I have been asked multiple of times how did I start shopping thrift stores, garage sales, and flea markets. To tell you the truth, I don’t recall, but I’m guessing it had to be a financial reason during my college years. There are plenty of reasons why people become treasure hunters. I am familiar with many retired couples that enjoy it as a hobby, or have witnessed people who treat it as a business. I know the vintage retro look is in and so many young people shop for clothing in that era, but I’m guessing the most popular reason one thrift shops is to stretch the budget a little further. I personally like to stretch my decorating budget so I will attempt to give you some thrifting tips for decorating on a budget.
1. Go with a list:
Pieces in good condition that have good bones, structure, and lines that may need some tlc. I have worked on many finds that needed tweaking before they were display ready. You can see some of those examples here or here. However, I have found pieces that can go directly into my decor after a quick clean up. Examples of such items can be seen here and here.
Mirrors and Art Work:
It is very difficult for me to pass by a mirror or a piece of art that is a good deal. Let me explain. I take in consideration size, shape, subject matter and overlook the material that it is made out of… Did I every share with you that I love paint? Paint can transform an ugly frame. If it is priced right, it’s coming home with me.
Accessories and Decorative Items:
This list can include candles, colorful small dishes/cups, clocks, canisters, trays, baskets, book ends, and any other pieces that call out to you. You can read a post I wrote on repurposed decorating that shows how I accessorized using my thrift store finds.
2. Be Budget Conscious
Strike a Deal: When I say this, I don’t mean haggle the price. ( at least not all the time). Be aware of what deals may be out there. Some thrift stores have websites that will post coupons or have a loyalty card available for frequent shoppers. Some may even run daily specials. Do some research and find out what deals may be unique in your area and browse often.
3. Utilize the Web
Research: I am not an Ebay shopper but I do frequent Craigslist and our local area Buy and Sell Face Book Pages. Also many small communities will have City Wide Garage Sales posted on their Home Pages. Book mark neighboring community’s home page for information, search the classifieds for estate sales and auctions and even community churches and schools will have sales as fundraisers. Keep your eyes and ears open for pending sales. In my area, the thrifty sales become abundant as the weather gets nicer.
4. Keep an Open Mind
Give it a Try: Try to overcome the stereotype that thrift stores are smelly, dark and just full of junk. Granted some are but there are many that are clean and well organized. Many operate with a charity backing it. So it can provide an opportunity to give back.
Think beyond the obvious. Look at size, shape and beyond the actual function of the piece. Some items can be repurposed or painted to give it new life. Beware! I have often got caught purchasing an item without a specific idea for it in my head. I have bought impulsively thinking if I wait to long it will be gone. Well, big deal! Something else will come along. Don’t start stock piling!
All in all the best thrifting tip for decorating on a budget is to just go and enjoy yourself. I can tell you I have gotten pretty good at it, and love it.!