Here’s the answer to my most frequently asked question. “How do you find such great deals at Thrift Stores”? First, I want to say that not all my deals look so great at first. It’s true what they say about one man’s trash being another’s treasure. And I do love turning someone’s trash into a valued Treasure. I hope these tips will help you find your own treasures.
Go with an Open Mind
Currently, my thrift store adventures are exclusively to fill my house with lots of junk. I’m not buying to resell so these tips are about buying for yourself.
If you are going to the thrift stores looking for that one special thing that you want for that one particular spot in the kitchen, that needs to be exactly this tall, most likely, you’re wasting your time. Go online to Amazon, they most likely will have it. LOL
I have a vague mental list of things I might be interested in finding. If I find them and the price is right, there is a good chance I’ll buy them. However, you have to search in categories , not specific items. Example: I’m always looking for candlesticks. So I always check out ANY candlesticks I find. They may not be exactly what I’m looking for but before I leave them behind, I ask myself three questions.
- Can I paint it?
- Does the style work with my (farmhouse) style? Or can I make it look Farmhouse Style?
- Is the price good?
Then if the answer to all three questions is yes and if I don’t already have a set, or my daughter doesn’t have a set like them, I’ll probably buy them. You can always use more candlesticks. Right???
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. I try to stop in as often as I possibly can. I have a fear of missing the one great deal.
Have a mental list of items that you might be interested in.
This would include things you like to collect, items you like to use in your decor. The most important thing is to not limit yourself. Think beyond the way the item looks in the shop. Here are a few items that are always on my list.
- Ironstone and some Milk Glass
- Old Books (especially small 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 my trash to treasure makeover here!
- Handmade items such as baskets and needlework.
- Vintage dishes and glassware
- Chairs and stools
- Old Wooden Boxes especially old shipping boxes.
- Napkins, table clothes and table runners for seasonal use
- Mirror 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, shelves and signs made of solid wood.
Anything Solid Wood.
I wasn’t looking for a small chest of drawers but when I saw this cute piece in the thrift store, I was drawn to it. It appeared to be solid wood, had vintage hardware and the price couldn’t be beat. So it came home with me.
Can This item be RE PURPOSED into something I need or want?
Again, this takes an open mind. If you keep you list of categories in mind, this will help you to see the possible potential of something that doesn’t look like much in the shop.
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. I have a substantial collection of handmade baskets, needle work and painted pieces.
Look for old Mirrors and old frames
Regardless of the print, if I find a great old frame, I’ll usually bring it home. I can remove the ugly print and use the frame in a new and interesting way. I use a lot of mirrors as back ground for deep shelves to brighten the space. I also lay mirrors flat to highlight a treasure. Mirrors are so versatile I have trouble leaving them behind.
Be willing to sit on it!
Obviously, if you’re shopping thrift stores, you probably are a vintage collector or at least a vintage lover. Just because it’s vintage doesn’t mean I’m interested. I always keep that mental list in mind while shopping. With that being said, occasionally you will run across such a great deal and you know you can do something with it! You’re just not sure what that might be and you certainly don’t have a clue where you would put it!!!! 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 advise 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, BUY IT!
I can recall several of these moments and believe me I have nightmares about those pieces I let slip away. The second I move away, someone else grabs it and THEN the light bulb goes off over my head! I know exactly what I could have done with it.
Side Note: How much more appealing is an items 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. I may have not really been that interested to begin with. LOL
Can I fix it???
If you’re handy and know you can repair an item, then go for it. If your talents lay elsewhere, then it’s important to keep in mind what the cost to have something repaired might be. It’s not a great deal if you spend a fortune on repairs.
Is the price right?
Unfortunately, a lot of thrift stores have realized that some of these donations are actually valuable. LOL I’m always amazed by some of the prices. However, I do feel that it depends on the day. I see prices all over the place. Things that I wouldn’t give $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. Things that appear to be broken are usually priced to sell.
I think that was 10 tips! maybe??
I appreciate you for stopping by and letting me ramble on about thrift store shopping. BTW – The first two tips are the most important but #10 is right up there. I hope you’ll share some of your finds with me by leaving a comment below. I value your comments and your input. Have the best day!