There are two major reasons I like going shopping thrift stores. First, I love saving money. Budget decorating is my jam so anytime I can save a little cash I’m up for it. The other reason why I love shopping at thrift stores is because of the hunt. Finding a new (to you) treasure can be so fun. Some of my most unique and most loved decorative items in my home are thrift store finds.
Best tips for shopping at the thrift store
While treasures can be found at thrift stores, you have to weed through a lot of junk. That being said, there are 10 things that I go to thrift stores in search of:
Furniture at thrift stores is typically marked down significantly and you can get a pretty excellent deal on pieces. Fixer upper pieces of furniture that you plan to paint or hack are especially great to buy at thrift stores. It’s not all used stuff all the time. I’ve seen brand new pieces of furniture, with tags still on. You never know when you’re going to get lucky! Tip for furniture shopping: Ask a customer service representative about potential sale dates. Our local Goodwill has certain specials on certain days one of them being half-off furniture!
Trays are great for organizing and keeping things together. Whether it’s in your kitchen or on the coffee table, trays are great catchall pieces and they can be found for CHEAP at thrift stores. I always look around for trays while I’m at the thrift store. I found this tray for a dollar at the thrift store and painted it to give it a more updated look. Not a bad way to spend a buck!
3. Vases, Jars, Candlesticks
Thrift stores usually have an abundance of glass vessels like vases and jars. I usually go through them and look for any that have unusual shapes or colors. Any blue and white ceramic pieces usually find their way into my cart. If you are looking for mason jars, surely you’ll find them for around $.50 at the thrift store! I also found my favorite brass candlesticks at a thrift store and I just love them.
Another one of my tips for shopping thrift stores is look for baskets! They always have lots and lots of baskets. My Goodwill has a section of baskets so I usually browse the selection there and grab any that are seagrass, hyacinth or metal, again looking for any with a unique shape or decent size. Medium sized baskets at Target or any home store is usually between $12-$20. So grabbing them for less than $5 at the thrift store is a HUGE score! Not only are baskets great for organizing at home, they are also great for gift giving. Once or twice a year, I have to whip up a last minute gift so having an inexpensive basket at home to put together a quick gift basket is a must.
I’m always looking for picture frames. Large sized frames can get pricey so I like to hit up thrift stores first to see if I can find any wood frames that can be repurposed. I look through the art section of the thrift store and consider any pieces that I could grab and just toss the art or photograph and keep the frame. That goes for frames of all sizes! You don’t have to keep the art, either – if the frame is in solid condition, buy it and pop in your own art!
Buying mirrors at thrift stores is another money saver. Framed mirrors make your space feel bigger so they are the ultimately accessory for your walls. That said, framed mirrors are expensive! $50 is about the going rate. You can save big bucks by finding one at a thrift store.
7. Throw Pillows
Okay, so you may have raised your eyebrows at this one but hear me out. It might freak you out to buy pillows from the thrift store but sometimes those pillows have high-quality down-filled inserts. You can purchase throw pillows for a couple of bucks, toss out the pillow covers, and use the high-quality inserts.
8. Lamps + Lighting
I always have my eyes peeled for good lighting when I’m at the thrift store. In the past, I’ve seen chandeliers and new pendants still in the box at thrift stores. So while you might not find something good every time, keep your eyes peeled. I usually look for lamps with a good shape, ones in pairs, and good quality shades. Lamps can be spruced up with paint so if you see one that works and is a pretty shape, scoop it up.
9. Flatware + Dinnerware
Another thrift store buying tip is to browse the dishes. Thrift stores always have an abundance of dishes and flatware. It can be frustrating going through it all but when you find a piece that is truly one of a kind, it’s totally worth it! I always look for serving platters, any white dishes, fine china pieces in sets, and flatware in sets.
If I don’t find anything at the thrift store, I almost always find a book or two. Children’s books are usually my favorite. You can find the sweetest vintage children’s books that are gently used and in great condition. Additionally, I look for books that have uniquely colored covers to use in decorating. I also like to browse through cookbooks because sometimes it’s fun to make a recipe out of a book (opposed to on a screen)!
What are your favorite things to buy from the thrift store? If you need some guidance – consider downloading this thrift store shopping guide by clicking the image below.
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