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How Does a Thrift Store Replenish Its Inventory?

How Does a Thrift Store Replenish Its Inventory?

Unlike traditional retail stores, thrift shops have many ways to acquire inventory. Since thrift stores obtain inventory from many different places, they stock plenty of unique items that you cannot find at other stores. Some items, such as antiques, can be quite valuable even though they are sold at lower prices. At thrift stores, you can always receive an excellent bargain for unique items. To sell their items at low prices, thrift stores need multiple ways to obtain goods at affordable prices. Here is how a thrift store replenishes its inventory to provide these items for customers.


Donations are one of the main ways that thrift stores replenish their inventories. These donations can come from individuals or organizations. People often donate clothing, furniture, household accessories, decorations, appliances, and more. To transport these donations to the store, the donors can visit the store location, place the items in a drop-off container for the store to pick up, or use a truck or moving vehicle to transport large items. Some services like GreenDrop will even come to your home to pick up the donations. Many of the items are either lightly used or brand-new, so people choose to donate instead of throwing them away. Instead of wasting clothing by throwing it away and filling up the landfills, people often choose to be charitable and donate to help others. Donations increase significantly after holidays and large events. When people receive clothes that do not fit or gifts they do not like, they often donate those items to thrift stores.

Yard Sales

Yard sales are an excellent source of inventory for thrift stores. At these yard sales, people sell appliances, children’s toys, clothing, and other various knickknacks. Many people hold yard sales after their kids outgrow their clothes, toys, and other accessories. Because of this, yard sales are an excellent way to find baby clothes and children’s items. Since people want to dispose of their items quickly, the prices are usually low and perfect for thrift stores. Sometimes, you can also find antiques, jewelry, picture frames, and other items of significant value on the thrift store shelves. These types of items are usually donated or found at yard sales.

Store Liquidations

When stores go out of business, they have liquidation sales. The purpose of these liquidation sales is to help the closing store dispose of all its inventory. Because they need to dispose of the items quickly, these stores sell their items at incredibly low prices, which is perfect for thrift stores looking to purchase and resell stock. Some of the items sold at store liquidations are quite valuable, such as furniture and large appliances. The thrift stores will watch for these store liquidations and purchase quality items at extremely low prices. These prices are sometimes so low that the items are almost free, which is perfect for restocking inventory at an affordable cost.

Moving Sales

Before people move from one house to another, they need to clean out their house and wardrobes. Moving costs money, so many people choose to take only the necessary items and sell the excess. These sales can turn into yard sales or garage sales, but sometimes people sell from inside the home itself. Usually, they want to get rid of their items as quickly as possible, so they sell at low prices. These sales are an excellent way for thrift stores to replenish their inventories without going over budget.


Small boutiques stock all kinds of unique clothing items. When clothes and furniture go on sale, thrift stores often use this opportunity to refresh their inventories with unique, high-quality items. Many of these boutiques sell customized and unique clothing articles, jewelry, furniture, and more, which is difficult to obtain from other types of stores. These types of items contribute greatly to thrift stores’ inventories.

Wholesale Suppliers

Many consumers are unaware that thrift stores receive goods from wholesale suppliers. There are plenty of suppliers that thrift stores can use to purchase secondhand clothing either online or in-person from a warehouse. Purchasing secondhand clothing in bulk from these wholesale suppliers is a quick, cost-efficient, and easy way to restock the shelves in thrift stores. Because this method is convenient and affordable, many thrift stores choose to use wholesale suppliers as their main source of inventory.

Small Businesses

Since small businesses often sell at lower prices than well-known brands, thrift shops will also purchase goods from their stores. These goods vary greatly, from clothing to kitchenware, and are sold at prices that are affordable for the thrift stores. Thrift stores find these businesses within the local area or online for reliable items.

Retail Chain Stores

Thrift stores occasionally purchase items to sell from retail chain stores. A few examples of these stores are TJ Maxx, Ross, Marshalls, and more. During sales events, thrift stores may even obtain inventory from larger stores, such as Kohl’s. However, the goods at these stores are usually high-priced, so thrift stores usually do not purchase items from larger stores unless they are on sale.

Online Markets

Today, many items are sold for low prices online. Some websites that thrift store owners may visit are eBay, Esty, Facebook Marketplace, and Craigslist. These online websites provide a wide variety of new and secondhand goods for low prices. Additionally, they allow thrift stores to purchase goods from many different locations and sellers. However, since the thrift store owner may not be familiar with the seller, it is essential to have caution when purchasing inventory from online markets.

So, this is how a thrift store replenishes its inventory. To summarize, thrift stores acquire inventory from:

Because they acquire goods from multiple places and not just one supplier, thrift stores are always filled with unique, low-cost items. If you want to find excellent bargains, then you can visit a thrift store near you. At 2nd Ave Thrift Stores we obtain all our merchandise from donors. We have thrift shops in Philadelphia and many other locations such as New Jersey, Maryland and Virginia. Be sure to visit one of our 2nd Avenue Thrift Superstores in your area today for unique items at affordable prices.

How Does a Thrift Store Replenish Its Inventory?