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Do you get jealous of seeing all of your friends amazing finds, only to drop by the thrift store to find absolutely nothing? Have you ever wondered where the really good thrift stores are?

Here’s the secret to finding the best thrift store in your area. Come closer. Closer. Whoa too close. LOL. Alright here it is: There is no secret.

Seriously. Thrift stores are amazing in that their inventory changes day to day and even hour to hour. Today you may find a vintage Ralph Lauren blazer and tomorrow you may find a Drexel Heritage sideboard. You may go for another six months and everything else is junk.

Rashon Carraway: Better Life Through Thrifting

While there are no real secrets to finding the better thrift stores, there are few guidelines you can use to scope out those that consistently bring in better donations.

It’s true that the more affluent neighborhoods donate better quality items. Often individuals who live in certain areas do not have time to have a yard sale, so they will simply have their items donated as a quick means of getting rid of them. Many times these items have very little damage and are just discarded because the homeowners no longer want them.

Some of the best items are found at thrift stores that are located a few miles outside of major cities. I was working in a small town about 45 minutes from my home. There was a junk shop that housed a lot of old items. This is also the place where I found an authentic Saarinen Knoll Tulip table and four tulip chairs.

Saarinen Tulip Dining Table + Chairs

Saarinen Tulip Dining Table + Chairs

Photo from Hive Modern

Price? $100. My thoughts exactly.

Small towns are not necessarily on the cusp of design trends. That means many vintage items that have been sitting in homes untouched for years are just waiting to be brought back to life.

My last method for spotting a good thrift store is by simply reading various social networks and online sites to see which ones receive great reviews. Often when people score a great deal, they tweet about it, blog about it and even share pictures. If you see a particular thrift store consistently getting great reviews, it may be time for you to check it out.

Again, there’s no golden rule to finding the best thrift stores. The inventory changes so much. However, if you locate the nearest one in the more affluent community, check out those outside of the city and perhaps take your search online, I’m sure you can find a few that will yield great results.

Happy thrifting!

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Design Inspiration

25 Responses

  1. Briana@HGTV says:

    I'll go online to look up reviews for restaurants and bars, but somehow it never occurred to me to do the same for thrift stores! That's a great tip, and I'll definitely be trying it out.

  2. Linda Brown says:

    I just found that out :) I live in Florida but am working in Connecticut. Initially, I wanted to visited the Goodwill stores to see what country items I would find that wouldn't be in the Florida stores. As I visited each of the Goodwill stores I noticed the abundance of sweaters and jackets. You would never find that in Florida LOL. I stocked up so much that I am set for the winter when I go back.

  3. mastercrafthcp says:

    Very, very cool. Sometimes you think it's a thrift store and it turns out to be a "vintage" store and suddenly that sweet jacket find is $250. This helps!

  4. goodwillsp says:

    We totally agree that the key to finding unique treasures is shopping often – in our stores, we try to get donations onto the store floor as quickly as possible! Thank you for sharing and be sure to visit our blog for more DIY inspiration!

  5. Great blog post and what a find on the Saarinen Tulip table set. I believe it is finds such as this that keep us going back in anticipation. Between the local Good Will, Salvation Army and Mission shop, I'm constantly finding vintage decor to use in my designs which can be seen here – http://www.frugal-interior-design.com/vintage-dec… I prefer going this route over purchasing new in an effort to really build character and interest in a room. Local flea markets with thrift vendors are another great source. If you live in the York, PA area, check out MorningStar Marketplace in Thomasville.

  6. Becky in 'Bama says:

    thrift store shopping and/or consignment shopping takes persistence and time – neither abundant in my life what with working every day. By the time Saturday rolls around, I'm too lazy to spend the day sorting through all the 'junk' to get a find. The only people I know who get good stuff are the ones who are at leisure to go multiple times a week. Maybe some day. Question: Is it just me or do most thrift stores have a weird smell associated with them?

    • Alicia says:

      i find good stuff at the thrift store whenever I go, but I only go maybe 3 times a year and that's it. and yes thrift stores can have weird smells, but that's why you wash whatever you buy once you get it home. lol.

    • Paula says:

      Becky, I am so sorry you've had that experience with thrift stores, I love a good thrift store so I decided to open one myself, well in the process of opening that is. I want my thrift store to smell fantastic and look even better! I want to grab peoples design attention and show them how much great "stuff" is in the world that is beautiful, unique and useful as well as athe great price. You don't show who you are by having your home look like everybody elses, ya know, the beige or forest green sofa with matching tables and lamps surrounded by boorish floral so called artwork. So Becky please please give it another shot and explore some great thrift shops :)

  7. Inez says:

    I have been having so much fun at local thrift shop.
    I've gotta venture out to some of them on the outskirts!
    This was a great post and great tips! :)

  8. Marianne@HGTV says:

    I am DYING over you Saarinen score! Amazing!

  9. @howardu09 says:

    Excellent tips and post!! Nothing beats multiple and frequent visits. That Saarinen table set is fantastic! Great find.

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