Thrift stores are a valuable community resource, providing affordable clothing, accessories, and furniture for those on a tight budget who can’t afford to spend a lot of money. Thrift stores are often associated with looking dirty or messy. With a little attention to detail and maintenance, you can make your warehouse look good, and keep customers coming back many more times.
Steps to follow:
1. Clean all thrift store windows inside and out. Before washing, check the frames for peeling paint and clean around the edges for cobwebs or debris. Use a commercial glass cleaner or make your own heavy-duty solution by combining 2 quarts of warm water with a teaspoon of liquid dish soap and 1/2 cup of ammonia.
2. Keep the exterior of the store in good condition. Sweep the sidewalk and make sure there are no donation boxes or bags in sight. If the store sign is faded or looks outdated, replace it with a new one.
3. Make sure that all surfaces in the premises and plants are always shiny and free of dust. Antibacterial cleaning products will keep odors under control.
4. Replace burned out bulbs. If your store seems dirty due to lack of light, use higher wattage bulbs or invest in new lights.
5. Update tired looks or paint peeling walls with a fresh coat of neutral colored paint.
6. Place secondhand books away from the store entrance to prevent the musty smell from welcoming customers. Use air fresheners that smell like clean clothes or fresh rain throughout the store, but stay away from flower air fresheners.
7. Organize items for sale, grouping them into appropriate areas, including home, kitchen and bathroom décor, tools, books and audio, accessories, and separate clothing in styles for babies, boys, girls, men, and women.
8. Display attractive, high-quality items on mannequins or hangers and in store windows.
9. Keep curtains or locker room doors very clean and in good repair. Provide mirrors for customers in the dressing room area and throughout the store, so they can see what hats, clothes or shoes look like on them.
10. If the room allows it, arrange the furniture and decoration in a way that is pleasing to the eye. Set up dining tables and chairs with matching silverware, plates, and glasses, so buyers have a better idea of what their home will look like. Hang framed pictures on the wall in a neat way.
11. Put items on the shelves in a practical way. Taller items towards the back and shorter items near the front. Check the shelves often as shoppers move items around frequently. Don’t overfill or customers won’t be able to see fragile items without fear of breaking.
12. You have to be picky about the items you accept from donors and limit the number you show at one time. Nine or ten wicker baskets at a time is enough, and an abundance of macramé plant hangers and black-and-white televisions will make your store look old and littered with junk.