I’m not sure where I got the thrifting bug, but I have it. I don’t remember my mom really thrifting, aside from things for Halloween, and I definitely don’t remember my grandma thrifting. But either way, I absolutely love the thrill of the hunt for something that’s old, maybe has a story, and is usually way better built than anything we can get new these days! I’ve picked up a few tips over the years that I’m happy to share with you! Below you’ll find five tips on how you can have a successful day of thrifting.
Before we get started, I wanted to share a few favorite places. Antique stores are my absolute favorite. Why?! Because those are usually solid finds with a real past… Some of my favorite pieces over the years have been those that are super old and often times falling apart. But antique stores can get pricey depending on the pieces, so you have to vary your searches. I am also constantly searching Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist (yes, I still check here), Goodwill, Salvation Army, and local consignment stores.
AND LET’S BE CLEAR – THRIFTING DOESN’T MEAN THINGS ARE ALWAYS GROSS
I think I really got started thrifting because I was on a budget and I needed to fill our first house but I couldn’t break the bank. You’d be surprised at what people get rid of! Plus, I love having things in my home that people might have never seen before and that my neighbor won’t have as well. Finding things you can’t walk away from is fun too. If you can get over the thought of “used” things, you will love it!
First, go in with an open mind even if you are looking for something specific. Sounds weird I know, but it helps. The open mind helps you visualize different pieces around your home and possibly in a different state. It’s like when you are shopping for a home… sometimes you just have to look at things for what they could be and not what they are as is. I usually don’t grab a cart first either. I don’t want to set the expectation that I’ll find something every time and usually I end up having to get a cart about 10 minutes in.
Grab things that catch your eye as soon as you see them. For me, I pick up anything brass immediately. It’s hard to find anymore, but also that piece might be something that’ll catch the eye of that person behind you and you don’t want to miss out. You can always put it back later. This is going to sound stalkerish, but once I kept watching (in a very stand-off-ish way and from a far) this girl who had a giant glass vase thing in her cart. I wanted it but she got it first… darn. But wouldn’t you know, she ended up putting it back and I snatched it up immediately. There’s a good mix of patience and impulsiveness when thrifting.
Think outside the box. Seriously. Think about vases being pencil holders and cigar boxes holding crayons and artwork being covered up by your own paint. The things you see don’t have to be what you end up styling them as at home. Pitchers can be vases. Vases can be pots. Books can be height on a table and not just books on a shelf. Look for colors you are drawn to and sturdiness and things you just can’t stop thinking about. And in the end, if you like it, you can always put a succulent in it or on it and it’s a win. 😉
A notebook (or notes on your phone) with measurements from around your house where you are looking for things to fill and a list of things you are looking for. This is actually quite important. I tend to have a pretty good eye when it comes to size, but some don’t, so this will keep you from bringing home something that’s way too big or way too small. Even if you love the piece so much, make sure you have somewhere to show it off! Otherwise your garage or basement will just fill up with pieces you love but you don’t have anywhere to put! And knowing what kind of pieces you are looking for can keep you from getting home and realizing that dresser you passed by would have worked perfectly over there.
Bring your thrifting tools – a tape measurer, your phone, and hand sanitizer. Haha and gloves sometimes. My friend Morgan understands that. Message me if you are interested in why we keep gloves on hand. But seriously, when you are thrifting you never know what you’ll come across. The tape measurer will keep you knowing what will fit where, the phone will let you quickly look things up if you think you might have hit the jackpot, and the hand sanitizer is for when you leave after touching everything because you don’t really know where all these things have been…
So, what do you think?
Are you convinced that thrifting may be in your future?
I’m sure I’ll be back with another post on thrifting and some additional tips soon!