If you see these 11 items at a thrift store, you should always consider buying them

Bargain Hunters Flock To Sunbury Antiques Market
Getty Images | Dan Kitwood

When you are cleaning out closets or decluttering your home, a thrift store can be the perfect place to cast off the items you no longer want or need. The sale of your donated stuff can benefit a good cause and help someone else snag a smoking deal on something they can use.

Of course, secondhand stores can be a terrific place to shop, as well. Someone else’s trash can become your treasure at a truly budget-friendly price. And in addition to gently worn clothing and new-to-you household items, you could even discover some valuable finds. Amongst the discarded sweaters, outdated décor items and objects you cannot identify, there could be an antique, collectible or other valuable that someone else donated without realizing its worth.

goodwill store photo
Flickr | Rusty Clark ~ 100K Photos

Listed below are 11 items you should always consider buying if you spot them at a thrift store. So, the next time you peruse the aisles and shelves of a resale shop, keep your eyes peeled for these potential gems, which you could potentially resell for a profit.

1. Board Games

Taking the time to look through a pile of old board games can pay off in a big way. Some vintage and rare board games can be worth hundreds—or even thousands—of dollars, particularly if they have all the pieces and are in relatively good condition. Ones to look for include forgotten Milton Bradley titles like “Fireball Island” and “Dark Tower.”

retro board game photo
Flickr | jabberwocky381

2. Bottles And Jars

Old canning jars, antique bottles and other vintage glass containers can be quite valuable and lovely to collect, as well. Watch for reproductions that might appear to be old, as they are not worth much at all. Familiarizing yourself with logos used throughout the years can help you date glass jars and bottles.

Antique Bottles photo
Flickr | N@ncyN@nce

3. China

Plates, teacups and other china pieces from days gone by can be highly collectible. A complete set can be a major score, but even individual platters, teapots and plates can be valuable to someone trying to replace a piece from an old set.

vintage china photo
Flickr | Southern Lady's Vintage

4. Coffee Mugs

Chances are good that any thrift store you visit will boast a shelf or two crowded with coffee cups. These might seem like cupboard-cluttering tchotchkes, but the right ones can be worth quite a bit of cash. Everything from fine china cups, to vintage kitschy restaurant mugs, to certain Starbucks coffee cups and Disney-themed mugs can be collector’s items.

coffee mug collection photo
Flickr | ewen and donabel

5. Cookie Jars

You can find porcelain cookie jars in an abundance of fun and interesting shapes, colors and sizes. Some of the most rare, unique and nostalgic ones can fetch hundreds of dollars from the right buyer, but they can also be a whimsical kitchen collectible to keep for yourself.

cookie jars photo
Flickr | Schezar

6. Electronics

Vintage consumer electronics have begun the transformation from rubbish to rewarding. Old video games and other obsolete tech items hold nostalgia for the adults who enjoyed them as children. Photographers often love to collect antique cameras and equipment—even items such as outdated calculators, telephones and tech-related toys could be worth a bundle.

vintage camera photo
Flickr | ohsarahrose

7. Folk Art

Antique American folk art is in high demand, but it can be tricky to determine authentic pieces. Check carefully for carved names, stamps, stickers or other marks that might identify a piece as real or a reproduction. Your best bet is to buy only pieces you appreciate when thrift shopping. Either way, you will come home with something you like, hopefully without spending much money.


8. Glassware

Manufactured and sold inexpensively and in large quantities during the 1920s and ’30s, “Depression glass,” as it has become known, is tremendously collectible. Scour thrift stores for everything from white milk glass, to iridescent carnival glass, to pale green jadeite and more.


9. Holiday Decorations

If you spot Christmas ornaments and household holiday decorations that look as though they came from your parents’ or grandparents’ attic, you might want to snatch them up quickly. Small ceramic trees, glass ornaments and other festive knickknacks can be worth far more than you will likely pay at a thrift store—plus they are fun to display!

vintage christmas ornament photo
Flickr | ShebleyCL

10. Quilts

Lovingly cut, pieced and stitched together, antique quilts are not only eye-catching and practical, they can be especially valuable, to boot. These handmade blankets can easily garner hundreds to thousands of dollars apiece. They add a rustic, homespun appeal to any bed or wall, as well.

antique quilt photo
Flickr | lemonhalf

11. Silver

Precious metal amid discarded household items at secondhand stores? Silver pieces can definitely be scored. Check piles of mismatched silverware, kitchen platters or serving pieces and even bags or boxes with costume jewelry. Look for tarnish, stamped markings and even dents (sterling silver dents more easily than plated pieces do).

vintage silverware photo
Flickr | GranniesKitchen

Watch for items that seem authentic, look antique and simply have appeal. Double-check with a quick search on your phone and see if you have a valuable find in your hands. Good luck!