Thrift Stores are some of the best places to find pieces for repurposed and upcycled projects.
But how do you know what to look for?
Here’s some of my best thrift store tips that will help you land great pieces:
Don’t overlook pieces and parts
Maybe the sofa is in shambles or a tabletop is damaged beyond repair. What about the springs or legs? Are they redeemable?
Just because you can’t use the whole piece, doesn’t mean some of the parts can’t be useful.
Plus, with obvious damage, it’s a great bargaining chip for an even better price!
If you see potential, are intrigued by an interesting shape, or just love it – get it!
You may not know right away what you’ll do with a piece, but chances are that if it attracts your attention enough for a second look, you’ll regret not taking it home. I know this from experience.
Don’t labor over a decision about how you’ll use it. If the price is right (or you can make it right), trust your creativity. Just imagine how thrilling it will be when you get a great idea and already have the piece to start your project!
On a few occasions, I’ve returned to find a piece I walked away from still there. At other times, I’ve given myself the proverbial kick for not buying it during my first trip because someone else had snagged it in the meantime.
Make a list of things you want to keep an eye out for
If you have a particular project in mind, you’ll definitely want to watch for pieces that will work. This can be a little frustrating if you’re not patient, but so thrilling when you finally find that perfect piece!
I like to keep a running list on the notes section of my phone and quickly scan it each time I stop into a store.
BUT…keep an open mind when you shop
If you’re as focused as a hunting dog when you shop, you just might miss some amazing pieces.
In addition to looking for specific pieces, remember to scan the shelves for anything that catches your eye, regardless of whether you have a specific project in mind or not.
Know your store’s sales cycles and restocking schedule
Many thrift stores run specials on certain types of items on certain days. This is particularly helpful when you have a project idea in mind, but can also be a great time to pick up something you may have not considered looking at before.
And, it’s a good idea to know when your store restocks. Our local ReStore is open on Thursdays-Saturdays only. Obviously, stopping in right after they open on Thursdays is ideal for the newest and best selection.
Get to know your store well – when they restock, and when they run specials.
Develop an “Item Criteria”
This isn’t as complicated as it might sound. Basically, get an idea of the kind of things you’re looking for.
My criterion looks like this:
Every item doesn’t have to meet all three criteria, but if it meets at least one, It’s worth consideration.
Decide on the attributes you want to look for, then keep those in mind when you’re shopping. It won’t take long at all to develop a sense of what has potential, and what doesn’t when you have a criteria list.
Thrift stores can be an absolute gold mine of potential when you have a few tricks in your pocket. Choose a few to try on your next trip and see what they can do for you!