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A Beginner’s Guide to Thrifting in the Rocket City

A Beginner’s Guide to Thrifting in the Rocket City

Thrifting can be an exciting treasure hunt for families on the hunt for new styles.

My teenagers and I love to thrift. It’s actually something we get excited about when we have extra money or our favorite stores are having a sale. The kids even asked for cash from their grandparents instead of gifts last year for Christmas so they could go thrifting. It’s become quite common for someone to compliment an item of clothing on one of us and we can proudly say, “Thanks! I thrifted it!”

Why we thrift

  • Budget: We don’t have a limitless clothing budget and teenagers grow in style and in size, so shopping at big box stores simply doesn’t make as much sense as thrifting. If your kid is going to change their style in six months or grow out of their seasonal items, why spend full price on the clothes they wear?
  • Fashion: My 15 year old daughter takes to thrifting because she’s very adventurous with her style and likes to find unique pieces to create her own personal fashion statements.
  • Affordable Brands: My son is almost 13 and comes to thrifting as someone who likes more mainstream styles and brands, but who understands that he’s not going to get to wear the big brands if he doesn’t find them at a thrift store.
  • Ethical Consumerism: We also like thrifting as a practice in sustainability and in reducing our contribution to the sometimes inhuman practices of the garment industry.

Where to Thrift in Huntsville

Places with the Biggest Selection of Clothing

Some thrift stores around town have more housewares or bedding or furniture, but when we make our list of places we like to go for clothes…these are our regular stops. When we are just heading out to thrift without specific needs in mind, we tend to mix and match these stops so that we’re hitting each of these places at least once every 4-5 weeks.

  • Value Village Thrift Shop: 3008 Memorial Pkwy NW | (256) 858-0192
  • Goodwill 2 locations
    – 8501 Whitesburg Dr | (256) 858-0192
    – 300 Hughes Rd
  • Saving Way  4 locations
    – 1810 University Drive NW |  (256) 536-6940
    – 11199 South Memorial Parkway |  (256) 801-8636
    – 1338 Winchester Road | (256) 851-2700
    – 1810 University Drive NW | (256) 536-6940
  • America’s Thrift Store: 2009 Drake Ave SW | (938) 238-2360

Sidenote: All of the stores listed above also have decent book sections. I feel obligated – as someone who loves buying books for $1 – to tell you that.

Here are a few others that we’ll go to if we have more time or if we’ve had no luck at our regular stops:

  • A New Leash On Life Thrift Store: 707 Andrew Jackson Way NE
  • Downtown Rescue Mission Thrift Store: 1407 N Memorial Pkwy B
  • Thrift Mart: 4710 University Dr NW unit m, Huntsville, AL 35816

Now that I’ve given you a list of places to start, let me tell you about our two favorites.

Favorite #1 – The Saving Way

When we are crunched for time and can only go to ONE place…we always choose The Saving Way on University. Our family, as a unit, has the most consistent luck at The Saving Way stores in particular, but specifically the one on University. We love that they sort shirts by color (this makes it seem much less overwhelming) and we especially love that they regularly have sales where the entire store is 50% off. If you want to keep up with those announcements, make sure you follow them on Facebook. However, their prices are great even without the sales.

Additional sales can be found on the already discounted items while thrifting.
Love finding a SavingWay sale!

Favorite #2 – America’s Thrift Store

A Few Notes:
–  America’s Thrift Store has a lot of NEW items that are priced lower than if you bought them at a department store. If you’re looking for things like packs of socks or undergarments, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how many NEW items of that type this store sells.
– They have the most clothing in town. They even brag that every day “it’s like a whole new store!” which is not something any other store can say. If you just like to shop…this is the store for you. But for my family? We find it a bit overwhelming, it’s actually not a regular stop for us.
– It is THE stop when we’re looking for something very specific. If someone needs new athletic wear or a new purse or a specific kind of shirt…this is where we go. If you only need to head to ONE area of the store or ONE set of clothing racks…it feels way less overwhelming. We found their prices to be reasonable which surprised us since it’s a more curated selection.

The Haul

And now…for the proof of our successes…let me give you a little Holmes Family fashion thrifting haul.

My 15-year old daughter typically has the best luck because she’s the right size (every store we go to has the largest stock in women’s clothing in the small/medium size range) and she has the most adventurous taste.

My 13-year old son is still in the sizes between kids and adults, so he has the hardest time finding pants, but he has a lot of luck finding shirts. He’s had some great luck with brands too…the shirt on the far right is Tommy Hilfiger and the pants on the far left are Ralph Lauren.

See Also

Because I sometimes wear plus sizes and sometimes not, I have the hardest time finding pants. Although now that it’s gotten warmer, I’ve had more luck as people are cleaning out their winter wardrobes! I NEVER have a problem finding tops, though.  Even in good brands…I have found several Lucky Brand tops just in the last few months.

Final Thoughts

Now…there are two things I would encourage you to keep in mind if you start your thrifting journey using this as a guide.

    1. Every experience is different based on sizes and style preferences. You may find other stores stock the things that fit you or your kids better than what we have found for our family.


  1. You *have* to go regularly. If you only go thrifting once a year, or even once a season, you’re not going to find the appeal. Sometimes we walk out of one store with nothing. Sometimes we all walk out with 5 or more items. Do not give up if you don’t have luck the first time at a store.

Good Luck and Happy Thrifting!

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