7 Tips for Successful Thrifting

Every month I share some of the frugal things I’ve done around the house in my Home Sweet Frugal Home Series. This month I want to give my 7 Tips for Successful Thrifting and share some thrift store finds and how I’ve used them to decorate my home.

7 Tips for Successful Thrifting - Decorating with thrift store finds

I’m not really much of a garage sale person because you have to get up too early for those. I’ll go to them if I’m passing one by but I don’t make any effort to go to garage sales. I do however go to thrift stores regularly.  It’s really just more convenient for me with my family’s schedule. Some people are die hard yard salers – what ever works for you!  Here’s what works for me.

 7 Tips For  Thrifting (or how to find the good stuff at thrift stores):

  1. Go often! We are a one car family and yet I still manage to go to the thrift store at least twice a month. Usually I make it once a week.
  2. It’s usually better to go to a thrift store in either a nice part of town or one that’s near a lot of large retailers (they get donations from those retailers).
  3. Definitely try to go often in January. People are in a decluttering mood and will donate stuff instead of holding on to it for months in order to have a yard sale.
  4. Think outside the box! Look at clothes if you need fabric or buttons or trim for a project. Spray paint will transform just about any home decor item. So if it’s not exactly the way you want it you can change it. Think about how you can repurpose/upcycle  it.  I do posts on repurposing different items a few times a month. Be sure to catch those if you’re not good about seeing the potential in items.
  5. Don’t just grab everything you see. Be choosy. Only bring home something you love or something you can use. You don’t want your house just filled with cheap  junk. You want things that speak to you.
  6. Look high and low and circle back and look again! I always walk through the aisles at least twice.
  7. Check out thrift stores in other areas. We like to go to thrift stores when we’re on vacation (we’re weird like that) or if we’re passing through different towns.

Now for some thrifty finds and how I’ve used them in my home:
7 Tips For Thrifiting - scored this soup tureen from Goodwill

I collect white soup tureens. So I was very happy to find this large white soup tureen to add to my collection.

7 Tips for Thrifting - found this soup tureen collection from thrift stores

That’s it up there with the rest of my soup tureens. Most of which have been thrifted.

7 Tips for thrifting - found this mirror used on a privacy fence in a garden at a thrift store

This mirror is not really my style as far as being used inside my house. But I like to use mirrors in my garden so I thought this tin one would be perfect for that. I’m still debating whether I’ll paint it.  It was from Goodwill & under $3!

toile toothbrush holder

Our master bedroom & bath are done in black and white toile so I knew I had a place for this little  99 cent  toothbrush holder.

7 Tips for Thrifting (or how to find the good stuf). This shelf decorated with thrift store finds

As a matter of fact, most everything on this shelf (including the shelf is from the thrift store).  The shelf was brown and I painted it black. The topiary had a beige base and I spray painted that silver.  The transferware bowl that I use to hold  potpourri was a gift from a reader, the towels are from Target and the art work is from TJMaxx.

silver plate sugar bowl used as bathroom storage

The silver plate sugar bowl (which was thrifted)  is being used as a cotton ball holder at the moment.

People always say “I wish my Goodwill was as good as yours” or “I never find anything at the thrift store but junk”.  Well I usually don’t find anything at the thrift store but junk about 80% percent of the time. The key to finding stuff that you can use is basically to be consistent about going and follow the 7 tips I shared.

Thrifting isn’t for everybody. Some people do much better with garage sales or getting clearance deals at stores.But try my tips if you enjoy going to thrift stores!

Do you have any tips to add?


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  1. says

    Yes, going consistently is the key. Also having an idea of what you’re looking for but still having an open mind and keeping an eye out for other things! My sister is so good about seeing the potential in things; after thrifting with her a few times, it’s helped me in that way!

    Knowing price points of different thrift stores is good too. We have some that are cheap on clothes but high on other things then one that is high on clothes and dishes and things but really low on linens, curtains, etc. ( I look there for sewing fabrics!) Then some that are reasonable on everything!

  2. says

    I love how you use all your thrifted finds. My vote is yes, paint the mirror frame a bright yellow. It will really pop again the wood fence then.

  3. says

    I have always like your classy toile bathroom. I am wondering if soup tureens are a regional thing, I have never seen one in any style second hand in Oklahoma.

    No thrift shopping for me this summer, I have been cleaning out my house all July and left a big donation at my favorite store yesterday.

    • Manuela says

      Thank you Rhonda! It’s a teeny bathroom but I’ve tried to make it pretty.

      LOL! Well every time I go and drop something off I go in!

      I’ve been cleaning and organizing my house this summer too. I’m saving the larger things to have a garage sale the end of September. I hate having garage sales but I really have some larger items that I don’t want to just donate.

  4. says

    You’ve got a beautiful tureen collection, Manuela! I got most of mine at the thrift store and then the last one I found at a garage sale. Love the topiary and the shelf, too. I always walk through the aisles twice, too. You never know what you might have missed or someone might put something back.

  5. says

    We had a great place to find second hand things and sadly they closed. It was an estate shop and had three floors. It was packed full and the prices were better than Goodwill. Now it’s a high priced antique shop. What fun is that?!

  6. says

    I am not much of a thrift shop person, but I used those strategies at TJ Maxx. I try to go once a week to see what they have in the home section and I walk around the aisles a couple times to see what I overlooked. And since I have been blogging, I look at things differently knowing that I can transform them with paint.

    Your finds are great!

  7. Lisa~A Cottage To Me says

    I like all of your soup tureens! Great tips on thrifting! I’m like you, I like garage sales, but typically don’t get up and out early enough. Thrifting is easier for me too! Enjoy your blog, have a super day!

  8. Vee says

    Good tips! I love what you do with thrifted items and spray paint. The only thing I have to add is to pick up an item you’re thinking about lest someone scoops it…you can always set it back.

  9. says

    “The proof is in the pudding” and you definitely have the proof with your great finds from thrifting, Manuela! Those soup tureens are so regal and lovely! I don’t do garage sales, either (had a bad experience years ago that turned me off them), but I have one local thrift store that I like to check periodically for clothes and fun things. Even in the “retail desert” where I live, cute things occasionally turn up! Thanks for your tips, and have a great weekend! Bess

  10. says

    You have such a wonderful way of finding things that speak to you. I think my problem is I don’t know what I want when I finally get an opportunity to go thrifting! I do love your soup tureen collection! It is gorgeous in your kitchen!

    Have a wonderful weekend!

  11. Deb says

    Great tips! You’ve a great eye for decorating. Beautiful.

    I started a collection of white tureens, oh, a year or more ago because of your lovely collection! Your display is stunning :) I’ve found some great ironstone beauties for less than $5. I have a limit of $10 on them. Okay, I confess I bought 1 that was $12. But…but… she was so lonely and needed to come home with me. She’s very happy, as am I.

    I’m a “cash only” thrift shopper… the debit card stays at home as well. Keeps me within my decorating budget.

    • Manuela says

      Thank you Deb! I totally understand! It needed a good home :) I’m running out of room. I either have to start putting them on an angle above my cabinets or I have to get rid of one when I bring a new one in!

  12. says

    I noticed you shop at Good Will of North GA! So do I!! Haven’t been in a while. You’ve bought some really neat items. Love the way you’re using the silver sugar bowl.

    • Manuela says

      Do you really! Do you live in Austell? That’s the closest Hobby Lobby to me. So when I go to HL I try to hit Lowe’s and the Goodwill out there.

  13. says

    I absolutely love your soup tureen collection – it is beautiful…. I have an open area above our kitchen cabinets that needs something and I am thinking those soup tureens would be perfect… Love your tips on thrifting – I , too prefer thrifting to garage sales… we have a few we go to on a regular basis and it’s true you find more when you go often… Love your blog – now following from Debbiedoos

    • Manuela says

      Hi Cathy!

      I’m so glad you are enjoying my blog! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment. Yes, soup tureens would be nice since they’re big but don’t look cluttery :) TJMaxx often has really nice ones in the fall if you can’t find any at your thriftstore.

  14. says

    I love all of your finds! We have stinky thrift stores here…I never find anything good~ except the stuff I donated! Then I want to buy it back! 😉

  15. says

    Hey! I pinned this on pinterest and came over to see some good thrift store ideas and here you are! haha…The third picture scrolled up and I thought…I know that kitchen. It’s Manuela! :)

    • Manuela says

      Hi Betsy!!

      LOL! That’s so funny isn’t it – how you recognize people’s homes or their style. That happened to me last month and I couldn’t figure it out because she had changed her blog’s name!

      Thanks for stopping by and pinning!

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