No More Thrifters Remorse: 8 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Buying From A Thrift Store

We have all done it.  Stood staring at an item at a thrift store and waged the buy or don’t buy battle in our minds.  It can just be SO hard sometimes.  So here are 8 simple questions you can ask yourself before you commit.

8 Questions to ask yourself BEFORE you buy something from the Thrift Store

Is it a game changer?

Does the thought of them in your space make you re-imagine your room in a good way or a bad way?  I love game changers,  something as simple as this thrifted skirt turned into pillows was a game changer in my Master Bedroom.  It gave me to opportunity to use any color I wanted without overwhelming the space.

Thrifted Skirt into Pillows

Is it in your price range?

This can be a hard one. Ask an employee if they can go down on the price (sometimes they will!!) If its just out of the price range are you willing to spend a bit more for them?

Is it in good condition?

There are some things that can be repaired and some things that cant. For example if you are looking for something to glaze and 1/2 the decorative carvings are broken off its not really a great buy because you are probably not going to sit down with your Swiss Army Knife and learn to whittle so you can repair it.

What is it made out of?

You cant go wrong with solid wood. Even if it has laminate on the top you are probably good to go. When we were redoing Hailee’s Living Room we found a great end table, it was a great price and sturdy so we bought it. The problem was that it needed to be stripped and during the stripping process the product we used melted the plastic door fronts. So yea… it was not a good choice.

Why you should not strip plastic molded furniture

Just how much work is going to be involved to rehab it?

If the answer is none, you should head to Vegas cause you are one lucky sucker. If it is going to cost you thousands to reupholster a couch you might just want to buy it new.

Do you have somewhere to put it?

I frequently buy things that I don’t have a spot for if it meets most of the above criteria because a) I will find somewhere to use it or b) I know I can resell it at the Hoard Sale

Brooke Hoard Sale 056

When it comes to lamps or chairs: Is it part of a set?

Do you need 2 of them? If you do and there is only one the chances of it working are slimmer and the chances of finding another one are SUPER slim. I have passed up many a great chair because there was only one and I needed 2. Can you find somewhere to use the solo piece?

And the MOST IMPORTANT question. Do you love it??!

8 Questions to ask yourself BEFORE you buy something from the Thrift Store


If you want MORE thrifting goodness you will want to check out these other Thrifting 101 posts:

10 Secrets From A Thrifting Goddess

5 Tips To Boost Your Thrifting Vision

5 Thrift Store Must Haves

Love  Your  Guts,  Mandi

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  • Little Paper Dog 14.08.2012 at 17:18

    Great tips! I giggled when I read the first paragraph — I totally do that … ALL the time. :)

  • Dharma 14.08.2012 at 17:34

    #9 – Will my family hire an Interventionist and/or will my husband file for divorce if I bring one more ding-dang thing home with cobwebs attached to the bottom of it?

  • Caitlin @ Desert Domicile 14.08.2012 at 17:46

    Great tips! I just finished making over a real campaign dresser that I got at Goodwill for $15! When I first saw it, and ultimately decided it was coming home with me, my boyfriend looked at me like I had lost my mind. Even during the makeover process he kept telling me that he wasn’t sure if it was going to work but it did and the makeover impressed him so much that I now have free reign to bring home whatever crappy piece of furniture I find! Muahahahaha

  • Erin @ His and Hers 14.08.2012 at 18:14

    I need to live near you so I can come to your Hoard Sale. Sigh. Serious thrifting heaven.

  • Megan 14.08.2012 at 18:22

    Thanks for this guide! I just moved, so I’m definitely at risk for buying EVERYTHING CUTE.

  • Desiree @ The 36th AVENUE 14.08.2012 at 18:44

    Love it!

  • Gwen 14.08.2012 at 19:57

    Great tips! Thanks for putting this together!

  • Peggy 14.08.2012 at 20:19

    #10… shop your house before you walk out the door because you might find the perfect piece in a different room or even stored away.

    Case in point… we are redoing our youngest’s room. I had a certain look in mind but was agonizing over the stuff in the stores. This morning I striped everything out of his room except the bed (its a hanging loft bed attached to the walls, yeah no easy moving there) and do you know what I discovered. I like the basic colors in the room. It looks masculine, somewhat youthful but not little kiddish (he’s 13…) So after a good vacuuming I took about the stack of wheeled storage cubes placed one on each side of his folding papasan chair, attached the clip-on light to the chair, and reorganized his closet. Our only purchases for the room… the folding papasan chair from Target, a new clock (the old one was moved into his brother’s room), and the clip-on light because the old one had started smoking. Well under $50 for a complete room makeover that we LOVE!! Oh and he got new bedding by way of a little RIT dye.

  • Kristen Duke Photography 14.08.2012 at 22:05

    great tips, and i love the profile pic! 😉 I mentioned you in my post today;)

  • Dixie Redmond 15.08.2012 at 01:02

    I sawma. Hair at the Thrift and made myself NOT buy it. It was cute but tired. It was $49 and perhaps a little low (but perfect for short me) and would need to be slipcovered. So I said no. because i already have a loveset that needs slipcovering.

  • Emily 15.08.2012 at 03:23

    Love it. Thrifty seems so easy because everything is cheap and you can just buy whatever but that is exactly how you end up with a load of junk!!

  • antique engagement rings 15.08.2012 at 11:15

    Love your tips….. if you keep looking you can find wonderful vintage items!

  • ReStitch Me 15.08.2012 at 13:10

    A few years ago my husband lost his job and we sold just about everything at 2 yard sales to help keep us afloat. Looking around at stuff I was selling for cheap, I decided I wasn’t ever going to fall back into the ‘buy whatever’ mentality. You have some great tips to reign in that impulse buying, and may I add one? It has to make me SMILE when I look at it!

  • Kathy@mishmashmom 15.08.2012 at 15:32

    Some of my favorite pillows are from thrifted skirts!

    I’ve learned that I love the mix of new and old in my decorating so I have to be careful to not go too crazy with the thrifting, or my whole house starts to look like the thrift store instead of like a home.

    Also, if you can sew a straight line, you can slipcover chairs and sofas instead of reupholstering them, which would be a less expensive option for #5.

  • Serena 16.08.2012 at 10:25

    You are so right about knowing what it takes before you buy something. I bought a $100 Ethan Allen sofa from an estate sale recently, in GREAT condition. Wasn’t too thrilled with the print, although it is ok. Called for quoted to reupholster–shyt!! Quoted me $1200-$1500! So guess who’s going to learn to reupholster a sofa? *raising my hand* I’m sure I can get it looking fabulous though!!

    Thrift Diving

  • Anonymous 17.08.2012 at 16:11

    and before you do any of this; check to see if the item have bedbugs! because believe me you don’t want to infect your place with bedbugs under any circumstances

  • Karen Kilpatrick 20.08.2012 at 23:24

    Still trying to figure out why I HAD to get the floor lamp made from an old trombone.

  • helen 21.09.2013 at 18:40

    #11 Did I sell the last one I picked up yet? The jackup in my favorite thrifty haunts has been enough of a disincentive to thrift as any. Clearing out the backlog of merchandise for my online store has been where I have focused. I just don’t buy in volume any more since our prices at the chains ie goodwill, unique, nami, pob, and salvation army have been so high, and competition for curb lots and yardsale goods have tightened up too. Maya Angelou had it right when she said, the stock market crash of 1929 didn’t affect the poor in the south so much. It was when the rich folks held on to things they would have normally passed on, shared or cast off that things got really bad.

  • Vintage Revivals | 5 Ways To Boost Your Thrifting Vision 25.06.2015 at 16:08

    […] Be Willing To Buy and Try.   Lets say you find a pair of chairs one day that you *think you like.  But you are not 100% sure.  Have your store tag them (so no one can swoop in and grab them) and buy yourself some time to think.  This post is all about questions you can ask yourself before you commit. […]


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