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It has been said many times that patience is a virtue. Unfortunately, neither patience nor virtue can be bought in stores. If you have it, then you should put it to good use when thrifting.

design star thrifting

HGTV Design Star contestant Mark Diaz thrift shopping.

Thrift stores in general don’t have an overstock of items, that once gone are replenished. The inventory is updated as often as things are brought onto the floor. A moment of patience can change your life in a thrift store.

Many people go into a thrift store and see nothing they want in the first five minutes and say, “There’s nothing here for me.” However, the moment they leave could very well be the moment the exact item they desire comes from the back room.

True story: I was shopping for a client’s room and was about to walk out the door. As I walked down one aisle, I saw an easel. This easel had not been there while I was shopping moments earlier. I immediately inquired and bought it.

Another true story: I was again shopping for a client and saw a mirror that had just come onto the floor. I told one of my assistants to inquire about a price. Unfortunately they didn’t. It was already sold by the time I could ask for the price myself; just that quick.

It’s not a race to see who can snag the best deal, it’s about being patient and not being in such a rush to leave. There is no set time when inventory is brought out. There is no planogram for the new and incoming items.

If you are leisurely shopping, I say giver yourself an hour to just watch the store. See if the associates are bringing anything out. I am not by any means suggesting you stay there all day (although I know some people who do spend that long). I am simply encouraging you to be available to what may be “The Find” for you.

So tell me. Do you leave a thrift store if you don’t see anything that catches your eye upon arrival?

10 Responses

  1. Tonja Morris says:

    Each thrift store that I visit has a certain "flight-pattern" that I follow every-time. Locate the doors to the stock room. Use peripheral vision to keep an eye on what's coming out of the back room.

  2. [...] Shelterholic. You Gotta Have Patience… HGTV Design Happens Fri, October 28, 2011 4:00 PM UTC HGTV Design Happens Rate this story Share this story (function(){var [...]

  3. Rachel says:

    I have been thrifting since high school, so for over 20 years, and definitely agree with your advice! You usually have to be willing to put it a little time. Occasionally I do a quick pop in, but most times I know I'll probably devote at least 45 minutes. I also find I have to be in the right mood. If I'm stressed about something else in my life (or by an ANTSY boyfriend hovering over my shoulder) then I've found I can't concentrate and may as well come back later. One hint is that if you go often enough, you get an eye for the merchandise and the new stuff tends to jump out at you!

  4. ALittleJunkinmyTrunk says:

    I love the fact that thrifting is like an archeological dig! The deeper you go, the better it gets!

  5. Becky in 'Bama says:

    Forgive me, but I cannot get past the 'thrift store smell' so noticeable in our local establishments. 30 minutes is about all I can take. Is it just me? I've noticed the same smell no matter if it's Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc… I'm not a snob but it prohibits me from enjoying the hunt.:(

  6. Jill@JunkyVagabond says:

    I certainly don't spend all day, but I will wander the aisles a few times over just in case. Many times, someone will put something back that is just what I wanted/needed!

  7. Youre so cool! I dont suppose Ive read anything similar to this before. So nice to discover somebody with a few original what it really this subject. realy thanks for starting this up. this fabulous website are some things that is needed online, someone with some originality. useful project for bringing a new challenge to the web!

  8. @MrGWHunting says:


    Its hard. I know. Every thrift store is different when bringing items out onto the floor. If you notice associates are not regularly placing items out on the shelves, then its probably best to do a walk through. Hang in there!

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