9 Tips for Scoring Good Deals at Yard Sales All Summer Long

9 Tips for Scoring Good Deals at Yard Sales All Summer Long

I love thrifting. It’s one of my favorite pastimes and something I was doing way before it was considered cool, although not by choice. My mom started an antique shop when I was five, which meant that I grew up going to flea markets, thrift stores, antique shows, and — my current favorite — yard sales. Once warm weather hits, I enjoy getting up early on Saturday morning, grabbing coffee and a donut, and heading off to find some deals.

From books and kitchen gadgets to furniture and clothing, I’ve been able to fill my house at a fraction of the retail price, and I’m not shy about hosting my own garage sale, either. It’s the perfect way to quickly purge items while getting some extra cash. So, whether you’re new to the yard sale game or are already an avid thrifter, here are nine tips for scoring bargains the next time you head out to shop this summer’s sales.

Plan out your route ahead of time.

Many folks start putting their yard sale posters out early in the week, so start looking for signs on Thursday or Friday. Then scour Craigslist and the newspaper (it seems archaic, but some older folks with vintage items list their sales in the paper). Also, see if your city has a local yard sale page on Facebook. Then, plan your route accordingly, starting at sales closer to your home or at a listing that catches your eye. Although you may find a few last-minute ones on Saturday morning, pre-planning your route gives you a good plan of attack. 

Having $1, $5, and $10 bills is helpful, especially if you offer a lower price and can have exact change ready to hand over to the seller immediately. ATMs typically only give out $20s, so plan to get smaller bills before heading out to help avoid a potentially embarrassing situation. I once got a seller to reduce the price on a $20 item significantly, but I only had a $20 bill. It was a little embarrassing when I was asking for change. Lesson learned!

Familiarize yourself with yard sale pricing.

When my son was little, I happened upon a garage sale with tons of upscale baby boy clothes. I was ecstatic until I saw the prices, which were about half of what they would sell retail. Yikes! A general rule is that an item should be 10 to 20 percent of the original price. Working appliances may garner a bit more, and some things may be worth less. Knowing what standard yard sale pricing is can help avoid overpaying for items. After hitting a few sales, you should have a good idea of the acceptable price range in your area.

Arrive at the sale early.

Yard sales offer the opportunity to score items much less than they would cost new, so arriving early is vital to get highly sought-after items. However, don’t arrive too early. I’ve had folks show up with flashlights 90 minutes before our advertised start time, which isn’t advisable, but try to get to the sale close to or just before the starting time. If you happen upon sellers that aren’t quite ready, you can peruse what they do have out and head back later in the day.

Sellers are ready to part with their things, so it’s perfectly acceptable to haggle on pricing, especially if you are interested in a high-dollar item or have a grouping of things. Either ask the seller if they can lower the price or feel free to make an offer. However, don’t suggest too low a price. The seller may take offense and stick to their original cost. For example, recommending $15 or $18 for a $20 item is perfectly acceptable, whereas an offer of $5 may be considered offensive. 

Get to sales near closing time.

Although you can score the best stuff at the beginning of the sale, you may get a better price on lingering items at the end. After all, when the seller is faced with the reality that an item won’t sell, they may be willing to drastically reduce the price to avoid storing or moving the object. So if you sleep through your alarm on Saturday morning, don’t lose hope. You can still head out and catch those later deals as sellers are closing up shop. 

Head to group yard sales.

To maximize your time, head to areas where there are many sellers. Look for multi-family and neighborhood yard sales. When there are multiple sellers, you’ll find a greater variety of items, making the time more productive. Also, I love charity sales put on by a church, school, or nonprofit, where people tend to donate high-quality items. I’ve gotten such great deals on everything from household items to vintage finds by shopping at sales associated with charities.

Some of my favorite deals were lurking at the bottom of a bag or in a box the seller forgot to unpack. If you find a sale with quality items at a reasonable price, delve deeper into their stash. Even if things are laid out on tables, your eye can miss stuff as you scan. Also, don’t be afraid to ask if something is for sale. For example, I was searching for outdoor rugs, and a seller was using two to display his items. He hadn’t considered selling them until I asked, and then I got both for $10 — a great deal!

Inspect items thoroughly.

Broken items are never a bargain, so check things over before committing to a purchase. For example, scour dishes for small chips or cracks, plug in appliances to ensure they are in working condition, and check clothing for rips, tears, and holes. It’s always a bad deal when you get something home and find it unusable.

These Are the Best Thrift Shops in Every U.S. State

These Are the Best Thrift Shops in Every U.S. State

We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission.

Post Image

Credit: Photo: Ballard Consignment, SouthSide Vintage & Quality Goods, The Market at Circa 1857, Haven, Father and Son Antiques; Design: Apartment Therapy

Whether you’re on the hunt for budget-friendly used picture frames, a cool vintage chair, or absolutely nothing in particular, there’s a bit of a thrill that goes hand in hand with thrift shopping. Chalk it up to the element of surprise, not knowing if you’ll come home from a thrift store empty-handed or with the ultimate one-of-a-kind find on a dime. Or maybe it’s the satisfaction of pulling the, “Thanks, it’s thrifted” line when friends ask about your latest decor addition. Either way, thrifting has (rightfully) skyrocketed in popularity recently.

That’s why I took it upon myself to pick out the best thrift store in each state. Here’s how I ultimately judged: The location has to carry home goods (because this is Apartment Therapy, after all!), the majority of which have been pre-owned or recycled.

Since I unfortunately can’t physically visit every single shop nationwide (if only…), I enlisted help from Apartment Therapy staff and readers via Facebook and Instagram to finalize the list. It was no easy feat to narrow down the amazing suggestions, but below you’ll find the most popular thrift store nominations. Have a local spot you love that we didn’t mention? Leave a comment below!

Note: I use “thrifting” as a blanket term for secondhand shopping in general, simultaneously recognizing consignment stores, vintage boutiques, flea markets, reuse nonprofits, antique malls, and, of course, good old by-the-book thrift shops.

1. Alabama: Urban Suburban Antiques

There’s nothing cookie-cutter about Urban Suburban Antiques, a multi-vendor Birmingham shop known for vintage and antique home decor. In fact, it’s described by local publication Bham Now as “THE place for the quirky shopper.” Think of it like an antique mall, but way cooler. The store’s 60+ laid-back booths run the style gamut, with fun mid-century modern furniture and classic art alongside whimsical accents and decorative quilts. Prices vary across the individual sellers, but you’ll find most within a reasonable range — and mark your calendar for the semi-annual July and February sales.

Post Image

Credit: Furnish Studio + Salvage

2. Alaska: Furnish Studio + Salvage

Promising to “transform your waste into something beautiful,” Furnish Studio + Salvage collects unwanted home goods to prevent dumping in landfills, and the team then either upcycles or redirects them elsewhere. These refurbished pieces are also re-sold within the organization’s Anchorage retail shop (open Fridays and Saturdays from 11-6 or by appointment), or put to use for community workshops. The location doubles as a studio space, hosting classes and events that teach hands-on repurposing techniques (like Furniture Repair 101). Founded in April 2021, the for-profit is the brainchild of Darcy, an entrepreneur with a small furniture painting business and passion for educating locals about reusable goods.

Post Image

Credit: White Dove Thrift Shoppe

3. Arizona: The White Dove Thrift Shoppe

Great shopping, good cause: The White Dove Thrift Shoppe is an organization that donates proceeds to Hospice of the Valley, the largest not-for-profit hospice in the U.S. Sales of thrifted items “fund many specialized and innovative patient-care programs and help lower the cost of charity care,” their website explains. The thrift store originated in Phoenix in 2004, but has since spread across Arizona to Scottsdale, Mesa, Glendale, and Midtown Phoenix. Inventory differs within each location, and many receive donations from relatives of patients they’ve previously assisted. Anything that can’t be sold gets redistributed to other local charities, too. Bonus: the stores have weekly “Dove Discount Days,” offering 25 percent off Saturdays for students and military personnel, and Mondays for senior shoppers 55 and older.

4. Arkansas: Fayetteville’s Funky Flea Market

Fayetteville’s Funky Flea Market in Fayetteville, Arkansas, touts the tagline “like a flea market, but funkier.” Located in a 110-year old depot, this quirky shop embodies that motto with an especially unique assortment of secondhand offerings — all leaning into Americana influences and Ozark-area inspiration. You’ll find everything from old-school Coca-Cola signs to vintage patio decor to cookware collectibles and beyond. And on the consignment furniture front, know that “if it’ll fit through a door frame, and isn’t a bed, we carry it.” Oh, and you can pet some cute cats while you browse the 50+ vendor booths, too.

5. California: Pop Up Home

Recommended by AT’s executive home director Danielle Blundell, Los Angeles-based Pop Up Home is part vintage and consignment store, part contemporary art gallery. The latter comes from founder Tricia Beanum’s recent partnership with private art consultant Sarah Griffin. Known as UNREPD, the joint project showcases up-and-coming, underrepresented artists and displays their work throughout Pop Up Home’s 15,000-square-foot showroom. Beyond that, the West Hollywood business also dabbles in a medley of local services: interior design consulting, staging, studio rentals, and even virtual estate sales.

Post Image

Credit: Greenwood Thrift Shop and Consignment Gallery

6. Colorado: Greenwood Thrift Shop and Consignment Gallery

Greenwood Thrift Shop and Consignment Gallery in Boulder, Colorado, hits the best of both worlds: stylish secondhand shopping and a positive cause. All purchases raise funds for the Greenwood Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, a nonprofit dedicated to providing professional care for sick, injured, or orphaned wild animals. And you’re not likely to leave empty-handed — the multi-level location features gently-used home decor, books, and antiques, plus reasonably-priced furniture, artwork, and more in the upstairs consignment gallery. You can also scope out hundreds of in-stock inventory directly through their online marketplace, then promptly “add to cart” for pickup or delivery, if you’re based locally.

Post Image

Credit: Mongers Market

7. Connecticut: Mongers Market

Fueled by about 80 diverse vendors (aka “Mongers”), Mongers Market is a must-stop spot in Bridgeport, Connecticut. There’s a $3 entrance fee, but it’s a worthwhile trade-off just to browse the 127,000-square foot old factory space. And on top of carrying eclectic vintage furniture, lighting, and antiques, the shopping destination really rises above the rest thanks to a standout supply of salvaged industrial and architectural fixtures. Think old factory doors, picket gates, and pieces of railing. The Market even recently acquired a series of wood flat file cabinets removed from the basement of the Yale Peabody Museum, as seen on their Instagram. Note that it’s only open Sundays from 10-4, so plan your thrifting trip accordingly.

Post Image

Credit: The Zeppelin & The Unicorn Antique Shop

8. Delaware: The Zeppelin & The Unicorn Antique Shop

Can’t find exactly what you’re looking for at Wilmington’s The Zeppelin & The Unicorn Antique Shop? No problem! One of their 40+ expert dealers can add any antique to the “Wish book” and loop you in whenever they come across it. Pickings are hardly slim, though. Upcycled and vintage decor, garden accessories, toys, and vinyl abound, all inside a charming, pet-friendly showroom where unhurried shopping is heavily encouraged. Vendors often collaborate, too, resulting in occasional themed display rooms. And if you happen to spot a crop of pink hair, it might very well be owner and resident “vintage doll lady” Jacqui, who runs the business with her husband, Larry.

9. Florida: Oddballs Nifty Thrift

Kitschy, fun, quirky, vintage, cool — you name it, Oddballs Nifty Thrift in Fort Lauderdale probably has it. Voted the fifth best vintage/consignment store in the country via Yelp, it’s (quite literally) packed floor-to-ceiling with funky oddities and “overlooked treasures,” as noted on their Facebook page. Mahogany dressers and colorful bookcases double as displays for an overflow of colorful lamps, animal figurines, toys, signs, art, and housewares. Crack open a cold one (yes, they serve beer and wine) and settle in for a funky shopping ride in the original locale or newly-opened Oakland Park store.

Post Image

Credit: Atlanta Used Furniture

10. Georgia: Atlanta Used Furniture

Over the past eight years, entrepreneur Jon Bailey has been successfully growing his locally-beloved business, Atlanta Used Furniture — which he founded straight out of college. Originally operating out of a leased storage unit, the resale shop has since graduated to its own showroom space that’s dedicated to well-priced vintage and mid-century modern treasures (even from iconic names like Paul McCobb and Adrian Pearsall, no less!). “I enjoy finding quality pieces from the past and providing my loyal metro Atlanta customers with great deals,” says Bailey. And if the 72,000+ Instagram followers and frequent satisfied-customer reposts are evidence enough, it’s safe to say the feeling is mutual.

Post Image

Credit: Reuse Hawaii

11. Hawaii: Re-use Hawai’i

The environmental nonprofit Re-use Hawai’i originated in 2006 as a response to Oahu’s solid waste problem, a third of which stems from demolition-related debris. Helping combat this issue, the organization developed a sustainable Deconstruction Program that involves hand-dismantling structures to preserve the salvaged materials. These are then made available to the public via their Redistribution Center warehouse, as well as other donated goods like reclaimed lumber, vintage furniture, and original recycled creations. Community members can visit Tuesdays through Saturdays, 9-5, to access the affordable offerings — an eco-friendly shopping system that’s helped cultivate a more independent, circular economy.

Post Image

Credit: The Gold Mine Thrift Store

12. Idaho: The Gold Mine Thrift Store

The Gold Mine Thrift Store in Ketchum may be revered for its affordable used skiwear, but the bargains also extend into furniture, decor, art, electronics, and books. Speaking of the latter, the Sun Valley shop actually originated in 1955 to help establish the local privately-supported Community Library. Today, profits from the thrift shop’s donated items account for over 45 percent of the library’s overall funding, including for programs and events. As does the corresponding Gold Mine Consign, founded in 2013 to promote “consignment with a cause” and a more tailored shopping experience for various high-end pieces. “Moreover, we are a critical hub for both the local and tourist communities,” adds managing director Craig Barry. “Normally we see over 225,000 customers a year.”

13. Illinois: Brown Elephant

Nominated for Best Retail Shop by the Chicago Reader, Brown Elephant comes highly praised from Apartment Therapy readers and staff — and with good reason. It’s an offshoot of Howard Brown Health, a Chicago-specific org dedicated to aiding the LGBTQ+ community, including those who are uninsured or under-insured. That means every penny spent at the Lakeview, Anderson, or Oak Park locations helps fund expert healthcare services. And if I could award one thrift shop across the board as “Most Eclectic,” Brown Elephant is a definite top contender. That superlative shines with off-the-wall oddities like a Chia Mr. T. (yes, you can watch his mohawk grow), a blue early 2000s Mac computer, the baby-doll-infused lamp shown above, and more that you really have to see to believe.

14. Indiana: Practically Perfect

Practically Perfect in South Bend feels like taking a tour through grandma’s attic, and I mean that in the best way possible. Advertising “furnishings, collectibles, and more,” the thrift store welcomes antique and vintage items with a traditional flair, as well as decor, lighting, and art — all at incredibly affordable prices. That’s especially true of the gently-used furniture selection, for which the shop accepts consignments or buy-outs. Inventory from local vendors also fills a majority of booths at the University of Notre Dame-adjacent location, where you may just be lucky enough to hit one of their back-by-popular-demand Blue Basket Sales (pay $5, any non-vendor item that fits in a basket is yours).

15. Iowa: The Picker Knows

Come for the cheeky store name, stay for the all-over-the-place acquisitions at The Picker Knows (pause for play-on-words appreciation). The quirky Des Moines spot gets its claim to fame as one of Iowa’s largest antique malls, residing in a 35,000-square-foot former grocery store. Here, over 400 vendors sell anything from “baseball cards to old records and everything in between,” according to their website. Clothing collectors can also check out the newly-launched (and very Insta-worthy) vintage apparel store-within-a-store. Combining all things retro, traditional, and just plain cool, the shop has a didn’t-know-you-needed piece for every thrifter. They host occasional after-hours events, too, like Sip ‘N’ Shop or a fun Halloween-time “Late Nite by Lamp Lite” happening.

16. Kansas: Owls Nest Topeka Antique Mall and Flea Market

Owls Nest Topeka Antique Mall and Flea Market takes pride in maintaining “competitive booth rates” and an overall “clean, welcoming and fun environment,” according to its Facebook page. Also worth noting, it’s the largest indoor antique mall and flea market in Topeka, with two local locations. Endorsed by an Apartment Therapy reader, the stay-for-hours secondhand shop caters to the community with fair pricing (plus intermittent sales), uniquely-designed vendor stalls, friendly staff, and constantly-changing inventory — including, but not limited to, nostalgic knick knacks, well-kept furniture, and used sports gear (go Chiefs!).

17. Kentucky: Fleur de Flea

Hailing from my very own hometown, Louisville’s Fleur de Flea in the historic Paristown area defines itself as a “vintage urban market.” It’s basically a 35,000-square-foot playground for mid-century modern enthusiasts and thrifters alike. Over 150 distinct local vendors and collectors source “all things old and wonderful,” like rare vinyl, cool secondhand apparel, and — most notably — impeccably curated furniture. I recently visited the store in-person and spotted the burl wood bookcase, Noguchi coffee table lookalike, and floral-printed sofa of my vintage-loving dreams. Toss in a stellar playlist and weekend “pop-up” bar (read: shopping with mimosas), and this is arguably the best spot in the city to spend a Saturday.

Post Image

Credit: The Market at Circa 1857

18. Louisiana: The Market at Circa 1857

Shopping editor Britt Franklin adores The Market at Circa 1857: “They had a really fun Candy Land art piece in there a while back,” she says. “It’s cool to visit.” Said piece (shown above) unfortunately sold, but there’s plenty more eccentric offerings where that came from. In fact, the Baton Rouge business, which bills itself as “not your average antique store,” expertly marries classic with a hint of quirk. Promoting “antiques, vintage finds, oddities, and curiosities,” owner Garrett Kemp dabbles in timeless dressers and desks, plus playful vintage art and accessories. Above all, the store emphasizes shopping locally (and sustainably) for long-lasting, affordable reused treasures.

19. Maine: Big Chicken Barn Books and Antiques

Modern collectors and literary lovers flock to Big Chicken Barn Books and Antiques in Ellsworth, Maine. In fact, it actually doubles as the state’s largest book store, where you’ll come across first editions, rare novels, vintage magazines, and paper antiques galore — 150,000, to be exact. Stationed out of a 21,600-square-foot barn (because of course), the antique-filled bottom floor also feels like a giant nod to yesteryear with a lengthy list of intriguing merchandise options. It’s a hotspot for travelers off the Rural Route 1 countryside, and a real come-stay-awhile kind of spot: there’s free coffee, tea, and hot chocolate served year-round, plus chairs and couches throughout for peak reading coziness.

20. Maryland: Community Forklift

Nonprofit Community Forklift has a two-fold goal: reducing construction waste and making renovations more affordable across the D.C. area. That goes for homeowners, business owners, and everyone in between, who can count on the Hyattsville-based nonprofit for low-cost salvaged materials — including tile, lumber, and hardware — donated from nearby building and supply companies. Since 2005, this circular system has diverted an estimated $45 million of waste away from landfills and serviced over 20,000 community members. And beyond B&A necessities, the Community Forklift reuse warehouse also stocks impressive pre-owned furniture, home decor, and lighting, some of which you can browse via their eBay page or online marketplace.

Post Image

Credit: Crompton Collective

21. Massachusetts: Crompton Collective

Worcester’s largest antique and artisan shop, Crompton Collective, comes highly praised by not one, but two Apartment Therapy editors. The self-proclaimed “curated boutique marketplace” was founded in 2012 to “celebrate our local independent makers, home goods, and our love of vintage things,” its website notes. Every purchase — be it a vintage mirror or antique platter — in turn, supports the 70 in-house sellers and local creative community overall. The home decor hotspot’s become so popular, in fact, that there’s a lengthy waitlist just to secure a vendor booth.

22. Michigan: Pathway Market

Pathway Market is the thrift store by-product of Marne, Michigan-based moving company Pathway, which provides support and physical labor for seniors. The shop itself then sells any unwanted furniture or decor from these clients, on consignment, in hopes of reusing or recycling as much as possible. Based out of a former church, it’s “essentially a never-ending 6-day-a-week estate sale,” according to the brand’s “About” page — ripe with furniture, books, mirrors, glassware, china, and art. Not living in Michigan? No problem, Pathway Market has online shopping ops on both Etsy and eBay, as well.

Post Image

Credit: SouthSide Vintage & Quality Goods

23. Minnesota: SouthSide Vintage & Quality Goods

Husband and wife Chris and Susan Donnelly sure know how to (hand)pick ’em — the pair operates SouthSide Vintage & Quality Goods, a highly-curated, but reasonably-priced shop in Minneapolis. The “two-person passion project,” as Susan calls it, is currently open every other weekend, but that’s strategic, giving her more time to carefully source modern pieces. And thanks to her background in art direction and photo styling, the store also has an especially cozy, lived-in feel, with thoughtfully-arranged vignettes resembling real rooms. Get your 20th century furniture (or decor) fix among bookshelves, dining room sets, coffee tables, and beyond, which the Donnellys restore, refresh, and polish themselves.

24. Mississippi: Repeat Street

Mississippi Magazine readers have voted Repeat Street in Ridgeland as one of the top local resale/consignment shops. Stop by the sizable sales floor and it’s easy to see why — be it (indoor and outdoor) furniture or home decor, there’s no shortage of next-level, affordable finds for every interior palette. The premier shopping spot even cycles through a whopping 3,000 items every week, on average, so the selection’s never sparse. Or dull, for that matter, with vintage roller skates here, an old gold cash register there.

25. Missouri: The Green Shag Market

Prepare for love at first walk-through within The Green Shag Market, a weekends-only St. Louis antique and vintage mall. Here, more than 60 leased, well-designed booths offer a medley of used mid-century modern furniture, retro decor, and one-of-a-kind collectibles — both high-end and budget-friendly, but mostly inexpensive overall. Vendors of all varieties are welcomed, to keep the eclectic inventory intact overall. And an online “wish list” form also influences potential pieces, which interested shoppers can fill out with a desired description and price range.

26. Montana: Circle Squared Second Hand

Opened in 1969, Circle Square Second Hand in Missoula, Montana, is well-known for its storefront mannequin (affectionately named Gladys) and original “We buy anything” sign still intact. That advertising may not be 100 percent true today — and actually can’t be painted over, thanks to the building’s National Historic Register Designation — but current proprietor John Baker still buys, sells, or trades a lot of cool used wares. Currently in demand? The list ranges from vintage stereo gear and acoustic instruments to coffee tables and cast-iron cookware.

27. Nebraska: Home and Closet Vintage

A Nebraska-based brick-and-mortar shop since 2012, Home and Closet Vintage has recently gone online-only. Don’t worry, though, the easy-to-navigate e-commerce platform features in-depth photos, descriptions, and a rating system to document each vintage piece’s condition. Quality runs high, prices run low, and everything’s neatly categorized by style. That includes the site’s custom upholstery section, which sells upcycled, re-covered furnishings all made in-house. New additions get added weekly, but sold-out inventory also stays on the site to archive past collections. And the best part? Items deliver free to Omaha, Lincoln, or Kansas City, plus the rest of the country if they weigh less than 20 pounds. Anything heavier can still ship outside the area, just with a freight delivery fee.

Post Image

Credit: House of Bargains Las Vegas

28. Nevada: House of Bargains Las Vegas

Thrift and consignment store hybrid House of Bargains Las Vegas declares itself one of the “best bargain deals in town.” Their affordable secondhand furniture specifically packs the most notable punch: Here, one can easily score a set of four high-quality dining chairs for $50, or an ornate used coffee table for $180. I even came across an excellent-condition Schwinn Clairmont Beach Cruiser from their Facebook page. Reviewers also rave about the location’s friendly customer service, which coincides with the store’s goal to “make you feel like family.”

29. New Hampshire: The Consignment Gallery

If you’re ever in the Bedford area, make a point to visit The Consignment Gallery, New Hampshire’s largest consignment shop. Native Vicki Reynolds, a pioneer in the community’s resale movement, originally founded the establishment in 1987 with her husband, Frank. More than three decades later, current owners Ryan and Ashley Reynolds — plus their two furry sales associates — have upheld her sustainable legacy via their 12,000-square-foot solar-powered retail space. The spot’s well-revered for accepting the highest-quality pre-owned pieces, which the team fairly prices and arranges into design-savvy displays.

Post Image

Credit: Flux Modern

30. New Jersey: Flux Modern

Danish teak hutches, retro bar carts, and (printed!) Eames-style loungers await you at the epically-curated Flux Modern — an absolute gold mine for vintage furniture connoisseurs and beloved by AT’s executive home director. Owned by husband-and-wife duo Drew and Danielle Levinson, the Asbury Park location resembles more “Mad Men” set than store, hitting on just about every mid-century modern staple imaginable. Their reach extends beyond the Jersey area, too, with shoppable Instagram inventory that also delivers to nearby New York City and Philly. The collection’s constantly “in Flux,” though, so not every available piece makes it online (hint: check out the store IRL).

31. New Mexico: Double Take

Fun fact: Santa Fe consignment store Double Take functions out of the first Coca Cola plant. Equally as fun? The varied in-store offerings — you’re just as likely to secure a one-of-a-kind piece of Native American art as you are a decorative table lamp. The southwestern destination, which has been merging “retail with resale” for 35 years, also has an equally on-point pottery selection. Local Santa Fe Pottery joined the Double Take portfolio in 2005, alongside a handful of other nationally-recognized artists. It’s all designed with functionality in mind, meaning your hunt for unique baking dishes and bowls ends here.

Post Image

Credit: Dobbin Street Vintage Co-op

32. New York: Dobbin Street Vintage Co-op

After meeting at the Brooklyn Flea market, a group of five vendors teamed up in 2018 to establish Dobbin Street Vintage Co-op (one of my very own favorites, along with several AT staffers). A true collective, its founders all share equal ownership and management of both vintage store locations: one in Williamsburg, another in Greenpoint. That means quintuple the inventory, with new merchandise rolling in on an almost daily basis — some of which gets shared (and directly purchased) via their 82,800-follower Instagram page. “Our goal is (and always has been) to offer budget friendly vintage pieces in a casual and ever changing environment, and we consider ourselves very lucky to have such an active following both in store and on Instagram,” adds Courtney, one co-owner.

Post Image

Credit: Father and Son Antiques

33. North Carolina: Father and Son Antiques

Raleigh’s first mid-century modern shop, Father and Son Antiques has been buying and selling vintage furniture, clothing, and records since 1997. Pay a visit to the Warehouse District location and you can potentially walk out with a new teak vanity, walnut credenza, and/or rattan rocking chair, just to note a few highly sought-after highlights. And although the vintage store specializes in furnishings from the 1950’s-1970’s specifically, there’s plenty to appease any ’80s Memphis-style design fans, as well. Overall, the selection’s equal parts kitschy and cool, blending Dr. Pepper-shaped radios and old-school Rolling Stones/Budweiser cutouts with stylish secondhand Danish decor and original abstract artwork created by the store’s founder.

Post Image

Credit: mNm Mercantile

34. North Dakota: mNm Mercantile

In 2014, Mysti Marie bought the historical Reeves building — a former consignment store — in Beach, North Dakota and established mNm Mercantile. Since then, she’s worked hard to preserve the building and grow an affordable community thrift shop, even renovating the entire space into booths for rent. “Currently I have over 36 vendors (still growing), and have everything in the store from antiques and vintage items to collectibles, handmade items, soap, candles, t-shirts and still take donations for people,” explains Marie. She also stays on the lookout for auctions and unique recyclable pieces. That’s largely what you’ll find in the store’s basement “DIY” area that’s dedicated to salvaged windows, old doors, headboards, and more.

Post Image

Credit: The Bomb Shelter

35. Ohio: The Bomb Shelter

Of all 50 states, Ohio saw the most reader recommendations hands-down. One spot in Akron unanimously tallied the majority vote, though: The Bomb Shelter. Described by one nominee via Facebook as the equivalent of “walking into a giant time capsule,” this retro thrift store has been preserving vintage pieces for resale since 2011. The building itself resembles a bunker frozen in mid-century time, filled with movie-set-worthy vinyl records, apparel, and furniture from 1950-1980 (giant green sea creature statue and all). In addition to treasures like an Elvis table lamp or orange Malm-style fireplace, there’s also a surprising assemblage of old-school garage memorabilia (oil cans, hubcaps, etc.), hardware, and cameras. True to form, they’ve even got you covered with bygone Civil Defense supplies.

36. Oklahoma: FaithWorks of the Inner City

FaithWorks of the Inner City, an Oklahoma City nonprofit dedicated to supporting inner-city children and their families, established a thrift store extension in 2013. Dubbed the Shidler-Wheeler Community Thrift Store, the “re-sale project” partners with the local Shidler Elementary School to raise funds for the community-focused organization. The shop, in turn, establishes job opportunities for local teenagers and adults. Furniture, household, appliances, and toy donations are all accepted, plus inspected before getting debuted in the showroom. Tune into their Facebook page for the most up-to-date inventory updates and potential sale announcements.

37. Oregon: Village Merchants

Village Merchants calls itself as Portland’s “friendly, neighborhood resale shop.” Open daily from 11-6, the location promotes the buying, selling, and trading of unwanted goods for reuse. Whether you’re itching to explore their varied, well-priced in-store selection or to give some of your own furnishings a new home, they make it easy to keep up the circuital, sustainable shopping cycle. Local artists get a spotlight, too, with Village Merchants offering to consign any original, handmade pieces. Moral of the story, expect the unexpected here.

Post Image

Credit: Philly AIDS Thrift

38. Pennsylvania: Philly AIDS Thrift

Ever wondered where you could find a 1962 Barbie case, vintage brass eagle bookends, and an antique dress form, all under one roof? Enter Philly AIDS Thrift, a Philadelphia non-profit business with a mission to “sell the lovely, useful, interesting, amusing, and sometimes mysterious items” in their store while benefiting the fight against HIV/AIDS. Supported by community donations and volunteers, the thrift shop distributes its proceeds to local HIV service organizations — most frequently the AIDS Fund — and even recently established their own annual special grants program. To date, they’ve raised over $3 million in donations.

Post Image

Credit: Rhode Island Antiques Mall

39. Rhode Island: Rhode Island Antiques Mall

Lucky for anyone in the Pawtucket area, Rhode Island Antiques Mall stays open 362 days a year. Yep, they’re only closed only on July 4, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. It’s founded by Rae and Scott Davis, who went antiquing on their first date in 1983 and the rest, as they say, was history. Since 2007, the spot’s perfected a happy medium between feeling “not too flea-markety,” and “not too hoity-toity,” per their website, with over 200 carefully-selected local vendors — including professional estate liquidators and hundreds of nearby consignors. Conveniently located off the I-95, it’s a wealth of secondhand wonders (timeless, modern, and everything in between) for any budget.

Post Image

Credit: Warehouse 61

40. South Carolina: Warehouse 61

Formerly The Island Bazaar, upscale vintage store Warehouse 61 is the recent merging of two Charleston design minds: Joanna White and Paul Harris. The pair knew they could “bring about a unique design and shopping experience” with their newly-opened spot, which carries “anything finely curated,” says Harris. Headquartered in — you guessed it — a local warehouse, the 10,000-square-foot space checks all the boxes with stylish secondhand art, antiques, textiles, and coveted 20th century furnishings (a moment of recognition for this 1960s Shigeru Uchida chair).

Post Image

Credit: Urban Archaeology

41. South Dakota: Urban Archaeology

Family-owned business Urban Archaeology takes sourcing secondhand items very seriously, whether that’s by “climbing through abandoned buildings, scouring neighborhood rummages, or keeping it cool on the auction floor,” the store’s website notes. These decades-long searching efforts have more than paid off, as seen in their downtown Sioux Falls brick-and-mortar location where once-discarded fixtures get a second shelf life. Here, swoon-worthy vintage furniture and housewares are abundant, but their extensive mid-century modern art collection deserves equal recognition.

42. Tennessee: Savant Vintage

You know Savant Vintage is good if it’s managed to lure in the likes of Taylor Swift, Jack White, and Lenny Kravitz. Conveniently located in Nashville’s bustling 12South neighborhood, the celebrity-approved destination reigns supreme in its vintage clothing and home picks. Harley-Davidson tees meet printed throw pillows, and an elk antler chandelier peeks out over fringed jackets. The store selections — which skew slightly Americana and western-inspired — sometimes spill out into the front parking lot area, too, so it’s practically inexcusable to not stop and browse.

43. Texas: Ross at Peak Thrift Shop

Reader recommendation Ross at Peak Thrift Shop in Dallas has you covered for your next big interior conversation piece — whether it’s brightly-colored accent chairs, cool retro dining sets, vintage desks, or the many more recycled entities you never knew your home had been missing. The shop focuses primarily on furniture, but you’ll see some smaller used knickknacks and accents scattered floor to ceiling, too. Since May 2020, it’s also been operating out of a new, very well-stocked storefront with more accessible parking options for easily transporting any need-to-buys.

Post Image

Credit: Utah

44. Utah: Somebody’s Attic

Utah nonprofit Somebody’s Attic posits itself as “a secondhand store with a first rate cause.” That ethos shows in the donations-based thrift boutique’s philanthropic business model, which funnels 100 percent of its net revenues to two local abuse-prevention organizations — Citizens Against Physical and Sexual Abuse (CAPSA) and The Family Place. Last year alone, the locations in both downtown Logan and Smithfield raised $150,000. Sift through a selection of discounted gently-used clothing and home goods, or shop monthly silent auctions on “special and unique items,” which you can view from the storefront windows and bid on inside.

Post Image

Credit: Haven

45. Vermont: Haven

Rooted in sustainability, Haven stocks strictly vintage furniture and housewares as an alternative to mass manufacturing. “I’m doing my best to create a shop where people will feel confident they can find something to fill their space that is sourced in a more environmentally sound way,” explains founder Maggie Gray, an avid thrifter herself. That’s reflected in the St. Johnsbury-based store, filled with beautiful design-forward pieces aplenty, but also in the reasonable product pricing. As a solution to keep costs low and more attainable, Gray implemented a voluntary “tipping” option at checkout so anyone can pay a slightly higher price point — but only if they have the desire or means. Pro tip: check out Haven’s e-commerce platform, too, for a firsthand look at the very cool offerings (we’re talking a $60 cane Cesca chair!), some available to ship. Oh, and the business is dedicated to using low-waste, eco-friendly packaging wherever possible.

Post Image

Credit: Circa

46. Virginia: Circa

Family-operated business Circa in Charlottesville has “about 10,000 square feet of space filled to the brim with an eclectic mix of antiques, vintage, retro, and some just plain weird stuff,” explains Robin Slaats, daughter of founder Jackie Binder. The store employs a close-knit team of trained buyers, who handpick the ever-changing inventory via auctions or locals looking to sell. Quality’s also a major priority, with a “Circa Standard” in place to clean and repair each piece as necessary before it hits the showroom. Turnover’s fast, but new items pop up daily and attract anyone from “young, hip millennials to little old ladies who lunch,” adds Slaats.

Post Image

Credit: Ballard Consignment

47. Washington: Ballard Consignment

Deemed the #1 largest consignment store in Seattle, Ballard Consignment lives up to its rank with 30,000 square feet of like-new home treasures. The shop offers consignment on pieces both big and small, but with an impressively of-the-moment inventory. Think used boucle seating, faux cowhide pillows, and modern coffee table silhouettes — some even stemming from high-end retailers like CB2 or West Elm, but at a reduced price. There’s a bit of old-school mixed in, too, via unique wall art, tchotchkes, and barware.

Post Image

Credit: Unique Consignment

48. West Virginia: Unique Consignment

Unique Consignment in Morgantown, West Virginia, abides by the tagline “price is a minimum; quality is a maximum; and style is a must.” This high-end consignment store also vows to never show “the same store twice,” devoted an ever-changing supply and new daily items. Above all, it’s a redecorator’s paradise for perusing gently-used furniture and accessories in stellar condition and price ranges. On the other hand, they make it easy to consign your own no-longer-needed home pieces, as well. Oh, and I’d be completely remiss not to mention the official mascot and well-trained salesdog, Thumper, whose friendly face might make an appearance during your visit to the 3,500-square-foot space (major incentive, no?).

49. Wisconsin: Odana Antiques & Fine Arts

What do you get when you combine 30,000 square feet, 125 vendors, and 22,873 different antique items? Odana Antiques & Fine Arts in Madison, a favorite of Apartment Therapy’s projects director, Megan Baker, for its particularly all-over-the-place style. Seriously, they’ve got old postcards, tulip tables, wrought-iron music stands, 1930s toy horses, holiday decorations — the list goes on and on. The 16-year-old store covers just about all the major style players, from mid-century modern to art deco to Victorian to shabby-chic. It also takes pride in its frequent front display switch-ups, where you’re prone to come across a sea-themed vignette one month and a funky furniture setup the next.

Post Image

Credit: Ruby’s on Grand

50. Wyoming: Ruby’s on Grand

With decades of vintage hunting under her belt, expert thrifter Connie Quick founded Ruby’s on Grand in historic downtown Laramie, Wyoming. Her sunny storefront houses findings from across the American west, specifically fibers, kitchenware, and — naturally — all things western. It’s an artfully-displayed tribute to cowboy styles, retro glassware, reclaimed vintage tins, and unique art, among many others. Oh, and plants. Lots and lots of plants.

This post is part of our Thrifting Package, a celebration of all things secondhand. Head over here to read more about everything from how to restore a thrifted item to the best thrift shops in the U.S.

Blair Donovan

Shopping Editor, Style

Blair is Apartment Therapy’s Style Shopping Editor, where she covers the latest brand launches, need-to-buys, and anything related to her two unofficial beats — cane and rattan. Whenever she’s not perusing for the latest home finds (a rarity), you’ll probably find her reading, watching a horror film, or on the hunt for the best tacos in New York (recs are encouraged).

Follow Blair
A Guide to Digital Thrifting

A Guide to Digital Thrifting

We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission.

So you want to secondhand shop from the comfort of your couch? Then fire up your phone or computer to unlock a seemingly unlimited supply of furnishings, furniture, and more without any borders — other than the ones you want to set by location, price, size, or design style. You can easily get overwhelmed, fall down a rabbit hole, or worse, get beat to the punch every time you try to make a purchase while online thrifting and vintage treasure hunting, so it’s a good idea to adopt a shopping strategy.

Shopping sight unseen for home decor has its challenges, particularly when it comes to pre-loved, pre-used items. Let’s get the basics out of the way: scale is important and hard to assess from photos, so pay attention to measurements and ask for dimensions if they aren’t listed. Scrutinize product images so you can get a sense of something’s condition, and request close-up shots if you want them to assess any damages, dings, or scratches. Look into local pickup for items to save money on shipping, and shop around so you’re aware of the going rates for different items. Ask questions, and be aware of return policies; many online secondhand stores or resale marketplaces either don’t allow returns, have stringent return windows, or will charge you return shipping costs and/or restocking fees if they take things back.

All those hurdles aside, tailoring your approach by platform will help you really up your online shopping game. That’s where the expertise of pros comes into play. With advice from thrifting pros, savvy sellers, and big brand insiders, you can unlock your best furnished space yet, all without ever leaving your home!

Open up Instagram, and you’ll instantly have secondhand sellers and even brick-and-mortar thrift stores galore at your fingertips. Follow the local places you like to frequent in real life, if they have accounts, and set up alerts for your favorite handles. That way, you’ll get a heads-up when new merchandise drops. Some vendors even have certain releases tied to particular days and times, so you might find it handy to set reminders on your phone calendar for an extra nudge. Additionally, sellers often post new inventory on their feeds and in Instagram Stories prior to it being available in store; some items may never make it onto the sales floor, if someone reaches out via the app, ready to pay for a piece. So be prepared to move fast when something catches your eye, whether a given seller has a store in real life or not.

Purchasing doesn’t always take place in-app; you may be redirected to a seller’s website or another platform, or a vendor may ask that you Venmo, Paypal, or otherwise send payment to secure your item before you have it in hand. Do your due diligence here; if something feels off in your communication with a seller, it might not be worth the risk. Plenty of vintage vendors have Instagram-only businesses though, so it’s not a bad sign if a given person doesn’t have a brick-and-mortar shop or a fancy website behind their handle. It’s always worth a beat to google someone though to look out for any red flags.

One way to stand out in a sea of Instagram shoppers? Reach out to a seller to introduce yourself in direct messages. “I have built such lovely relationships with folks that have followed the shop from the start — who have DM’d, shared photos, etc.,” says Dana Curatolo, founder and curator of Instagram vintage shop Archive. “It just means we maintain relationships; they follow along sourcing trips, ask questions, and often get insights on what collections may be coming down the pike.” It’s also worth avowing your love for a certain popular piece or era of merchandise to a seller — vintage portraits, mid-century furniture, as examples — even if your dream object has already “sold.” Vendors are typically democratic, says Curatolo, keeping a waitlist in case payment for an item isn’t fulfilled and moving down that list for a replacement buyer. In the future, knowing your preferences and serious intent to buy, a seller could also come straight to you with a new acquisition you’d want ever before listing it.

Don’t be shy about asking for bundle discounts either. “I’ve done this many times before, after clients stumbled upon the ‘available’ story on our page and found some additional pieces that tickled their fancy,” says Curatolo. Sellers often have more available beyond their grids, so make sure you’re checking their full page for inventory.

You can certainly follow sellers beyond your geographic location, too, which ups your odds of finding gems at lower prices, particularly if you choose a less competitive market for vintage buying and selling. Shipping isn’t always a viable option, but if you make your own accommodations, vendors might be willing to deal with the slight inconvenience of selling to someone out of the area. “Shipping can be a total buzzkill when it comes to larger items, like furniture,” says Virginia Chamlee, a Florida-based artist, secondhand shopping expert, and author of the forthcoming book, “Big Thrift Energy: The Art and Thrill of Finding Vintage Treasures-Plus Tips for Making Old Feel New,” coming out this July. “Fortunately, there are options aside from white-glove services (which can run $500 and above for even a small table). uShip is kind of like Uber for freight shipping and connects you to drivers with empty trailer space who might be passing through your area.” Chamlee says uShip is generally pretty cost-effective and could be the key to snagging — and obtaining — a killer find out of state.

It’s amazing what you can find on Facebook Marketplace, from authentic mid-century furniture to more recently released products from home stores like West Elm or CB2. The prices tend to be fairly good, but the pool of shoppers is far-reaching and competitive. To score the most coveted items, Yulie Kwon Kim, vice president of product at Meta leading commerce efforts across the Facebook app, suggests searching often and reaching out to a seller the second you see something that catches your eye. It’s all about standing out with your communication. “Since sellers with popular items might receive many inquiries, start with a personalized upfront message,” says Kim. “For example, ‘I love your item! Can you give me a few dates/times that could work for pickup?’” Take the time to view a seller’s commerce profile to see what else they have available. If you like the overall style of a seller’s merchandise, follow them so you’ll be alerted when they list additional items.

Other than setting aside time to browse daily, which can help the algorithm learn your preferences and aesthetic, and being proactive but respectful in conversing with sellers, much of the luck with Facebook Marketplace comes down to the process of searching. Certain strategies can give you a leg-up in the hunt. First, consider what you’re looking for and set up filters for the most logical way to shop that item. “If you’re looking for a large piece of furniture, you may want to see what’s for sale nearby,” says Kim. “But if you’re looking for smaller accents, like decorative trays or books, you might consider filtering by items available for shipping.” Whatever you choose, play with the filters regularly; broaden your radius to see more items. 

The savviest Facebook Marketplace shoppers also know to save their searches, which leads to notifications when new items that meet your search criteria get listed. The best searching hack of all, though? Be broad with your search terms. “This runs counter to most of the tips you’ll see about online shopping, which advise you to be as specific as possible to narrow your search,” says Chamlee. “I actually find the opposite is the best way to find a great deal on a special piece. If you use hyper-specific terms to search — say, ‘Vladimir Kagan Serpentine Sofa’ — you might find exactly what you’re looking for, but the seller will know exactly what it is and it will be priced accordingly.” Try searching with broader descriptors like “curved couch” instead, and according to Chamlee, “you could find an amazing piece at a steal, from someone who is simply looking to make room for something new, rather than make a profit.” It’s a proven strategy: Chamlee herself once found a Goyard Trunk for $90 that was just labeled “old trunk.” 

Kim agrees and also suggests searching with synonyms to find mislabeled items that could be falling through the cracks. “Many vintage items are passed down, and the seller may not know a lot about the item or how to describe it,” says Kim. “Try searching synonyms or layman’s terms for the item. For example, when looking for a table with a pink marble top, search ‘stone top’ or ‘granite top’ in case sellers misidentified their table.”

Lastly, don’t forget to pop into your local Facebook Buy and Sell Groups to scout for potential product leads. “If you’re searching for something specific, like a vintage camera or typewriter, or mid-century modern furniture, there might be an interest-based community filled with people who are interested in buying and selling the same thing,” says Kim. Reach out, and you just might score your new favorite piece. 

If you’re not already acquainted with Chairish, then you’re missing out on a ton of premier merchandise, all centered on designer-approved vintage and unique antique finds for the home. Many Chairish sellers are seasoned pro dealers though, so keep in mind that prices can reflect that. With such a plethora of offerings, it’s easy to get overwhelmed in the search process. Noel Fahden Briceño, vice president of merchandising at Chairish, recommends kicking off every Chairish shopping session in the “New Arrivals” section, where you’ll find the latest and the greatest items. While the bulk of merchandise on the site is pre-owned and vintage, you will see newer pieces and artwork, too.

As a marketplace, curation is a point of distinction for Chairish, and the most successful shoppers on this platform have learned to leverage the site’s hand-selected collections, which also get updated frequently with new additions. The theme of these collection pages run the gamut, from “Affordable Vintage,” where every item is less than $500, to “Direct from Europe,” an assortment of one-of-a-kind pieces from European sellers. Fahden Briceño suggests exploring these collections and bookmarking the ones that resonate you for ease in browsing, since they get updated regularly.

To streamline your shopping experience further, you’ll want to use the tool bar on the left hand side of the collection pages. “Simply use the sidebar to narrow down your query by style and price,” says Fahden Briceño. “You can dig even deeper by narrowing down by size, color, quantity, and location.”

Finally, Fahden Briceño also offers a word of advice on pricing, the elephant in the room when it comes to any kind of vintage shopping. “In the vintage world, there’s a lot of guesswork around what an item is worth,” she says. “Chairish offers a free resource to solve this exact problem. It’s called The Chairish Pink Book.” The Chairish Pink Book shares real-time selling prices for all items to help educate buyers and sellers on accurate pricing. “Simply type in a quick description of the item, and The Pink Book will show you what similar items have sold for on Chairish,” says Fahden Briceño. This kind of resource helps with transparency when it comes to cost, and you can use these figures as a baseline for any type of secondhand shopping.

Other marketplaces like Etsy, eBay, Mercari, and Poshmark

Like with Facebook Marketplace and Instagram, Chamlee suggests reaching out to sellers directly on other popular marketplaces when an item catches your eye, even if it’s unclear whether the listing is still active. “If you find something really great at an online marketplace like Mercari or eBay, message the sellers and see if they have anything similar,” says Chamlee. “You could get lucky and find they have an entire collection of special pieces.” Shawn Peters, the owner of an Etsy vintage store, compostthis, agrees. “Etsy sellers have done their research, and we’re here to help you with any questions you may have about the products we offer,” says Peters. “I help customers with questions ranging from shipping costs to production dates to artist information — and that’s what we’re here for, so don’t be afraid to shoot us a message.”

On Etsy, going broad with your searching actually isn’t the best technique. “Etsy sellers use tags on each of their listings to make it easier for shoppers to find what they’re looking for, and I always suggest being as specific as possible when navigating the platform,” says Peters. “Using search terms like ‘mid-century’ will get you a lot of hits, but narrowing it down to ‘mid-century ceramic table lamp’ will lend you more specific results.” 

Like other platforms though, search filters are key for finding diamonds in the rough. “Etsy allows you to narrow your search using specific filters ensuring the results you see are what you are looking for,” says Peters. “These include designating between handmade and vintage, sale items and free shipping, design style and even price range.” Because Etsy in particular has so many brand new, handcrafted items, using the “vintage” filter may be the most useful thrifting technique of all. Just be sure to investigate what you’re buying before you pull the trigger; it’s easy for a vendor to mistakenly tag “vintage” or to occasionally mis-categorize something, but usually it’s just an honest mistake and could happen on any platform.

Often the choice marketplace of decorators and serious dealers, 1stDibs specializes in rare finds, high-end designer pieces, and even blue chip artwork. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give shopping on this site a whirl; you never know what you’ll find amongst the million-plus beautiful objects available. Because 1stDibs’ inventory cuts across a bunch of different categories, including fashion and jewelry, you’ll again want to use filters to tailor browsing to your needs and wants. “You can shop by price (lowest to highest, or highest to lowest — but how many of us mortals click on the latter?), by dimension, by period,” says Anthony Barzilay Freund, editorial director and director of fine art at 1stDibs. “You’ll be surprised how quickly you can narrow down a very large search to a realistic number by smart filtering.”

For best results, Freund also advises honing in on a furnishings period that really resonates with you and your home style. “Focus on a particular era to help refine your search,” he says. “If you know you love Art Deco but can’t relate to Art Nouveau, then filter to the style — or styles — that appeal to you most.”

Education and curation are also important aspects of the 1stDibs experience, so let the site do that work for you when shopping. To that end, you can visit 1stDibs’ in-house digital magazine, Introspective, which spotlights established and up-and-coming talent in the world of design. “At the end of each profile, the designer ‘shops’ the site for roughly a half dozen things they covet — and then shares a sentence or two on why they love the piece or how they’d deploy it in a room,” says Freund. “When knowledgeable tastemakers share what turns them on and the reasons why, it can shine a clarifying spotlight on material culture.” You can sign up for alerts for Introspective, too, if you enjoy geeking out on the vintage market, want to learn more, and have first access to pro picks.

1stDibs also taps their network of dealers for similar inventory spotlights. “Interior designers have higher profiles, but it’s the dealers who can be the real tastemakers and scholars,” says Freund. “There’s nothing more educational than hearing from them in digestible, bite-sized nuggets on history, provenance, materials, condition, and aesthetics.” If a lot of what you see is out of your price range, not to worry. You could always save up for a special piece, and there’s an intrinsic value in learning what you like and how to describe it for pretty much every vintage shopping experience you’ll have in the future, whether in person or online.

This post is part of our Thrifting Package, a celebration of all things secondhand. Head over here to read more about everything from how to restore a thrifted item to the best thrift shops in the U.S.

Danielle Blundell

Home Editor

Danielle Blundell is AT’s Home Director and covers decorating and design. She loves homes, heels, the history of art, and hockey—but not necessarily always in that order.

Follow Danielle
6 Important Things to Look for When Shopping for Secondhand Clothes

6 Important Things to Look for When Shopping for Secondhand Clothes

Whether it’s the thrill of the hunt or to save a bit of money, you may enjoy shopping at thrift stores, consignment shops, and resale websites for secondhand clothes. Not only can you score bargains, but buying pre-loved pieces is kind to the environment and reduces clothing waste.

However, you may be leery of purchasing someone else’s castoffs, and rightfully so, as some pieces may have excessive wear and tear. There are telltale signs you should pass on an article of clothing, but with a bit of searching, you can find exactly what you need. Here are six things to look for when shopping for secondhand clothes

Labels inside of clothing bear weight, especially when purchasing things secondhand. Some fast-fashion brands design trendy pieces to only last a season or two, whereas others produce clothing to stand the test of time. “Brand names help ensure quality,” says Melissa Mazzeo, the co-owner of Merry Go Rounds, a children’s resale clothing company. So look for labels that you already know and have good experiences with.

Plus, you may not be able to splurge on a brand new designer piece, but finding one at a resale shop is much more cost-effective. “Buying brand names secondhand also helps you save a ton of money, and purchasing from a brand you trust makes your decision easier,” Mazzeo adds. Go with labels you trust and would like to include in your wardrobe. No one will ever know that your brand name pieces are thrifted finds. 

Search for wishlist items.

Buying secondhand can be an adventure, so it’s necessary to be patient, especially if you are looking for a particular item. “Having a clear goal in mind helps you not get overwhelmed with the options offered and makes the experience more enjoyable,” Mazzeo tells Apartment Therapy. Just be aware that it may take a few trips to find exactly what you want in your size. 

Even if you don’t have a specific item on your wishlist, go into a store or look online with an open mind. Mazzeo advises that you should prepare to spend time shopping, including hitting the sales racks and even the men’s section for oversized pieces. “Shopping secondhand means there are gems hidden around the store. You just need the patience to look through the items,” she says. You might not be in the market for a particular piece, but if you find a luxe brand at an attractive price that fits perfectly, you should snag it while you can.

Check several different locations for pieces.

If you’ve never thrifted before, knowing where to begin seems overwhelming. After all, you can shop sites like The RealReal and ThredUp, head to local consignment shops, scour racks at Goodwill, or take your chances at a yard sale or flea market. Of course, you’ll get better deals at garage sales and your Sunday flea. “Major scores from a cost perspective will come at thrift stores (often in higher-end neighborhoods) and flea markets,” advises Stephanie Gisondi-Little, the personal stylist behind Composed Co. With patience and regular visits, you can find unique pieces and the occasional designer gem. 

Although you may pay a bit more, consignment shops and resale websites keep inventory and allow you to shop by size, brand, and article of clothing. So, you may have to search various locations before filling your wardrobe with thrifted pieces. “How to score a major deal? Look across multiple platforms for specific items, and be patient,” says Gisondi-Little. “The internet is a powerful thing in terms of the many outlets available.”

Scrutinize the condition carefully.

Your clothing should be in tip-top condition, especially when purchasing secondhand items. “Rips, tears, holes, and stains are all the obvious things to look for,” says Christine Wang, an avid thrifter who has been buying and selling clothing for over a decade. “You want to look every part of the clothing over well, even the inside of them where there can often be hidden damage.” Other places to check are the base of buttons and the armpit area, both of which can tear easily. 

Gisondi-Little also suggests checking specific locations for staining and pills, which are those tiny balls of lint that collect on knit items. “Definitely check any white shirts for armpit and neck stains and sweaters for pilling under the arms or elsewhere,” she says. Battery-powered fabric shavers and inexpensive and can revive lint-laden pieces in a hurry. Also, check stretchy articles, such as activewear and denim, to ensure no rippling, which occurs when clothing is machine dried frequently.

Smell clothing for funky odors.

The thought of giving someone else’s clothes the sniff test is unappealing, of course. And hopefully whoever donated, consigned, or resold the items gave them a fresh wash before doing so. However, some smells will linger no matter how clean a piece is, so be aware. Smoke, mothballs, and pet odors are complex to get rid of or mask. “One of my pet peeves with used clothing is smelling like smoke,” says Wang. “It can sometimes be hard to get the smell out.”

Of course, a fresh cleaning is necessary for thrifted items, so be prepared to launder or dry clean your pieces to get rid of other scents. “Assume you will clean the garment to release any lingering smells in case the garment was not listed clean or has been in storage for a while,” Gisondi-Little says. If a piece needs to be professionally cleaned, you should factor the cost of cleaning into your overall purchase price.

Be wary of tailored items.

Most articles of clothing aren’t a perfect fit off the rack, and for a good reason. Many clothing companies mass-produce articles for an average body type, meaning that you will need to tailor a garment to fit flawlessly. Therefore, if a piece is tailored for someone else, it may not be a good fit for you. “One thing to always avoid when thrifting is fitted suits,” suggests Jackson Cunningham, the founder of JJ Suspenders. “Although they can be a good deal, they are often made to fit someone’s specific body type — they will never quite fit another person’s body correctly.”

However, if you find an almost-perfect piece, consider having it tailored for your body. Elise Chase-Sinclair, a seamstress and clothing blogger, suggests that some fixes, such as sewing on a button, can be done yourself, whereas other clothing issues require a professional touch. “If you shop secondhand, it’s good to be handy with a needle and thread or take it to someone who is,” she says. Although resale shopping is eco-conscious and frugal, investing in quality pieces made of durable fabric is key, especially if you want them mended or altered.

TikTok’s Simple Hack On How to Save Money While Shopping For Home Décor

TikTok’s Simple Hack On How to Save Money While Shopping For Home Décor

We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission.

When it comes to styling your home, it’s always a good idea to be on the lookout for some cost-cutting tips and tricks. From saving money on your gallery wall to easy money-saving changes that will also make your kitchen a much more sustainable and efficient space, there are plenty of simple ways you can save a couple of dollars while sprucing up your home.

Whether you’re looking for a simple switch up for the season or a full home refresh, one good place for some wallet-friendly hacks is none other than the ultimate social media platform of 2020 and beyond: TikTok.

Mallory Wackerman, a TikTok creator who posts under the username @malwack, shared a money-saving hack that has been viewed almost 350,000 times.

“If you’re shopping for furniture and home decor online, don’t skip this because this hack will save you a bunch of money,” she says in the video which currently has over 60,000 likes.

Wackerman begins by showing a now sold-out lamp from Urban Outfitters retailing at $129.00, letting followers in on a simple but savvy trick to how she bought the same exact lamp for a much cheaper price.

“A lot of furniture retailers actually sell the same exact products so I am going to show you where we can find this [lamp] for cheaper,” she explains.

“The first thing you’re going to want to do is Google a description of the product, and as you can see it’s literally the first thing that comes up on Wayfair,” she continues, showing that for the specific lamp in the example, she has searched “wavy chrome lamp”.

The lamp in question is described as the Glossop Touch Lamp on Wayfair and is priced at $94.99, over $30 cheaper than the same one that is carried at Urban outfitters.

“This is already a lot cheaper than the Urban Outfitters one, but to see where else they sell it, I would save the image, go to Google Images, drag and drop the image, and then it will show you visually similar images,”

“So I purchased the lamp and I got it for $70,” Wackerman concludes before showing a clip of the stunning lamp in her home.

Viewers were extremely grateful for Wackerman’s top dollar-saving tip, flocking to the comments to share their appreciation.

“I hope your pillow is always cold. Thank you.” one person wrote, while another commented: “Girl I’m moving this month and I love you for this!”

The takeaway of Wackerman’s viral video? It’s always better to shop around! From simply searching a description of the product and utilizing Google’s visually similar image tool, she was able to get the lamp for almost half the price of the original product listing.