What makes an amazing thrift find? That’s really your opinion! But there are a few ways to help you know when you’ve zinged it and a criteria list is a must.
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Do you ever visit thrift stores, wander around, and wonder what all that junk could be good for?
Without a criteria list, it can look like so much junk – and it’s hard to have a vision for how any of it can be made into something cute, clever, or fabulous.
Developing a criteria list, however, will help you visually sift through the racks and shelves, and easily pick out the pieces that are worth considering.
So what is this list and how do you develop it?
Your Thrift Find Criteria List
Don’t confuse a criteria list with your shopping list.
Your criteria list will actually help you build your shopping list! By determining the types of items you want to look for, you can eliminate everything else, giving you a clearer focus as you shop.
This list contains all the characteristics that you find appealing – and that’s what makes them a bargain for you!
Your list will contain at least 3 reasons why you’d give a piece a second look.
How to Make a Thrift Find Criteria List
Spend some time thinking about what you like and your basic style, then use these ideas to get started:
- What styles are you drawn to? Browse magazines and Pinterest, and make folders or boards to collect images you like. Keep at it until you begin to see a pattern within your collections.
- What immediately catches your eye when you shop? Pay attention to the lines, textures, edges, shapes, sizes, and materials you’re attracted to.
- What will you do with your finds? Do you prefer repurposed or upcycled projects? Don’t worry about paint, finishes, embellishments, or fixtures. You can handle all of that later.
Once you have an idea of what you like, make a list of at least three characteristics to look for when you shop.
Want to see my list?
- Has a unique shape or size
- Can easily be transformed with paint
- Has the ability to be repurposed
- Is made from metal
Every piece I buy doesn’t fit all of the criteria, but it does fit at least one, and often two or three.
The more points you have on your list, the broader your possibilities will be when you shop.
Narrow it down when you feel overwhelmed; add more characteristics as your expertise grows.
The days of wandering through piles of “junk” are gone when you have a criteria list, and you’ll be bringing home the bargains and making fabulous projects every time!
Check out my latest project that fit two of my criterion:
- a unique shape and size
- the ability to be transformed with paint
This outdated beauty has been hanging around for months. In fact, it has been hanging on the wall! (insert embarrassed face here.)
It first caught my eye because of its oversized, curvy, bamboo frame. I loved the pretty shape and could handle the outdated style with a little paint.
When I brought it home, I moved it from room to room, trying to decide where it would land. I finally found a place for it, but my full intention was to give it a serious makeover – and soon.
But it hung there for so long, in fact, that my kids recognized one just like it in the movie Jumanji. (insert a second embarrassed face here!)
Updating My Thrift Find
I started, of course, with a paint job. I gave the frame a makeover using Rust-Oleum metallic silver, and used a neutral chalk paint for the face.
Since I decided to change the function of the piece, I went shopping for some pretty fabric. I landed on a collection of fat quarters that I fell in love with right away – so I knew they’d be perfect.
Next, I cut two pieces, and attached them to the top and bottom of the face using ModPodge.
I found a bulletin board at Hobby Lobby that fit perfectly inside the frame, but it needed one more thing…
Paint, of course!
I used Rust-Oleum Blossom White in satin finish, then attached it in the middle of the frame.
Now I have a handy place to keep track of ALL. THE. THINGS!
You may not find an outdated wall hanging like this one (but then again, you just might!), but you can use the same strategy to find something in your thrift shops that can be similarly repurposed into a pretty command center too.
Even if you don’t want or need a command center, you can use your criteria list to find something fabulous that’s just perfect for YOU!
There’s more! Read How to Thrift Shop Like a PRO for all ten hacks.