Thrift Store Items To Stock Up On

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Have you been to a thrift store lately? Well, you can get some really good emergency preparedness items and so much more if you know what you’re looking for. Mark and I just ran to a local thrift store in Southern Utah the other day to check and see what’s available for sale.

Here’s the deal, you can get some really good buys on several items you may want to stock for emergencies. You will pay pennies on the dollar, literally. Sometimes the furniture is priced too high so I would walk right past those gems.

One man’s junk is another man’s treasure. People donate some good stuff, my friends. Sure some of it is junk, but we have to look past that when we want to score some items we really need.

Thrift Store Items To Stock Up On

Thrift Store

About a year ago I went with a friend and her daughter to buy some dressy shoes for the prom at our local thrift store and walked out with brand name shoes that were very expensive when originaly sold new. Oh, and she bought her jewelry for the dance as well. Her daughter borrowed the dress from a friend so she ended up spending about $12.00 to go to high school dance. I call that a score moment. She looked beautiful for the dance.

I have a reader that sends me messages when she finds a real deal at a thrift store in her town. Sometimes we need to step outside the box so we can purchase preps that are slightly used and cheaper than the brand new sticker price.

One thing you need to be do is write down items you would like to have in your emergency preparedness stash. We don’t have to buy them all at once. If we have a plan or a list of items we need we can keep the list in our wallet or purse and grab the items at garage sales or thrift stores when the price is right.

If you visit a Walmart or Target or whatever store is near you and they have new items drastically reduced you can decide if that item is cheap enough to purchase.

One thing I remember buying was a Sun Oven, they rarely go on sale, I mean really on sale. Well, a local store in town had some with last years models several years ago and they wanted to get rid of them. They were priced about $150.00 off the original price so I bought an additional one for my emergency stash.

Thrift Store Kitchen Items

1. Hand Crank Egg Beaters:

You can use these for beating eggs and whipping cream without electricity.

2. Coffee Percolators:

If you are wondering how to make coffee when you lose power, these are great for making coffee or boiling water.

3. Whisks:

These are great for mixing up cakes, cookies, or brownies. They also work great for pancakes and waffles.

4. Stainless Steel Soup Pans:

If you have a large soup pan you can make soup for your family and the neighborhood if you need help those in need. They work great for boiling pasta as well.

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5. Stainless Steel Strainers:

I have four or five strainers, you can never have too many of these. They work great for straining pasta, washing fruit, and vegetables.

6. Nutcrackers

Mark and I received a nut cracker for Christmas from some awesome neighbors. I haven’t had a nut cracker to split nuts for years. Great gift.

7. Stainless Steel Water Pitchers:

I must say, I love items that are not breakable. I have 17 grandkids and with all the family cooking in the kitchen several times a year, I really do not want anything that is breakable. I have a soft heart and will never be angry when something gets broken. I want my grandkids to love cooking together. Enough said. Plus, these would be great to serve water to the neighbors after a disaster in the neighborhood.

8. Cast Iron Griddles:

If you can find some cast iron griddles that are not warped, you should be able to scrub them with steel wool or coarse salt to remove any rust on them. I wash them with hot soapy water and rinse them and then season them. Cast Iron Pans

9. Cast Iron Pans:

These are perfect for eggs, fried foods, biscuits, and so many other recipes.

10. Cast Iron Dutch Ovens:

Who doesn’t love biscuits, bread, breakfast casserole in one of these? They are awesome!

11. Muffin Tins:

If you have a few different sized muffin tins, you can bake muffins outside in a Sun Oven, Camp Chef Stove/Oven Combo, or a Volcano Stove.

12. Pizza Pans:

If you can find a used cast iron pizza pan, you will love baking pizza outside on your barbecue!!

13. Mason Jars:

If you can find some used mason jars that say Kerr or Ball, they are real canning jars. Please watch for chips and cracks.

Here’s the deal, you can never have too many cookie sheets, right? I use them for serving food, making cookies, and cinnamon rolls.

15. Metal Plates and Cups:

If by chance you find some non-rusty metal plates, they are awesome for eating outside. They won’t break and you can heat the cups on a rocket stove or a Kelly Kettle. Here is my demo using a Kelly Kettle

16. Cookbooks:

You can buy cookbooks for next to nothing at a thrift store. I have found some really good buys for less than $1.00 per cookbook.

17. Utensils:

If you can find some large metal spoons or ladles you can use them when making soups for the neighborhood.

18. Can Openers:

This one is a little tricky, but you may find brand new ones for less than a dollar in the original wrapper. I wouldn’t buy an overly used can opener, I need them to work.

19. Spatulas:

You can never have to many spatulas, we need so many different sizes to serve groups of people.

20. Cheese Graters:

I know a lot of people, including myself, purchase cheese already grated, but I still grate some cheese occasionally. These are awesome to have in case grated cheese is no longer an option.

21. Stove Popcorn Popper:

I just bought a stovetop popcorn popper for my emergency stash. When we have an extended power outage we will love some popcorn, trust me. Popcorn tastes great with or without butter. Just make sure you have some salt. This is the one I bought, in case you may be wondering: Stainless Steel Popcorn Popper

22. Large Stainless Steel Bowls:

I think my 18-inch bowl was a wedding gift. That means that bowl will be 50 years old this summer. I used to make bread in that bowl until I could afford a Bosch Bread Mixer. There are so many things you can do with these large bowls. You can boil water and wash dishes in them. You can also wash clothes in them if you had to.

23. Washtub Buckets:

If you can find some good washtub buckets, that would be awesome. Add a washboard and you can wash clothes in them.

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24. Clothespins:

If you can find some good vintage clothespins they work similar to the really nice Kevin’s Clothespins. If they were made prior to 1960 those would be awesome! I bought Kevin’s Clothespins because I couldn’t find any decent ones.

25. Clothesline:

When you were growing up did you hang sheets outside? I still remember them blowing in the wind. Watch for a really sturdy clothesline.

26. Clothespin Holder:

This is a bag that hangs on the clothesline and holds the clothespins for you.

27. 5-Gallon Buckets:

You can never have too many buckets. These are great if they are food grade. You can pick up Gamma Lids for them.

28. 6-Gallon Buckets:

This size is perfect for emergency toilets. You don’t have to squat down as far. You can pick up an emergency toilet seat for these.

Thrift Store Clothing

29. Jeans:

If they have the sizes you need, that’s a score. You can also cut these up and make quilts.

30. Winter Coats:

Be on the lookout for brands like North Face, that’s a score.

31. Winter Boots:

These are boots you can put in your car to use in case of an emergency. Be sure and put socks in the car as well.

32. Hiking Boots:

Here again, these can be boots you keep at work or in the car and use when a disaster hits your location. Don’t forget some good wool socks.

33. Winter Gloves/Mittens:

You never want cold hands, store these in your car or at your office.

34. Winter Scarves:

When it’s cold, we will want a scarf or two to warm our head and neck.

35. Baseball Cap or Sun Hats:

These are great for protecting our heads from the heat and sunshine.

36. Work Gloves:

You can never have too many really good work gloves. If you see the ones you love, snag them.

37. Bandanas:

Bandanas by Linda

These are fairly common at thrift stores, they can be used for so many things.

Thrift Store Camping Supplies

38. Sleeping Bags:

Hopefully they can sell these at your local thrift store because some stores worry about bed bugs. Even so, check them out and watch for bugs. Bed bugs leave small brown spots (feces) everywhere. You can’t miss the spots.

39. Tents:

Some people donate these after only camping once or twice. Score, nearly new tents!

40. Hot Dog or Marshmallow Sticks:

Who doesn’t love hot dogs over a fire, right? And we can make smores with those sitcks.

41. Ice Chests:

If you can’t see any cracks and it isn’t warped these are awesome for emergencies when the power goes out.

Thrift Store Items We Can All Use

42. Blankets:

Why I Store Blankets by Linda

You can never have too many blankets, they can be used to divide rooms, keep warm and help a protect someone in shock.

43. Quilts:

You can never have too many quilts, especially the ones grandma used to make. They keep you extra warm when the heat is out.

44. Wool Blankets:

These are great for warmth and fire protection.

45. Used Books:

Why pay full price for a book, right? Put some in your car for emergency time spent reading. Also good for your 72-hour kits.

46. Used Games:

Games For Preparedness

If you can get some board games for less money and all the pieces are in the box, this is a great item to store for emergencies.

Final Word

Did you notice all these items can be used without power. That is the point, many disasters come with the related loss of power. We need to plan ahead and have things that will work whether power is available or not. Please make a plan or a list for items you can get from a thrift store to use when needed after a disaster or unforeseen emergency. Thanks for being prepared for the unexpected. May God bless this world. Linda

28 thoughts on “Thrift Store Items To Stock Up On

  • February 19, 2019 at 10:44 am

    Those are all good pointers for thrift store shopping! Thanks. I have a question though. It seems to me some thrift stores are better than others. I also sometimes hit the jackpot and other times find nothing. Can you give some hints about the best time to shop at a thrift store and maybe suggest some that are better than others? Thanks.

    • February 19, 2019 at 2:08 pm

      Hi JoEllen, that’s a very good question. It all depends on when someone donates some good stuff!!! I’m not sure there is a best time. I have gone to several thrift stores in one day only to walk away empty handed. Then out of the blue, I find a Lodge Dutch Oven for $10.00 and it’s like new. I think the trick is to visit them often when you run errands near the thrift stores and stop in and walk through quickly. I either see something I want or I don’t. I have a list of things I want and I glance at it before I walk through the door. The more you go the more often you may score something. Here in Southern Utah people are standing in line for the cookbooks. I have to get to the thrift store 5 minutes before they open. Linda

    • February 21, 2019 at 1:25 pm

      Thrift stores are great. I have volunteered for 14 years , my house has been furnished only by them. If you can spend only 3 hours a week helping one, you will in most cases buy what you need for 50% off. Many times damaged items that are not good enough to sell can be given to the volunteers. Clothes with a few rips or stains can usually be taken home. So many things go to the dumpsters that can be salvaged washed, repaired and used. Dont think Goodwill does this, but small local ones will.

      • February 21, 2019 at 2:42 pm

        Hi Carol, thanks for your great comment about thrift stores! Thank you!! Linda

  • February 19, 2019 at 11:11 am

    Linda – just the other day, I was in a local thrift store and found a Lodge cast iron skillet for $5.00!! Scored one because my daughter wanted a larger one for her growing family. There was also a cast iron dutch oven – not the kind with legs and a lid that holds briquettes. I did not purchase that as I did not have a measuring tape with me to measure it and ask my daughter if she wanted it. Long story short – I went back the next day to get it for her and sadly, it was no longer there.

    On a different trip where I was taking things to donate, I saw a cute vintage table with drop sides and a shelf underneath. It had not been priced yet and I waited for a staff member to come out and price it. I bought this vintage table for $9 and it only needed to be cleaned up and screws tightened!!

    1) Always take a measuring tape with you!!
    2) If you are looking for something specific, have the measurements or other pertinent information written down on your list.
    3) Don’t be limited by your list. You may find things you weren’t even thinking about!!

    • February 19, 2019 at 2:11 pm

      HI Leanne, you did score on that table for $9.00!! I love it! I agree if you see something you want you better grab it because more than likely others will snatch it up. The trick is knowing what the original prices are, give or take a few dollars. I love bargains when I need something expensive! Linda

  • February 19, 2019 at 1:03 pm

    I have shopped at thrift stores for years, it just makes good sense. I furnished a rental property that i own form thrift shops, and i mean fully furnished, beds, dressers, couches, chairs, kitchen supplies, linens, towels, rugs and more. My total was $973.00, if i had purchased all of it new, the cost would have been over $12,000.00. Refrigerators, electric stoves, washer and dryer, microwave, toaster oven, TV, i think ever one gets the picture. The only thing i purchased new was the dish washer.
    Another good thing about all this is, i don`t have to worry about someone putting a scratch or stain on something, it was not new, so what. As the song goes ” be happy don`t worry ”
    Money in my pocket is better then in someones else’s pocket.
    Great article Linda, keep up the good work…

    • February 19, 2019 at 2:12 pm

      HI Hearl, oh my gosh, this is the best comment ever!! $12,000 compared to $973.00 you scored big time!! I love this!! Linda

      • February 19, 2019 at 2:51 pm

        Anybody can do this Linda, i was lucky though, i had 6 thrift shops to shop at, but you have to be consistent, and patient. When some get over stocked, they mark every thing 50% off, hey that`s me.
        When i can find a 4 year old fridge that just needs a good cleaning for $75.00 i`m in, and that`s just what happened.
        And by the way, i love your videos, keep rolling……..

        • February 19, 2019 at 7:41 pm

          Hi Hearl, oh you are so nice!! You made my day! You scored a frig for $75.00!!! Wow, I love it!! I love hearing 50% off!!! Love it! Linda

  • February 19, 2019 at 1:58 pm

    I’ve found a lot of camo in the local one too. Soldiers returning, older hunters passing on and kids that outgrow stuff.

  • February 19, 2019 at 4:26 pm

    Oh how I love this article! We rarely buy anything but food for full price and even then wait for sales.
    We are fortunate to have over a dozen thrift stores within 35 miles of our home. I find it pays to check several of my favorites every week or two when we have a need to fill. Church affiliated thrift stores tend to be less expensive than some of the nationwide chain thrift stores in our area.

    We have scored furniture, sewing machines and accessories, camping supplies, lanterns, heaters, lawn furniture, animal crates in all sizes, hand tools, ladders, garden supplies, kitchen items as well as clothing, outerwear and even footwear. We have filled several bookcases with reference books and collections of our favorite authors with thrift store finds,

    And don’t forget the estate sales and yardsales as a great source of items. Those are often advertised on sites like Craigslist and will frequently have lists and photos of the items being offered.

    • February 19, 2019 at 5:29 pm

      Good for you BDN, my way of thinking for sure, there is a goodwill store near me, every week they mark down all of the furniture until it sells, and it goes really cheap. You have the right idea….

      • February 19, 2019 at 7:47 pm

        Hi Hearl, we will find the cheapest way to buy stuff! I love it! Linda

    • February 19, 2019 at 7:46 pm

      Hi BDN, oh my gosh, you are so lucky to have so many thrift stores so close!! I love your comment about buying so many things from thrift stores!!! I love estate sales as well!! Love it! Linda

  • February 19, 2019 at 6:33 pm

    Thank you Hearl. We have limited finances and find bargain shopping fun, exciting and an excellent way to stretch those resources. And it’s always fun to see what God provides.

    We live in a smaller community here in NW Florida that has a wonderful thrift store that was run by a small church as an outreach to the north end of our county where very few services are available for the elderly, homeless and needy. The pastor that started this particular store kept prices extremely reasonable, with all clothing under $2, furniture and applianes under $100, bedding, housewares, toys, under $2, books 2 for $1. His goal was turnover of merchandise as well as making a difference in people’s lives. The organization that has taken this store over are following the same principle, but have gone up a little on the prices.

    My best scores have been outfitting my grandchildren and a niece with school clothes. Several years I have been able to get them each a pair of shoes, a couple of coats and enough clothes to give them each over a dozen outfits for under $20 a child.

    When Hurricane Michael devastated neighboring counties to our south last fall, we were able to send bags of clothing, 3 bags of coats, bedding and boxes of kitchen ware purchased at this store for very little. This little store has been a godsend for sure.

    • February 19, 2019 at 7:49 pm

      Hi BDN, oh my gosh, your comment is so inspiring for me and so many people! God does help those who need it! Best comment!!! Linda

  • February 19, 2019 at 6:48 pm

    My husband has scored pressure canners (22 qt ones) for under $25. I guess I am now a “collector”! He has purchased 4 of them plus I already had one! If ever the freezer goes out, I will be able to can all that meat!!! Great ideas Linda. As ever I love your blog.

    Have you found crock pot liners yet?

    • February 19, 2019 at 7:50 pm

      Hi Joanne, oh my gosh, 4 pressure canners!! You are rocking! No, I still need to look for the crock pot liners!! Thanks for the reminder. Life is so good! Linda

  • February 19, 2019 at 11:53 pm

    I love thrift stores and garage sales!
    Here are some of the things I have found:
    Backpacks like new & clean
    AM/FM radios- that worked
    Coleman lantern-$3!!!
    Travel games
    Old candles
    Loads of crayons (many uses)
    Gamma lid on a 5 gal. Bucket($2)!!!
    PVC pipe, very useable
    Diapers & Depends (many uses plus good barter items)
    Old potpourri especially pine sticks! Makes great fire starter material.
    Foam floor tiles that have puzzle edge joining, great for camping.
    Hiking pack
    Sling shots

    At discount stores I’ve found these:
    Eddie Bauer duffle bags 5@$5
    Two man tents—5@$6.99 each!

    I keep my eyes wide open and not shy to ask for something that someone else is throwing out.

    • February 20, 2019 at 11:55 am

      Hi Gijanedoe, oh my gosh you have found some awesome things at great prices!! I love your comment! Yay!!!!! Linda

    • August 31, 2021 at 7:39 am

      Just a word on the diapers / depends, I cut them up and use the filling when potting plants. I mix it with the soil. It holds the water much longer.

      • August 31, 2021 at 9:43 am

        Hi Linda, oh my gosh, great tip! I never thought about doing this! Linda

  • February 21, 2019 at 8:17 pm

    I have found some great deals at thrift stores, but sometimes they price certain items too high. Our local Goodwill relocated and it seems as if they are charging a bit more now since building a new store just a few miles up the road in a more affluent section. It also seems as they don’t get as much cool, cheap stuff as before and they sell some $1 to $2 items that be purchased at the Dollar store next door, brand new such as pens, pencils, notebooks, pet dishes and such.
    Sometimes an item isn’t a bargain, but it’s still a resource. I have purchased lots of items from stores on clearance as my brother and I are always looking for great deals and I have found a few gems at thrift stores and yard sales, but one needs to look. And we can save a lot of money thru persistence.

    • February 22, 2019 at 1:30 pm

      Hi Frank, great comment. I know what you mean about getting some better buys at the dollar store. It’s interesting Frank, I went to breakfast this morning with my “breakfast club” and one girl was telling me she and her husband go to thrift stores a couple times a day. They hit every garage sale on the weekends. I had no idea, people make this a job by buying stuff at thrift stores and garage sales and then resell them for a profit!! She mentioned the best thing to buy is cowboy shirts. I had no idea!! Linda

  • February 19, 2023 at 2:42 pm

    I love that Out west, you have those church sponsored thrift stores that you spoke of what a wonderful blessing. However, as you also mentioned, those of us near the east coast can look to Craig’s list estate sales etc. Lately I have found if one frequents Facebook market place it can be a huge resource. There are even times when someone lists an item as free they actually really mean free. I have found some folks dont really care that much about making money. They just need it gone asap. In the case of furniture that’s been overpriced, hang on. Keep an eye on it.they almost always lower the price a few times.
    At this time in my life I cannot get out like I used to. The internet has become a great resource in finding gently used and diy fixer upper prices.

    • February 19, 2023 at 3:13 pm

      HI WendiE, oh thrift stores are the best! I used to do estate sales, but I have everything that I need in my life right now. It used to be fun to find some “vintage” kitchen tools at estate or garage sales. I know when I moved from our last house I gave away a lot of stuff to young families in need. I’m too old to try and have a garage sale, if someone needs it please come and get it. We would send out emails or text messages mentioning what we had to get rid of furniture and BOOM we had so many people want the stuff it was a blessing for both of us. One family took both bunk beds complete with sheets and quilts! We didn’t want to store any furniture for 1 year and now it will be 2 years so I’m glad we gave it all away. Thank goodness for the internet! and text messages! Linda


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