Thrift shopping is a great way to score high-end clothing, shoes, accessories, household items, toys, furniture, baby items, and more at well below retail prices. Who doesn’t love a good deal? Beyond just great savings and fun finds, buying used instead of new also helps the environment by reducing the amount of trash we produce and preserving the natural resources that go into manufacturing, packaging, transporting, and ultimately disposing of new goods.

What Is a Thrift Shop?

Thrift shops are typically stores that raise money for charities and non-profit organizations. These kinds of stores depend on donations from people around their communities. People can make donations at drop off locations around a city.

Some thrift shops also provide at home pickup. They usually accept donations like clothing, furniture, shoes, toys, electronics, home decor, etc.

People tend to believe that resale shops and thrift shops are the same things. However, they are different. Resale shops are stores that sell merchandise that has been from individuals and resold. As stated above thrift shops receive their merchandise from donors.

History of Thrift Stores

Back in the day, clothing was not as disposable because it was expensive. Things began to change with the start of the Industrial Revolution. Clothing began to be produced in masses and at affordable prices. People would buy new clothes often and tossed old clothing.

Also, city populations began to grow during the time. Living spaces were getting smaller, thus it caused more people to throw things out. However, people still had a stigma that wearing someone else’s clothes was a sign of a lack of money.

Things began to change when Christian ministries started to collect items to sell to fund programs. It also helped during this time that Americans started to give more to charities. Throughout the years, thrift shops began to pop up, hire disabled people, and even offer service operations.

The Benefits of Shopping Responsibly and Cheaply at Thrift Shops

It Saves You Money

People with limited financial resources often shop at a thrift store to stretch their budgets. Frugal living is always a good idea. Why pay full price for a new item when you get one at a thrift shop at a steep discount?

It Supports Charities

Most thrift shops are operated by charities or non-profit groups. Local churches, schools, hospitals, animal shelters, and even rehab centers often have thrift shops to support their causes. While you can donate items to show your support, you can help them much more by buying their items.

It Saves the Environment

Shopping for thrift store clothing provides less damage to the environment. Evidence shows that only about 20% of discarded clothes are being reused or recycled. The remaining 80% of textiles are being incinerated or dumped in landfills. Incineration produces carbon dioxide and other gases which are harmful to the environment.

With retail manufacturing contributing to more waste and pollution, shopping at a thrift shop encourages reusing and recycling garments.

It Promotes Community Development

One of the greatest benefits of thrift shopping is helping local businesses instead of multinational corporations. Thrift shops hire people to man retail stores or donation centers. This, in turn, creates more jobs, even for disabled people, and helps to boost the local economy.

It Gives You a Unique Wardrobe

When you purchase new clothes from popular stores such as Macy’s or Nordstrom, you’ll probably run into other people wearing the same items. Thrift shops have a much more diverse collection because they are stocking items regularly. No piece of clothing is the same. If you dig through the racks you may even find quality brands and designer items.

Fashion is often cyclical, and designers often mimic the looks of different decades. Shopping at thrift shops can help you get vintage clothing that is coming back in style. These can be some  remarkable finds you would not see anywhere else.

It Allows More Creativity 

As mentioned above thrift shops may offer you vintage items. While some may be downright eyesores, many just need revamping. Adding the right accessories or remodeling the garment allows you to be more creative and transform your style for the better.

It’s More Than Just Clothing

Aside from clothing and other fashion items, you can find a sizable furniture section in most thrift shops. You can buy basic furniture, appliances, kitchenware, and other home decor without getting into financial trouble. Basic materials for DIY projects and exercise equipment are usually available too!

You Can Resale Items for Profit

Entrepreneurial shoppers buy second hand items to resell online. Thrift shops are excellent sources for bargain items that can be resold to earn money. Many shoppers are interested in getting designer clothes or unique decors that you can source from a thrift shop.

Tips For Navigating a Thrift Shop

Finding What You’re Looking For

Wonder if you’ll be able to find what you’re looking for or if you’ll have to search for hours? While going through multiple racks and piles of clothes isn’t exactly for the faint of heart, it doesn’t have to be as complicated as it sounds.

Depending on the size of the thrift store you go to, taking the time to look at every single piece will take forever. To avoid wasting time without missing out on potential gems, you must master the art of the scan. Based on what you are looking for and your preferred color palette and aesthetics, make your way through the store and scan each rack for pieces that stand out and catch your eye. This takes focus and is a skill you will develop over time. Practice makes perfect.

Examine Items Carefully

Most, if not all, thrift shop purchases are final sale. To avoid discovering defects too late, ensure you inspect each piece as you browse as well. It’s easy to miss a small hole here or a stain there amid the shopping excitement, so take your time going over your finds before committing to a purchase. Skipping this step can cause you unnecessary disappointment

Shop with Cash Only to Avoid Impulse Buys

To stay on budget, bring cash when you go thrift shopping. While it’s easy to fall into the “but it’s so inexpensive” trap, remember to stick to your values. Purchase only the clothes you need that fit well with your current wardrobe. You will stumble upon unique and beautiful pieces, but if they're not your style then you won’t get any wear out of them. So admire them from afar, take a picture if you must, but don’t take them home with you.

Make Friends with Your Thrift Store Staff

Once you find a thrift store that fits your style and budget, make friends with the staff. They can help you while shopping and also give you valuable information, such as when new merchandise comes in. Plus, everyone needs a shopping friend to tell them yay or nay on a specific piece.

Make Sure You Wash Your Thrift Shop Clothes

Most thrift shops don’t wash the clothes before selling them. Donations are typically washed before they’re donated, but we still recommend giving them a good cleaning when you get home. Even if the clothes were washed before they left the thrift store floor, people will have since touched them. (The same can be said even if you were buying new.) Thrift shops will sort through the clothing before putting it on display and throw out anything that has stains, damage, or a bad odor. Regardless, as a general rule, we still strongly encourage you to wash your clothing purchase, new or used, before you wear it.

Consignment Stores Are Not Thrift Shops

The following are the main features that distinguish consignment stores and thrift shops:

  • In consignment stores, owners consign their goods to the shop for a specific time and receive part of the profits if and when the items are sold. In thrift shops, donated items stay in stock until they are sold, and the person who donated the items does not receive any money in exchange for them.

  • The items you find in a thrift shop are often sold in the same condition as when they were donated. This means that the types of items you find in a thrift store as well as their quality and price are usually quite contrasting with those you find in a consignment store. By nature of the donation based model, thrift shops tend to stock primarily modestly priced goods of varying quality. By contrast, consignment stores often carry higher quality and higher priced items, and some even specialize in high-end or brand name merchandise and designer clothing

  • Consignment stores are generally more expensive than thrift shops. This is partly because the quality of items tends to be higher, so their value is greater and also because the consignor will take home a portion of the sale price, which affects the consignment store’s profits. With thrift shops, all profits go to the store itself, which are then usually passed on to a charitable cause.

  • People who want quick cash tend to prefer selling things on consignment because it is easier and faster. In contrast, rather than cash in hand directly, people who give items away to charity organizations can obtain a receipt for the donation from the thrift shop. This receipt can then be used to claim personal tax deductions.

Bluffton Thrift Shops

Palmetto Goodwill

Palmetto Goodwill’s retail stores provide gently used clothing and goods at bargain prices. Anyone is welcome to explore the inventory donated by the local community. They offer: clothing, household goods, books, electronics.

Palmetto Goodwill

509 Island Park West

Bluffton, SC 29910

(843) 790-9550 

Off Island Thrift

100% of profits go to provide relief for those dealing with cancer. Wide selection of gently used items, antiques, and one of a kind values. Inventory changes daily.

Off Island Thrift 1

4375 Bluffton Parkway

Bluffton, SC 29910

(843) 815-SAVE

Off Island Thrift Furniture Showcase

4377 Bluffton Parkway

Bluffton, SC 29910

(843) 815-7747

God’s Goods Thrift Store

A Christ-centered store that provides usable goods to the community at a reasonable price. Also assists people in need with pass-through goods and supports Christian outreach ministries.

God’s Goods Thrift Store

15 Centre Drive A

Bluffton, SC 29910

(843) 757-2024 

Calhoun Station Thrift Store

This is the oldest thrift store in Bluffton and is entirely run by volunteers. All the money earned is donated back to other nonprofits in Bluffton. They sell gently used clothing and household items.

Calhoun Station

77 Pritchard Street 

Bluffton, SC 29910

(843) 757-5101

Palmetto Animal Thrift Store

Palmetto Animal Thrift supports Palmetto Animal League’s (PAL) animal rescue programs giving abandoned or neglected animals a second chance at life. Shop for fabulous finds at great prices.

Palmetto Animal League Thrift Store

1 Sherington Drive B

Bluffton, SC 29910

(843) 837-4369 









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