Walking around my home with my coffee recently I realized that I have more second hand items than not.
If you have followed twelveOeight for a while or you are new here (yay thank you everyone for your love and support!) you will probably see that my PASSION is to turn nothing into something fabulous.
So…I began thinking that it would be fun to do a series on what a 30 year veteran of thrifting does to score those finds.
When Macklemore came out with Thrift Shop a few years ago, I instantly loved the song, and him (ok there may be a secret crush going on too hee hee) and listen to his music often. While we don’t pop any tags lol, we do believe that paying full price or spending $50 on a t-shirt is getting swindled by an industry. Not only that but look at how full our landfills would be if everyone just discarded their furniture, home goods, clothes etc… when they no longer wanted them.
YES!!! This is where it gets good. One come up coming at you.
I can remember the first yard sale in my neighborhood as a kid. My family were not thrifters, in fact I was an only child for 15 years and my Mom loved her some Nordstrom. So I was accustomed to all that came with having a Mom and Grandma to hang out with who LOVED to shop.
I watched the neighbors set up their tables, then out came box after box full of dishes and lamps, and paintings, and some furniture. After I could take it no longer (I am pretty sure this is the test for a lover of all things thrift. Watch your heart rate and how fast you grab your wallet when you see a yard sale or new thrift shop.) I had to see what they were doing.
With a few weeks allowance in tow I perused their stuff and came home with an armload of treasures. My family looked at me like I was crazy (this would not be the first or last time that I received this reaction) and off to my room I went.
With my treasures home safe, I spent the day re-arranging my furniture, doing a good deep clean, and setting about my finds in just the right way to look amazing in my room.
There it was, the birth of a life-long passion.
So today I share with you my top pics I look for when thrifting (and to everyone who gave me their feedback on Facebook THANK YOU!)
- Wood furniture. This has to probably be a #1 for a lot of people. Many of us are looking for great solid pieces to paint and sell, or keep and enjoy. A few things to remember when purchasing wood furniture at a thrift store. Make sure it’s solid, no wobbles or move on to the next piece. Check for signs that the piece might be vintage, know your furniture era’s and if your not sure, get that smart phone out and do some quick checking. I found my beloved apple green vintage dresser from the WWI era this way! Make sure there are no water stains or smells (other than the normal smell an older piece of wood furniture may have, you are looking for the non-negotiable smells you discover in your car on the way home) and have fun! I have found so many pieces that I have painted and sold this way and pieces that I have adored and used for years. Over half my home decor and furniture has thrifted roots, enjoy the process, you may just become hooked.
- Dishes, glassware, cups and serving pieces. Sometimes you score a full set of dishes in great condition at a thrift store, other times you find just the right pieces that you need. Either way don’t forget to peruse this aisle. Many thrift stores have someone fairly savvy pricing items so know what things are worth (or quickly jump on ebay etc…) before you buy if you are unsure.
- Small appliances. My workhorse crock pot was a Goodwill find. It has made hundreds and hundreds of meals for my family and I could not survive without it! There are always plug ins available to test out appliances and many thrift stores have a limited return policy on items that stop working once you get them home. But you have to ask!
- Pillows and blankets. Ok now before you think this is gross remember that you can wash everything you find and I have scored some fabulous, many times brand new throw pillows, rugs, comforters, etc…from Target, World Market and other stores that I typically would not pay full price (or even sale price!) in. I have a huge collection of Mexican blankets that are all from thrift stores. So are some of my zippered Pottery Barn pillow covers. You don’t know until you look.
- Vases, picture frames and home decor items. You may find something that you love as it is, or find a great piece to paint or upcycle. When I hit my local Goodwill to take these pictures recently this is how I found a huge carved white painted wooden picture frame. For $3.99 might I add! I also saw a pair of horse-head marble bookends that I cannot stop thinking about, I hope they are still there as I really want them now!
- Good quality clothes, shoes and handbags. I tried to find a “new” handbag in my closet recently and could not. Even if the prices seem a bit high for a used handbag, if it was originally fairly expensive, clean on the inside and in good shape, I don’t mind spending $15 on a second hand purse or tote. The same applies to high quality jeans, wool jackets, classic shoes and boots, and sweaters. My motto is once I buy somethings, wear and wash it, it’s used anyways so why balk at something from the thrift store that is a great deal, it will be “used” when I wash and wear it anyways so I may as well grab some $70 jeans for $8. As I write this everything I am wearing is from my local thrift stores. This is a great way to clothe your family too! I look for good quality pieces that my kids can wear, then when they are outgrown I consign them at our local kids consignment shop. That is one of my favorite ways to make our budget stretch!
- Sporting goods, books and miscellaneous treasures. Since you never know what may have been donated recently it’s best to visit your thrift stores on a regular basis. I have seen everything from huge wooden horses, to high end runway clothing, to cars. Sporting good can be very expensive, and while we don’t buy anything that is safety-related like a bike helmet, we have found lots of weights, golf clubs, wonderful books for the whole family and that unexpected item that you didn’t know you needed.
Well there it is my top 7 items I always look for when I am thrifting. I would love to hear what you look for! Hit me up with a comment and give me some ideas on what I might be missing!!
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