Treasure Hunting in Thrift Stores

In Colorful You!, Fashion & Beauty by Starr Vaughn

When out shopping for certain items, such as furniture, clothes, or knick-knacks a couple of places come to mind, thrift stores and flea-markets. Almost everyone has shopped at these types of places, no matter how rich or how poor. Whatever you are trying to find, chances are a thrift store will have it.

Is it worth it to consider shopping at a thrift? Can you really find a valuable item for just the change that’s in your pocket? They have become the trendy place to find hidden treasures regardless of how much money one has in their bank account. They are like a place where adults can be treasure hunters. Every store has something different because people constantly donate their “junk” to them. Of course you know that old saying, “One man’s junk is another’s man’s treasure.” And by the growing popularity of thrift stores that saying is being proven more and more true every day. Most are extremely cheap, though I have come across a couple that need to rethink their pricing. From ten cents to just a few bucks can buy you well cared for items, such as a pair of nice candle holders or a first edition book. Many will virtually give a way .some of their merchandise. Thrift stores even sell valuable antiques for extremely low prices. Because of this, consignment shops have everyone running to them hoping to buy that million dollar item for just a dollar or so.

Goodwill and the Salvation Army are two national popular thrift store chains. Both are charities so they donate their proceeds to fund their causes. Goodwill Industries, Inc. uses its money to help people with disabilities go out into the work force and help them paying jobs. Among the services offered by Goodwill, is employment training, which may help them to land a better job. The Salvation Army helps the homeless get off the streets and helps those that are needy assistance with their bills. Log on to or for more information about each organization. The Salvation Army and Goodwill are the two largest thrift stores, but there are also thousands of local thrift stores that help others in need as well or animals.

What exactly can you find at thrift stores…well, everything! You can buy clothes (designer duds if you are lucky), furniture, toys, books, and even real paintings as well as many other things. I have found countless treasures at thrift stores.

Once I found a first edition United Kingdom Harry Potter book 2, “The Chamber of Secrets.” To my surprise, it’s valued at over $100, when I looked it up on the internet. I also found a first edition Nancy Drew book that I later sold at the flea market… making a tidy profit in the process.

Both books only cost me a measly $1. That’s pretty good for two extremely hard to find items, huh? Other items that have made my heart flutter were three, yes I said three, Chanel purses. For only $3.50 I made about $800 dollars worth of designer handbags. So don’t assume that just because someone gave that stuff away, that it’s worthless.

Of course with all good things, there are some down sides.

There are only a few but well worth mentioning. Some thrift shops, mostly local ones aren’t that well organized. In fact, some that I have visited are downright nasty. Which isn’t good for someone who uses mobility devises, especially wheelchairs or walkers, since you could easily get stuck or slip on something that wasn’t properly put up. If you’re going to buy something at a thrift store, be sure that it’s exactly what you want because, you may not be able to return it once you’ve bought it. Most stores have a no return, no refund policy.

The next time you are out shopping, instead of heading to the mall, check out some thrift stores. You may find what you are looking for at a fraction of the price. Whether it’s clothes, furniture. or just a book, it will be well worth it, especially if you can find it at a consignment store for just a few dollars. In places like Goodwill and the Salvation Army a few dollars can go a long way. Plus, you can get quality merchandise and help someone else in the process. It is a win-win situation.