Jul 20, 2023

Back-to-School Thrifting 101

A shelf at Deseret Industries, displaying a row of brightly colored backpacks and totes for students going back to school.

Back-to-school season can be tough—especially when you’re trying to get multiple children outfitted for the coming year.

Shopping secondhand is a great way to save money while still getting everything you or your students need for the coming year. And Deseret Industries stores are fully stocked with all the following common back-to-school items:

1. Clothing
2. Shoes
3. School Supplies
4. Backpacks and Bags
5. Study Space Items
6. Locker Décor
7. Classroom Décor and Supplies
8. Dorm Décor and Supplies



A collage of images showing thrifted back-to-school outfits for elementary, middle, and high schoolers.

Whether you’re shopping for back-to-school clothes for your preschooler or need to update your wardrobe for your upcoming college term, DI can help. Deseret Industries stores feature a wide variety of clothing types, from hoodies and jeans to skirts and blouses. That makes it easy to find clothes to fit just about any unique style.

Clothing at DI is sorted and vetted by DI associates, so you can usually find like-new items—or even clothes with the original tags still attached. And it’s all clearly separated into sections by size and type, making it easy to find what you’re looking for.



A collage of images showing shelves of shoes and individual pairs of shoes available at Deseret Industries.

Starting the school year with the right pair of shoes is key to kicking the year off right. And we all know a pair of shoes can make our break an outfit.

Fortunately, the shoe section at DI is one of our favorite places for amazing thrift finds. DI has kid’s shoes, women’s shoes, and men’s shoes is a variety of sizes and styles. That makes it easier to find a pair of shoes that is perfect for your student’s style without breaking the bank—which parents know is important when your child outgrows shoes faster than a line forms in the cafeteria on pizza day.

Shoes at DI are also generally in good shape; so in spite of being secondhand, they can usually still hold up to the heavy wear and tear that children often put their shoes through.


School Supplies

A collage showing various school supplies available at Deseret Industries, including scissors, three-hole punches, staplers, paper trays, and three-ring binders.

Scissors, folders, notebooks, staplers—these common supplies can be an enormous source of annoyance for parents come back-to-school season. Didn’t I buy you a three-ring notebook last year? What do you mean you left it in your locker?

Rather than spending your entire weekly budget buying these supplies all over again, check your local DI. Deseret Industries stores often feature shelves of donated school supplies, allowing you to get these must-have items for less.


Backpacks and Bags

A collage of images showing different types of backpacks, totes, messenger bags, and briefcases for sale at Deseret Industries.

DI is a great place to stock up on backpacks, lunchboxes, and school bags. Backpacks are often in like-new condition, with a lot of use left in them. And you can find a variety of styles, options, and sizes to suit your student’s personality and age.

For older students, DI often has a wide variety of messenger bags, laptop bags, briefcases, and totes. If you’re really lucky, you may even find a designer bag for considerably less than you’d pay in a retail store—or even in an online secondhand shop.


Study Space Items

A collage of secondhand study area items, including a hanging organizational whiteboard, a desk, and a desk with an overhead hutch.

Need a place for you or your student to study? You can usually find office and study furniture at Deseret Industries. Buying furniture secondhand helps to prevent waste created by the fast furniture industry, allowing you to enjoy high-quality pieces with a lot of life left—all while paying less. From desks and tables to chairs and lamps, there’s a good chance your local DI store can get you fully equipped.

DI is also a great place for study space décor and organizational items. In the picture above, for instance, we were able to find two of these customizable organization boards for just $10 a piece! That’s exactly the kind of style and value you can often find at DI. You can also get globes, pen holders, file folders, and more to get your space dialed in just the way you like it.


Locker Décor

A collage of images showing collections of items that could be used to decorate a school locker, including pencil holders, trays, figurines, a hanging chalkboard, and other types of organizational items and hanging wall decor.

For many students, their locker is an expression of their personality—as well as an important place for relaxing and resetting for the next class.

DI stores have tons of décor options available that can be easily adapted to suit a locker space. Pencil holders, vanity organizers, shelves, and more can be used to keep locker items organized and neat. Some of those items (like the metal containers in the picture above) can be outfitted with magnets to attach them to your student’s locker door for even more functional décor.

You can also find a number of décor items to help your student express their personality. Scrapbook paper or wallpaper can be used to paper the inside of a locker for a unique look. Framed artwork, inspirational posters, and other décor items can add a bit of flair. The world’s your oyster, and DI has the items you need to make your locker uniquely yours.


Classroom Décor and Supplies

A row of shelves at DI featuring secondhand decor items that could be used to decorate a classroom.

We all know that teachers work hard to provide the best possible learning environment for their students. If you’re a teacher looking to outfit your classroom, DI can help. Not only does DI have many commonly used school supplies for less (see “School Supplies” above), but you can also find many décor items to give your classroom the perfect ambiance.


Dorm Décor and Supplies

A collage of images showing dorm decor and supplies, including a shelf of decorative pillows, a desk chair, a secondhand vacuum, and a collapsible laundry basket.

If you’re a college student, it can be tricky getting a new dorm room set up—especially if your new space doesn’t have all the same furniture or amenities as your last dorm. At DI, you can find just about anything you need to get your dorm feeling like home. Need a way to tote and store your laundry? Get a collapsible laundry basket for less at DI. Need a more comfortable desk chair? Most DI stores have a wide variety of options for you to choose from.

DI stores also offer a variety of pillows and linens to get your bed all cozy and comfortable—because we all know your bed is the most important part of your dorm room. And if you doubt it, just take a look at what a difference bed décor made in this Dorm Room Makeover!

A side-by-side image. On the left is the "before" image of a dorm room with no decor. On the right is the "after" photo, showing bedding, decor, and organizational items purchased from DI.

You can also go to DI for appliances and other comforts not usually provided as part of college housing. Here’s a tip: if you can find a vacuum at DI, you’ll be the hero of the apartment complex come cleaning check time.