Get the most out of your thrifting by following these thrift store tips! You’ll find that you can update your home on a budget and still have fun.
Thrift Store Tips Every DIYer Needs to Know
Thrift store decor shopping is for many a favourite past time. Thrifters love to hunt for those great deals. You get a thrill out of imagining how you can transform an item. There are just so many interesting things to find. One’s trash is another one’s treasure.
Admittedly, it can be a little overwhelming. There is a lot of “junk” to forge through in order to find those hidden gems. I’ve heard people say that just stand there, dazed as a deer in headlights, completely lost on where to start. I’ve also been told tales of whoa where the “perfect” thrift store treasure is brought home only to find out it doesn’t work at all and money saved suddenly became money wasted.
So I thought, “Why not compile a list of my top thrift store tips?” Why not walk you through a thrift shopping excursion, teach you what I’d learned over the years, and make the whole process of searching for decor items a little bit easier.
So here it is! I hope that these thrift tips make your next thrifting adventure a little easier. And that when you are done reading this article, your eyes will be open to a whole new way of seeing thrift decor and their possibilities.
Please note: These 11 thrift store tips are focused on what to look for in home decor. I don’t include tips on shopping for clothes or fashion accessories. That is a whole other topic that I will let someone else cover.
Get the Most Out of Your Thrifting
Let’s go through my 11 helpful thrift store tips and huge decor haul. The tips will teach you what to look for when shopping for preloved decor items and the haul will show you real examples on how I applied my own thrift store tips. All the items shown in this post are either from Value Village, the Salvation Army, or Habitat from Humanity. Enjoy!
10 Thrift Store Tips for Updating Your Home on a Budget
The following is a list of thrift store tips that are guaranteed to help you when you are on the hunt for home decor. Knowing what you are doing at the thrift store just makes the whole process easier and a lot more fun!
Compile a Wish List
Compile a Wish List of items that you are looking for before you go to the thrift store. This will help you stay focused when you are suddenly confronted with shelves and shelves of preloved items. I’m not saying don’t keep an open mind especially once you get used to thrift shopping but a list will help keep you focused when feeling overwhelmed.
Take measurements of the spaces you are looking to fill in your home. Nothing is worse than buying the perfect furniture piece at the perfect thrift store price only to bring it home and find out it’s way too big for your space.
Take pictures of your space
This will help you with spacial awareness, style cohesiveness, colour combining, and will help you accurately visualize if the piece you are holding will even work in your home.
Bring your design samples with you
My best advice, go to an office supply store and buy one of their small, plastic file folders. Label a section for each room in your home. Don’t forget to include your outdoor spaces. Keep in it your paint samples, wall paper samples, fabric samples, measurements, flooring samples, tile, counter samples, and a small print out of your mood board. This way you’ll never have to guess is something works with your current design because you can just check.
Items should fall into
Items should include one or more of these:
- You can immediately picture what you can do with it.
- An item you absolutely love and you know you will find a space for.
- An item that you have been specifically looking for.
- You need or want this item and you know would cost a lot more else where.
- Crafting and decor items that you use on a regular basis. Everything else is just junk. Put it down.
Look at the shape of items
Look at the shape of items not the colour, design on it, or the fabric. All of those things can be changed or altered. It is the shape that is the most important. In the haul portion of this article I have a few good examples of this for you.
Hunt don’t shop
Approach the shelves of the thrift store like you are hunting for that perfect item. Stand a foot or two back and scan the shelves. Look from the top shelf to the bottom shelf. Look from the back to the front.
Check out the little baggies, books, fabrics, toys, and board games
- Check out the little baggies, books, fabrics, toys, and board games. Those little baggies can be a treasure trove of DIYing possibilities. You can find tons of embellishments that can be used in your thrifting and home decor. Books are great for creating seasonal and holiday decor and the old decorating magazines often have great ideas that can be modernized. Likewise, toys, board games, and puzzles make great DIYing materials and hold fantastic possibilities for great holiday decor.
Collect and then select
If something worthwhile catches your eye, stop pick it up, and place it in your cart. Then go back to scanning until you are done the entire shelf. Now look at the items in your cart. Put back items that:
- Don’t fall into one or more of the categories outlined above
- Has a crack or chip in it that can’t be worked with or lessens the integrity of the piece
- Once checked with your measurements, pictures and design elements you realize it doesn’t fit into your current style or space.
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Check out the art section
Check out the art section but don’t just look at the pictures. Look at the frame too. Can it be painted? Would it make a great chalk board sign or maybe you could hang some string and clip on pictures. Would it make a great table tray or wooden lantern? Painted canvas that is a good size can be painted over and turned into a new art piece.
Make friends with the thrift store staff
Not only is it nice to be nice but they are also a fountain of great information such as: when do new items come in, when are the best sales, what are the hottest and latest items.
Finding treasures at the thrift store can really be hit or miss BUT if you follow my 11 thrift store tips AND you go frequently you are much more likely to find what you are looking for … and a few things you weren’t looking for.
Always bring your smart phone
Your smart phone is an exceptional tool for thrift shopping. You can easily access your ideas and mood boards on Pinterest and any inspirational images you may have taken. You can also use Google to check the value of objects, look up dupe ideas based on found items, and store images of your space. Just don’t use it for determining colour. The cell screen distorts colour. So when it comes to fabrics, floor samples, tile, counter tops, and colour chips you are best doing it old school and bringing the actual samples with you.
Jenny’s Finishing Thoughts on Thrift Store Decor Shopping
So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to get out there and start hunting for some amazing thrift store decor finds. Shopping at the thrift store can be really rewarding both on the wallet and in the creative department. If you go armed with a plan, keep an open mind and can think outside the box,
I hope these tips have helped give you a little guidance on how to approach this type of shopping, as well as what to avoid. Be sure to share your own tips and tricks to approaching thrift store shopping. It’s fun to learn from each other.
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