If You’re At A Thrift Store And See These 10 Items, You’re Probably In Utah

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It’s hard to let go of some things in life. But in a minimalist world where Marie Kondo tells you to only keep things that “spark joy”, you will end up parting with things that were once dear to you. In Utah, the selection of local thrift stores will tell you right away what state you are in, even if you just woke up from a coma.

For people who grew up here, these objects can bring back a childhood memory, cause a laugh or even give pangs of nostalgia. Others will simply be confused by this random assortment of collected products. Either way, here’s a look at some of the items you’re likely to come across while rummaging through a local thrift store.

Lion House Cookbooks

In the heart of downtown Salt Lake City is the historic Lion House, the former family home of Brigham Young, first Governor of Utah and second President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But even if you don’t know the history of the building, you might know about their famous scrolls – or at least have smelled them while walking around.

Many Utah households have tried replicating these buns and other tasty Lion House recipes using different versions of “The Lion House Cookbook”. The latest edition, released in 2016, replaced up to 12 of the previous cookbooks and included several new dishes. Of course, this caused the old ones to be mostly duplicates, so they went to the donation bin.

Jell-O Molds

Utahns love their Jell-O. They love it so much they even made it into a coveted Olympic pin in 2002. Although you probably won’t find one of these collectible pins at the local thrift store (you’ll have to go to eBay for those ), you’ll probably come across a Jell-O mold or two. Or dozens.

Many come in this classic bundt shape, but don’t be surprised if some unique ones also catch your eye. If you’re lucky, you might come across vintage molds shaped like clams, fish, or other distinctive shapes.

Wedding dress

Fun fact: Utah has the third highest marriage rate behind Nevada and Montana, according to Statistical. This means that there are plenty of wedding dresses crossing the state all the time, and they sometimes end up in thrift stores. You might even find a $3,000 dress for just $50 like a lady did at Desert Industries. In 2016, KSL reported that an anonymous donor dropped off 1,000 wedding dresses at the thrift store.

If You're At A Thrift Store And See These 10 Items, You're Probably In Utah
Photo: Elena Gigli – mimoseria/Shutterstock.com

Crochet items

Utahans love their DIY projects and homemade products, which is why you’ll likely find crochet table tops, teapots, potholders, and coasters lying around. Also keep your eyes peeled for DIY seasonal decorating.

Jack Weyland’s books

Although his day job was that of a physics teacher, Jack Weyland is best known in Latter-day Saint culture as the author of more than 30 impeccable young adult novels. According desert bookhis books have sold over a million copies over the years.

His most famous book, “Charly,” was made into a movie in 2002. (You can rent or stream it or you might even find a VHS copy at the thrift store, but be sure to have your tissues ready .) From “Charly” to “Sam” to “Emily” and “Adam’s Story”, chances are you’ll come across a few Jack Weyland books in your thrift exploits.

Old Utah Jazz Gear

Utah Jazz basketball players could change their colors to black, white and yellow this fall, according to KSL. But longtime fans will remember the glory days of John Stockton and Karl Malone with their classic purple and gold uniforms. The 1984-1996 vintage jersey might be harder to find, but the 1996-2000 version with the snowy mountains on a purple background could easily end up on the thrift store shelf if someone does some spring cleaning. .

If You're At A Thrift Store And See These 10 Items, You're Probably In Utah
Photo: ccpixxphotography/Shutterstock.com

BYU and U of U gear

It’s not just the local professional basketball team whose merchandise is likely to end up in thrift stores. If you find cougar-clad BYU sweatshirts, t-shirts, blankets, or footballs, it’s a dead giveaway that you’re in the Beehive State. You’ll also find their rival’s gear – many bright red t-shirts will boast the infamous U logo. So if you’re on the hunt for vintage (and sometimes even new) college gear, you’re sure to find something from the local thrift stores.

If You're At A Thrift Store And See These 10 Items, You're Probably In Utah
Photo: Jennie Barclay/Shutterstock.com


Besides Jell-O, grave potatoes are another popular staple in Utah food culture. In fact, the cooking channel has a funeral potato recipe called Utah Potato Casserole. And no funeral potatoes without some good casseroles! CorningWare’s Blue Cornflower Dishes will instantly transport you to your mom’s kitchen if you can find them.

Tabernacle Choir CD

The Temple Square Tabernacle Choir (formerly the Mormon Tabernacle Choir) has long been a major source of pride for Utahns, primarily within the Church community. The choir’s roots go back to pioneer times and they have performed in many world famous venues. According discogs.com, the Choir has released 158 albums over the years! If you knew them back in the “MoTab” days, grab the old CDs while you can. They may well become a collector’s item later.

dirty shirts

If you’ve been to Moab, you know the iconic dirt shirts. Dyed orange to match the surrounding rock, these shirts are a tourist staple in the Land of Arches. Vintage is making a strong comeback in fashion. So much so that ThredUp expects the second-hand clothing sales market to reach $51 billion by 2023, according to a BBC report. See if you can find dirt shirts from years ago, and you’ll be a fashion icon (at least in Utah).

Can you find them all?

Now that you have a good list of some of the easiest items to find at the local thrift store, why not make a game out of it? Visit your nearest Deseret Industries or other thrift stores near you and see if you can track down each of these items one by one. Who knows? Maybe you’ll find something truly priceless in the meantime.

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