The Absolute Best Time to Shop at Thrift Stores

If you ask us, the best time to shop at thrift stores is…whenever you can. Inventory at secondhand and vintage shops often changes daily, and if you miss the day some rich heiress finally gets rid of her collection of 1960s couture evening gowns, you’ll miss out.

Okay, so those “unicorn” donations don’t happen often, but there are certain times when you’re more likely to get lucky. So keep these tips in mind whenever you get the itch to thrift.

Shop early in the day

Typically you’ll see thrift store employees restocking throughout the day, but sometimes they wait until the store is less crowded or after hours to put out new inventory and replace everything left in changing rooms and around the store. That means everything is stocked and organized first thing in the morning. And if you go then, you’ll beat the after-work crowd.

Shop early in the week

Most people don’t bother cleaning out their closets and dropping off donations during the week, so you can expect an influx of inventory building up at thrift stores during the weekend. By Monday or Tuesday, employees have sorted through all the new stuff and put it out for sale—and that’s the perfect time to pounce. Another reason for the weekend donation deluge: excess weekend yard sale inventory that didn’t sell by Sunday afternoon.

Shop on Wednesdays

Your best chances of finding new inventory is still Monday and Tuesday, but Wednesdays tend to be slow in retail. In order to drum up hump-day business, thrift stores usually offer their best deals and markdowns in the middle of the workweek. But as suggested, it’s still best to go early in the day if you can—many master thrifters are acutely aware of the Wednesday deal bump.

Shop in early January

We understand you might be all shopped-out after the holidays. The thing is, so is everyone else—which means less-crowded thrift stores and more sales to attract customers. But the real reason early January is one of the best times to thrift is the flood of new inventory from people making those last-minute donations to count toward charitable tax deductions for the year. Add in all the donations from people making room in their closet for the new clothes they got for the holidays, and you’ve got an inventory boom you can’t miss.

Shop in the spring

Two words: Spring cleaning. March through May is generally the best time to take advantage of donations from hundreds of newly organized closets, especially around spring break when entire households are enlisted in decluttering efforts.

Shop on vacation

While hitting up popular attractions and unique local shops on vacation, don’t forget to check out nearby secondhand shops—especially if you’re traveling internationally. Thrift tourism opens up a whole new world of fashion finds that you’d never see back home. You might even come across the perfect souvenir that blows away anything available at the airport gift shop.

Shop at Thrift Trader all week long

At Thrift Trader, we love deals so much we offer a different one every day of the week. From Tax-Free Tuesday (we pay your tax, cash or credit) to Throwback Thursday (half-off stickered and clearance items), we’ve got you covered no matter when you come in. And if you need to make room in your own closet before you shop, we welcome your trade-ins at both locations from 10am to 6pm daily.