If you feel like you have a hard time finding what you’re looking for, learn from my 10 tips for a successful thrift store run.
Thrifting has been a hobby of mine ever since I can remember.
I would go with my mom and aunts, run off into the toys and books section (hello Disney Golden books) and my heart was happy.
While I don’t shop for children’s books and toys these days, I’ve learned some things along the way that have helped me make the most of my bargain hunting trips.
10 Tips for a Successful Thrift Store Run:
- Don’t be attached to your list. Thrift stores are different from other retail outlets in that they won’t carry an endless selection of what we’re looking for. So if you get too specific about what you’re wanting to find, you might get frustrated when that item isn’t there. Instead of holding out for a pair of brown boots, go in with the notion that you’ll look through the best ones instead.
- Explore the back of the shelf too. While it’s easy to see what’s in front of us, sometimes there’s some hidden treasures behind the items in our line of sight. It’s okay to move things around and see what’s in the box. Some of my best finds have come that way!
- Bring measuring tape. Whether it’s a piece of furniture or a rug, it’s good to know measurements before we bring it home. This trick will save you time and money because you’re being intentional about the items you’re bringing home.
- Check for wear and tear. Check the cuffs, seams, armpit and crotch area. It might be a beautiful shirt, but if it can only handle a few more washes it won’t be worth buying.
- Check the fabric section. As a decor enthusiast, I love checking this area because fabrics can be used in so many little ways. You can create banners, your own table runner, stick it in a frame – it’s a really affordable way to change things up in your home.
- Bring wet wipes. If a piece of clothing is stained but you’re unsure if it’s permanent, use the wet wipe to see if it will come out. Wet wipes have alcohol in them so if the stain comes out, you’re good. If not, it’s better to put it back and save your dollars.
- Stick to what you love. It’s so easy to justify buying something at thrift stores because the prices are usually so good (except for that one thrift store where everything is overpriced ;)). However, if you don’t love the item or have a use for it, the best option is to leave it there. I’ve had my times where I ended up regretting that item because I didn’t actually love it.
- Circle the store more than once. I always do this in case I might have missed something the first time around. I don’t go through every section and area (like the electronics), but for sure the isles and shelves with home-related products and items. Dishes, baskets, throw blankets (I’ve found a few beautiful designer-looking throws over the years), picture frames, signs…so many options!
- Don’t rush. My biggest thing with making thrift store runs is this: don’t rush it. If you do that, you’re not in the right headspace and end up missing the point of browsing and enjoying the process. It will also make you be less focused and unable to look properly through all the shelves and isles. To find those special pieces and trinkets, it’s all about being patient and generous with your time.
- Have fun. Whether you find something or not, just have fun with it. I know all too well how easy it is to get frustrated when you don’t find what you were looking for, but don’t give up. Go into it each time with an open mind and just have fun with it. That’s what makes it count as the most successful thrift store runs every time, whether you found something or not.
Enjoy the Browsing Process
I loved this rose gold candle stick. I didn’t end up getting it, but the color sure was gorgeous!
I’m always on the look out for glass vases or jugs.
I made my own little “display” with these two cuties (mainly to snap a picture of course).
I ended up finding a huge glass vase and I also brought the smaller of these two vases with me. They’re so versatile and can be used for any season.
Thrifting Should Be Fun, Not Stressful
I’ve had times were I got frustrated because I could never find anything anymore. Of course, some places will always have more things than others.
But over time I learned to just go in without big expectations and that’s when I’ve had the most luck finding things.
I keep it easy going, browse around and take my time while doing so.
While I don’t always find something, I find just as much joy in browsing around and keeping an eye on any unique pieces I may find.
Here are just a few items I’ve found over time while bargain hunting:
This white vase has been a staple in my home for a few years now.
This basket has been one of my favorite finds to date.
The plant hanger and basket are from a thrift store. Everything else, except the olive bucket, are from garage sales (aka another favorite place to do bargain shopping)!
Do you enjoy going to thrift stores? What’s the last item you brought home with you? I’d love to see your finds, so please share your finds and home with me on Instagram using hashtag #OurHappilyEverHome and let’s connect.
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