Jul 6, 2023

How to Become a Thrifter

A silver bucket full of thrifted items, including a clock and a faux plant with white flowers.

Now more than ever, people are choosing to shop secondhand. There are lots of great reasons to thrift purchases before shopping new, such as the thrill of finding unique items at a lower cost—all while helping the environment and supporting a good cause.

So how do you become a thrifter? Here are a few tips to help make your experience enjoyable and worth your time.

1. Let Go of Thrift-Store Stereotypes
2. Start Small By Identifying Something You Want or Need
3. Focus On Your Interests and Hobbies
4. Solve a Problem
5. Enjoy the Hunt
6. Support DI Associates


Let Go of Thrift-Store Stereotypes

On the left, a shelf of secondhand books at DI on the right, a DI shelf with a full set of matching green and white dishes.
Many items at DI are in like-new condition, and they've often been used far less than items in public places (such as dishes in a restaurant or books in a public library).

Many people have an outdated perception of thrift shopping. At Deseret Industries, we work hard to provide a pleasant shopping experience. Our stores are well-organized and kept clean. We do our best to evaluate donated items before they are placed on the sales floor to ensure shoppers can find quality items for a low cost.

Thrift stores are more than a place to go for costumes, white elephant gifts, or jokes. While you can certainly find items that meet those needs, the stores are filled with so much more. Everyday new-quality items (which still have a lot of use in them) are added regularly to the sales floor.

For those who are hesitant to buy items that have been used previously, DI makes every effort to filter out items that are heavily used, broken, or soiled. Items that may not be sanitary—such as socks and underwear—are never resold. While we encourage shoppers to wash their purchases before using, most items sold in thrift stores are often used less heavily and by fewer people than items in public spaces (consider a set of dishes used by a single family compare to a set of dishes used repeatedly every day by many people in a public restaurant). And believe it or not, brand-new, never-used items are often donated and made available for purchase at DI.


Start Small By Identifying Something You Want or Need

On the left, a silver tub full of DI purchases, including a yellow clock and a faux plant with white flowers on the right, a wire basket filled with secondhand books.
One way to start thrifting is to identify a specific want or need (like a specific décor or organizational item), then shop for a secondhand item to fill that need.

Do you need a vase to fill an empty space on a shelf? New bowls for your dog’s food and water? A bin to help organize a corner of your garage?

Many thrift shoppers stop at the thrift store first before paying full price for something they need. You may not always find exactly what you’re looking for—but when you do, it will likely cost a lot less. Sometimes you might even find items that still have the original tags—an indication the item has never been used. Shopping for items to fill a need is a great first step to becoming a thrifter.


Focus On Your Interests and Hobbies

On the left, a number of dressers available for purchase at DI on the right, a globe that was bought from a DI store
Whether you have an interest geography or a passion for upcycling, DI has something for you!

Thrifting is a great way to support your existing interests and hobbies—and explore new ones.

Thrift stores often have everything from old records to tools, golf clubs to handbags. So if you’re unsure whether a new hobby will “stick,” DI is a great place to find the tools and equipment you need to get started—without breaking the bank. And if you don’t enjoy it, you can donate the items back and try something else.

Have an interest in crafting or DIY? Thrift stores are great places to find upcycle furniture projects, like a dresser that you can convert into a changing table for your nursery, or a nightstand that can be updated and revitalized with a fresh coat of paint. Also, you can often find “how-to” books, crafting supplies, and sewing items, saving you money on the odds and ends you need to complete your latest project.

Perusing the electronics section is a great way to find vintage video games, vinyl records, and niche appliances. Shopping the clothing section can help you build your collection of concert T-shirts or your work wardrobe. And DI’s book section is filled with books that cover almost any topic you might have an interest in. Whatever your interest, there’s something for you.


Solve a Problem

On the left, a rack of blue and green men's dress shirts at DI on the right, a DI rack full of pink clothing for children.
Thrifting is one possible solution to problems like finding work wear or clothing for rapidly growing toddlers.

Many people smartly shop Deseret Industries to solve a problem.

We frequently meet individuals who purchase their work clothes at DI, as it allows them to spend less and buy more. Parents of young children often buy secondhand for their children, rather than spending more on clothes and shoes that their children will outgrow (or outwear) in just a few months.

Teachers often turn to DI to help save money while they stock and decorate their classrooms. People who are in the process of moving often come to DI to purchase blankets to cover and protect their furniture.

Consider a problem you are experiencing. Is there a solution the thrift store could help solve?


Enjoy the Hunt

On the left, a place setting featuring thrifted blue and yellow dishware and a woven grass placemat on the right, a set of golf clubs available for purchase at DI.
From beautifully coordinated dishware to high-end golf clubs, you never know what kind of treasures you'll find at DI.

Because the items at Deseret Industries are donated, there’s no way to know for sure what you’ll frind from day to day or week to week.

Consider walking through the store shortly after it opens, when the store has been freshly stocked. Just look around. It can be a lot of fun just to see what has been donated and consider that because it’s on the shelf it’s not in a landfill. You might find a toy that will remind you of your childhood. You might see a set of dishes you’re your grandmother once had. You might discover something that miraculously replaces a missing or broken item from a treasured set you own. You might find something that is just so beautiful you can’t pass it up. Or you may find something that reminds you of a friend, and you just have to buy it for them.

These types of finds are thrilling, and it’s what keeps many thrifters going back for more!


Support DI Associates

A side-by-side image of two DI associates, smiling at the camera as they do their work in the store
Associates are the "why" behind DI. By budget shopping at DI, you support job training opportunities for individuals experiencing barriers to employment.

When you shop at DI, you support the training program that helps DI associates develop important job skills, overcome barriers to employment, and move toward their career goals. Most of the staff you encounter in the store are enrolled in the program. As they stock and organize the shelves, help you reach an item on the top shelf, or ring up your items at the cash register, they are fulfilling their job while also developing new abilities.

The individuals you encounter might be working to improve their customer service skills, gain confidence in their abilities, or overcome a life-altering challenge. Your interactions help them practice their new skills, and the revenue from your purchases helps pay their wages—as well as the cost of additional schooling or certifications.


What It All Comes Down To

Whether you’re shopping for a specific item or just enjoying the thrill of finding a unique item, thrifting can be fun and cost-effective. And you don’t have to be an avid, visit-DI-every-day kind of thrifter to be a thrifter. You never know what treasures you’ll find at DI!