What is a thrift store? How Does It Operate?

Thrift store

Most people think I spent too much money on materials things like clothes and other items such as furniture, and home decor. Yes, I love beautiful and trending items. However, I can never afford all the designer things I own with my current paycheck. So, you must be wondering how do I afford them? The truth is like millions of people I scout every week my local thrift stores looking for great deals. Trust me, you will be surprised by the number of amazing items you can find in those stores at a discounted price.

Hence, let me share with you what is a thrift store, how it operates, and the kinds of things you can find at a thrift store?  


What is a thrift store?

In essence, a thrift store is a non-profit organization that generally sells relatively good shape used items such as clothes and furniture donated by people.

Generally, they are either used items or new items that people no longer desired. Increasingly over the years, some return items from major retailers find their way into thrift stores thanks in part to partnerships between major retailers and major organizations operating thrift stores.

Normally, the main goal of a thrift store is to raise money for charities. For instance Goodwill proceeds help support job training and placement programs for people with disabilities and other disadvantages. Hence, when you shop at a thrift store you get to save money and support a social cause.

Normally, items for sale at a thrift store are not brand new, but they must be in good condition. Typically, thrift stores rely on donations from the general public for inventory. A typical thrift shop will have a section for clothing, jewelry, and accessories. Also, it will have a section for household items, appliances, books, toys, furniture, and baby items such as strollers.


How does a thrift store operate?

Depending on the organization, the operating process might differ. However, the standard processes are the same for all.

Where do thrift stores get their inventory?

The public drops items at a specific donation center usually located at the rear of the store or at a unique center. Yet, some organizations have drop boxes all over the city. In addition, many thrift stores run donation pickup services. Moreover, there are many wholesales of used clothing where some thrift stores can get inventory. Finally, thrift stores take advantage of many traditional retailers and e-tailers’ generous return policies to get returned items that aren’t set up well for resel.

Selections are unique and will vary from day today. Items are sold at discounted prices and the proceeds collected are used to fund charitable programs or social causes.

Do Thrift Stores Clean Clothes?

The simple answer is no. That is because most thrift stores are run by non-for profit organizations with tight budget. As result most items are sold as it is.

Generally,items are carefully inspected for any defects those with damages that are not sellable because of stains or other damages are discarded. Nevertheless, depending on the store this might actually mean throwing away the clothes or sending them to a textile recycling center. In general, only gently used items are selected for resel.


Yet, always wash and clean any clothes bought at a thrift store at a high temperature (60°C) with a good laundry detergent to kill most germs. Make sure you also clean any furniture thouroughly. Finally, you should avoid shopping items such as underwears at a thrift store.

Popular Items You Can Find At Thrift Stores

You can basically, find any at your local thrift store. Even though, most items come as a unique item. For instance, you can find:

  • Brand name clothing and fashion accessories
  • Vintage and upholstered furnitures
  • Electronics such as old camera equipment and accessories, computers and old phones
  • Home decor
  • Kitchen appliances
  • Books
  • Records
  • Vintage Toys
  • Musical instruments


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