Woman in green top holding a bundle of clothes in a thrift store after reading thrift store shopping tips

7 Thrift Store Shopping Tips for Finding Hidden Gems

Thrift stores are a treasure trove of hidden gems. You never know what amazing finds you’ll discover while saving money. As avid thrift store shoppers ourselves, we’ve learned many insider tips to find the best deals. Here are seven thrift store shopping tips to help you shop smarter.

Tip #1: Visit Frequently

The best way to find incredible deals is to visit thrift stores frequently. They receive new donations all the time, and items sell quickly. By visiting often, you increase your chances of finding unique and valuable items before anyone else. Why not make it a regular outing with your friends or family? You never know what treasures you may uncover!

Tip #2: Timing Is Key

The timing of your visit to a thrift store can also have an impact. Consider visiting on weekdays or during non-peak hours. This can help you avoid the crowds and have a better chance of finding hidden gems before they’re snatched up. Additionally, keep an eye out for seasonal sales, clearance events, or donation drives, as these can result in an influx of new items and increased opportunities for scoring fantastic deals. Receive updates and find out about new arrivals at New Life Furniture Thrift Store by signing up for our newsletter and following us on social.

Tip #3: Check for Quality

Don’t let the price tag deceive you. Always check the quality of the items you’re interested in. Some of your finds may require minor repair work or a bit of TLC, but that doesn’t mean they’re not worth the effort! Overall, look for quality materials and well-constructed pieces. You might find a great piece of furniture or clothing that just needs a few minor adjustments to look brand new again.

Tip #4: Consider Alterations and DIY Projects

Keep in mind that thrifted items can often be transformed with a little creativity and a personal touch. If you come across a piece that catches your eye but doesn’t quite fit or has minor flaws, consider whether alterations, repairs, or DIY projects could breathe new life into it. With some basic sewing skills or a bit of imagination, you can turn an inexpensive find into a one-of-a-kind gem that perfectly suits your style.

Tip #5: Know What Brands to Look For

It’s interesting how people often develop a knack for spotting specific brands they love. Whether it’s a soft spot for high-end luxury names or a fascination with vintage treasures, hunting for certain brands adds a fun and exclusive touch to the whole experience. 

Some folks have their eyes peeled for renowned fashion houses known for their top-notch craftsmanship and iconic designs. Others get excited about uncovering those lesser-known brands that bring something truly unique to the table. Thrifting becomes a real treasure hunt, where you never know what hidden gems you might stumble upon at pocket-friendly prices.

Popular furniture brands to look for

  • Stickley
  • Henkel Harris
  • Drexel Heritage
  • Century
  • Ethan Allen (Ethan Allen by Baumritter, Furniture by Baumritter, and Viko Baumritter)
  • Baker
  • Arhaus
  • Hancock and Moore
  • Bernhardt

Popular clothing brands to look for

  • St. John
  • Patagonia
  • Lululemon
  • Levi
  • L.L. Bean
  • J. Crew
  • Ferragamo
  • Bally
  • Burberry

What are BOLOs?

In the world of thrift store shopping, the term “BOLO” is pretty handy to know. BOLO stands for “Be On the Lookout.” It’s like a secret code among thrifters and resellers and is a way of saying, “Hey, keep your eyes peeled for this! It’s worth grabbing!” There are certain luxury brands that many people are unaware of. That means these items can sometimes fly under the radar because they’re so exclusive. 

But if you know what to look for, you can score major deals for yourself or to resell. Some examples of BOLOs might include brands like LoveShackFancy, Jenni Kayne, Everlane, Danielle Guizio, and Adam Selman Sport. So, when you see people throwing around the term BOLO in thrifting communities online or on social media, they’re basically sharing tips and tricks on what to look for. If you’re a serious thrifter, research current BOLOs by joining online groups, reading blogs, and watching videos.

Tip #6: Take Your Time

Thrift store shopping is a marathon, not a sprint. Stores are often filled with a vast assortment of items, so it pays off to invest time in thoroughly exploring the aisles and racks. Take your time and enjoy the journey. Be patient and take the time to sift through the merchandise, carefully examining each item for quality, uniqueness, and potential value. 

Often, the hidden gems are living up to their name, so it is important to be patient and take your time to evaluate the pieces. Don’t be afraid to dig deep or scan the shelves from top to bottom—many treasures are tucked away, waiting to be discovered by anyone willing to put in the effort. Remember, it’s always better to make an educated decision than to walk away with a purchase you will regret.

Tip #7: Follow Your Instincts

Go with your gut! If you come across something that catches your eye, grab it! Thrift store shopping is about finding unique and memorable pieces that add value to your life. These items may not be extravagant or expensive, but they represent special moments and create lasting memories.

Tip #8: Engage with Staff and Regulars

Building relationships with thrift store staff and engaging with fellow thrift enthusiasts can offer valuable insights and tips. They often possess a wealth of knowledge about the store’s inventory, markdown schedules, and any upcoming promotions or events. Strike up friendly conversations, share your own experiences, and be open to learning from others who share your passion for thrifting. These connections can enhance your shopping experience and help you stay informed about the latest arrivals and exclusive deals.

Tip #9: Better Yet, Volunteer!

Want to get a sneak peek at all the good stuff before it hits the sales floor? Volunteer! At New Life Furniture Thrift store, we always need volunteers to help us sort and prepare donated items for sale. Additional duties may include moving inventory, setting up displays, assembling furniture, cleaning our display and storage areas, and pricing merchandise. Learn more about volunteering with us here.


Thrift store shopping is an exciting adventure that is full of surprises. We invite you to stop by the New Lift Furniture Thrift Store and see what hidden treasures you can find. The best part? Shopping at our store supports New Life Furniture Bank and families and individuals throughout the Greater Cincinnati region

By donating and shopping, you can help fulfill our mission of providing furniture and hope to people in need across Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky, and Dayton while also finding amazing deals that you’ll cherish forever. So, grab your friends, come visit us, and see if we have the hidden gem you have been looking for!