thrifty buys

Thrift shopping offers new, new

When’s the last time you checked out a thrift store, antique store, flea market, or garage sale? The bargains and treasures that can be found secondhand are endless, but so is the cool factor. Don’t focus on all the things that don’t interest you, focus on those that do. Get creative, save money and make your home one-of-a-kind.

It’s time to throw away any stereotypes you have about thrift stores, garage sales and flea markets. Whether its for wardrobe, collectibles, home decoration or even furniture, you’ll never find a more interesting and addicting way to look for the things you love.

Thrifting is not for low-income people. It’s for anyone who is looking for a bargain. Also, it’s for people who are looking for things that have some history behind them. Why buy a new chair when you can find one that’s been around for 75 years? You’ll meet new and interesting people, get the inside scoop on where the deals are, and you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that you’re saving money.

Here are a few tips for those who are searching for cheap and hip ways to liven up their living space.

Don’t think as much about what an item is.

new-new-barellThink about what it can be. Is someone selling a bunch of old wooden crates? What if you stacked them on top of each other sideways and made a cool, one-of-a-kind shelving system? Big wooden barrel? What if you ran across a nice piece of weathered wood to put on top and make a retro, country style table for your patio or garage? There’s usually a second use for any item. It just requires you to think outside the box. You’ll see. It’ll change the way you look at everyday items.

Keep it simple.

new-new-vasesWhat are the things you love in your home? Do you have an eye for colored glass vases? Do you like antique clocks? Then just look for those things to start with. Secondhand stores or sales can be a little intimidating, especially if there are other people there who go all the time and know what to look for. Just focus on looking for the one or two things that really catch your eye. If you can afford them, get them. If you can’t find something or it’s too expensive, don’t worry about it. Just make a mental note of the item and look for it somewhere else.


Keep an open mind.

new-new-chairsThose mid-century easy chairs collecting dust in the corner—the ones with torn fabric and the funny smell—may be just the ones for you. If you’re able to see past the condition of furniture you’re bound to come out with the coolest furniture for a fraction of the cost. Every city has people who do furniture restoration, so get to know those people and ask them what to look for. Chances are they’ll be able to restore your items. You may learn a trick or two from them, too. They don’t build ‘em like they used to, so focus on the strength of the item, not the beauty.

You don’t need to have everything all at once.

new-new-cupsSay you’re working on completing your collection of brightly colored coffee cups. Well, unless they’re selling an entire set for a once-in-a-lifetime low price, just get one. There are always others out there somewhere, and half the fun of thrifting is running across things you love in places that you least expect to find them. Be patient and be flexible. You can take your collection in different\ directions, adding to it in a way that each item has its own story that’s familiar to only you.

You’ll stay ahead of the trends by not worrying about them.


Again, if you focus on the things that YOU like, you can’t go wrong. Trends and styles change every second, and that’s what they’re supposed to do, so don’t worry about finding the new ‘in’ item. Just build an environment around yourself that you’re comfortable in, that you’re interested in and that you know you’ve created for a fraction of the cost of other people’s homes.

Make thrifting a regular practice.

knick nacksThe coolest thing about secondhand decorating or collecting is the fact that you never know what treasures you’re going to come across on any given day. But in order for that to hold true, you need to go more than just once. To take it a step further, talk to the staff at the thrift store and find out when you’re most likely to have some luck finding the
things you want. You can always ask them to keep an eye out for certain items. But again, you have to be a regular for this to work.


Keep up with sales.


Especially in the Spring season, people begin holding garage sales on the weekends. Grab the classified section of your local paper and look to see where the sales are being held. Just like it’s important to know what times of day to head into a thrift store so that you’ll have the best chances of finding your treasure, it’s important to go to garage sales early before there’s been a chance for people to gobble up all the items. But make sure you go back to the sale at the end of the day. Sometimes the people holding the sale are so eager to get rid of all the stuff they’ll give you even better deals just so they don’t have to lug it back to wherever it came from.

Special note

There are thousands of websites on which people list their items for sale. Some are antiques, some are just online garage sales. Before you buy anything from these sites, do some research to make sure the site is legitimate. If it’s a site like ebay, check the sales record of the seller. If they aren’t good, that will be reflected in their record. If you need help, just ask.

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