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How Alabama cities rank when it comes to the best spots for thrifting


Three Alabama cities are being highlighted for their thriving thrifting communities. These rankings were published by Lawn Love in its 2023’s Best Cities for Thrifting rankings.

The lawn care service and research group analyzed cities around the US. Analysts ranked them based off access to thrift stores, consignment shops, flea markets and local interest in shopping second hand.

Montgomery came in at 82nd overall out of 200 cities. Mobile was ranked 65th. Birmingham was the highest ranked Alabama city coming in at number 55.

Sharon Sullivan is the managing editor for Lawn Love. She said the main reason the Magic City came out on top was due to online interest and an abundance of opportunities to shop.

“There's a lot of people who were interested in Googling a lot of thrifting-related keywords over the past year,” she explained. “Plus, estate sales [and] things like that. There's just a lot of stuff going on and clothing swap groups. So, there seems to be access to a lot of scores and a lot of interest.”

Sullivan explained places like Goodwill and Habitat for Humanity are a big draw for second-hand shoppers looking for a good deal.

“They're looking for a lot of mostly clothing. Sometimes, they look for furniture. [They are a] great place to get some secondhand furniture,” she said. “They're thought to be a great way to find some items that they can kind of repurpose.”

But Sullivan warns that sometimes a good deal can be dangerous. “You don't want to be looking for like bathing suits or things like that, that are a little more personal items,” she explained. “Hats and mattresses… kids’ toys, stuffed animals that can have bacteria or mattresses… Electrical appliances, just because you just don't know how well they work. You don't know what they've been through.”

Sullivan said the best times to go thrifting are at the beginning of the week. This is when the new weekend donations and inventory are distributed in the store.

“Probably like Mondays and Tuesdays [are] a good time. You would think that a lot of people thrift on the weekends, and the supply would be down. But it’s a good time. A lot of people either have yard sales or garage sales and have a bunch of items that didn’t sell. So, they take it to a thrift store,” she explained. “A lot of people are kind of cleaning out things on the weekend.”

More on Lawn Love’s rankings of 2023’s Best Cities for Thrifting can be found here.

Baillee Majors is the Morning Edition host and a reporter at Alabama Public Radio.
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