Are you looking for a unique gift or a one-of-a-kind outfit but is saving money? If the answer is yes, then thrift shopping might just be up your ally! Don’t be fooled by the name – the finds may be cheap but if you look carefully and thoroughly, there are a lot of gems in these stores! Thrift shops are usually shops that sell second-hand (sometimes even third-hand!) items for a very low price. The items can be anything – from clothing to knickknacks! It’s a little difficult to navigate since you really have to go through ‘the hunt’ but exceptional finds at such low prices make it well worth it!
Thrift shops have also another kind of advantage – most thrift shops give their earnings or a fraction of it to a charitable cause. Usually, the items are obtained for free since they’re secondhand and the staff are usually volunteers. Operational costs are also relatively low (maintenance, electricity, phone services, etc.) so this makes it an engaging enterprise to help earn money for a cause. Not all areas have charity thrift shops so here are a few helpful tips in finding one in your area.
- Let your fingers do the walking first. The easiest way would be to check out the Internet and see if there are any listed in your area. You can do it the old-fashioned way too and check out your local directory. Some areas are lucky enough to have their own website advertising the local haunts and may include charity thrift shops.
- Places to try and check out. If none are listed, another option is to check out charitable institutions as they may advertise if a thrift store is supporting them. Hospitals, churches, soup-kitchens are great places to start looking and asking around. The local public school might also have listings since students are often the volunteers at thrift stores.
- Double-check thrift stores. If you’ve found locally listed thrift stores and you are unsure what charity they support, do a double check as they might just be thrift stores and not necessarily charity thrift stores. Check with the store owner herself if possible and ask around as well to verify if it does support that local charity. You can even cross-check with the charity if you think it’s necessary.
- Lastly, have fun shopping in your charity thrift shop! An additional tip in shopping in thrift stores is to look for stuff you won’t find anywhere else. It might be a rare book or a vintage movie poster or even a designer dress that’s been discarded – a thorough searching and patience is all you need! Of course, don’t forget to wash clothes bought at thrift stores thoroughly – just to be on the safe side. For other items, don’t be disheartened if they don’t function or work as well – keep in mind that these are secondhand items. But the best part to remember about charity thrift-store shopping is that your new items will be supporting a good cause. A pre-loved book now sitting on your shelf or a once-used dress now in your closet could have paid for a meal in the soup kitchen or toys for a much-deserving orphanage.