It used to be that thrift shopping was seen almost as a bad thing. Fortunately times have changed and not only is it now considered to be both economical and fun, for some it has even become a sport!
Here below is my overview of all the different places to score some terrific and thrifty finds. Each is a bit different and you should tailor your thrift shopping to suit your own style and needs. But, if you have an opportunity to check them all out it could be well worth your while.
- Free Stuff
Classifieds: This is by far the most economical option. Check your local papers and Web sites such as Craigslist and UsedVancouver for people looking to give stuff away. You could be pleasantly surprised by what you can find. Always a good idea to check those sections often as they do change regularly.
Community Clean Ups: Many communities have a few days a year that they set aside for people to pile all their unwanted items in their driveways/yards. It stays out for a few days before being picked up, allowing the true thrift enthusiast time to check it out. What is left over is picked up by the sanitation workers and sent to the dump. Good to get there early as the good stuff gets picked over quickly.
Neighbourhood Giveaways: For those areas that do not have the community pick ups, people will often leave stuff in their laneway/lobby/yards with a little sign that is usually labeled “free”. This is a common practice in many areas and apartment buildings. Don’t feel embarrassed about picking stuff–you are saving it from hitting the landfills and extending its shelf life a little longer. If it is not happening in your area, start the trend and see what happens.
Exchange Parties: These are becoming more popular with women wanting to find some creative ways to swap clothing and accessories but could be adapted for all sorts of stuff. Check out my post on how to host your own Clothing Exchange Party.
Dumpster Diving: Now this is not for everyone, but you never know what you can find in the dumpsters behind large apartment buildings.
- Garage Sales
The next level up from the free stuff is the garage sale. In general, you can often find what you are looking for at a great price. However, types of items and prices may vary depending on which part of town you are in. Check your local classifieds, garage sale listings, and local signage out on weekends for where to go.
Both the daily and smaller community newspapers have classified sections where people will post a variety of items for sale, usually reasonably priced. Many other publications also have a classified section in print and online. Again, sites like Craigslist and UsedVancouver offer a huge selection of items in many different categories and people will often post photos of the items.
- Flea Markets/Swap Meets
Although some are held year round, most of these sales occur in the spring and summer months. This is another terrific place to find a great deal on what you are looking for. Here people rent out tables or space to sell their wares. Again, depending on where you go you can pretty much find almost anything this way at a great price. Check out Market Market on this site for links to a variety of local markets.
- Rummage, Church, and School Sales
These are usually held as fundraisers and items are always donated–keeping the prices quite reasonable. Because proceeds will benefit the organization, people usually donate quality items. Best to get there early or near the end of the day when prices are reduced to sell. Fall and spring are when you see most of these sales showing up in the classified sections of your local papers.
- Thrift Stores
Here items are also donated, but because this is a storefront the prices will be a bit more. In general though, you can still find some terrific deals that will be less than the secondhand or consignment stores. Some or all of the proceeds are usually donated to a charity.
Although not typically associated with thrift shopping, some auctions have one day a week that they set aside for items that are of lesser value and can’t be sold at the Estate Auctions. Here you can find some incredible deals, often for under $25. But sometimes you need to buy things in bulk to get access to the true treasures.
- Friends and Families
We often forget to check in with friends and families to see if they might have what we are looking for. It never hurts to ask around as often friends and family will just give stuff away.
what a wonderfull store, i love places like that
Dumpster diving can be rewarding.