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8 Essential Items To Bring Thrifting

By Rachel

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I’m sharing a handy list of 8 essential items to bring thrifting!

Who doesn’t love an outing to the thrift store?! Thrifting is an amazing way to source wares for your home without breaking the bank but it does take a little preparation. Here, you’ll learn about which type of bag to use, some important hygiene products, and even a few items you may not have thought of. To help you become a thrifting master, let’s dive into 8 essential items to bring thrifting each time you shop.

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8 Essential Items to Bring Thrifting

If you’ve been around here for any length of time, you know my love of thrifting. Over the years, I have found that there are a few key items that I always bring with me when shopping at thrift stores. It doesn’t matter if it’s going to be a quick 20 minute shop or an all day event; I won’t leave the house without them!

Most of the essentials for thrifting that I’m sharing today are small but mighty. Having these either on my person or waiting in the car ensures an efficient and pleasant thrift shopping experience. Let’s get into it!

Comfortable Bag

The first item that I always bring with me is a comfortable bag. I find it super helpful to have either a backpack or sling pack that won’t fall off your shoulders and into your lap while digging through the shelves.

This is actually the ‘purse’ that I use daily. I’ve been having some back issues for awhile now and this compact backpack from Vera Bradley offers comfort, support and, most importantly, frees up the front of my body for maximum thrifting efficiency!

When thrifting, especially on a day excursion, it’s so nice to have a bag that is able to hold other items such as a water bottle, chapstick, a snack, and extra hair ties.

Other bags that are handy for thrifting include this sling bag or this fanny pack.

a comfortable backpack for going thrifting

Hand Sanitizer

The next item on the list is very important for hygiene purposes. I’ve been to some pretty dirty and scuzzy flea markets and antique shops in my day. After digging through piles of dusty and dirty vintage wares, all I want to do is clean off my hands!

This is my go-to sanitizer spray that I carry with me at all times. It blends into your skin and dries in mere seconds and smells SO good.

favorite hand sanitizer to bring thrifting

Cell Phone

This one may seem pretty obvious but you just never know…double check to make sure you have your phone!

When I’m thrifting or at antique shops and I don’t know what something is or don’t recognize a mark, I use my phone to check Google for any information. Plus it’s just fun to take some photos while you are out, especially if you are with a friend at a vintage market or special thrifting event!

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Another fairly obvious essential but I had to include it! Make sure you have dollars or a credit card. I sometimes even carry a blank check with me.

I’ve had instances at small town antique shops where they didn’t accept cards and I didn’t have enough cash but they took checks! So, they earned my business that way!

Tape Measure

Having a small tape measure in your bag saves you heaps of guesswork. I always keep this compact, fabric one in my purse.

This is especially helpful if you are in the hunt for a piece of furniture. It would be such a bummer to purchase a chair or something only to get it home and realize that it doesn’t fit!

Keep the dimensions of the space on a sticky note in your phone (another reason to always have your phone!). Then, when you are out and you find a piece that catches your eye, you can whip out your tape measure and see if it’s the correct size!

a small fabric tape measure to bring thrifting


Does anyone else not know what to do without lip balm?! You guys. I seriously cannot handle any form of dry lips!

Thrift stores and antique shops can be hot and dry places to visit. Having your favorite chapstick with you helps alleviate any discomfort caused by dry, hot (or super cold!) air while out thrifting, because who has time for chapped lips when hunting for treasures?!

Water Bottle

Speaking from experience, any form of thrifting or picking trip can make a girl thirsty!

No matter where I’m going, I always carry this water bottle with me. This 32 oz bottle keeps me hydrated and enables me to keep thrifting for an entire day! Trust me on this one…you are always going to want water with you, especially on those super hot Summer days.

a large water bottle to bring thrifting


Last but certainly not least are snacks!! You know about being ‘hangry’? Yea…that’s me if I don’t have enough food or water in my belly.

Day or weekend long thrifting trips are so fun but also exhausting! I tend to start running low on fuel about mid-day so I always carry some healthy snacks in the car such as pretzels, granola bars or crackers. Having a quick snack elevates my energy level so I can keep thrifting and it’s a much healthier option than getting gas station food.

Closing Tidbits

I hope that these 8 essential items to bring thrifting will enable you to be successful and feel stress-free while thrifting! Having the right gear for any thrift trip, big or small, is crucial to your triumph in finding goods and wares to bring home. Be encouraged to have an adventure, being open to what you find along the way.

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Leave me a comment! What essentials did I leave out? I love hearing from you!

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essential items needed for going thrifting including a backpack and water bottle

If you are new here, I’m Rachel, the writer and content creator here at The Antiqued Journey. I’m so happy to have you! I encourage you to stop by the ‘about me’ page to get to know me a little more.

Here on the blog, you will find loads of inspiration for decorating with vintage and antique decor, simple DIY crafts and many thrifting adventures. If that interests you, I invite you to sign up for my e-mail. You will receive a free digital download as a thank you!

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17 Comments. Leave new

  • Hi Rachel ! Another thing that I always make sure to include is my reading glasses. I’ve had to add those as I got older and are sometimes easy to forget when changing from my regular purse to my crossbody purse which is what I use to thrift or antique shop.

    • Rachel Granholm
      October 10, 2023 8:59 am

      Hello Bonnie!
      Thanks so much for including other things! I didn’t include those in my list because I’m not at that age yet but I’m sure many others are so that’s a great idea. I appreciate you reading today! Hope you have a lovely day!

  • Leslie Michael
    October 10, 2023 9:55 am

    Another good one if you may be purchasing fragile items is to keep a small box with some packing material in your trunk.

  • Rachel – So many great tips! I have tape measure that I keep in my car at all times. After realizing I needed a tape measure and not having one readily available and then making some incorrect purchasing decisions – I now have tape measures every where. Ha! I also bring a backpack and stuff it with newsprint paper for wrapping fragile items. Thanks for sharing these tips with us!

  • Hi Rachel! This is such a great post! You know I’m all about organization and thrifting, so I loved reading your tips! I love your VB backpack, it’s the perfect size! I’ve been having a ball thrift shopping this fall and can’t wait to implement your ideas this weekend!

  • Hi Rachel! Wanted you to know I’m sharing this post in my weekly newsletter on Friday! Have a great weekend!

  • […] 1)If you like to thrift shop, check out this post targeting eight essential items to bring thrifting! […]

  • These are all such great tips, Rachel! Bonnie mentioned using a crossbody bag so you can shop hands-free and I do the same thing. It makes picking up items so much easier. I also keep a plastic bin with bubble wrap in it in case I need to haul some things home but don’t want them rolling around in the back and it helps as well. Oh my word and hair ties – I’d be lost without one because my wild and curly hair has a mind of its own 90% of the time 🤣 Thanks for this post sweet friend. It’s so helpful! Hugs, CoCo

  • Wendy McMonigle
    October 14, 2023 12:42 pm

    So many great tips, Rachel. I sure would love to go thrifting with you one day.

  • […] was at the thrift store a few weeks ago and wasn’t finding much until I just happened to look up. There, sitting […]

  • […] I arranged small displays and vignettes to create a cohesive space. These small displays consist of thrifted and vintage finds as well as items that have been […]


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Hello I’m Rachel.

I’m so glad you are here! Old things are my jam. Antique malls and thrift stores are my happy places.

Here on the blog I love to share my excitement, knowledge, and ideas about all things antique and vintage. Let’s journey together!

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