5 Places You'd Never Think to Shop — But Should

Whether you're shopping for clothing, home decor, or gifts, you probably cycle through the same few stores over and over again. But there are plenty of options outside the mall that'll breathe new life into your closet. These five stores will help get you out of a fashion rut, and make you feel like you're the keeper of the smartest secret when someone asks, "Where did you get that?"

The Store: Dollar Store

Why It's Awesome: Oh, I don't know. Maybe because there are things that cost a dollar. A lot of people think that dollar stores are only good for buying weird or expired goods, but that's really not the case anymore. Sure, you might be able to find Tibe detergent and terrifying off-brand Barbie dolls, but you can also find some gems. If you're a dollar store newbie, try a chain store like Dollar General or Dollar Tree. These stores offer a wide array of products with minimal sketch factor.

What You'll Find Here: Cheap pieces perfect for decorating your room or office space, and colorful hair accessories for basically no money. Be prepared to hunt, though. You'll have to weed through plenty of tacky crap (like, for instance, this clear backpack, deal for showing everyone exactly where you store your tampons and wallet). Still, you can find great pieces. On a recent trip to the dollar store, I stocked up on printed picture frames to hang around my desk.

The Store: Army & Navy Store

Why It's Awesome: The Army & Navy store has plenty of cheap, durable clothing. Plus, you always leave feeling like, yeah, you could totally live in the woods.

What You'll Find Here: Camo-printed everything, durable backpacks that Urban Outfitters is probably selling for four times as much, and birthday gifts for your dad.

The Store: Craft Store

Why It's Awesome: Why isn't it awesome? The craft store is perfect for DIY projects, no matter your DIY expertise

What You'll Find Here: Everything. No, seriously. OK, well, kind of seriously, because it would be impossible for them to have everything. I recently went to the craft store to pick up silk flowers for a DIY flower crown. It cost way less than what I'd pay at Urban or Free People, and I got to rewatch episodes of Felicity while making it. I also like to get paint brushes at the craft store, and then use them as makeup brushes. They're great for blending and far cheaper than you'd find at Sephora.

The Store: Costume shop

Why It's Awesome: Costume shops are insane in all the best ways possible. Any place that sells vampire teeth year-round is bound to be pretty crazy.

What You'll Find Here: You can find anything and everything you need for a theme party at a costume shop, obviously. What you probably don't know is that you can also find quirky pieces to punch up your living space. I found a string of purple lights that I weaved around the frame of my bed to create what is essentially the grown-up version of a spaceship bed. Costume shops are also the best place to find tights and knee-high socks on the cheap.

The Store: J.Crew girls section

Why It's Awesome: It's like J.Crew! But way more cheap! And far more fun!

What You'll Find Here: I'm not going to suggest that you cut off your heel in an effort to fit into $40 glitter ballet flats (but jut know that, if you were to do that, I totally get it). The fact is, the majority of things in the J.Crew kids section probably won't fit you. What will fit you is their whimsical collection of jewelry and their printed barrettes (I know, I know. I haven't worn barrettes in about 10 years either, but now is a great time to start).