy, the more they can serve the less fortunate.
If you’re thinking about buying something new that you wouldn’t mind buying used, consider looking for it at a thrift store.