The #1 question that I get asked most is “How do you find all your awesome junk?!?!” Well my friends, since today is a special day I am going to share with you how to shop at a thrift store. These are the 10 best ways to find the really GOOD STUFF that you are always jealous about.
If you follow me on Twitter you will know that I have had pretty much the best luck ever thrift shopping this past week or two.
I can feel your death stares through the computer.
So I will have you know that I am breaking my own rules, since today is Tuesday. So you better listen and listen good. I am showing you how things look when I buy them so that you can kind of get an idea of what I look for. Keep checking back to see what hidden awesomeness comes out of it.
So on with the SECRETS!!!
1. Know where the good stuff is in YOUR store.
When I go into my store there is a big room on the back that has furniture, lamps, large mirrors, bed frames, crappy toys, bikes, sporting goods, and a strange smell. This room is where I usually find the best junk, so naturally I go there first. There is a place where they put large mirrors and that is always my first stop. (You can see my collection in my daughters room, and on my Wall O’ Mirrors) Large ornate mirrors are rare BUT they do show up. Like this one I just scored for $10.00
2. Go in with an open mind.
I believe that the harder you search for something the less likely you are to find it. Awesome junk picks you and you need to be ready for it. For example I just bought this awesome coffee table for $5.00. Do I need a coffee table? No. But my Mother In Law is still trying to find the perfect one for her living room and until she finds it I am forever buying her coffee tables.
3. Don’t be scared to hoard.
Ok maybe hoard is too harsh of a word. Lets try this again. Don’t be scared to save things for later. If you see something awesome and don’t buy it cause you might not need it right.this.second you will be kicking yourself for the next 5 years.
Now, I am not saying buy everything that you *might* be able to use, I am talking about the kind of pieces that make you say “whoa” out loud and then you immediately have mother bear syndrome and look around to see if anyone is scoping out your treasure.
Like this awesome chandelier that I just found for $15.00. I literally said “Oh my gravy”, and ran to it. Goodness knows the LAST thing in the world that this girl needs is another chandelier (I have 5 that I am saving for later) but this one was THE ONE. Its huge. It almost goes up to my waist and I am 5’9. And I can not wait to show you what I have done with it….after the hubs gets it hung.
4. Look for things that can be refinished.
I rarely find something that I will keep “as is” . Only really cool old junk with freakin awesome patinas stay as is in my house. I never buy plastic furniture. Real wood only people. There are primers that you can get for plastic or laminate if you find something crazy cool but I haven’t used them before. Are you so jealous of this chair? I know. I DIED when I saw it. Cost? Free.
My Mother In Law brought it home from their storage unit 3 days ago. I had a dream about it last night. The hubs came home from work and these were his exact words… “what the crap is that chair doing in this house” See, that chair is from his childhood basement and weighs no joke, 35+ LBS. He is having post traumatic stress disorder due to the fact that he had his toes ran over with it more than once. Sorry dear, the chair is staying.
5. Don’t be afraid of a little hard work!
Refer to question #4 for the reason why. This is how you save money people. By doing thing yourself. If you want to pay someone to do it, give me a call but I will charge you. Don’t be scared, its just paint. What’s the worst that can happen?
Certain types of pieces are perfect for certain types of finishes. Like this cute pedestal table. With those types of details it MUST be glazed. (You can see my full glazing technique here.)
6. If you see something you love, don’t be afraid to throw some elbows.
Ha ha just kidding. But seriously, if you see something don’t be afraid to act a fool to get it. Or you just might be like my friend Lara who lost out on a ginorm oval ornate out the wazoo mirror for $15.00 because another lady snatched it up first.
If it is something that is too big for your cart have an employee tag it announcing to the world that it is YOURS. Cause guaranteed if you don’t someone else will. And even if you are on the fence have them tag it while you ponder its potential. Just make sure that if you decide against it you take the tag off so that other grabbers can have a chance at it.
7. Look where other people aren’t willing.
Ok story time. While my MIL and I were shopping on Friday we went to a consignment store that we had never been to. Their furniture was way overpriced for my blood but as we were getting ready to leave the guy that works there told us that everything in this cramped side room was 50% off. At first glance there was NOTHING awesome. But I went in and started to dig. In the back corner in a bookcase that was totally obstructed from view and took 7 minutes to get out was this:
for $2.50 I found the coolest tool box ever because I was willing to hunt for something. This my friends I am leaving just how it is.
8. Don’t be afraid to let your style evolve.
When I first started thrifting I hated brass. I thought it was NASTY and every time I saw something I liked that was brass out came the spray paint. But guess what. I am now in love with it. Especially if it has a really old patina, my heart sort of wants to flutter away. I found these candle sticks for $1.00 each.
9. Don’t let un-awesome people stop your vision.
True story here. All of my friends want to go shopping with me cause I am like the best thifter ever, right? So I am a good friend and take them…with one stipulation they have to have an open mind. Of course they agree. But in truth they have no idea what they are in for. They look at me like I have 3 heads when I get excited about some nasty thing. Does that stop me from putting it in my cart? Psssh, ya right. I know what it can become. Would it stop someone who is unsure of themselves? Probably. If something speaks to you LISTEN. (The most random statues and vases usually turn out the coolest with a coat of white spray paint.)
Now when my friends come over to my house they see the junk that I bought when I was with them and compare stories about its previous nastiness. And are jealous.
10. Don’t be scared!
Yes, the store probably stinks.
Yes, there are less than hygienic people there. (Sometimes I am one of them…)
Yes, there is a lot of gross stuff.
But there are also treasures and if you don’t hunt them down then guess what? I will.
And if I run into you whilst thrifting and you have found something awesome….don’t show me, cause I am totally the jealous type.
So there you go friends, hope this motivates you to go and look for something awesome.
And if you are new here and like what you see I would love it if you became a subscriber (top left corner) that way you can be sure to not miss anything awesome.
Especially all of the afters from this post, cause they are going to be epic.