How to Find CDs at Thrift Stores – Tips For Your Thrift

“Thrift Shop” got a lot of buzz back in 2012, but let me tell ya, I was in the thrift store game long before Macklemore. Thanks to my Dad, I grew up visiting thrift stores regularly. That’s a genuine thanks btw not sarcastic haha. Otherwise, I would’ve never been able to find the things that I have.

How To Find Thrift Stores

Ok so to start off, to be able to hunt thrift stores for CDs, you have to find the actual thrift stores first. There are a couple of different ways you can go about this:

1. Ask other people. You could talk to, message, call, or even post online just asking if anyone knows any thrift shops in or around the area. Chances are you’ll at least get a couple by doing that.

2. Go for a drive. Just drive around the area and try to scope out any thrift shops. Now this may be easier if you bring an extra looker out with you as well. Thrift stores tend to be near other businesses in towns/cities because usually they wouldn’t be able to sustain if they were out on their own.

3. Do a search online. This is probably the easiest way to go about finding shops. Just look up “thrift stores your city name.” I recommend using Google as your search engine when you do. That way a map should also pop up with locator pins on it to help show you exactly where to find them.

Making A List

Once you know the locations of some thrift stores, I recommend making a list. Whether it be on a piece of paper, your phone, or on whatever else you fancy. There are a few things I would include just to make your outing easier:

1. The name. It’s handy to know the place’s name, because that way you can easier scope it out while getting there.

2. The exact address. The address is also essential to finding where you need to be going. If you’re not too familiar with the area you’re in, you can also punch in the address(es) on a GPS or phone.

3. Business hours. You really only need to worry about the opening time, but feel free to record the full hours if you want to be more thorough.

If you’re thinking of making a day out of it, I would also try to order them into a route, especially if your list is lengthy. That way it saves time on the day of trying to figure out where to go next.

Also, make sure to update your list after your first trip or so. Sometimes you’ll come across a thrift store that will just not live up to your standards. Whether it be from lack of stock or maybe too high prices. Don’t be afraid to add notes or even cross em off for the future.

When To Go

This may seem like it doesn’t matter to most people, but if you know the right time to go, you’ll have better luck at finding hidden gems. Some things to consider:

1. No Sundays. I mean I don’t know about your area, but here a lot of thrift stores and other businesses are closed on Sundays because they have connections to the church. I would also stray away from Saturdays, if possible, because weekends tend to be busy in the city anyways.

2. Go when it opens. All the thrift stores I know don’t bring out new stock during the day, like during open hours. Therefore, once it opens, the inventory is only going to decrease as the day goes on. You never know who will walk in during the day, could be someone with similar music taste to yours or a re-seller of CDs, so best to be one of the first ones there if you can help it.

3. Find out what day(s) they bring out new stock. Some thrift stores will have a particular day they bring out new stock. Try asking one of the employees to see if they know what day that is.

Where To Look

Now that you know when to go, it’s time to talk about where to look. Each place you go, will have a different set-up. For the most part though, they’ll stick to a general pattern:

1. Keep an eye out for the books and movies. Almost all thrift stores are separated into sections, such as household appliances, clothing, and electronics, because it makes it easier on the shopper. Usually the CD section can be found near the books section and/or the DVDs section.

2. Look for CD racks or bookcases. Often times thrift stores will have their CDs out on bookcase shelves and/or actual CD racks, because it’s an easy way to display a lot at once.

What To Expect

Before you set off to embark on a thrift store hunt, there are some things to keep in mind:

1. It won’t be the same every time. Meaning, just because you found something at one place last time doesn’t mean you’ll find something this time. It’s possible to figure out what places are the most consistent for you though, after you’ve visited them several times.

2. Decent prices. CDs at thrift stores usually won’t be as cheap as garage sales, but they also won’t be as expensive as used CD stores or department stores. For where I live, the average price is $2 CAD.

From My Experience

I have been lucky enough to experience many “thrift store days,” so I have one final tip for all:

Check the discs! Check the discs! Check the discs!

There are a few things to make sure:

1. The disc isn’t missing. It’s unfortunate when it happens, but sometimes you’ll find a cool CD only to discover upon opening it that the disc is missing. The disc could be missing from whoever donated it, or from a customer who happened to lift it while shopping.

2. It’s the right disc. I’ve been fooled by this a couple of times. Was really happy to find a certain CD, opened it up to make sure there was a disc there, and then bought it and brought it back home. I then go to listen to it at home and realize the disc doesn’t match the album, it sucks.

3. The quality is up to par. In order to be able to listen to the disc, you gotta be able to play it. Usually you only need to be concerned of the quality of the disc itself, because you can always trade out jewel cases. When it comes to the disc, you’ll have to use your best judgment. It’s often ok if the disc has scratches as long as they are small and light. However, if the scratches are big or they actually indent into the disc, they’ll probably cause the CD to skip.

Visiting thrift stores is one of my favourite ways to find CDs. I feel such a rush when I find a CD I’ve been wanting for a while. If you decide to give thrift stores a shot, I hope you have fun.


Have you ever found a cool CD at a thrift shop? Have any questions about thrift store hunting? I would love to hear from you below!


Signing off,

The CD Queen

10 thoughts on “How to Find CDs at Thrift Stores – Tips For Your Thrift”

  1. Wow, what a great set of recommendations to find CDs. Not only a great affordable way, but also a very careful one. Great experience sharing CD Queen! Following your tips!

  2. I have a friend who is a millionairess because she has never bought new and saved her money by doing thrift shopping
    Great way to do it thank you

  3. Hi Calista:

    CDs at thrift stores – I love this idea and here’s why.

    First, new CDs are EXPENSIVE! Many times I’ve been able to find quality CDs for as little as $1 or less at thrift stores. Second, I grew up in the 60s & 70s when I believe popular music was a lot better than today’s. This means that those old classics are more likely to be the ones that you will find in thrift shops. Also, since I have not fully embraced today’s technology, CDs are the way to go!.

    Thank you for this informative post and for reminding us that we don’t have to drop $18.95 every time we want to buy good music.

    1. I’m glad you love this idea! I definitely agree with all you said. I think it’s a perfect way to find good deals as well as some music ranging from all decades. Thank you for your support and for sharing!

  4. Great tips for finding CDs at thrift shops. I might add that used book stores and pawn shops may have CDs for sale. Also, community and individual yard sales can be a source for CDs. Since many yard sales are on weekends, it is a great way to get out and about for some cheap outdoor activity for the family. 

    1. Thank you! Oh yes I agree with those locations as well. I have another article about finding CDs at garage sales, and maybe I’ll write ones on those other locations too at some point. Ya it’s great way to get out of the house! I and my dad usually make full days out of it. Thank you for your comment!

  5. Cool advice. I always enjoy getting new music so I’ll have to try this. Being able to find the CDs I want at a thrift store instead of having to buy them new would be such a money saver. Have you had many problems with bad quality CDs from thrift stores, or are they usually ok?

    1. Thank you. Right? Ya it ends up saving me quite a bit. For the most part I don’t have problems with the quality. You can usually tell by the thrift store’s location and/or your first visit whether or not that place will have stuff of quality. There are a few thrift stores around where I live that I rarely visit because of that point exactly. Plus I also have a disc resurfacer so, as long as it doesn’t have too deep of scratches, I can fix it.

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