Come on in my friends…today we are going to check out the world of Thrifting with The Ultimate Guide to Thrift Store Shopping! Sure hope you pick up a few tips that will help you with your adventures!!! Entering a thrift store is like entering the cave of mysteries from Aladdin. There are so many textures … colors … furniture … accessories … clothes …and more to look at. You just truly NEVER know what you are going to find once you enter those doors…but I assure you …you are in for some fun! So let’s explore all angles of the adventure.
Picture this: you’re a brand new couple moving into your first apartment. You need dishes, but you don’t know what type of decoration you want to go with, so you don’t want to spend a lot. Keep your eyes out for white dishes of all kinds…you can use them forever …even after you purchase a new set of dishes you always wanted!
(If you are in the market for dishes…another great idea is to mix and match like the Ruffled did…purchase all different dishes you love and create a gorgeous table. Then when you don’t want that any longer…you can use them for a Gallery Wall! : ) Oh the possibilities of the most fabulous tables exist at your Local Thrift Store…let your imagination soar!)
You’re getting ready to have your first child, but your funds are low, and while you want to buy a few special pieces for baby…but the other outfits which the little one is going to out grow in a few short months you can pick up at a Thrift Shop. There is usually a Plethora of infant clothes and onsies! Just a little suggestion…always wash your special finds and then you just might want to wash them again…your baby is extra special so it is always a great thing to be on the safe side!
(Over at Squakfox…they suggest 20% of the clothing to be new and 80% used…especially in the beginning months because they grow like weeds. Take advantage of all the parents that bought tons and tons of infant clothes their little ones never got to wear). Trust me…I was one of those moms that bought everything new and in mass and yes…they wound up at Salvation Army! Buying used clothing is a Great way to save money for all those diapers ; )
Hubby and you are making some major changes around the house, and you want a new dresser drawer for the entryway. It’ll be the perfect place to store mail and other essentials. The problem is, as you’re looking through catalogs, you’re seeing prices in the thousands with nothing that seems unique or really suits your needs. You want something customized for you, but you only have a small budget. You will be totally amazed what you can find and be sure to look at all kinds of Thrift Store Makeovers to give you double inspiration! The difference a fabulous paint treatment and new hardware can make still amazes me every time I see a new makeover!
(Need incentive? Well then drop by Larissa’s Place Prodigal Pieces and check out what she has done to so many very tired…very worn and sometimes even broken pieces. It’s magical and she shares her secret for this beauty and oh so many others…a great source for paint treatments…repairing…stains…hand painting and just about anything else)
Thrift Store shopping is totally on trend… I mean on The Cottage Market alone you come every Monday for more Fabulous Farmhouse Thrift Store Makeovers Faithfully! Whether you call it vintage, consignment or straight up thrift, it is here and it is here to stay. With so many families struggling to save money and some simply embracing the upcycle movement…it is time to learn how to survive without purchasing everything brand new. Nobody has the funds to waste every time they need a new piece of furniture, some functional kitchen items, or a pair of jeans for their quickly growing children. If you’ve never been thrift shopping, a whole new world is about to open for you, and it could be overwhelming. Fortunately, you have a great guide to help you.
(Just look what Christy over at Confessions Of A Serial DIYER did with some dated baskets. With just a little bit of how to and some imagination…this trio turned into an amazing stack that would adore any home and such awesome storage too! : )
Start With A List
It is really a great idea to have a list to bring with you…I call it a Thrift Store Wish List. Write down the items that you really need and want first and then add the extras in order. That way you will have a guide and it will also keep you on track. I also suggest that if you are trying to match something closely…it is really a great idea to bring a swatch or a picture of the item/items on your phone for instant recall.
(If you happen to be looking for a PRETTY WISH LIST to print and write on…drop by The Cottage Market for one and for any other list you can think of…it will be in the Bundle!) A pretty list kind of sets the mood!)
A Little Warning…It’s Addictive!
It’s addictive – Just like a bag of potato chips, you can’t thrift just once. Between the savings and the creativity you get to exercise, thrifting is addictive. A word of caution here: there is only so much space in your house; don’t get carried away. The last thing you want is to be stuck with is a bunch of items you can’t use, or projects you don’t intend to finish. Once you get into that area, you’re no longer saving money, you’re spending a great deal of time and effort.
Thrift vs. Consignment vs. Vintage
In the secondhand hierarchy, there is a big difference between these three, with one of the main differences being price. Thrift shopping is when you go to Salvation Army or Goodwill, and purchase items that people have donated to support those organizations. Consignment stores are still secondhand, but these are items that were gently used and put up for sale by their original owner. Lastly, vintage is the most expensive form of Thrift Store and Second Hand shopping. Vintage refers to luxury items that are over 20 years old. These are pieces that stand the test of time, and for that reason you’ll find yourself shelling out just a little more money for them.
(Little Vintage Items like a small creamer or how about some silverware… could be just what you have been looking for to add a touch of charm to your space…Two Bees In A Pod is sharing some of her little vintage finds that did not break the bank!) Hope you are inspired.)
Know your brands
When Thrift shopping, it pays to know your brands. Certain brands stand out because they are well cut, well made, and they will hold up for you. The best part about designer brands is that they wear more slowly, meaning that your brand new shirt will actually look brand new, not just new to you. It’s all about looking for quality items…so keep your eyes peeled. The same goes for dishes…appliances…linens… furniture and more!
Be Patient Grasshopper
Thrift shopping is not for the fainthearted, so you need to be prepared for that going in. You are going to be going through a LOT of merchandise, and if you don’t want to be there all day, you’ll want to sort through it quickly. Having said that, be patient. Don’t buy the first thing you see in order to feel accomplished, hold out for something that really catches your eye. Remember what Marie Kondo said about items sparking joy? What you don’t want is to purchase something from the Goodwill and find yourself donating it back to the goodwill in a few months. Have you ever seen a video of someone sifting for gold? They don’t stop after a few pans full of sediment. They keep working, and you should too.
(Patience truly pays off! Lauren from Bless’er House collected mirrors till she had the right combination to create this incredible Mirror Wall Gallery…a big payoff that gets a huge WOW). Keep up your search…they will come and you will be so happy!)
Watch out for the shadow people
Just like everything in life, there is a certain etiquette to thrifting and you need to observe those rules. Talk to any experienced thrifter and they will tell you about shadow people: folks who can spot an experienced thrifter and walk behind them, sneakily eyeballing their cart and watching for them to place a considered item down so they can snap it up. In the thrifting world, these are the vultures. I know when you see someone with great finds, it can be tempting to peek over at them, but don’t do it. It is just plain rude.
Check the Top Shelf and Behind Things
So many people tuck away finds for when they come back…so check those top shelves where things are difficult to reach and be sure to look behind items on all shelves because there could be Thrifting Gold to be found!
Know Your Days
Many Thrift Stores (our Good Will being one of them) have special discounts on certain days. Like on Monday it is 50% off on all glassware… Tuesday there is 50% of Clothes…etc… So if you are going with a purpose it is really handy to know the days of the specials…the savings rack up big time!
Don’t Pass by Chairs…Not Even Broken ones and here’s why…
Remember What You Have Seen On Line
If you are reading this that probably means that you hang out on Monday’s at The Cottage Market where we feature 10 Fabulous Thrift Store Makeovers. Keep all that inspiration in the front of your thoughts. Look at the furniture closely …even if it has imperfections…scratches…dings…things are loose…things missing…etc…there are really great ways to fix all of that just like our Blogger Friends have shown us with their incredible creations. Refer back to those bloggers for help. That way you don’t have to walk away from a piece that needs some work. There is a way to paint all surfaces…there are ways to strip and refinish…there are tons of paint treatments that will give you the look you want! Remember…Blog Land is your friend and you will find just about any question you have just by looking a little! Oh yes…the BIGGEST thing… DON’T Let COLOR influence you one way or another because you can ALWAYS change it to the color you LOVE (unless it is perfect for you as is of course : )
(Orphans With Makeup shows you that what you are looking at might not be what you wanted but it could be…does that make sense? These two gorgeous Twin Farmhouse Benches were once 2 old Twin Beds…now look at them…once again with a little bit of DIY…a great Paint Treatment and Imagination…you just might be able to get to where you wanted to be with your project!) Orphans With Makeup is a great place for technique…ideas and inspiration!
Things To Bring WITH You To The Store
You never know if you have to measure something…you might see an end table but you are not sure if it will fit…so carry a tape measure with you and remember to take the important measurements from home so they are readily available if you see the perfect piece. If you are shopping for glassware or anything breakable…it is a great idea to carry some bubble pack with you…most Thrift Shops wrap the items in paper so you just might need some extra protection. Having a box or basket in the car is always a great idea so you can put all of your finds in there to keep them safe. Sometimes the Thrift Store runs out of bags…so you know all of those Cloth Totes for the Super Market…bring some of them along with you. If you are there for a period of time…it’s good to have a Water Bottle in your bag along with a little snack of maybe cashews for tasty protein! If you are trying to match a paint color…bring along a paint chip of that color. Think hard before you leave so you are totally prepared for a successful haul.
If You Can’t Get Enough Of Thrifting…You May Want To Consider A Business…
If you’re really great at it, turn it into a business – Just like any other talent you have, thrifting can equal cash in your pocket. If you have an amazing eye for quality furnishings, know how to distinguish great brands from the so-so, get ready to rake it in. Some people have taken this to another level, grabbing pieces from the store and turning them into art. Those fixer uppers we talked about earlier? Here is where you can take that art and share it with the world. Plenty of people on Etsy and Ebay are doing that very thing.
Thrifting isn’t for everyone, but if it is for you, you’ll recognize the value of these thrifting secrets. What is the best thing you’ve ever found at a store? Tell us in the comments!
Many Bloggers that are featured on The Cottage Market are running SUCCESSFUL Businesses with their incredible Makeovers…the Dream IS Possible!
Looking for more inspiration and ideas? Check out these Posts:
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