Who else loves thrifting?! I grew up shopping at thrift stores, partly out of necessity and then partly because my friends and I thought it was cool when we were in high school. Now I shop at thrift stores because I love the hunt and the bargain.
There were a few sketchy years in my adolescence during which I would classify my look as “wannabe punk”, wearing up to 20 necklaces per day matched with a random and now that I look back on it, odd assortment of bell bottom pants and baseball jerseys. It’s better not to ask, and thank God we don’t have pictures to share.
A seasoned thrift store shopper knows that not all thrift stores are created equal. I prefer the DAV (Disabled American Veterans) because they price per item, while Goodwill charges a set amount for every shirt, every pair of jeans etc – no matter what the condition, unless of course it’s super nice. Then they jack it up.
I really like the small town thrift stores, the ones that are stocked by members of a congregation or school as a fundraiser, and the ones that offer different discounts based on the day of the week and the color of the tag.
Locations matter as well! One branch of a Goodwill store may consistently have the best furniture while another across town may consistently have the best clothing.
10 Things You Should ALWAYS Look for at Thrift Stores
Artwork. Is it ugly or is it just… unique? Who cares really, half the time I’m just buying it for the frame anyway. Something to re-purpose or paint and re-love which brings a new life to the piece. The older frames are always the coolest, and typically well built as well.
Books. I have always dreamed of owning a library. Not that the goal will ever come to fruition, but purchasing quality hard cover or interesting reads for pennies on the dollar? Sure!
Jeans. Some people give away the best jeans. Great brands, and many times with little wear at all. Last year I found a pair of $100 jeans (in my size!!!) priced at just $4.98 at my favorite thrift store. I always always at least flip through the denim rack before moving on to the home decor department.
Nothing beats that feeling. That feeling when you turn around in the dressing room and your booty looks great, lifted and tucked, and at 95% off full retail.
Home Decor and Furniture. I have a plaster head. No, really. A plaster bust of a man that I do not know, have never met, and everyone that visits my home thinks is creepy. Come to think of it, it is slightly creepy since he is most likely long gone and was when I acquired him.
Paul learned early on that I will not budge on having my head prominently displayed.
I bought him when I was 14 years old at a thrift store/flea market for $10 and I named him Maximus. He has been with me over half of my life, seen me through several different apartments where we lived just the two of us, he’s been there for me when I’ve broken up with boyfriends, he’s been my guardian angel. It is what it is and I love him.
The point: some of my favorite home decor items have been purchased at thrift stores. Vintage vases or candle holders, styles are always coming back around. Finding chic place mats or tablecloths, an old clock or an old sewing table that can be freshened up with a little love and turned into a side table?
Dishes. Dishes don’t have to match. In fact, I’ve been acquiring different fun and vintage plates and tableware to create a unique collection. Find a super cute dinner plate for 50¢? Snatch it up! Buy them up as you come across them and before long you have a mish mash of super chic dishes.
Fun or interesting glasses can be used to plant flowers, or as a vase, or throw some rocks in the bottom of a wide vase and call it a fish bowl. The possibilities are endless.
Tools. One thing Paul can never get enough of – tools. Different sizes, different drill bits, different brands… he wants them all. Finding them at a bargain only sweetens that deal.
Sporting Equipment. Baseball bats, golf clubs and balls do not need to be purchased new. Baseball gloves are better when they’ve been broken in anyway!
Trays. Any kind of wooden tray or serving tray. Paint those puppies or use them as-is on your coffee table for a catch-all or to hold the remotes or a few candles and coasters on your dining room table.
Costume Jewelry. A statement costume jewelry piece goes a long way, and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Find a gemstone in the perfect shade of purple?
Snatch it up!
Suitcases. I’m thinking old suitcases here; the ones that you can use for home decor. Or actually use them for traveling if you are so inclined. Granted some won’t be in good enough shape to use confidently, but use it to store photos or greeting cards you can’t bear to throw away. Or stack them on top of each together to make a super cute arrangement in your living room.
Did I miss anything?
Complete the circle of thrift store life by donating what you don’t need anymore yourself. If you do make donations, make sure to get a receipt for tax purposes! Now I’m in the mood to go thrifting. If I find something super cool, I’ll be sure to share!
See more frugal living articles and tips before you go!
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