The Joy of Thrifting

When I was young, my dad would take me to flea markets just to see what he couldn’t live without on any given day. I loved looking through all the “junk” never knowing what treasure might be hidden.

Of course my 10 year old self thought every item was a treasure. As the years went by, the thrill of the treasure hunt was replaced by wandering aimlessly through the mall with my friends, looking for something new and flashy. Somewhere, somehow my desire to dig through others’ discarded items was lost.

Fast forward…many, many years. My husband’s job led us to Belgium. There, I was reintroduced to the craft of thrifting. Oh the treasures I found! When we moved back Stateside I decided to keep seeking out thrift stores; partly to donate but mainly to shop. Thrifting isn’t only about bargain hunting or antiquing. There is also something very rewarding about repurposing someone else’s unwanted items.

“Only in Boulder.” That’s the comment an acquaintance received after sharing that she had purchased her super-chic dress at a thrift shop. Thrifting in Boulder is like hitting the jackpot. Not only are people here in tune with donating in order to be more “green,” but let’s be honest…there’s a lot of really high end shopping and subsequent closet-clearing taking place. As I explored the shops around Boulder I couldn’t believe all the great finds.

Whether it’s furniture, sporting goods, home décor, or clothing you’re looking for; don’t pass up the opportunity to check out some of the best shopping Boulder has to offer. Each shop has something special to offer. Many have daily sales, discounts or even a frequent shopper punch card. Check websites for more information as well as to see what they do and don’t accept for donations. Most importantly get out and have fun. Better yet, bring a friend and spend a day exploring some of Boulder’s gems. Keep in mind that inventory changes sometimes on an hourly basis.

***Only thrift shops have been included in the list below. There are some amazing consignment and resale shops in and around Boulder as well. Stop in and check them out while you’re thrifting. You never know what you’ll find! ***

TRU Hospice Thrift Shop
5565 Arapahoe Avenue, Boulder, CO
(303) 604-5353
Mon-Sun 10am – 5:30pm
***Donations Accepted during store hours 7 days a week
This volunteer run shop uses 100% of their proceeds to help fund TRU Community Care which provides “hospice services, home health, and grief support” to communities in Boulder County. Frequent daily sales including: 20% off Senior discount days, Black Friday sale, and Double Stamp days on your frequent shopper card. Pick up a sales calendar at the cashier counter so you can plan ahead. Shop highlights: dresses (casual, LBD, formal), clothing, kids games, holiday décor, crafts, winter gear.

Greenwood Wildlife Thrift

Courtesy of Greenwood Wildlife Thrift Shop and Consignment Gallery

Courtesy of Greenwood Wildlife Thrift Shop and Consignment Gallery
3600 Arapahoe Avenue Boulder, CO (downstairs)
(303) 245-0800
Mon – Sat, 10 a.m. to 5:30p.m.
Sun, 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
***Donations accepted during store hours.
Greenwood is a clean and well-organized shop staffed with a very helpful and friendly group of volunteers. All proceeds support Greenwood Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. For such a small space they have a nice variety of items. It seems as though this shop has different sales every week and a weekday Senior Discount (55+). Don’t forget to pick up a frequent shopper card and sale flyer at the counter! They also have a Facebook page that they share with the Consignment shop upstairs. Events and sales are usually listed here as well. ( Shophighlights: holiday décor, household items (including several space heaters), home décor, children’s clothing (snow boots!), books, and clothing.

Humane Society of Boulder Valley

5320 Arapahoe Ave. Boulder, Colorado
Mon-Sat, 10a.m.-5:30p.m.
Sun, 11a.m.- 5:00p.m.
***Donations accepted: Mon-Fri, 10a.m.- 4:00p.m, Sat 10a.m.-3:00p.m.
Chances are when you walk into this shop you’ll be greeted by a friendly dog or two as they are allowed if they are on a leash. The shop is run primarily by volunteers with proceeds benefiting the Boulder Valley Humane Society. That Boulder is an animal loving town is evidenced in the fact that this shop receives some amazing donations. They even have an ebay page ( listing some of the higher end items. Sales are listed on their Facebook page (  Shop highlights: Women’s clothing (some seriously great finds!), holiday décor, home décor, and books.

The Salvation Army Family Store

1701 33rd St., Boulder, CO 80304
(303) 939-8502
Mon-Sat, 9a.m.-6p.m.
Sun, CLOSED (Donations and pick-ups only)
***Donations accepted Mon-Sat, 9a.m.-5:30p.m. & Sun 11a.m.-4:00p.m.
In this bright and open shop you’ll find a diverse collection of furniture, clothing, jewelry, home décor, and even washers/dryers. I know someone who purchased a piano at this location. A small tune-up was all it needed to be up and running. What a find! The furniture runs the gamut from mid-century modern to current day and, like most things, can be hit and miss. If you have time and check back frequently you’ll probably find something worthwhile. The home décor and clothing sections are nicely
organized and maintained. As you enter the door you’re greeted with a sign telling you what sales are taking place. Shop highlights: furniture, home décor, and lots of clothing.

ARES Thrift Store

Photo Courtesy of Ares

Photo Courtesy of Ares

2536A Spruce Street, Boulder, CO.
(303) 444-8088
Mon-Sat, 10a.m.-7:00p.m.
Sun, 10a.m.-4:00p.m.
***Donations accepted during business hours 7 days a week.
On the very eastern edge of Spruce Street you’ll find ARES. The shop is packed with goodies. The staff is friendly and daily specials (senior discount, ARES bucks, student/faculty discounts) are consistent. Each week they include a “Fabulous Finds” table near the cashier. The objects are, well…fabulous. A silent action style bidding system runs until Wednesday at closing. (Phone bids are taken up until closing.) Follow them on Facebook ( or
check out their website (to get the latest and greatest news. A portion of their proceeds benefit Boulder County SafeHouse, The Mental Health Center, The Boulder Shelter for The Homeless as well as other local organizations.



Courtesy of Goodwill

2486 W. Baseline Rd. Boulder, CO
Mon-Sat, 9a.m. – 9 p.m.
Sun, 10a.m. – 7:00p.m.
***Donations accepted during business hours.
I’m pretty sure most people over the age of 18 have heard of Goodwill. They’ve either donated or shopped there at some point in their lives. Boulder’s Goodwill is a mecca for thrifters. I, personally, have a theory that because this is the closest donation center to CU the store benefits from students that don’t want to pack up more “stuff” at the end of the year and would rather donate it here. There is a great clothing sectionhere as well. One can find a wide variety of name brand jeans, shirts, etc. The furniture department is located outside, which on a winter day can be a little chilly, but it’s worth a look. This time of year there is also a large selection of artificial Christmas trees.


Article by Dana Morgan


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