How I became a thrift store fan

thrift store fan

Happy Friday, friends!  For this fall fashion Friday, I thought I would explain how I became a thrift store fan.

I owe a large part of my thrift store fan obsessions to Goodwill San Antonio and the ambassadorship I have shared with them for years.

Goodwill San Antonio has created a monster!  I love thrift store shopping and I have grown to be a huge thrift store fan.

When I pondered how this happened, here is what I surmised.


thrift store fan

I became a thrift store fan, when I quickly observed I could find top quality fashion for less.

I have always loved a good treasure hunt seeking real finds of value in the middle of it all.

When I discovered designer pieces in our local Goodwill San Antonio locations which had barely been worn or even still had tags, I knew thrift store shopping was for me.

There have been so many pieces I have worn over the years where no one but me knew where I found them.

thrift store fan

thrift store fan

Recently, I wrote of my frustration with many of the current trends possessing dropped shoulder designs.

Since I desire a polished top that fits the shoulder and need a few smaller sizes, I have been specifically shopping Goodwill for jackets.

This is when thrift store shopping can really be of value…if you have specific fashion needs of designs that have been on the market for years, but currently are not as much in the retail outlets.

I am in between sizes so I have not found many that make me smile just yet….the search continues.  The wool-blend jacket in the top picture did come home with me.

thrift store fan

As a thrift store fan, I wanted to share the story of this cute J Crew vest.

I thought it was a great find for another thrift store fan and it was buried in a stuffed rack of clothes. 

All I did was pull it, and place it at the end of a rack where it was more visible.

Before I left the store that day, I watched another woman purchase it!

Display helps…isn’t that what we discuss on Saturdays?


thrift store fan

thrift store fan

When I stop by a Goodwill San Antonio location, I never know what I will find for my home.

These thrift store expeditions always stretch my creativity with my home and have be mentally repurposing as I go from aisle to aisle.

In my house, you will discover the findings of a true thrift store fan…and many of these items have been in my home for years.

thrift store fan

Every now and then, I discover a diamond in the rough.

Recently, I found this Lefton China hand painted and numbered figurine and thought he would be perfect at the end of one of my vintage book stacks.

There is a small fashion connection here.  Lefton China became the brain child of the Hungarian- born and bred sportswear manufacturer, George Zoltan Lefton.  In 1939 he left his native Hungary and moved to Chicago, Illinois.  His hobby was collecting fine porcelain, and his passion for collecting porcelain began to shape ideas for a new business. In early 1941, Lefton’s desire for quality ceramics overpowered any feelings he may have had for fabric and fashion.

(From Miss Bargain Huntress: The Story of Lefton China)


thrift store fan

I am not a collector of lighthouses, but how fun this find would be for someone who is.

I hope some day to try my hand at re-finishing furniture pieces.  I always see som many great pieces that just need a little love.


thrift store fan

I share this idea every year, because I do this every year.

Find some lovely holiday dishes at Goodwill….and use them for goodies to give to the neighbors or friends.  

So much better than paper plates or gift boxes and cost the same…in fact, this year, I think they are less than the paper products.

The picture is from the dishes I used a couple of years ago.  This year, the dishes I found are a “country” design with pine cones.

Another note: My grandchildren are young 9-2.  Little hands sometimes break things.

So when I place Goodwill Christmas decorations at their eye level…and if something accidentally bites the dust, then it is no big deal.


thrift store fan

How I became a thrift store fan can be summed up in one word…FUN!

I can spend hours in a well stocked thrift store…looking over items…searching and investigating origins…and dreaming of what might be with each item.

Goodwill San Antonio is not a quick stop for me…but a treasure hunting journey. 

If I go in with a set plan, I most often find myself on rabbit trails of fun.

Thanks for joining me today to hear about how I became a thrift store fan.  Any good finds out there for anyone?  Please share……and make sure that you always….


By Pamela Lutrell

Disclaimer:  I am compensated with gift cards from Goodwill to write about my discoveries.  The words are my own.

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thrift store fan


  1. The San Antonio store looks fantastic. I saw interesting furniture in your pics. My local store is usually a mess and overpriced. I hope you bought the polka dot hat. Your smile reflects how nice it looks on you.

  2. We have 16 stores in San Antonio! Keeps me very busy! The hat was just for fun..,I did not buy it but always have fun trying them on!

  3. I like the jacket you are wearing in the feature picture. It appears to be slightly nipped in and that makes it such a flattering fit. So nice to find good quality at a great price! I completely agree about dropped shoulders, it gives a rounded, slouchy appearance that I’m not at all going for. I’m on the hunt for a few blazers and will be heading to one of our better consignment shops next week to see if she has any. Getting quality items for less is always a good idea, and many things are classic in style and will work for years to come. Also would like to find a few wool coats to add for winter to change up more often. Obviously, your Goodwill is better than most and I can see how you enjoy shopping there! I get so inspired by furniture that I could refinish, but I’m always scaling back so have to be very selective in those choices. I’m heading to Goodwill with another trunk load (thinking about my kids going through things when I’m gone!) and some are hard to part with, but they need to have a new home!

  4. It has taken me a long time to realize just how much of what I love, my kids don’t. I am parting with more as well and understand how hard it can be. Later though, it is refreshing!

  5. Good morning Pam! I’m envious. First if all as a lover of neutrals, the blazer you’re wearing at the start of your post is wonderful!
    I love the lines and you look so good in this cut too. I also love the second off white jacket with embroidered front. Interesting and what a find!
    As I might have mentioned our Goodwill stores do not seem to carry higher end or fashionable items that your stores do. That’s another reason I’m envious. I can see what fun you must have scouring the stores for “finds”!

  6. Pam, I am always amazed at your Goodwill store. Mine is a mess. But…good tips: key in to one thing (like jackets) and buy plates for give always! Thank you!

  7. We are blessed with Goodwill San Antonio! It is so much fun never knowing what I might uncover there!

  8. Thanks Deborah! Yes…why give paper or plastic when you can place goodies on lovely plates!

  9. I would love to be able to ramble around in your Goodwill store. I am definitely a bargain hunter, but do not live close to any thrift stores. However, I do tend to spend much time on resale sites online. It suddenly occurred to me recently that my searching for resale online on Poshmark, eBay, ThredUP, has taken the place of searching through the old Sears and JP Penny catalogs we had at home growing up. That Kasper coat you found looks like a real find. And your idea about buying dishes to use when you give food items away is such a good idea. Now…to go search for a thrift store somewhere!!

  10. I love thrift store shopping. I usually find an extra goodie or two. My Goodwill no longer sells furniture. So sad. I made a game of decorating a room or house with what I saw.

  11. When you said 16 stores, I almost fell off my chair. I have to drive to the next city 30 minutes away to get to one, and that is the only one in that city and it is not nearly as well displayed as the ones you show us. Still, I do pop in every time I go and love to go for the hunt. Recently I found a gorgeous Italian leather soft purse, but it was sooo the wrong colour, so I brought it home and painted it, and now love it even more because it is a true one of a kind. I too have gotten fresh Christmas plates or bowls to change out the look for the same price as disposable ones. You can get some great little bowls that serve well for sending home leftovers or treats. Love this Pam.

  12. Thanks Diane! There are several locations here I have never been to. It is fun to have so many options!

  13. What a beautiful jacket. I LOVE thrift stores. The plate idea is so good. Also nice to use this plate/dish idea if you are taking a dish somewhere or giving food to someone who is ill, etc. If you don’t get your dish back, no big deal. I have painted vintage furniture using mud paint. This paint is so forgiving and easy to use. And…linens. Just got a set of 12 ecru napkins for $6. — Perfect for a fall or Thanksgiving table.

  14. We don’t have much selection in our few thrift stores. Our city’s population is just 22,000 so it’s hard to expect much in the realm of second hand wares. Folks tend to hold onto and use hard most items, and without even a Macy’s or JCP both of which we lost in the past decade, the initial shopping is also dismal. I could pop into such places when I visit my boys in Portland, but tend to favor hitting my favorites to make up for the true lack of shops here. Looks like fun for you though! I bought a drop-leaf table similar to the one you show just last month, traveling four hours round trip to pick it up, paid full price, too. Oh, well. 🤷‍♀️

  15. My thrift stores aren’t nearly as close as I’d like them to be. I like that there’s a selection from all kinds of stores, some that you’d not visit otherwise. For my daughter’s rehearsal dinner (coming soon) I’m wearing a thrift find cardigan. Ya never know!

  16. There is a wonderful thrift store in my area where I find many treasures. And it’s also the perfect place to move along items that I have purchased, some of which(I must confess)have never had the tags removed.
    And I, like you Pam, can spend hours pouring over every inch of the store. I’ve found some great vintage costume jewelry pieces there.

  17. I don’t have a thrift store nearby but will definitely find one. What a great idea about the plates.
    Just a little FYI I have a granddaughter who is a junior in high school and I just found out that is where she buys a lot of her clothes and other things. Must be a new trend.

  18. What a great post! I love thrifting, and recently found a beautiful, well-made cobalt blue suede jacket for $20 at a local thrift store.

    For those that are commenting about not having a lot of thrift store options nearby, the link you shared in Wednesday’s Today’s News for Women over 50 from “LifeHacker: How to shop the best Goodwill Online,” was really good. Very timely, as well; definitely will be doing some holiday shopping . Thanks for all the research you put into finding these gems for us!

  19. There are at least 4 Goodwill stores within 15 minutes of my house and none are worth spending much time in. We do have a lot of resale shops in our area though. Hard to find ‘bargains ‘ there. That table probably would have come home with me!

  20. The Goodwill stores closest to me are not as nice as yours, but our daughter has good luck finding things at a location near her. When she was pregnant with our younger granddaughter, she was able to pick up some sleeveless tops to wear when there was an unseasonably warm spell in April. Most of them still had the tags on them. Thank you for the information on Lefton china. I have a small Lefton plate that was passed down to me by a dear aunt. It is a beautiful pattern of pink roses & blue ribbons & has great sentimental value to me as it reminds me of happy times spent with my aunt who has since passed away.

  21. I’m a thrift storeaholic .. I live in a retirement area where there’s lots of downsizing going on … and we have two great thrift stores and some smaller ones .. I look for bargains and things to supplement or update my wardrobe basics and often shop for books especially for our 16 grand and great grands ..books are a goldmine here .. soo fun to look and I always find things to gift or that I need . Including great designer name brands which I might never otherwise afford … my home is full of finds . Great place for leather purses . scarves , tshirts , jacket, jeans . Kitchen items and picture frames .

  22. I absolutely love thrift store shopping! I’ve found many treasures over the years, but the most recent one was a bright red Calvin Klein wool blend jacket that’s perfect for this time of year here in Canada. It looked like it had never been worn and cost me a whole $7.00!

  23. Have you ever goggled why we should not shop at Goodwill? They are not charity shops, they are a major business that overpays their executives and underpay their employees. You should shop at genuine charity thrift stores.

  24. Gayle, in respect to Goodwill San Antonio…you are wrong. They are independent and not a part of the overall Goodwill and they do so much for our community. Job training…veterans assistance with a whole complex devoted to veterans. I have worked with them for years and they do so much for our community. You should research their website and see for yourself.

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