I recently spent a weekend in Ventura, California, and the main reason I go there is to visit their thrift stores on Main Street. Thrift store shopping has become one of my newest hobbies! From the SPARC Second Chance Store, to the Goodwill, there are so many great thrift stores to visit, a person could get lost in all the bargins found!
If you’re not someone that’s picky about wearing or using items that belonged to someone else, and you like to save money, then walking through rows and rows in any given thrift store could become your new passion as well. When I visited my first thrift store, I still remember how I felt going inside. It was a Goodwill in Hollywood, California, on Sunset Blvd. The first thing I noticed was that the store itself was huge! Rows and rows of used clothes, toys, shoes, kitchen items, books, and even furniture. I didn’t know where to begin looking! But after spending over an hour there, I walked out with two bags of goods, and I had spent under $40.00. I was hooked.
Now, you do have to be careful when shopping at a thrift store. You have to check for stains, missing buttons, tears, or any holes if you’re shopping for clothes. I have found brand new items with tags still on them, which is great, but you will pay a little bit more because it is a new item, but it’s still cheaper than if you went to the mall to but something similar. That said, you can find designer items at some thrift stores. Some may even specialize in carrying designer items. But watch out for fakes. I did buy a fake Louis Vuitton bag once, paid $75 dollars, but it was a cool looking bag and I figured what the heck? (I ended up giving it away, but to someone that loved it). I do have a very large collection of books from many different thrift stores, I have to admit. I’ll get to them someday! And once, I found a lampshade for only $12 dollars, that I originally saw at a Pier One, but they wanted $60 dollars for the exact lampshade! I love it, but I love that I got it for such a bargain price even more!
Another good reason that I like shopping at thrift stores is because it allows me to donate to others in need. I’ll keep a couple items like sweaters or jackets in the truck of my car, and if I’m driving and I see a homeless person that I think can use one, I’ll give it to them. I’ve done this many times, and why not? As long as I can do this, I’ll continue to do it. And since I often find items for only $2 or $4 dollars, I figure it’s the least I can do to try and help others that need a little help.
I do recommend being prepared for thrift store shopping. I make sure to keep a small hand sanitizer in my purse, and maybe some handy wipes. After all, you are touching used items, dozens and dozens of used goods! You may need to have some cash on hand, some thrift stores only accept cash, and the last thing you want is to miss out on that one cool item because you don’t have any cash on you. If you have a purse, bring one that you can sling over your shoulder because you’ll want to have your hands free at all times. Wear comfortable shoes, there’s a lot of walking involved, if you’re doing it right! If you plan on doing a lot of shopping, bring your own bags to carry goods. If you’re looking at furniture, bring a tape measure with you as well. You want to make sure that that bookcase or dining room table is going to fit in the area you are looking for. And ask for what the color of the day is, because often there is a discount given for say items that are marked or tagged with a certain color.
There are so many thrift stores to chose from, you just have to do a little researching, pick a few stores to visit, bring a friend, and I bet you’ll find a few good ones in your area. Do I still shop at the malls, or major department stores, yes. There’s probably some items, if I’m being honest, that I wouldn’t or couldn’t get from a thrift store, but that’s alright. It’s all about variety. Do you or anyone you know shop at thrift stores? I’ll leave a small list below of some of my favorite thrift stores, but it’s only a few!
Goodwill / 404 E. Main St., Ventura, CA 93001
American Cancer Society Discovery Store / 500 N. Victory Blvd, Burbank CA
Assistance League Thrift Shop / 1453-15th St., Santa Monica, CA
Coalition Thrift Store / 270 E. Main St., Ventura, CA