You don’t have to break the bank when decorating your home when you follow these thrift store tips. You can transform your home into a stylish haven with the 10 must-know thrifting tips on thrift store shopping.
If you love the thrill of the hunt! Get your shopping carts ready!
Table of contents
- What Does Thrifting Mean?
- Thrift Store Tips: Go Often
- Know What You Are Looking For
- Thrift Shopping Tip – Can It Be Repurposed or Upcycled?
- Handcrafted and Handmade Items
- Best Thrifting Tips: Be Willing To Sit On It!
- Two More Thrift Store Tips: Inspect For Damage & Can You Fix It?
- Is the price right?
- Other Thrifted or Vintage Related Posts
What Does Thrifting Mean?
If you are new to thrifting, let’s take a look at what it means to go thrifting. In my opinion, it is the best budget-friendly way to create a curated, unique home decor style. You are able to purchase items that are slightly used for a fraction of the original price.
Thrifting can include home decor, tableware, clothing, toys, books, and more.
What are the Benefits of Thrifting?
If you want to be a budget-friendly savvy shopper, these thrifting tips are for you. When you save money on your home decor, you free up your budget for the occasional splurge purchase.
In addition, purchasing second-hand is eco-friendly. When you recycle and reuse items that can potentially end up in landfills, you are helping to protect the environment.
Where should you go thrifting?
Most people think of thrifting as shopping charitable donation stores, such as GoodWill, Salvation Army, etc. However, any second-hand store, consignment shop, and even antique malls are great sources of second-hand treasures. Also, don’t overlook flea markets, yard sales, and festivals.
If you’d like to know more about the benefits of shopping second-hand, read 17 Reasons for Shopping Second-Hand Charity Shops.
Today, I’ll answer my most frequently asked question. “How do you find such great deals at Thrift Stores”? First, all of my deals don’t always look so great at first.
What they say about one man’s trash being another’s treasure is true.
These thrift tips will help you find your treasures.
So let’s get started.
Thrifting Tip – Go With An Open Mind
My number one thrifting tip is to go shopping with an open mind. Never go to the thrift store looking for that one special thing you want for that particular spot because you are most likely wasting your time. You can go online to Amazon; they most likely will have it. LOL
Begin with a mental list of things you’d be interested in finding. However, you have to search in categories, not specific items.
Example: I’m always looking for candlesticks; therefore, ANY candlestick will capture my attention. Although they may differ from what you’re looking for, ask yourself these three questions.
- Can I paint it?
- Does the design style work with my space? Or can I transform it to get the look?
- Is the price good?
Then, if the answer to all three questions is yes, and if you don’t already have a set like them, then they are probably a good investment. You can always use more candlesticks. Right???
(Posts on The Ponds Farmhouse may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. See the full disclosure details here.)
Thrift Store Tips: Go Often
Yes, going to thrift stores often is one of my best thrift store tips. New items are being put on thrift store shelves every minute. Seriously, there is always a cart full of goodies in my way.
I’m not saying I stop every trip out. However, my car does seem to turn into the parking lot automatically for some reason, and I try to stop in as often as I possibly can because the fear of missing that one great deal is real. LOL
With a bit of chalk paint and a reupholstered seat cushion, the stool looks brand new.
If you’d like to create this stencil look for cheap, check out How To Make Vintage Feed Sack Fabric.
Know What You Are Looking For
This thrifting tip is to have a mental or physical list of items that you might be interested in.
This would include things you like to collect, as well as items you like to use in your decor. The most important thing is to not limit yourself when shopping for a thrift store bargain. Think beyond the way the item looks in the shop.
Here are a few items that are always on my list.
- Ironstone and Milk Glass
- Vintage Brass and Silver
- Vintage Copper
- Old Books (tiny books and classic books that I love with old, tattered covers and well-loved old Bibles)
- Vintage Rolling Pins, wooden spoons, and smashers
- Old Light Fixtures – See this trash-to-treasure makeover for inspiration!
- Handmade items such as baskets and needlework.
- Vintage dishes and glassware
- Chairs and stools
- Old Wooden Boxes, especially old shipping crates.
- Napkins, table clothes, and table runners for seasonal use.
- Mirrors and Old Frames, regardless of what’s inside the frame. LOL
- Vases, clay pots, and just about any vintage garden tool.
- Solid Wood Furniture, as well as candlesticks, boxes, shelves, and signs made of solid wood.
Thrift Store Tips – Look For Anything Solid Wood
A quality solid wood piece is worth checking the price. When the price is right, it’s hard to leave the piece behind.
If you are drawn to a great piece, you may need to take it home. An example is this cute solid wood chest of drawers with a price that couldn’t be beat and pretty vintage hardware. Because I was drawn to it, home with me, it came.
After living with this as a side table for about a year, I finally decided how I wanted this piece to look. See Amazing Furniture Transformation Before & After!
Thrift Shopping Tip – Can It Be Repurposed or Upcycled?
The next thrift shopping tip is, can an item be repurposed or upcycled into something you need or want?
Again, this takes an open mind. Keeping your list of categories in mind will help you see the potential of something that doesn’t look like much in the shop.
This beat-up silverware box didn’t have much appeal. After gutting the insides, a fresh coat of paint, and adding music sheets to the insides, it is now unrecognizable. It sits in my living room beside the sofa and it a great stationary box, and the little bottom drawer holds the remote controls also. See the tutorial here.
Another thrifting tip is to consider repurposing into a needed item. You don’t necessarily have to use the item as originally intended.
I needed a solar light for the greenhouse, and this cheap thrift store chandelier was easily repurposed.
You can see how to repurpose a thrift store chandelier.
Handcrafted and Handmade Items
I’ve crafted all my life and know the hard work that goes into hand-crafted items. These handmade items are among the things I can’t leave behind when the price is right. My substantial collection of handmade items includes baskets, needlework, and painted pieces.
The detail in these needlepoint birds is amazing. Here’s one before!
All I did was paint the frames to make these cute birds fit right into my decor. They were professionally framed as well. Win-Win!
Using handcrafted decor items is a cottage core trend and adds to the authenticity of a well-curated home.
Thrift Store Tips – Don’t Overlook Old Mirrors and Old Frames
Have you priced new frames lately? Well, they are expensive, so looking for ugly prints with great frames is something to consider. The price of an ugly print will be extremely low, but the frame could be fabulous. You can remove the ugly print and use the frame in a new and interesting way.
In addition, mirrors are great to consider when the frame is excellent. I love collecting small mirrors because they are great as background for deep shelves to brighten the space. You can also lay mirrors flat to highlight a treasure. Mirrors are so versatile I have trouble leaving them behind.
I purchased a mirror for $5.00. I liked the frame, so I used the frame to anchor a smaller canvas painting. Alone, the painting was lost on the wall. By putting a larger frame around it created more impact.
Old picture frames can be upcycled for a gallery wall, used to frame any collection, or stacked for a unique shelf vignette. See more tips on how to upcycle old picture frames to decorate.
Best Thrifting Tips: Be Willing To Sit On It!
Obviously, if you are shopping in thrift stores, you probably are a vintage collector or at least a vintage lover.
Occasionally, you will find vintage and antique decor and furniture while thrifting. Just because it’s vintage doesn’t mean you are interested in it.
Remember always to keep that mental list in mind while shopping. That said, occasionally, you will run across such a great deal and know you can do something with it!
You’re just not sure what it might be, and you certainly don’t have a clue where you would put it!!!!
The above cabinet was only $35.00, and I pulled the tag off so fast it would make your head spin. LOL
Oh, the dilemma!!!!
Your mind is racing with possibilities, and you’re starting to panic!
Yes, I mean panic!!!
So what do you do???
You can’t go home and think about it because it will be GONE!!! (Note: At this point, I suggest keeping your hands on it. Seriously, someone may be lurking around waiting for you to make a wrong move.)
If you are experiencing any of these feelings, my advice is to BUY IT!
I can recall several of these moments, and believe me, I have nightmares about those pieces I let slip away. The second you move away, someone else will grab it, and THEN the light bulb goes off over your head! You now know precisely what you could have done with it.
Side Note: How appealing is an item with a sold sign on it???? Seriously, you don’t know how many times I’ve seen that sold sign and been so disappointed that I didn’t get there first. The funny thing is you probably wouldn’t have purchased it, to begin with. LOL
Here is one piece that I made the right decision on.
I saw it from across the store and was convinced the tag would say SOLD! Much to my surprise, it said $10.00 Solid wood folding bench!!!!! I didn’t hesitate; I didn’t waver; I ran to the checkout and then tried to figure out what I’d do with it.
It was stained wood with initials carved into several places on the bench. I promptly sanded and painted it with chalk paint. It’s been at my dining table ever since.
If you don’t know how easy it is to use Chalk Paint, check out all the details here.
Two More Thrift Store Tips: Inspect For Damage & Can You Fix It?
These two thrift store tips can really save on your home decor budget. Be sure that you inspect images for damage.
I actually like to look for damaged items that can easily be repaired. Those items are usually priced at rock bottom. If you’re handy and know you can repair an item, then go for it. However, if your talents lay elsewhere, then it’s important to keep in mind what the cost to have something repaired might be.
In conclusion, it’s not a great deal if you spend a fortune on repairs.
One of my favorite finds – before!
This is one that I let sit until I had a plan for it. Because I knew it was going to be a lot of work, I had it for almost a year before I tackled the project.
If you’ve never deconstructed a chair, you have to check out The Real Truth about Deconstructing a Chair.
After I tore all the old fabric off the frame and painted the frame, I recovered the piece with drop cloth fabric that I stenciled and aged to look like vintage sack fabric. Please take a look at how to make vintage sack fabric here.
Another example of repurposing a thrifted piece is this Wooden Shelf Flip.
Is the price right?
One important thrift tip is price. Unfortunately, many thrift stores have realized that some donations are valuable. LOL
I’m always amazed by some of the prices. However, it depends on the day. You see prices all over the place. Items that I would give less than $5.00 for will be priced at $50.00, and then again, I see something I’d pay much more for, and it’s dirt cheap.
In addition, items that appear to be broken are usually priced to sell.
This cabinet was priced to sell. The glass shelves were missing from the top of the cabinet. It was a great solid wood piece.
Fortunately, my husband cut some boards for shelves to fit the cabinet. In addition, we removed all the out-dated doors, and spray-painted the original hardware with black paint.
We refinished this piece for my daughter and loved the transformation. This is a great example of getting a good price because of damage and being able to make the necessary repairs yourself.
Here are some of my favorite sources when refinishing a thrift store find.
- Hardware replacement – D. Lawless Hardware
- Spray Paint – Rust-oleum
- Stencil Brush – Home Depot
- Spray Protection – NeverWet
- Chalk Paint & Wax – Vintage Cottage
10 Tips on Thrift Store Shopping
That is at least 10 tips on thrift store shopping, I think! Shopping second-hand is very on-trend, and you will find that you can create a unique curated decor style while saving money. Enjoy the thrill of the hunt, and let me know if find anything wonderful.
I appreciate you for stopping by and letting me ramble on about thrift store shopping. By the way, these methods work equally well at flea markets and yard sales. I hope you’ll share some of your finds with me by leaving a comment below. Your comments and input are so appreciated. Have the best day!
Other Thrifted or Vintage Related Posts
This is one of my first thrift store-related posts; I’ve written several more. Here are a few that might interest you.
Pin It To Remember It
Did you find some great ideas you’d like to save for future reference? Hover over the images you’d like to save and pin to your favorite Pinterest Boards when you see the PIN button.