Thrifting for A Classroom

My best friend Shannon is a teacher and also my thrifting buddy. I’ve been watching her thrift items for her classroom for years. She always finds the best supplies, decorations, and even educational materials for her class. I asked her to help guide us on how and what to thrift for a classroom.

Before you go thrifting, start here:

1. Assess Your Needs: Before you start thrifting, make a list of the items you need for your classroom. This could include furniture (chairs, tables, shelves), decorations (posters, wall art), school supplies (notebooks, pencils, markers), and any other materials you might require.

2. Set a Budget: Determine how much you’re willing to spend on thrifting for your classroom. Thrift stores offer affordable options, but having a budget in mind will help you stay focused and avoid overspending.

3. Research Thrift Stores: Find stores in your area that are likely to have the items you need. Check out Goodwill Akron locations here:

4.Think Creatively: Think creatively about how you could repurpose items to fit your classroom needs. An old ladder could become a bookshelf, or vintage frames could hold student artwork.

You can thrift a wide variety of items for your classroom, ranging from furniture and decor to educational materials and supplies. Here’s a list of things you can consider thrifting for your classroom:


  • Chairs
  • Tables
  • Desks
  • Bookshelves
  • Storage cabinets
  • Bean bags or floor cushions
  • Rugs or carpets

Decor and Visual Aids:

  • Posters and artwork
  • Bulletin board materials
  • Wall clocks
  • Mirrors
  • Wall shelves for displaying student work
  • Framed pictures or prints

Educational Materials:

  • Books (both fiction and non-fiction)
  • Puzzles and games
  • Educational toys and manipulatives
  • Art supplies (paints, markers, crayons)
  • Science experiment equipment

School Supplies:

  • Notebooks
  • Pens, pencils, and markers
  • Binders and folders
  • Sticky notes
  • Calculators
  • Scissors and glue

Storage Solutions:

  • Bins and baskets for organizing supplies
  • File organizers
  • Drawer dividers
  • Plastic containers for art supplies


  • Speakers

Soft Furnishings:

Curtains or drapes

Throw pillows or cushions


Musical Instruments:

  • Gently used musical instruments (e.g., keyboards, guitars)
  • Sheet music or songbooks

Office Supplies:

  • Staplers, hole punches, and other office tools
  • Desk organizers
  • Whiteboards or chalkboards

Plants and Greenery:

Indoor plants to add a touch of nature to the classroom

Outdoor Supplies:

  • Outdoor play equipment (balls, jump ropes, etc.)
  • Picnic tables or benches for outdoor learning spaces

Storage and Organization:

  • Filing cabinets
  • Plastic storage bins
  • Shelving units

Costumes and Props:

  • Dress-up clothes for dramatic play
  • Props for storytelling or presentations

Remember that thrifting requires some patience and creativity. You might not find everything you need in a single trip, but over time, you can accumulate a variety of items that enhance your classroom environment.

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