(photo credit: screenshot of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis – Thrift Shop music video)
Guys. Ladies. Fellas. Friends. We all love bargains. Bargains are what America is all about. Anyone in America who doesn’t love a bargain is probably in Al Qaeda and should immediately be detained and hopefully water boarded until they realize how great bargains are.
And, some of the best places in America to get those bargains are thrift stores. Thrift stores, I must tell you, are just the best. Where else can you stumble upon a designer dress and whatever the hell this thing is supposed to be for almost exactly the same low price?
But thrift stores have had a rocky past. They used to be considered gross and uncool. For a long time, they were the exclusive domain of ironic high school kids, suspicious looking guys in trench coats, and that strange old lady at the end of the block who sits outside in her rocking chair all day hurling stray cats at passerby.
Thankfully, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis came along to change all of that with their hit song Thrift Shop. In a single deft hip-hop swoop, they made everyone see how awesome things you find at thrift stores can be. Now people are finally flocking to thrift stores like Goodwill, Out of the Closet, and higher end places like Crossroads (that still offer incredible prices).
But be careful, people. Yes, Hip-Hop is right. Thrift stores are great places for a wide variety of items… but they are also, let us say… not so great places for others. Here below, we’ll show you what you should definitely think about purchasing from a thrift store, and what you’ll almost certainly be better off splurging a little on.
Thrift stores generally do a great job of sorting through what they get from people to make sure that the clothes they resell are unstained, intact and clean. Nonetheless, it’s always a good idea to put the clothes you buy, be they pants, shirts, dresses, or even suits through a wash before throwing them on. Dresses can be as cheap as $5 a piece, and t-shirts of all sizes range from well known brands to hilarious. Speaking of suits, thrift stores are a particularly impressive resource for suits on the cheap. Prices at most average from $15 to $25 for what would cost you at least $200 or more at even a low end place like H&M.
Hot tip: To increase your chances of getting a designer brand, search for Thrift Stores located in or near places rich people live. Usually the white guilt clouds that hang over those areas make designer brands fall on thrift stores near them like inexpensive, yet fashionable rain.
Clothes That Touch Your Secret Parts: No
Underwear and bras. They sell these things at thrift stores. Do not buy them. There’s not any rational reason why you shouldn’t, but psychologically there’s a huge one. Thrift stores often get their items from estate sales. This means that there is a good chance if you buy a bra from a thrift store that you are buying the bra of someone who has passed on. The last thing you want is some old lady’s ghost haunting your boobs.
Artwork/Decorations: Big Yes
Art is expensive. Decorations for your home can be pricey, and the cost can add up really fast. Even frames can be surprisingly tough on a pocketbook. Thrift stores get art and wall decorations sourced from an inexplicable number of persons and places. As such, they always have a very eclectic mix. Whether you’re a fan of traditional and boring Thomas Kinkade cabins covered in snow like my dad, or the greatest painting ever painted, with a little patience, you’ll find what you’re looking for around $5 to $30 bucks.
Hot tip: That price almost always includes a frame as well, which outside of a thrift store would generally run you at least as much as any painting and poster you’d find in a thrift store, or more!
While books and records are often astoundingly cheap at thrift stores, the selection is always a real crap shoot. When I say cheap, I do mean cheap (we’re often talking twenty five cents to a dollar). People tend to have specific books they are looking for, and with the advent of Amazon and other online retailers who offer a huge selection of used and discounted books, it makes shopping for this specific item at a thrift store a far less enticing option than it used to be.
Thrift stores are GREAT at having huge eclectic selections of kitchenware from cutlery to silverware to dishes to pots to pans…there is absolutely NO reason to go anywhere else for this stuff. Target is about as cheap as you can get outside of a thrift store and even there you are GUARANTEED to spend significantly more money on items of the exact same quality. Honestly, thrift stores get such a wide variety of these items that the selection is more often than not far superior at the thrift stores.
Furniture: Triple Yes!
Always buy your furniture from thrift stores. Always.
Couches, even at the most discounted of independent outlets will kill your wallet. Chairs, love seats, desks, dressers… all of the above are easy to find at thrift stores. If you dedicate a couple days to scouring a handful of different thrift stores in your area, you are very likely going to find one that matches what you are looking for. The price difference between secondhand furniture and new furniture is staggering. On average you’ll spend anywhere from $30-$100 on a clean, well maintained couch from a thrift store that at a similar non pre-owned outlet would set you back almost a grand. And if you live in LA, there’s a one in five hundred thousand chance your couch used to be owned by a celebrity. Think about it, your crotch could be sitting right near where Samuel L. Jackson’s crotch was when he spilled milk on his couch and decided to donate it!
Daniel is a WGA writer who has written for TV shows on the Disney Channel, and the CW, among others. He created Oishi High School Battle on Youtube which to date has over 35 Million views.