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Thank You, Marie Kondo: Finding Thrift Shop Joy

Here’s the truth I am the only 30-something woman in suburbia that has never even cracked this book open. I have zero desire. I have heard rumors that it encourages readers to eliminate anything that doesn’t bring them joy from their life. Sounds cool, I like joy in my life. But what brings me joy is walking past another woman and she says, “I love your shirt” and without pause, I answer, with a beaming smile “THANKS, it was $4!” Then the conversation flows into my love of thrifting, the other usually responds “I never find anything” or “I don’t have the patience”. I try to sympathize or even comprehend what they’re saying but I just don’t get it. So, for those of you that have uttered those phrases, I’m here to tell YOU CAN DO IT!

The Why

  • I like nice things and I like having money in the bank. When I find a killer deal that allows me to have both.
  • I enjoy chatting with the peeps at the thrift stores, I’ve always loved strangers and I don’t think I’ve ever entered a thrift store without starting a conversation with a fellow thrifter.
  • I like having the perfect outfit for every event. I like being the go-to when others are looking for some random piece of clothing to complete their outfit.
  • Okay, okay and I do enjoy the whole saving the planet thing too.

The Where (I’m in Utah, but I will always try to pop into a thrift shop while traveling)

Store Good Bad Pricing
Deseret Industries Consistent Pricing and Job Assistance program for people in need. Clothes typically in good repair. Circular racks make me want to punch puppies. I swear I’ve double circled one rack of jeans more than I’d like to admit. $$
Goodwill Sale Days. Some new merchandise. A lot of damaged stuff makes it on the rack. $
Savers Well organized. Merchandise is continually put out. Coupons. Sale days. Inconsistent pricing. They know brands better than other stores. $-$$$


The Other Side Variety of merchandise. Sale days. Job assistance program for previously incarcerated adults. Not as much merchandise as other stores. $



  • I work remotely 3 days a week, I go into the office for the other 2 days. I rarely eat out for lunch. I save the money that I’d spend, and I take a lunch break and hit up a thrift shop near me on Thursdays. I set myself a budget and set a timer on my phone. On these quick trips, I hit shoes, jeans, and sweaters. I skip dresses, tops and everything else for when I have more time.
  • I will gladly take a newbie on a longer trip to show them how I shop, but usually only when I have 2+ hours. I usually do this on a Sunday.

The How

  • Know what you’re looking for. I have seriously sent a text to friends saying “heading out thrifting. I’m looking for this dress…” and have found that exact dress. Put what you want out into the universe, it works. I don’t know how or why, but I will tell you it does.
  • Get a feel for fabrics. I skim racks by feeling fabrics with my fingertips. I would be willing to do a blindfold test. I can pick the most expensive item on a rack by the feel of fabric alone.
  • Familiarize yourself with brands. Know the value of what you’re interested in. I have never been inside Lululemon store, yet my entire workout wardrobe is labeled with that little horseshoe hairdo thing.
  • Wear a cami and yoga pants if you plan to try stuff on. It makes life easier.

Now that you know some of the basics let’s cover some other tips and tricks.


Many stores post signs at the end of rows saying which color tag gets you 50% off that day. (Savers and Goodwill both do this.)

If you are 55+ you get a senior discount at Savers on Tuesday, if you’re not over I suggest you spend time with your elders. Tuesdays are a great day to bond.

The Other Side does sidewalk sales, grab bag sales and other random sales. They have a strong social media presence where you can find out when they’re happening.

Savers Member discounts are really for everybody, but you must sign up, basically give them your name and phone number. They e-mail you when they have sale days, usually 50% on a Sunday and Monday. You can also get a 20% off coupon for donating at Savers, even with being a member!


Know your style. I swear I have bought a million sundresses that I will never wear. Don’t waste money on a sundress just because it is a good deal.

Check for holes, stains, ripped seams, working zippers, and buttons, TWICE! If you don’t know how to repair clothes do not buy clothes that need to be repaired. Additionally, SMELL the item. If the item smells strongly of smoke and cannot be easily machine washed leave it on the rack. For all other items, I wash in vinegar. If you buy a purse that is genuine leather and has a smell that you can’t tolerate; fill the bag with kitty litter for a few days and then dump out and vacuum the remaining dust.

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