This Is the Best Time to Go Thrifting, According to a Shopping Pro

published Mar 2, 2024
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Hitting up a thrift store in search of pre-loved home goods is a great way to find unique, one-of-a-kind decor pieces. But as anyone who’s ever attempted to score big at their local secondhand shop knows, it’s not as simple as just setting foot in the store. Thrifting takes a lot of dedication, time, and energy, and those who do it regularly have picked up a few tips and tricks along the way. 

To get the insider scoop on the best (read: most fruitful) times to go thrifting, I reached out to Treena Bowker — expert thrifter and owner of vintage purveyor House of Joie — who was happy to share some of her top tips and tricks. Here are the best times to go thrifting, according to someone who literally does it for a living. 

Stay Consistent

Bowker’s first piece of advice is one you’ll hear often from thrifting enthusiasts: Consistency is key. There’s simply no way around it — those who snag cool, covetable pieces at the thrift store put in the time and effort to show up regularly. 

However, this doesn’t have to mean that you burn hours each week perusing the aisles (unless you want to!). “Even when you’re in a rush and have 15 minutes to spare, go in,” Bowker says. “I can’t explain why, but most of my quick, in-and-out stops result in a small-but-mighty haul!”

Weekdays > Weekends

As a general rule, Bowker says that she’s found weekdays tend to be better than weekends at the thrift store. “Weekends have proven time and time again to be a flop for me,” she says. “The stores are bopping with customers and the shelves aren’t as full. Many thrift stores are also shorter-staffed on the weekend, hence fewer stocking rotations taking place.”

Plus, she notes that most households will tackle their thrift store drop-offs on the weekends, which means that by the time Monday comes around, the location is usually brimming with new arrivals. 

As for specific times of the day, Bowker has that covered, too. “I like to go in the morning when the stock is fresh, along with hitting up the shops an hour or two before closing time,” she explains. “I have noticed many thrift stores in my area are replenishing the shelves at the end of the day. Those 7 p.m. thrift stops have reaped some solid hauls.”

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Spring and Summer Are a Hit

Warm weather, spring cleaning, and garage sales all have a positive effect on thrift store hauls, according to Bowker. ‘Tis the season for people to declutter and purge items they no longer need, resulting in larger donation piles. 

“Garage sale season bears fruitful hauls as well,” Bowker adds. “Unsold items are being donated by the carload.” As a result, she notes that, year after year, her spring and summer thrift trips tend to be more successful than fall and winter hauls.  

Don’t Be Afraid to Make Connections

One last tip from Bowker: Don’t be afraid to make connections with the owners and employees of your local mom-and-pop thrift shops! “Many times, they will be happy to share when restocks happen,” she says. Better yet, they may be able to share some insider information about when big hauls come in, or even set things aside for you. 

“I can testify to this!” she adds. “I have not only gained some beautiful finds for my home through these connections, but more importantly have also gained wonderful friendships over the years.” Now that’s what thrifting is all about!