Pop Some Tags: Thrift Shopping 101.

My love for thrift shopping started long before Mackelmore brought back its popularity. Thrift stores, yard sales, estate sales, discount stores… if there are interesting items out there at a low price, I am all over it.

With my drive to live a simple life, I’ve put a halt on purchasing anything at retail price. Luckily, it hasn’t been a big transition because I’ve never been a retail shopper. I’d rather find a deal than walk away with a (wanted, not needed) item at retail price.

I'd Rather Be Thrifting / from TheSirensTale.com

Whether you are a thrift shopping goddess, or you are trying to accept that one (wo)man’s trash is another’s treasure, there’s always a deal to be found. Over the years, I’ve picked up a few thrifting tips on how to score the best finds and I’d love to share them with you!

Thrifting: Books, Vintage Tins / from TheSirensTale.com
1. Check your local non-profit agency, church, etc.
Hands down, churches have the best rummage and thrift sales. The sales are usually large-scale and donated to by several members of the church. Better yet, the money you spend is going right back into the church to help support the community. This past weekend, I nabbed 12 books and a vintage Heinz’s tin for a whopping $3.50 at a church rummage sale.

2. Prepare a thrift location list before you leave to shop.
Thrifting isn’t like shopping at Target or Macy’s. You can’t walk in and find a wide selection of items you need. Instead, you sometimes need to bounce from one thrift store to another if you have a certain item in mind. Check out the local thrift stores in your area through The Thrift Shopper and make a list of places to visit!

Thrifted Scotch Car Music Box / from TheSirensTale.comThrifted Vintage Scotch Bottle / from TheSirensTale.com

3. Become best friends with sellers who don’t know the value of their treasure.
The best deals are from people who are just sick of looking at “their junk”. Some sellers don’t know the value behind their items and will gladly hand it away at a low cost. Recently at a flea market, I spotted this beautiful vintage car that holds a scotch bottle and shot glasses. The seller explained that it used to work as a music box as well, but the last owner broke the mechanism. She shrugged as she offered, “How’s $20.00 sound?” After a quick internet search, I found that even with the broken musical mechanism, the car’s value was $65.00 to $100.00. Sold!

4. Always look through boxes, and ask when you cannot see.
Whether you’re at a thrift shop or a yard sale, most of the “gold” is stuffed in a box under a table or at the bottom of an aisle’s shelving. Before picking through items that are clearly visible, do some digging! Also, never be afraid to ask the seller questions. If you find an item you like, ask the seller if they remember any similar items in the lot.

Thrifted Prints - Trees and Nature / from TheSirensTale.com

5. Take a weekend drive, and load up on freebies!
Sundays are my favorite for thrifting. Check your local yard sale listings and make note of when the sales are ending. Once the yard sale ends, head on over! I’m always amazed at how many people put their unsold yard sale items out for free. If it’s not yard sale season, still take a drive (preferably through a wealthy town) and check for free piles of goodies. I was beaming after finding these two free prints road-side while taking a leisurely drive on a lunch break.

Do you like thrift shopping and/or yard sales?
What thrifting tips do you have?

{shared on the Jack of All Trades link-up}

24 responses to “Pop Some Tags: Thrift Shopping 101.

  1. My wife is the queen of thrifting. If someone ever needs something, she can find it and usually in good condition or even new. The only condition she has is to give her time.

  2. I was never a thrift store/yard sale shopper until I moved in with my husband — he is allllllll about them, and all about the deal! I can’t deny that he’s found some amazing stuff . . . and now that we’re working on furnishing our new house, I realize financially that I can’t afford to run out and plunk down serious cash for furniture, decor, etc. I’m looking forward to hitting yard sales this summer in search of treasures! It’s such a thrill to find something you need for next to nothing (or free). It’s all about the hunt!

    Really enjoyed your post — go on with your bad self! Love hearing about others’ rummage sale scores now, too.

    • Thrifting is definitely a great way to find unique decor at a low cost. Do I wish I could decorate a la Anthropologie? Sure, but my wallet argues that’s too frivolous, LOL. It takes a bit more time to find the ‘right’ item when you’re thrifting, but I’m always interested by the stories behind the items I find.

      I hope you have a blast this summer scouring rummage and yard sales! (Add this to the list of reasons why spring/summer are awesome). Hope you have fun decorating your new home!

      • Thank you, Caitlin! And the joy of finding the “right” item is really worth it, I can see. Much more satisfying than just plunking down $50 for a brand-new vase with no character or back story. Where’s the fun in that? 😉

  3. You always have such good tips. I LOVE thrifting way better than “normal” shopping. I don’t like the mall.

  4. talesofwhimsy

    I use to love thrifting. It’s so fun to hunt.

  5. Feeling inspired to go thrifting! Have a need for a dresser for one of the kiddos & always open to finding unique home decor. Thanks for the tips!

    • So glad you’re feeling inspired, Melissa! I’ve found a few new / great condition dressers on the sides of roads right after a family moves. I always keep my eyes peeled for signs that say a house is under contract or sale pending. Sometimes they leave treasures road-side!

      Best of luck with your thrifting 🙂

  6. I’ve never been much for thrifting (I simply don’t have the patience), but I love hearing and seeing the treasures that people can find. It looks like you’ve managed to get some pretty cool stuff, Caitlin. Happy thrifting!

    • I can definitely understand the patience aspect. Sometimes when I’m digging around in box #43958 for that ONE item no one else seems to have found, I start to feel frustrated or over it. But usually when that happens, something catches my eye and makes the wait worth it (or so I tell myself LOL).

      Thanks for the kind comment!

  7. whitneyconard

    i LOVE going thrifting. I often find really neat stuff at estate sales. I find it fascinating to wander through someone’s home, as everything is still set up like they lived with it normally. Thrifting is just part of a lifestyle that makes me a better steward of my finances and possessions. At least that’s my idea. 🙂 (coming over from a harvest of blessing’s link up!)

    • Thanks so much for coming over, Whitney! Estate sales are my favorite! When I first went to one, I felt a little awkward shopping from people’s decorated rooms, but now I just go with it and find the best things 🙂

      “Thrifting is just part of a lifestyle that makes me a better steward of my finances and possessions.” – What a great perspective! I love the idea of being a steward of finances/possessions.

  8. My best thrifting tip is that you have to be patient if you’re looking for something specific. I returned to Goodwill 3x over a few months looking for a small wooden hanging rack for my necklaces, and eventually I scored two for super cheap. I also have to remember not to buy everything–just because it’s cute and a good deal doesn’t mean I need it!

    • Great tip, Alicia! Some items are worth the wait, especially when thrifting. And you make a great point about passing up items as well. When I get towards the checkout, I review all my items and honestly ask myself: ‘Am I purchasing this because I want/need it? Or am I purchasing it because it’s a great deal?’ That question usually prompts putting several items back for another thrifter to find and enjoy 🙂

  9. Much to be learned from the goddess. 😀

  10. Oh, I love thrifting and buying things used! We’ve been to a bunch of garage sales in the last few days we got three awesome hard shell suitcases (from Costco with a value over $200) for $25. It’s awesome cause we needed more suitcases for when we go to South Africa. I also got Raeca some adorable dresses for $2-$3, much better than paying full price!

    • Oooh, hard shell suitcases? That’s an awesome find! I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled for some new (used) luggage, but have only come across the soft luggage so far. And that’s awesome about the dresses! How can you beat $2-$3?!

  11. I love a good find when it pops up, I just wish I could do more of it. Wonderful scores you made, the prints, and those books!

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