1. Thrift stores know people aren't going to buy junk. If you haven't been in a thrift shop in a decade or two, you might not realize that most of the racks are filled with name brand stuff in really good condition. Sometimes the clothes even have the original tacks still attached. Seriously. If the clothes are worn or stained when donated, they don't make it to the rack.
2. In many shops, clothes are sorted by article, then color, and sometimes by size, too. That means if you know you want a blue t-shirt in a women's size medium, you only have to check through that particular part of a rack to see if they have a style you like. This is nice for me, since I mostly wear black t-shirts, so I know where to start looking when I want to find something. I'd rather scope out one rack of black t-shirts to find something I like than walk an entire store, looking at t-shirts, hoping that a few of them will be black.
3. For the cost of one t-shirt at the mall, you can get at least 3 at the thrift store. Most thrift stores have weekly sales, though, so if you know what day of the week they have the "All purses and shoes half off until 3pm" sale, you can get 3 pairs of shoes, a bag, and a dress to go with them for less than you will pay for a pair of shoes at DSW.
4. Clothes are already broken in. That means I don't have to worry that my jeans are going to be too lose to wear at the end of a day (brand new jeans lie to me about end-of-day fit all the time). I know how that skirt is going to lay because it doesn't have any of the starch/sizing brand new clothes do that make them look just so on the rack. Thrift shop clothes don't lie like mall clothes do.
5. This is definitely the mom in me showing, but... They sell things other than clothes at thrift shops. Do you know how much a baby saucer costs full price? According to babies r us, about $90. Even with coupons, you can't beat the deal my best friend found - $5. For an activity saucer. That is 95% off! Both of my kids played with it, both of them thought it was awesome, and when I pulled it out of storage to give it to a friend, both kids wanted to play with it again. If you are looking to furnish your place on the cheap and don't mind giving items a little revamp, you can find great deals at a thrift shop.
Note: I know I just posted about wanting to get rid of unwanted clothing, and having less, and how ridiculous I find my closet, but... Eventually, I will need to shop for clothing again. Clothing shopping is a pretty rare thing for me - 2 tank tops at the beginning of this summer, 2 pairs of jeans over last winter, a few sun dresses at the beginning of last summer, about 5 t-shirts from the thrift store in September 2011. Those are my last 4 clothing purchases, not including bras, undies, and shoes (replaced as needed). At the rate my favorite t-shirts are starting to show wear, I will need to replace them in the next year or so. When I do, I will be heading to a thrift shop. (Or, even better, my friends and I will have a gank day - but info on that in an upcoming post.)