Some of my most treasured memories from my dire high school years are of my precious Nana and I exploring local thrift stores. In high school my Nana would pick me up one or two Saturday mornings a month and drive me in her old beige sedan across the bridge to our favorite church basement thrift store. In that dusty basement my Nana taught me how to roll a sweater so that I could fit the most clothing pieces in a paper grocery bag when it was $2 bag sale day, but more importantly she gave me the freedom to express myself through affordable fashion. I was able to experiment with different clothing styles that I would never have been able to afford otherwise. As an impressionable teenager I learned that people donate all sorts of things, name brand new with tag clothing, family heirlooms and photographs, books, and everything else in between. While my peers were spending their free time spending hundreds of dollars at Abercrombie and Fitch, a store my mom could never afford, I was not only able to find those coveted sweaters on the racks at that church thrift store, but I was also able to try different clothing trends and fall in love with all things vintage.
Those early thrift store core memories have been ingrained in my soul. Fast forward to the present day and thrifting is still a vital part of who I am. And lucky for all of us in Northeast Florida we are blessed with a plethora of thrifting and bargain hunting options. We love to shop local in Jacksonville, and that goes for thrift stores as well!
Goodwill & Salvation Army Stores in Jacksonville
A great place to start, these stores are heavily shopped but still treasures to be found. Goodwill has weekly colored tag sales, and Salvation Army has weekly 50% off days. They both offer multiple locations around Jacksonville. It’s worth it to venture out and visit locations often. These stores are constantly putting out endless inventory.
Hope’s Closet Thrift Store
While technically a church founded thrift store, this store does not have any of the typical thrift store vibes. The floors are shining, the home section is styled. There is a mix of new and donated merchandise for sale. Locations are large, with department store features. The employees are some of the most pleasant humans. They also offer incredibly easy donation drive thru. I have found some wonderful furniture and ceramic pieces here.
Thrift Stores that Give Back in North Florida
Shopping for a deal is enough to make one feel good but also knowing my money is going directly to the community and to those that need it most? Yes please! A few stores to shop, support and also donate to are: Beam, Hubbard House, and Possibilities Plus.
Noteworthy Thrift Stores in Jacksonville
Some thrift stores that are always worth the drive are St. Vincent de Paul, City Thrift, and The Thrift Store. All of these are larger thrift stores that offer endless inventory and amazing deals. These seem to be the busiest thrift stores in Jacksonville, but they are for a reason!
Tips & Tricks for Thrifting in Jacksonville
Now that you know where to go, how do you get the best deals? Well for one do not go into a thrift store looking for something specific. To find great treasures one needs to let them find you. Let this be your golden rule. I swear if you have a list of things you want to find you will never, ever find them. Go shopping with an open mind and see what your eyes stumble on.
Thrift shopping can be overwhelming, take a breathe and browse around. I tend to hit the same sections in the same order every store I go into. Clothing racks can be the most tedious, I research brands that withhold the test of time, and skip over all the fast fashion. My tween tends to be all over the place but that is okay. I love that she can explore her fashion sense without squashing our budget.
While thrift stores can be bag and shoe heaven make sure to inspect all the things in your cart. Give those shoes a good bend, make sure the bag is intact and has plenty of life left. Keep a price in mind of how much you would spend on something and stick to it. Most importantly give yourself grace. You will not always find something, but when you find the right item that sparks joy for you, I promise it will be worth it.
Jillian Gishler is a New Englander at heart. Born in Jacksonville Beach, she grew up in Massachusetts but was beckoned back to Florida by Mickey Mouse for a Disney World Internship. She returned to the beach in 2005 after graduating from Florida State. Ten years ago she opened her handmade & vintage collective shop, Sew Vicious, in Neptune Beach. Jillian raises chickens, is a passionate gardener, a DIYer, a thrift store junkie, a deal loving mama, and has several inspirational travel journals available on Amazon. She leads her daughters Girl Scout Troop, teaches sewing at a local Montessori School, and is a Parents Who Lead Alumni. She loves surprising her husband and daughters with mini-vacations around the Sunshine State.