Guide to thrifting in the Boston area



The Boston area has a plethora of thrift stores from Goodwill to the Garment District that are great places if you’re looking to add items to your wardrobe that are original and environmentally-friendly.

As someone whose closet is about 90 percent thrifted items, I take thrifting very seriously. Granted, I’ve made some regrettable purchases that have led to cases of buyer’s remorse so devastating, I wasn’t sure if I would ever step foot in a Goodwill again, but that’s just part of the journey. Besides, it is because of those choices that I am able to write this super-handy thrift guide you are currently reading. So let’s get right into it, shall we?

Savers, Goodwill, Plato’s Closet, Buffalo Exchange, The Garment District. There are innumerable different “thrift” chains you can go to, but let me save you some time right now by telling you: they are not all worth the trip.

Savers 9/10
Savers is certainly worth visiting, and it is my personal favorite. When at Savers, you have to be willing to sift through a lot of not-so-great items to get to “the one.” However, I would argue that the hunt is the best part of thrifting: where’s the fun in looking through a bunch of pieces people have already picked out for you?

On the other hand, it’s important to note that Savers prices have gone up lately; what used to be a four-dollar shirt is suddenly seven dollars. But you can always depend on the trinket aisles to have some odd ceramic figurines and dolls at prices so low you’ll wonder if they’re haunted.

Goodwill 7/10
Goodwill is the thrift store equivalent of cheese pizza: it’s pretty plain, but it’s satisfactory and not overly expensive. You’re not guaranteed to find anything especially interesting, but it’s a good place to find some basic pieces.

It’s a lot messier than Savers, and you’re more likely to find items with stains on them or holes, but the prices reflect that. I wouldn’t recommend it for a first time thrifting experience, but it’s worth checking out.

Plato’s Closet 8/10
I will say with complete honesty that I expected the worst from Plato’s Closet. There are few things I dislike more than stores that market themselves as “thrift stores” only to sell fast fashion brands and duplicates of clothing. However, I was pleasantly surprised by what I saw in Plato’s Closet.

It is certainly not without fast fashion brands (FashionNova and Shein made several appearances), but overall there were some really good finds. The prices were higher than what you would find in Savers or Goodwill, but it was decorated much more nicely than any other place.

Buffalo Exchange 3/10
Buffalo Exchange is another popular thrift store chain and you may be familiar with the one located in Coolidge Corner. This store reignites my hatred towards “thrift” stores that just sell things that are clearly not all second-hand.

It should be said that Buffalo Exchange has some cute items. There is a lot of variety and it’s always well-organized. However, as a thrift store, it misses the mark seeing as it resembles an adolescent TJ Maxx.

Garment District 6/10
The Garment District is not for the faint of heart; be prepared to get your hands (and knees) dirty. Although there is an entire floor of decades-themed clothing, it is probably most well known for its pay-by-the-pound section.

The pay-by-the-pound section consists of a massive pile of clothing on the floor that people dig through. When you first walk in, it is normal to experience some doubts and even question what decisions led you to walk in the door, but once you push past that, it is actually very fun.

It’s pretty hit-or-miss and is probably a better location for a thrifting-with-a-friend day rather than a more serious outing.

Regardless of where you end up going, odds are you’ll be able to find some unique clothes while simultaneously feeling more environmentally-conscious, seeing as thrift stores conveniently act as a sustainable alternative to shopping at your typical retail store. Saving the planet has never been so stylish.