One of my favorite things to do is go to local thrift stores and find pieces that need some TLC. I love seeing the potential in them and transforming them into something new and beautiful. And did you know that today is National Thrift Store Day? Today, in honor of this momentous occasion, I’m going to give you my top five tips for shopping at thrift stores!
1. Look past the dirt.
Most of the pieces at thrift stores have seen better days. They have dust, dirt, rust, and who knows what on them. Try to look past that and see the bones of the piece. You can always clean it up later. (Related point: always bring hand sanitizer or wet wipes, just in case.)
Take this dingy little cart, for example.
It was nasty dirty. And a little rusty.
I did a lot of cleaning, a little sanding, and some spray painting and…
It turned into the perfect bar cart.
One more related point: if you are going to repaint or refinish a piece, factor in that cost to the cost of the piece, so you know what it’s actually going to cost you, in total.
2. Look at the bones.
Look for pieces with good bones. Research the brands that have withstood the test of time. Look for dovetail joints on wooden drawers in dressers and desks. Make sure the piece is solid; the rest is usually cosmetic and can be changed.
Here’s what that same chest in the above picture looks like now:
3. Buy with a purpose.
I am guilty of this, I admit, but don’t just buy something because it has a certain brand-name or because you saw it in a magazine or on Pinterest. Only buy it if you love it. If it’s going to go in your home, you should love it.
4. Even thrift stores have discounts or sales.
The thrift store nearest to us has a weekly coupon on its website. Also, it has colored tags and a different color (or two) is half-off each week.
Some thrift stores have frequent shopper cards that, after a certain number of visits, give you a certain percentage off your purchase.
These coupons and discounts give you even more savings! How great is that??
5. Shop for a cause.
Many thrift stores donate their profits or a portion of their profits to charity. For example, Second Life thrift store in Avondale Estates, near me, benefits animal rescue and homeless pets. I love shopping there not just because of their fun selection, but because I know that my money is going to a cause I believe in.
That tripod lamp is still one of my favorite projects ever!
Bonus Tip: Shop on Tuesday morning!
What?? Tuesdays? Right. Sometimes late on Monday works, too. Here’s why: Lots of people shop on the weekends. So, by the end of the weekend, the store is pretty picked-over and a lot of the good stuff is gone. On Monday, the store will restock and process new donations from the weekend. Thus, Tuesdays have always been, for me, a great day to go thrift shopping!
Do you shop at thrift stores? What is your favorite thrift store find?