I have mentioned how often I go to the thrift store on previous posts. There are two such stores just up the street from the dance studio my children attend. Instead of sitting in the studio or our in my car, I just go up the street and shop. There are a few specific things I look for when I go in.
1. Baby clothes: Newborn and preemie baby items can easily be converted into 18" doll size. (My daughter has an American Girl, a Journey Girl, a Madame Alexander and a Be My Girl doll.) Other baby items that are a quick redo are skirts. I look for items that look like something an older girl would wear. I stay away from the items that are really baby.
2. Jewelry boxes: If you search Pintrest for AG doll house you will begin to notice all the jewelry boxes that have been redone as furniture. They are great as side tables, dressers, bathroom vanities and anywhere you would have a piece of furniture with drawers. Since the end product will be something my daughter will play with, I can get away with a light sanding and painting.
3. 18" dolls: One of the thrift stores I go to has 18" dolls available on a regular basis. Most of the time they are the Our Generation dolls from Target. Sometimes they will have Madame Alexander dolls. I was lucky enough to find a genuine American Girl doll there as well. The price is usually between $4 and $9. I will buy these dolls even if we are not keeping them. There is a great organization called The Broken Doll that takes dolls and gives them a makeover. They are then given to children in need.
4. Books: I am an avid reader. I go through phases where I am reading a couple of books a week. I don't feel bad buying a book and then getting rid of it since I didn't spend that much.
5. Dance/ gymnastics wear: I have found some great leotards and skirts for my daughter for under $5. Score!
If I have time, I will go through the clothes racks and just browse. You do have to dig for the gems, but then again, when do you not.