“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” is a quote that I truly live by, being a thrifting maniac. When I first started outfitting my first apartments out of college that didn’t include furniture, I knew I had to make a decor plan within my budget. Being young and broke, I couldn’t be expected to furnish a place with my sad little bank account, right? Right.
That’s when I started thinking about thrifting.
Previously, I had visited thrift stores in search of cute vintage blazers, leather bags that were tossed aside by unknown people and the occasional lucky piece that fit within my style. When I entered the search for thrifted furniture and decor, I really got hooked. Now, understand that when I speak of thrifting usually, I’m referring to thrift stores and any finds I may catch on Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist. Today, we’re going to stick to thrift stores. 🙂
Since I’ve moved and am attempting to decorate an entire house, I have amped up my search for furniture and decor and have truly lucked up!
How am I finding these gems? Well, here are a few of my top thrift store shopping tips!
Go with a style in mind and an open mind
Going into a thrift store knowing your decor style is essential. If you don’t know your style or haven’t done your research to find inspo, you may be in trouble when you hit the aisles. Going with inspiration pics and/or a list, will allow you to reimagine the available items and ensure that you don’t miss out on any pieces that you may have overlooked if you don’t have a plan in mind.
My current home decor style is Bohemian with lots of whites, neutral colors, and pops of green. An item I am always desperately looking for that I would easily miss if I didn’t have a plan in mind? Baskets! They’re a big part of my wall decor currently and for whatever reason, thrift stores always have them on the shelves when I’m lucky!
An open mind is required because expecting to find pieces that are in perfect shape or even the perfect color is not always going to happen. Understand your limits and what work, if any, you’re willing to put in to make a piece essentially yours. I’ve found quality items that weren’t the color I was looking for, but with only a $6 bottle of spray paint, I made it perfect for me.
If possible, make multiple trips by your favorite local thrift store (And don’t expect a win each time!)
I’m lucky enough to live only minutes away from a few of my favorite thrift stores, including Goodwill which is always my first stop. Because I can easily pass Goodwill on my way to/from my work route, it’s a simple pit stop for me on a regular weekday if I choose. I’ve lucked upon so many great items because as crazy as it sounds, I’m good for doing a quick 5-minute driveby to just pop my head in. Doing so takes me less than a few minutes to look around, and if I’m lucky enough to find something good, a quick jump into line could take even less time.
Now, I know this isn’t ideal for many, but why I get such great finds is because I look multiple times. If I were looking to furnish my home by way of thrift stores and only visited them every now and then, I’d never find anything. By increasing my quick visits, I’m able to pick and choose from a variety of options that weren’t there on my last visit. Because thrift stores get new items in multiple times a day, a piece of furniture that wasn’t there an hour ago maybe there when you pop in next!
Go with a budget and bottom line in mind
I feel like when shopping for anything, especially furniture and decor, going with a budget and bottom line price in mind is key. Obviously 95% of the items in thrift stores are pre-loved, (you’d be surprised at the things that are new and donated!) so paying full-price is a no-go. Luckily, most stores price the items quite well, but it’s good to know your limit. Some pieces are truly worth the funds, but going in understanding that you’d prefer to spend the bulk of your budget on furniture finds vs. wall decor will help you stay on track.
Let’s say you’re on the hunt for a dining room table and you stumble upon a sturdy, cherry wood table with limited scratches and it’s $50, fabulous! But were you hoping to pay $40? Double-check the quality, google similar pieces to see how much you may be saving/losing depending on your decision, and think about it! But not for too long, someone else may snag it!
For me, I don’t like to spend over $40 for a piece of furniture from a thrift store and usually stay under $10 for decor. Now, I do have a style in mind as mentioned above, and if I find a piece that fits my vision and it’s an item of quality, I may budge! But you have to set your own limits.
When thrifting, I need to LOVE the pieces I collect. I say this because I, like many others, can easily fall trap to buying up every low-priced item that catches our eye. We think, “Ooh, I’ll find a place for this!” No, you won’t! Lol, if you feel hesitation past a minute, rethink it. I’m Queen of loving what I see, overthinking, hesitating and then reaching out for a second opinion. Thank the Lord for that second opinion! You can’t return these items, so it’s best to ensure that you love them. Yes, at times you are going to buy an item that doesn’t work out how you planned or doesn’t end up in your decor plans, but try not to make it a habit when possible. Focus on only buying pieces that you can make a plan for prior to leaving the store.
The most important part of thrifting is being persistent! Unlike a regular storefront, you can’t expect multiple pieces of inventory or to know what’s available in advance. So understanding that what you won’t always go home with every item from your Pinterest boards, is key. Thrifting multiple pieces of decor takes time and doesn’t happen in 2 or 3 visits, so always remember that! Making those quick stops in, going with a plan and budget in mind, these are ways to thrift your way to success!