One comment I often here when I share some of my thrifted finds is, “I can’t believe you found that at _________” fill that in with Goodwill or one of my favorite thrift or consignment shops. That comment is usually followed up by I can never seem find anything when I go. So today I thought I would share my version of The Ultimate Guide to Successful Thrift Shopping.
I stop by my favorite haunts a lot. By a lot, I mean several times a week. This is especially true for Goodwill shopping. Their inventory is constantly changing. I swing by my favorite consignment shop less often but still frequently. The inventory does not move as quickly. When I see something I really like at Goodwill, I will buy it right away because it will probably not be there the next day. At the consignment shop, if I like something I will see if it is on its final mark down. If it is I will buy it, if not I will sometimes take my chances and wait. It’s a gamble because most people are doing the same thing, waiting for that final mark down. So, unless it is something that I really want I tend to wait and hope for the best.
I never shop with a list.
I know this probably goes against everything most of you believe in but for me it works. That’s not to say that I don’t have a wish list in my mind because I do but I do not go shopping with a certain item in mind. I feel like if you are only looking for one particular thing you tend to miss out on a lot. I try to look at everything not just look for one thing. I hope that makes sense. That is how I ended up with this great piece. I wasn’t looking for anything in particular and I spotted this piece.
You can read more about this piece here.
Look Past the Ugly and the Obvious
Let’s face it, there are a lot of ugly things out there at thrift stores, flea markets and yard sales. Not only do you have to look past the ugly but sometimes you have to look past the filth! You have to see past that and imagine what it could be after it’s cleaned up or revamped to suit your aesthetics. Some good old fashion elbow grease and a can of paint can go a long way to completely change the look of a piece.
Looking past the obvious, what I mean by this is using items in a way they weren’t meant to be used. For example, I found a beautiful silver ice bucket but I am using it as a planter. ( You can see that here. ) Use your imagination and keep an opened mind when you are browsing the aisles of your local shops.
Do a Quick Walk Through
I like to do a quick walk through of the entire store. It gives me a little idea of what is out there. If something jumps out at me, I immediately snatch it up this is especially true at Goodwill. That’s what I did when I found this rolling stand. I knew it wouldn’t be there by the time I completed my walk through and I loved that piece. If I don’t see anything during my quick walk through, I will make a second loop through the store at a more leisurely pace. This is when I will do a little digging through the piles of stuff. You can find lot of hidden treasure if you are willing to do a little digging.
When I shop, I always have a tape measure on hand and I keep measurements in my notes sections of my phone. That way when I stumble upon a piece that might work for an area of my home, I can make sure it is a piece that will fit. I also keep cleaning wipes in my car to do a quick wipe down of furniture piece before I put them in my car!
I think it’s important to have fun. I love the thrill of the hunt and it’s o.k. if I walk away empty handed. That’s a part of the fun too! Don’t be discouraged, be patient and keep at it! Believe me there is a lot of good junk out there!
I hope this little guide helps you on your next thrifting adventure.
P.S. Always carry hand sanitizer!
Until Next Time,