How to Tell The Difference Between Consignment and Thrift Stores


A number of people do not understand the difference between thrift shops and consignment shops. Please read on to give you some tips on how to find the shop that's best for you!

Things You'll Need

  • A little money
  • Time
  • List of items you need, not want
  • It can sometimes be tricky to understand the difference between consignment shops and thrift stores. The major difference is that consignment shops hand-pick the items they will consign and offer for purchase. A lot of consignment shops ask that you even make an appointment to brings things in. Consignment shops will generally have an item limit on how many things you can bring in, and will usually sort items by season. They are often similar to regular retail stores. Consignment shops will PAY YOU for your gently used items AS WELL AS give you a tax credit for donating your unsold items through their shop. Consignment stores generally have one or two target audiences, such as items just for babies and children, items for ladies only, or furniture and home decor. Consignment shops, if managed well, can be a lovely place to visit and shop for quality, recycled items that are often purchased and never used or are like new!

  • Thrift stores usually have wonderful treasures to be found, but they are often overloaded, disorderly, and overwhelming to shop in. Because thrift stores deal only with DONATED goods, they aren't scrutinized as much as items in consignment would be. Thrift stores are often started or created to help with a charity or a non-profit organization, such as a YWCA Women's Shelter or Habitat for Humanity. Thrift stores will offer a lot of different items such as clothing, accessories, dishes, bake ware, books, games, furniture, and more. Thrift stores have very good prices, but remember the quality of the item you purchase may not be as good or as long lasting as purchasing it new or from a fussy consignment store. Thrift stores will have a set price for most items. For example, all men's pants will be $3.99 or all books will be $1.00. They are not priced based on retail costs or by brand labels. This can be wonderful if you are retail savvy and understand the costs of various brands, labels, or styles. You can find good deals at thrift stores and your money spent will go on to help others in a time of need.

  • Keep in mind while shopping in consignment or thrift shops that you are helping others by purchasing GREEN, RECYCLED products! This is a wonderful way to save money and help out the environment. Check out the local consignment and thrift stores in your area, chances are you will find something you can't live without. Word-of-mouth advertising is wonderful for these types of businesses. It brings in new customers and helps support small business and charities! Good luck in YOUR treasure hunt!

Tips & Warnings

  • Ask around for a referral on a great shop near you!

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