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Underrated Things to Thrift

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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at WSU chapter.

Thrifting is one of my favorite things to do. It’s a cheap activity that you can go out to do with friends, or if you just want to do something. I like it because you never know what you’re going to find, even if you’re looking for something specific. I also have experience working at a thrift store, and there are many underrated things you can always find at thrift stores that you never need to buy new.

Candles: you can always find super cool candles, new or used, in just about any brand you want.
Baskets: baskets are incredibly expensive new, but you can always find them at thrift stores for below five dollars. A lot of them are also unique or different colors that you wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else.
Teacups, mugs, and other cups: there are tons of teacups and mugs at thrift stores, a lot of them vintage and very cheap. Also, thrifted glasses are a great and cheap alternative to using disposable cups at parties!
Plates, kitchenware, and coffeemakers: there are always a ton of these at thrift stores. You can buy some pretty vintage dish sets for cheap. Much of the kitchenware, like measuring supplies, is also donated. There usually are also tons of coffee makers for less than seven dollars.
Vases, pots, and jars: you can find all sorts of unique vases, jars, and pots at thrift stores. I tend to buy these to repot my plants whenever they need something new to sit in. It’s a cheap and unique way to get pretty pieces to display. There are also tons of plain pieces that are much cheaper than buying them new.
Decorations: thrift stores can be known for their knickknacks, but they are often still passed over. For birthdays, I like to thrift part of the gift and get funny knickknacks for a good laugh for a few dollars. It adds something unique to an otherwise boring present, and it can always be given away if your friend doesn’t like it. If you’re also looking for something small to add to a dorm, thrift stores can be a great place to find things like fake plants.
Lights: for the past few years, I have been obsessed with getting little lamps. Thrift stores often have vintage lamps with cool patterns or designs that aren’t made anymore. If they don’t work anymore, you can also get a rechargeable lightbulb!
Frames, wall art, and canvases: there is always an excess of frames in thrift stores. If you have a piece of art you want to frame, measure it and go to a thrift store. You are bound to find a frame you like, whether you want something vintage or modern. Many of the frames also come with other art, or there are paintings. There are some that I have seen that are jaw-dropping (many of them are still in my camera roll). If you are also a painter, a lot of used and empty canvases are also available. Buying bigger canvases can easily get expensive, so repurposing them can be amazing for your wallet and the planet.
Yarn, knitting needles, sewing machines, sealed puzzles and games: all these things can be expensive new, but thrift stores always have a ton of these donated. Yarn especially. Often, entire yarn collections of fifty or more different types and colors will be donated all at once. Puzzles and games are also easy to write off since they may have missing pieces, but many are also donated new.
Racquets, golf gear, and sports items: tennis racquets and badminton racquets always come in, and if you’re just trying out the sport, it’s barely an investment. There are often also complete golf sets that will come in.
TVs, CD players, DVD players, and general electronics: there is almost always one of each at a thrift store. I have gotten many electronics that work fantastically. Also, most thrift stores offer electronics warranties, if you want to try out an item at home.
Furniture: thrifting furniture isn’t always for everyone, but if you need something to store other items, thrift stores are a great place to go. I’ve gotten multiple shelves from them. If you also want to have a project to work on, redoing furniture is a great option.
Clothes: you likely already go thrifting because of clothes, but the two most underrated things to thrift, in my opinion, are special occasion clothes. I have thrifted almost all my prom dresses, and not just because it’s cheaper, but because they were genuinely some of the prettiest dresses I’ve ever seen. Along with that, thrifting heels is also a great thing to do. Not only are they incredibly cheap, but they were likely worn once, then donated in perfect condition.
Media: this is my personal favorite thing to thrift since I am a huge fan of collecting music and books. Books at thrift stores are incredibly cheap and thrift stores often have a great selection if you know what books you’re interested in. I also have great luck with getting CDs, cassettes, and vinyl records. You’ll likely have more luck if you like older music or classical music, but even if not, there’s usually something you can find that you’ll love.

Rebecca Lommers is a writer for Her Campus Washington State University Chapter. She also is a non-fiction intern at Blood Orange Review, and in the past, she has worked at the Yakima Herald Republic as a journalist for the high school division of the paper. She also has worked in retail at a thrift store. Rebecca is a current sophomore at WSU, and she is working towards a degree in English with a focus in Creative Writing and a certificate in Editing and Publishing. After graduating, she hopes to become an author or work in publishing as an editor or agent. In her free time, Rebecca likes to write, read, and watch video essays on YouTube. She is very passionate about music, and she plays piano and guitar. She is currently working on writing a novel that she hopes to one day publish.