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September 19, 2012

Thrift Store Shopping Tips

If you've seen our house you know that I have a love for all things thrifty. I love to search local thrift stores for items I can make my own and save tons of moolah doing so.

So, this is the story of what happens when I go to a thrift store. You'll see what I look for, my ideas for repurposing items, and what I ultimately purchased. I hope it will help give you some ideas for your next thrifty trip. (You can see my top 10 tips's chock-full of thrifty ideas.)

How To Shop at a Thrift Store: tips for finding the best stuff!

I always try to keep an open mind while thrifting. You never know what you'll find, and you have to look beyond what's there. Some items need nothing at all, but most of the time thrift store shopping requires that you get a little (or a lot) creative.

 Every trip is different. Sometimes you find nothing at all, and then there's days like yesterday where I had to walk away with about a tenth of the stuff I wanted. Since I didn't bring them all home, let me show you some of the cool things I found while shopping. 

The first area I started browsing through was the furniture. There were tons of great pieces! I really loved this table and thought it would look fabulous painted a glossy black or even gray-washed. There were also a couple really great dressers. 

There was a really cute smaller white table, too. This would be great in a breakfast nook surrounded by upholstered benches and maybe some industrial metal chairs. Both of these tables were a total steal at just $50.

One of my favorite pieces that I almost brought home was this amazing buffet. It was only $50 and it was solid wood and kinda unique.

I think it would look so stylin' in a bold color like aqua.

I eyeballed these two little end tables, too. They were only $10 and had such potential. I didn't really need them though, so I moved on.

There were some great barstools...

There was a really great armoire for $150, but it was already sold.

That little turquoise lamp is great, too. However, when buying smaller items like that, I try to hold out for pairs. Otherwise, I quickly turn into a hoarder who lives in a house full of mismatched lamps. It's really easy to turn into that guy.
And nobody wants to be that guy.

There were tons of other really cool lamps all over the store. It was a real lamp-a-palooza. Check out this sci-fi experiement.

Lamps everywhere, I tell ya.

Since I was driving a very teeny car, I passed on all the furniture and made my way into the housewares section. There were all sorts of goodies here. Check out this set of 3 brand new Calphalon pans for $40. What a steal!

There were several great mirrors with pretty frames and some interesting artwork too. I thought this print would be really great in a matted white frame. You could even just spray paint the existing frame white to update it. (Like I did here)

These little bowls were neon green even though my phone camera makes them look yellow. They were $1 for the set. I can't decide if they are really cool or hideous. It's a toss-up.

This little gold-trimmed milk glass tray was adorable. I almost brought this home. It was $1.

This real silver set was cool too. It was $10. 

and then there were some great wooden bowls and plates. I love wooden bowls.

After grabbing a couple things from this section (I'll show ya soon), I headed over the the book aisle. Thrift store book aisles are my go to source for finding prints to frame and for finding colorful books to style my bookcases. Yesterday, I was looking for both. I have a gallery wall I'm assembling in my hallway and I need some different prints to frame. I found a bunch of nature books with some options.

There was a weird 'fish breeding' book that had amazing, giant, colorful photos. They would be awesome in some big matted frames.

I also found some colorful maps in a giant atlas. I used maps in my office gallery wall here

some cool cartoon sketches from the 1950's...

another weird fish book...

but, eventually I settled on an amazing old book full of black & white pictures of seagulls. They'll make for great art. Although, the cover of the book is pretty, so it may just become a bookcase book.

My cart was starting to fill up, so I finally weeded through my finds and narrowed it down to about $10 worth of goodies.

Now, let me show you what I bought!
Here's some of my finds with a handy list of what I usually look for when at a thrift store (other than furniture).

 I got the really great seagull book. It's a great blue color and has an awesome indention of a seagull on the front cover.

I also got a really great Beach book with a great aqua cover. Both books were 50 cents.

I also got a simple white ceramic vase for $1 (originally from Pottery Barn) and a clear aqua vase for $2.
I got a really great raw wood tray for $2 (see what I did with that here. ) and a cool convex/round mirror for $3 (also for a project).

I also came home with a small lamp. It had this gross pleather shade, but it had a nice shape for $3. 

You can see what I did with the lamp here.
I also got a little gold bracelet. I thought it would look great with some of the bracelet stacks I wear. It was only $3.

and I really kinda dig it.

I noticed a little signature on the inside with the crown and the trademark sign so I googled 'Trifari'...

I found out that if it had the crown on it, it was more than likely a piece of Tafari costume jewelry manufactured in the 1950's. Pretty cool!

So, that's what I scored at the thrift store this time around!
I hope I gave you some ideas for your next trip.

Don't forget to pin this post so you'll have some ideas for your next thrifting trip!

How To Shop at a Thrift Store

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  1. Wow! Your thrift store had some great stuff! Loved that armoire. :)

  2. Which thrift store in Knox is this!? I NEED those side tables!

  3. Loving this post! Thanks for sharing your ideas, especially the books for pictures!

  4. You had me at "thrift store". Love the tour. Made me want to go treasure hunt. It's 10:20 at night. lol!

  5. Great post and it was fun "thrifting" with you!

  6. What a trip! Those signature scores are the BEST! ...and I totally would have gotten that first table even thugh I do nOT need it...oh and so glad you didn't pick up that $50 lamp ($50?? at a thrift store? PSHAW.)

  7. Enjoyed following u to the thrift store. Such a delightful store stocked with so much wonderful things.

  8. I want to go shopping with YOU! Great finds!

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. Oh I'm a BIG time thrift store shopper :-) I get to them about once a week..sometimes more often if I get that "I think I'm gonna find something today" feeling. My mom says "I never find any good stuff."

    I ditto your shopping "how to" guidelines and to that I'd add "Go often. Stuff changes daily!"

    Can't wait to see your lamp redo!

  11. Do you follow the blog Better After? (If not, you should!) Every year she does an ugly lamp contest, and that weird skeleton lamp would be perfect! Hang on to that picture and send it in for the next contest!

    Awesome thrifting!

  12. You just reminded me that I need to look at the book section next time I'm at the thrift store! Yay! Excuses to go back!

  13. You scored some great finds at the thrift store! Your vignettes look lovely, hard to decide which one I like best!
    Saw you linking at Serenity Now
    Debbie :)

  14. You should actually read Johnathan Livingson Seagull. It's a classic.

  15. I am pretty obsessed with thrift store shopping myself. My husband and I bought a house 1 1/2 years ago and have been remodeling inside and out. While he has been doing all the construction work, I have been working on the designs. Your blog has inspired me to redesign the guest room. I wasn't very happy with it the first go around, but didn't know if it was worth the effort to repaint and decorate, however, after seeing that when you aren't completely satsified with a design, you changed, that gave me the exact motivation I needed. Thanks for sharing your ideas! Keep 'em coming!

  16. You're a gal after my own heart - love thrifting - or Op shopping (opportunity shops) as we call it in New Zealand.

    Have to say, I got Jonathan Livingston Seagull at an op shop years ago, with the photos, and it's a great book. You should actually read it.

    Enjoy your blog, look forward to more!


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