1. LOOK AT EVERYTHING. Never skip over a section because you never know what you may find on the back of the rack, or even in the wrong section! If you don't pick up each thing and examine it you may pass up the vintage Chanel Bag without even knowing it was there.
2. Know your brands, checking for labels is always a plus because who doesn't like the feeling of scoring a J.Crew Cardigan for 5 bucks?!
3. Always be open minded to the potential of the items. It CAN be fixed.
Broken can be fixed, scratched can be cured, chipped can be painted, bumpy can be sanded.
4. Be inventive! Part of buying an old item is giving it a new life. Scarves can become hair accessories, brooches can be pins that liven up a purse, a men’s belt can toughen up a girly floral ensemble. For the exceptionally crafty (and ambitious), evaluate the potential of different pieces. If a dress doesn’t fit but you love the fabric, could you re-sew it into something else?
5. Every piece you buy you should feel a rush of excitement about it or about its potential for the future.
6. Thrift Alone, I've always gotten my best purchases when I go alone.
7. Dress lightly, it can become a marathon in a thrift shop muscling through rack after rack.
8. Have fun. :)
So you STILL don't think you're good at "Thrifting"?:
Here are a few common items to keep an eye out for the next time you're at the thrift store.
- Dishes: You can find mismatched dishes in a range of colors and patterns at any thrift shop. Use them to build a collection, hang a wall of plates, or make them into mirrors.
- Artwork: If you're thinking of hanging a wall of collaged/clustered artwork, thrift shops are a great place to build a cheap, out-of-the-ordinary collection - or even just use the frames - for other projects such as my "Distressed DIY Monogram Frame". Such an easy and fun project!
- Lamps: Sometimes all a lamp needs is a new shade and a good cleaning to make it brand new.
- Shelves and Secretaries: Storage pieces are always useful around the house. Clean up shelves with paint or wallpaper. Although old-fashioned, secretaries are really useful pieces that can easily transform into a home office, bar, or linen closet.
- Anything Wooden can be EASILY sanded, painted, stained and repurposed to something neat! As shown in my "Think Outside the Box" Blog Post!
- Trunks, Suitcases, and File Cabinets: Industrial trunks and storage pieces or vintage suitcases are easy to find at flea markets and thrift shops. Clean them up and use them as coffee/occasional tables, Blanket Storage, Photo Storage, and tough trunks can even be used as an entryway bench!
- Dining Chairs: Thrift stores ALWAYS have a selection of chairs in need of some lovin', and many of times there isn't a full set, why not try to mix and match and paint the chairs with colors! This is a gorgeous/different than the usual look that i love.
- Dining Tables: Simple thrift store tables can be used for kitchens, dining rooms, or repurposed as a desk. If the table is scuffed or needs some DIY love, SAND IT, PAINT IT, STAIN IT, or simply cover with a table cloth :)
- Rocking Chairs: Rockers are great for a child's room, a porch, or even a corner that needs a big piece. If the chair you find seems to be a little dull, paint & distress it!
- Fabric: If you've got basic sewing skills, thrift stores are the perfect place to look for fabric scraps to use for pillows, napkins, tablecloths, curtains or anything else that could use a stash of mismatched prints. Be sure to wash really good before using them!