1. K-State home
  2. »Research and Extension
  3. »Johnson County
  4. »Home and Family
  5. »Agent Articles
  6. »Thrift Store Shopping

Johnson County

Research-based Information You Can Trust — Localized for your needs

Johnson County
11811 S. Sunset Drive
Suite 1500
Olathe, KS 66061

Office Hours:

Monday - Friday,
8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.

(913) 715-7000
(913) 715-7005 fax

Map to our office

K-State Research and Extension is committed to making its services, activities and programs accessible to all participants. Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities may be requested by contacting Johnson County Extension at (913)715-7000. Notify staff of accommodation needs as early as possible.

Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service

K-State Research and Extension is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Thrift Store Shopping: Making the most of it

Return to Home and Family Agent Articles

Thrift store shopping can be a great way to find stylish clothes or items for your home at affordable prices. As an added bonus, the money raised in a thrift store often goes to support charitable causes, at least in part. Buying second hand also helps the environment, which is important to many people.

Thrift store shopping is great, but sometimes you need to plan ahead a little to get the most out of your visit. We’ve gathered a few tips to help maximize your savings while thrift store shopping

Thrift store shopping tips

  • First, try to decide in advance what you are looking for and only deviate from your plan if there is a valid reason. Thrift shops have clothes in a variety of fashions, sizes, and conditions. If you are looking for a like new brown sweater in your size, don’t settle for a faded black sweater that is a size too big. Because clothes in a thrift store can be so reasonably priced, it can be tempting to settle for a “good enough” piece of clothing. Try to resist that urge. If an item of clothing doesn’t actually meet your needs then you’ll be unlikely to wear it. Regardless of how cheap something is, it’s still a waste of money if you won’t use it.

  • Maximize your savings by researching if your thrift store offers “half price days” or special events where they cut prices. A local thrift store near my home has everything half off on Mondays, which helps your money go even further!

  • To avoid spending on items you can’t actually use, get realistic about your DIY skills. You may find something that would be perfect with just minor alterations. If you are truly able to make the needed alterations or pay someone else to do them then, by all means, buy the item. If the truth is more likely that the item is just going to get lost in the back of your closet while you put off fixing it, then don’t waste your money. For many people, realistic alterations may include changing buttons, hemming pants, and fixing small holes in some types of fabric. Do your research so you don’t accidentally buy textiles that will be difficult to mend. Be honest about what you can and will do. If you don’t know how to sew, but would like to learn, you can find a variety of free tutorials online.

  • Don’t get frustrated if you can’t find what you are looking for right away. New items are put out frequently, so it may take a few trips to different thrift stores before you find what you’re looking for. Try to enjoy the hunt and learn to think of thrift shopping as a project. Unless it is an emergency, for example needing a winter jacket immediately, just be patient and keep looking until you find the exact item you want.

  • Keep an eye out for quality pieces of furniture that need just a bit of TLC to be beautiful. A coat of paint, some elbow grease or a little bit of sanding and stain can restore furniture from eye sore status to show stopper. Again, be realistic about your ability and time to spend on a DIY project, but don’t be afraid to put your skills to work on the right piece either!

Buying clothes or furniture from thrift stores can be a fun, affordable, and environmentally friendly way to improve your wardrobe or home. By planning ahead, making minor alterations to items that need it, and being patient while searching for the perfect item, you can have a stylish wardrobe or home for a fraction of the cost of buying new.

Source: Consumer Education Services Inc. <education@cesisolutions.org>

Contact Us

Joy Miller

Family and Community Wellness Agent