Salvation Army Mega Coat Sale – How to Score the Best Deals

Posted On Monday, October 27th, 2014
Filed Under: Style Guide, Thrift Stores, Thrifty Threads 365

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It’s that time of year again. The epic Salvation Army coat sale has returned to New York. The first sale of the season was last month, but the next one is this Saturday, November 1.
Not familiar with the coat sale? Well, it’s the place you need to be if you’re in the tri-state area and need to score serious deals on furs {real and faux}, leathers, bombers, trenches and more. Most coats average $20, so of course the competition is stiff. At past sales I’ve found vintage leather jackets, a mink and a few wool coats and never paid more than $15 for each. I even scored a DSquared parka for $2. Yes, 2 bucks for a coat that was originally close to $1000 {see my receipt below}.
If you plan to attend the Salvation Army {536 West 46th Street} coat sale, here’s what you need to know. Even if you’re not in NYC, you can use these tips when thrift shopping for winter coats.

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While the doors open at 9am, most people tend to line up at 8:15 or 8:30. While I totally understand the desire to be first, there’s more than enough to go around, so if you don’t arrive first thing in the AM, that’s ok.
Bring a Bag
I should also state one of the reasons everyone loves to show up early is so they can get a cart. Carts are really limited, so the first people in tend to get carts. And trust me, the last thing you want to do is lug your coats around as you shop. However, I suggest bringing a big bag. I love my trusty Ikea bag, which lets me throw my coats in and I still have both hands free to shop with. If you really want a cart, but arrive too late, hang out around the checkout area and ask someone if you can have their cart once they’re done.
Wear a Sweater
The warehouse can get a bit cold, so the sweater will keep you warm, but there’s another reason you should wear a sweater. When trying on coats, you want to know how it will fit over any bulky layers. There’s nothing worse than having an amazing coat, but not being able to wear it with anything too heavy.

Only Buy What You Don’t Have & Will Wear
This may sound so frickin’ obvious, but trust me, when you’re in a warehouse full of anything, you feel the need to buy everything. Don’t succumb to this. I actually address this need to buy stuff just because it’s “cheap” in my book, Looking Fly on a Dime: How to Find Fabulous Fashion at Any Thrift Shop & Make the Cheap Look Chic. You should grab a ton of items and then narrow your picks down, but seriously take the time to deliberate before dropping cash. If you already have three camel coats, you probably don’t need another one. If you love the glam look of fur, but can’t really see yourself wearing it, leave it behind. Who cares how affordable a garment is if you never end up wearing it? That’s money down the drain!

If you can’t make Saturday’s coat sale, there’s one more sale the first Saturday in December. Stay tuned for more info on the December sale, I’m hoping to host a free meet up for my New York crew. By December {the final sale}, prices are seriously marked down {that’s how I was able to get the $2 DSquared parka}!
Have you ever been to the Salvation Army coat sale or any mega sale? What tips do you use when thrift shopping for outerwear?
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6 thoughts on “Salvation Army Mega Coat Sale – How to Score the Best Deals

  1. I just wanted to say thanks so much for posting this info ! I went to the coat sale today and got 5 coats and a long fur vest all for $110 . Your tips were so helpful…. I arrived early and got a cart and a fur… the 2 things that go the quickest ! Thanks again

  2. Hey I just wanted to ask on what days do the Salvation Army on 536 West 46th street have their sale? I would love to go there on the discount days, because I am on a serious budget right now. And another questions, for your 365 Days Thrifting Challenge, do you buy your shoes there also, or you purchase that from an actual store?

    Side Note, I find your blog very interesting. I received some great tips from it.

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