Best Thrift Stores In Boston

I am sure you’ve heard the terms thrifting, vintage, and consignment shopping being used, and you might be wondering what they mean. They can be best described as a present-day form of treasure hunting. However, the best thrift stores in Boston ensure you do not have to cross mountains and rivers searching for the treasure but rather cross a street to look for a unique cocktail dress. 

Types of Thrifting Stores

Thrift Stores: These stores rely on donations. They have an assortment of items, and some are pricey or simple things like cleaning clothes. They are the cheapest of the three. Examples include your Goodwill, Savers, Salvation Army, etc. 

Vintage Stores: As the name suggests, these stores sell vintage items. You might be wondering what is considered vintage. Typically, vintage is something that is older than 30 years. If you are into authentic antique pieces, these are the stores you want to visit. Keep in mind. The prices might be on the higher side. 

Consignment: This is where a third-party shop is used to sell gently used merchandise. The items are usually newer and high-grade. Compared to a thrift store, the prices are high, but you are assured of quality. 

Advantages of Buying at a Thrift Store

Many people shop at thrift shops because of the huge benefits they get from there. The best thrift stores in Boston have the following benefits:

Saves you money: Compared to retail stores, thrift stores are more affordable. If you go with the same amount of money to a thrift store and a retail store, you will get more items from a thrift store. You can spend the remaining money on other expenses such as groceries, gas, or even save for your kid’s college fee. 

Designer clothing:  Most of the best thrift stores in Boston normally have racks full of designer labels similar to shops, and you will pay half the price at thrift stores. Some thrift stores even go a step further and arrange the clothes on hangers in different racks. This makes shopping easy. 

All-in-one-shop: Thrift stores have all sorts of merchandise, and the whole family can get what they want in one store regardless of gender or age. You will get items like toys, clothes, electric appliances, etc., all under one roof. 

New merchandise every day: Donations happen almost every day. As such, thrift stores have new items on a daily basis compared to retail stores. 

Sales: Many thrift stores have deals regularly to offload old stock and bring in new items. If you frequent a particular thrift store, you will come across flyers alerting you when scheduled sales happen. You can get great discounts from these sales.  

Intent: Many thrift stores function as part of a non-profit organization with a huge amount of money raised to assist the neighborhood. The residents benefit directly if the community members buy from these thrift stores.  

So now you know the difference between the stores, and the advantages of shopping at a thrift store, let us see how we can maximize your shopping experience. 

Clear Your Diary

When you visit a thrift, vintage, or consignment store, do not be in a hurry. It takes time to look for that diamond in the rough. You might get a designer label (that has barely been used). So spend time in the store looking at different pieces. Clear your diary and spend some time in the store. 

  • Do Not Focus On Size

When you visit secondhand stores, do not assume you are in a regular store. You will find tags with sizes. Ignore them. Different brands have different sizes, and the only way to know if something will fit is to try it on and not judge it by the tag.

  • Be Open to Suggestions

Do not focus on one section of the store. Move around. You might be surprised what you might pick at the men’s section or kids’ section. Keep your creative eye open. Some of these things can look neat with a few changes on the hem. 

  • Bring Additional Tools

Arm yourself with things like pins, belts, a scarf, etc. If you select a garment and you think it will need alterations, you can try using a safety pin or add a belt to get a clear picture of how the end garment will look like. 

When Is the Best Time to Shop at Thrifts?

Naturally, there’s no actual time to shop as many factors are tied to the act of shopping, but for thrift stores, it’s a bit different as you need to follow up on when they advertise that new merch has arrived. We have found new tricks to know when to scout the best thrift stores in Boston.

1. Shopping right around holidays

As many families do spring cleaning and have more time to go through their closets and attics right around most holidays like the three days Memorial Day weekend, more donations are made that week, meaning a huge gold mine for thrifters.

2. Sales days adverts

Head over to your favorite thrift store on the designated day and enjoy the thirty percent or fifty percent off deals and browse through all the goods on offer that day. The best thrift stores in Boston have always relied on these to boost sales

3. Spring cleaning

The tradition of spring cleaning right after the summer heat is gone a widespread need for garage sales. The Feb-April season has most stores buying and selling loads and loads of goods at a bargain.

Best Thrift Stores In Boston

1. Goodwill

Rev. Edgar J. Helms started Morgan Memorial Goodwill Industries in 1895. He had a vision of helping refugees and any other person get out of poverty. When he started the social enterprise, they would collect unwanted household items, restore them, and sell them to the locals at reasonable prices.

Presently, Goodwill is a major labor force development earner and offers all-inclusive services to spread its mission to help people with obstacles to self-reliance to attain freedom and self-worth through work. “Not charity, but a chance.”

You can also do all your shopping online at The online auction site has over 93,000 things available at any given moment. Items include vintage, crafts, publications, records, photographic cameras, electric equipment, dresses, memorabilia, ornaments and gems, home décor, musical equipment, ceramic, annual and vacation merchandise, informal wear, playthings, etc.   

Goodwill has that signature one color tag that signifies a fifty discount that entire week, the twenty-five percent discount on Tuesdays for all senior citizens, a fifteen percent Thursday discount for all students. The offers also cater to our men in uniform who get a twenty-five percent discount on Wednesdays.

2. Buffalo Exchange

The first Buffalo Exchange is located at 180 Harvard Avenue. The store offers an unforgettable experience for those new to thrifting. They have catchy deals like the 1-dollar earth day sale where you could get away with anything for just 1 USD.

The store buys clothing items for both men and women in good condition – the leading of all time of year. These could be plus sizes, men’s clothing, denim, T-shirts, dresses, shoes, pullovers, jackets, old-fashioned ornaments, athletic wear, etc.    

3. Vivant Vintage

Vivant Vintage’s mission is to give a second chance to high-end items. Items such as clothing, equipment, household goods, art and craft items are sold at Vivant Vintage. 

As the name suggests, Vivant Vintage deals with antiques only.

When you step into Vivant Vintage, it is like you have stepped into a time machine. From antique cameras, ancient typewriters to a gas lantern hanging from its hook. You might think everything is for sale in the store. However, some pieces are part of the décor. You can ask around if unsure. There is a price reduction for students and professors each and every Wednesday.  

4. Boomerangs

Want to support a store with a purpose? Then Boomerangs is the place for you. It supports the AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts. All proceeds are geared towards providing the wellness service and promoting HIV prevention across the New England area.

Is a good cause reason enough to shop at the best thrift stores in Boston?

They deal in well-preserved and gently used merchandise to fund the Boston area in partnership with Fenway health.

5. Castanet

Filled with all mentionable brands, the store caters for all from the 1-dollar coffee specials to beach tees with their west coast vibes. There’s something for every kind of consumer. They sell their one-of-a-kind stocks in-shop and online. With one downside, though, it’s only open from April to November.

Did I mention they use upcycle materials to make beach shirts?

6. Great Eastern Trading Company

Founded in the late 60s, the great eastern trading company has that historic vintage feels with clothing and accessories from every decade to date. It gives you that retro vibe that the young try to bring back again. Plan to make a few pop-ups to get curated accessories and costumes that fit all sorts of themed parties, even the simple day-to-day everyday wear.

7. We Thieves

For everything vintage Levi’s, the 517s, the 501s to denim of all sizes, including silhouettes of different body types. Their online stores are off the charts, but what better way to find that perfect fit than by trying them on.

Their capsule boutique takes you back in time to find that one-of-a-kind finds carefully curated and hand-picked to draw you in.

8. Covet

Owned by Hanadi Hamzeh to champion eco and budget-friendly commodities, with most costing well below the 125-dollar mark. These items are fairly new, having been previously newly purchased within the last year.

9. 40 South Street

Formerly gumshoe, 40 South Street has been home to an array of vintage wear for over three decades boasting several vintage stores from the Boston Globe to Boston compass that sells punk rock clothing. 40 South Street has the most rad stores run by Hilken Mancini, a local rock legend, to get those boots and dresses. All items sold here are high quality and fairly priced to suit your fancy.

10. Raspberry Beret

This is a secondhand store owned and operated by Rachael Bankey that deals in all things class and style with their vintage high-end designer stuff, helping you pull a classy look that would make even the queen proud. Need a dress for an upcoming wedding? Raspberry got you.

11. The Garment District

This is one of the most unique destinations offering a three-in-one experience to shoppers, from the “dollar a pound” where a mountain pile is put on the floor, allowing shoppers to dig in and find what they would describe as steals.

In the same “district” is a selection of eras and sizes from as early as the 40s. What sets it apart is its reasonable prices that can’t be beaten. Get the vintage gowns that would have you pulling that Marilyn Monroe looks or even pulling up suit jackets back in fashion right here.

It is all under one roof, from flashy hats, costumes, and rows of shoes, giving rummaging customers the feel of an actual treasure hunt. Need a Halloween costume? The garment district is your best bet. The catch is as they still accommodate all shoppers, the early bird catch phrase best describes what you stand to gain.

Doesn’t that sound like one of the best thrift stores in Boston?

12. High Energy Vintage

Fashion and style often almost always come back into fashion over a given period, and that’s what High energy vintage offers. You get to go back in time and experience that old-school vibe. It’s basically “back to the future past.” Besides their walk-in store and online presence, they are all over Boston in almost all flea markets, which is remarkable. Looking for the Mary Poppins look for themed Halloween high energy vintage wants you to get involved.

The article covers only some of the best thrift stores in Boston, but there are many others. Most people are shopping at thrift stores nowadays because they are looking to save some money and also purchase items that, in the long run, help the community around them. 

So if you are looking at a designer dress or a unique piece of jewellery, look around at the best thrift stores in Boston, and you might get more than you bargained for.  


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