Practical Tips: Top 5 Items For What To Buy at Thrift Stores

I appreciate each and every share. Thank you!

As a way to help those who get overwhelmed with big secondhand stores, I came up with the idea of sharing my top 5 items for what to buy at thrift stores.
This doesn’t mean you will find these treasures every time you shop secondhand, but they are the items I will definitely scout out.

Quote of the day: “Inspiration usually comes during work, rather than before it.” Madeleine L’Engle

My love of thrifting came when I was first out of dental school and didn’t have much of a budget for clothing. Of course, I loved finding great sales, but thrifting was even better.
While I’ll be concentrating on clothes and accessories for these top 5 items as what to buy at thrift stores, there are other fabulous pieces to find also. We have preloved items as part of our home decor, patio and even scattered throughout our dishes.

I’ll also be sharing some expert tips about finding incredible deals at your local thrift stores at the bottom of this article.

Being that I have become an expert thrift shopper, I have written multiple articles on this subject.

Top 5 Items for What to Buy at Thrift Stores and Why

Depending on the store and what you need, the options can be overwhelming. But the best way to have success is to be open to anything and everything. Sure, it’s good to have these items in the back of your head as what to buy at thrift stores, but don’t forget to check out everything else if you have time.
The big takeaway is that you want to buy the things you love as much as get great deals.

So let’s focus on the 5 items that are the best cost per item.


Have you seen how much leather belts can cost at retail stores? They are definitely something that you can find for a much better price at secondhand stores.

What to check
1-Make sure the leather isn’t cracked or splitting
2-Try it on. If it’s too big, there could be a possibility of adding another hole to make it fit.
3-Check the underside for any branding or words. This can tell you if it’s real leather and worth the purchase.

Insider tip: There are tools that make it easy to add holes in leather belts and purse straps.

2-Coats & Jackets

Another higher priced item that is a good deal at secondhand stores is coats and jackets. This would include blazers and denim jackets.

Even if you don’t think you need one of these items, I always check the section because you can find some real treasures.

Here are a couple of things to check
1-Inspect the inside of the coat as well as the outside. Sometimes the lining can be torn or faded, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy it. It’s just nice to know what kind of shape it is in.
2-Look in the pockets and make sure all of the buttons are there. If there is a zipper, try it out a couple of times.


While some people can’t imagine wearing preloved shoes, I feel like I’ve found some amazing footwear. That’s why I included it in my list of what to buy at thrift stores.
I’ve written about if you should wear thrifted shoes in the past.

A couple of reasons I always look at shoes is because when women buy shoes, you can’t alter them to fit like you can with clothing. So even if a size 7 doesn’t fit the woman who bought the shoes, it could fit your size 7 feet.
Sometimes, having shoes that are worn a bit can make them more comfortable for the second owner too.

And a good pair of comfortable shoes can be over $100. Yet when thrifting you can find them at a much more reasonable price.

What to check besides looking for just your favorite brands.
1-Make sure to check the soles of the shoes too. Sometimes they need to be resoled which shouldn’t be a deal-breaker, but you need to add that into the final cost.
2-Bend the shoe and make sure there aren’t cracks.
3-Look and feel inside the shoe if it isn’t a sandal.

You should definitely sign up for the emails below. Besides the free eBook, my email family gets personal tidbits of what’s going on in my life along with other happenings, sales, information, giveaways, extra photos, and interesting articles.

4-Special Occasion or Event Items

This is the category that some people don’t think about. That upcoming wedding or vacation could include a new dress that doesn’t have to be expensive. Especially if it is something you won’t wear often.

The cost per wear will be more budget oriented if you find a preloved dress for $20 than a new dress for $100.

Other items I consider in this category would be
A-Raincoats or rainboots if you don’t live in a rainy environment and thus only need them sporadically
C-Formal attire
D-New Year’s Eve outfits


The last of my 5 things for what to buy at thrift stores would be to check the hat section for a couple of reasons.
Many hats are expensive at retail yet can be found for a steal at thrift stores.

But another reason is you can find a variety of colors and styles that aren’t always being sold at brick-and-mortar stores.

What to look for
1-Try it on. If it’s too small, then put it back. But if it’s only a tad too big, you can use hat tape to make it fit better.
2-Check for holes and stains

EXTRA- Jewelry & Scarves

If your secondhand store sells jewelry and scarves, this could be a fabulous way to add variety to your closet. Brooches are one of my favorite things to find secondhand, but I’ve also brought home necklaces, bracelets, scarves, and earrings.

Check for
1-Make sure all links and closures work properly
2-Weigh it in your hands and make sure any jewelry will work for you
3-Scarves should be inspected for holes and stains

Expert Tips For Deals at Thrift Stores

Even though second hand prices are much better than retail stores, there are ways to save even more money.

  • Many stores have a color tag that is a special deal for the day.
  • See if the store has any discounts or emails that will enable you to save more money.
  • If you find something damaged (like a sole of a shoe needing to be resoled) don’t be afraid to ask for a reduction in price stating the reason why.
  • Check the store’s website to see if there are any sales coming up.

Did you like what you just read?

Consider buying me a coffee as a thank you. The best gift you can give a content creator is the gift of sharing or supporting. You could share this article on Facebook, or Pinterest or even email it to a friend. Thank you so much for your support!!

Thank you

If you’ve enjoyed this, I hope you will look around the site and…

  • find out more about the blog here. Including behind-the-scenes of our relationship here.
  • you can see all the categories of past posts here
  • feel free to use any discounts or deals that I share here.
  • make sure to sign up for emails to enjoy fun features in every email PLUS get my recent eBook here.
  • follow me on InstagramFacebookYouTube, and Pinterest.
  • and if you ever want to reach out or have any requests, feel free to email me at

If you enjoyed any of this information, I would appreciate it if you would share, share and share wherever you can!! You can do this by saving an image to your Pinterest board or sharing this post on Facebook. Or send this post to your friend, and make sure they sign up for the emails.

Welcome to Jodie’s Touch of Style. I’m here to prove that it’s never too late to look great. Clothing and style are meant to showcase your inner personality. So let’s have fun and try new things.

It’s not just about me on this blog, but also my mother and friend. We get to showcase not only different decades of life but also different body shapes and unique personal styles.

Scroll to Top