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How To Find The Best Places To Thrift With These 10 Simple Tips

In one of our previous posts, we talked about how to plan ahead for your thrift trip. The next key to thrifting success is knowing your locations. Keep in mind that different people will like different locations and different types of thrift stores.

Some people love a good bargain, others prefer a more curated collection, and some might be in it to find the weirdest, most unique pieces. If you’re just dipping your toes into the world of second-hand fashion, chances are you don’t know yet which type of thrifter you are.

That’s why you should go and try out a lot of different shops. After a while, you’ll have a much clearer idea of what you actually like. But for that to happen, you’ll have to go there and see it for yourself!

Then you can double down on the stores you liked the most, find more shops that are similar, and avoid the rest!

For starters, here are some ideas for where to start looking for your next favorite thrift stores!

1. Get to know your local thrift stores

Your local thrift stores are the ones you’ll be able to visit the most often, so let’s get familiar with them. Even if you don’t live in a fancy neighborhood, you may have a couple of decent shops nearby. It’s practical to check them first before you set out on a trip to the other side of the city, they might just have what you need.

Your local thrift stores are also going to be the ones where you’ll donate your old clothes, so you might as well check them out if you’re already there.

To find thrift stores nearby, just go to Google Maps and search for “thrift stores”, and check out the ones that are within a 15-minute walking distance.

I just did this right now and discovered a new vintage shop I haven’t heard of yet.

So it’s not a bad idea to make this search once or twice a year to see if any new stores have opened nearby.

New stores often have special discounts to get people hooked, so you might be able to score something for incredibly cheap! And if you get hooked forever? That’s not that bad either!

2. Visit the best thrift stores in your city

This might seem obvious, but if you think about it, the best thrift stores got famous for a reason. A lot of people like them so they probably have a great selection and good quality. It’s very likely that you can also find something decent at these places.

Have you been to the best thrift store in your city already? If not, you may be missing out on some awesome thrift finds!

Here are the best thrift stores in cities around the world.*

The Best Thrift Stores By Cities – USA

The Best Thrift Stores By Cities – Canada

The Best Thrift Stores By Cities – Europe

The Best Thrift Stores By Cities – Oceania


*Cities were chosen based on where most of The Pretty Planeteer readers are located. If you notice outdated information (closed stores, address changes, etc.), you can let us know by email (hello@theprettyplaneteer.com).

3. Go to an upscale neighborhood

Go where the wealthy people live to buy the clothes the wealthy people donate. You will find more designer brands in rich neighborhoods’ thrift stores, and generally, the quality of the clothes will also be better.

However, the average prices might also go up in fancy neighborhood thrift shops. But that doesn’t mean you cannot find good deals!

Which are the richest neighborhoods around your city? Look for thrift stores in those areas!

The Richest Neighborhoods To Thrift Around The World:

According to this article, these are some of the wealthiest neighborhoods around the world. If you live near one of these places, you should try shopping for high-end second-hand clothes and furniture here:

  • Kensington, London
  • Upper East Side, New York
  • 16th Arrondissement, Paris
  • Los Altos, California
  • Oud-Zuid, Amsterdam
  • Piper Point, Sydney
  • Fisher Island, Miami

4. Go to an area where you would love to live

Your dream neighborhood is probably full of people who are like you and live a similar lifestyle as you or your dream self. Which means they wear (and donate) the same types of clothes as you.

For example, thrift stores near where the good schools are located have a better selection of kids’ clothes while thrift stores near the financial district stock more suits and business attire.

Big thrift store chains also utilize these demographics when redistributing their clothes. They know exactly where do different types of clothing sell the best.

5. Go to an area that’s known for its thrift stores

Sometimes new thrift stores open next to another already established thrift store in order to seduce some of the old thrift store’s existing customers. As a result of this happening over and over, there are entire streets that get filled with thrift stores. The best example of this is probably Portabello Road in London which is home to more than 25 second-hand clothing and furniture stores.

These streets and neighborhoods are great because you can hit many stores at once. On the other hand, they may feel a bit touristy and crowded.

6. Check the flea market

Flea markets are awesome because there are a lot of average people who just want to get rid of their old clothing and miscellaneous items. They try to sell as many things as possible, and their prices are usually quite low.

There are some professional resellers too, but you won’t be able to get such a good deal on their stuff. You can always try to haggle though, it’s part of the fun!

But flea markets are just fun in general to walk around and look at a random bunch of old items.

If you want to shop for clothes though, you should go as early as possible before the best things are sold. And don’t forget that you won’t have a fitting room at the flea market, so you should wear something tight like leggings and a tank top so you can try on the clothes by layering over them.

7. Garage sales / Estate sales

You can find some cool stuff at garage sales, or the fancier estate sales. You can help a family get rid of unwanted clothes and household items after they’ve Marine Kondo-ed their whole house so they don’t have to throw them away. Their old clothes and valuables might bring you joy after all.

Garage- and estate sales usually take place in the suburbs during the weekend. Use Gsalr.com to find garage sales near you!

Go there early if you’re looking for the biggest selection of stuff, or arrive at the end of the event to try to make the best bargains!

8. Thrift when traveling

I always make sure to check the local thrift stores at my travel destination. Actually, it’s one of my favorite activities when I have some downtime.

You can make a map of the vintage- and second-hand shops you want to visit and take a day visiting them one-by-one.

What I love about this little “thrift store walking tour” the most is that I get to experience the city from a different perspective and discover some of the less touristy areas as well.

The clothes you buy on vacation also serve as souvenirs as you slip into them they’ll make you remember your fabulous vacations.

If you want to travel where the good thrifts are here’s a list of the top 50 cities for thrifting in the US!

9. Thrift online

What if you’re a modern person who finds it outdated to go to shops in the 21st century when you can already buy everything on the internet? Or you know, maybe you’re just an introvert who wants to avoid people as much as possible.

Well, you can thrift online! There are thousands of second-hand clothing websites and independent sellers out there!

My favorite online thrift stores are:

You can also swap online! Which is a fun way of finding a new home for your old clothes and getting new ones at the same time.

10. Take a note of the strengths of each store

Okay, now that you’ve been to a couple of thrift stores and tried a few alternative ways of shopping second-hand, it’s time to draw some conclusions!

Which shops did you like the most? Where was the best price? The best quality of merchandise? Where were the best selections of different kinds of items? Which stores aren’t worth visiting at all? Etc.

Take notes of all the strengths and weaknesses of each store in your notes app on your phone so you can see them even when you’re on the go! So the next time you want to buy something second-hand, you can consult your little list to see which shops should you check and what can you skip.

Having your favorite 3-5 go-to thrift stores makes the whole process more simple and enjoyable! You don’t need to look through dozens of stores anymore to find something you like. You’ll most probably find the best stuff at your favorite stores!

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