The Best Times To Shop At A Thrift Store

If you simply love thrifting — the thrill of finding unexpected treasure! The sheer serendipity of finding stuff you never even knew existed, but somehow can't live without! — any time the thrift store is open is a good time to shop. And yes, you're likely to find that prices are low whenever you go. If you thrift shop on a regular basis, however, you may have noticed that on one day the store racks are crammed to bursting with primo merchandise, while on your next visit they may look pretty picked over.

How can you time your shopping trip to make sure you're getting the first crack at all the good stuff? While the fact that thrift stores are entirely stocked by donated items means there's always a large element of chance involved, there are still certain times when you're likely to maximize your chances of making a super thrift store haul.

The best times of the day and days of the week for thrift store shopping

When it comes to thrifting, it pays to be an early bird. Apartment Therapy says diehard thrifters always arrive as soon as the store opens, so they can snatch up all the goodies that were put out the night before. As far as the best days of the week go — again, earlier is better, according to Lifehacker. Not on a weekend, either — although weekends are when the donations tend to pile up, they may not be processed until Monday. Depending on how long it takes any given store and its workers to sort through, price, and hang the new items, Tuesday or even Wednesday may be the day when all the new items appear.

As to those "colored tag" sales — yes, many thrift stores will dedicate a certain day of the week to selling each different tag color at half price — i.e. Mondays all pink tags are on sale, Wednesdays are yellow, etc. A Quora user explains that the different tag colors mark how long the merchandise has been on the rack, but unless you've noticed a particular pattern, like all your favorite items inevitably having blue tags, knowing what day each color tag goes on sale might not do much good. Murphy's Law pretty much dictates that the day all orange tags go on sale is the day that everything you love will have a green tag.

The best times of the month and the year

That same Quora thrifting guru also notes that some chain thrift stores such as Goodwill will often run special sales on the first Saturday of each month. It pays to familiarize yourself with the policies in place at your local stores, though — perhaps they're partial to mid-month or end-of-month sales instead.

The best time of year to shop at a thrift store, though, is acknowledged by both Looking Fly on a Dime and Clark Deals to be late December or early January. This is due to the fact that people like to clean out all their old stuff, both in order to make room for new Christmas gifts (or gift card spends) and also to take advantage of any tax breaks from last-minute end-of-year donations of used clothing and other household items. Should you find yourself not inclined to venture out thrifting during the colder months of the year, however, all is not lost. Apartment Therapy mentions that spring cleaning will also have people clearing out their closets and hauling old items down to the thrift stores, so you'll get a second crack at a secondhand stuff bonanza.