Learn how to thrift shop like a pro with this series of 10 proven hacks to help you gain the skills you need to snag the good stuff every time you shop!
Thrift Shopping like a PRO hack #7 is simple and easy: Don’t create regret for yourself!
You’ve probably been there before.
More than once, so after a few lost pieces, I added hack #7 to my tried-and-true thrift shopping practices, and ditched regret for good!
It usually goes like this: something catches your eye and you consider whether or not you should buy it.
It has enough appeal to grab your attention, and even give you pause for consideration, but you just don’t know…hmmmmm…
Maybe it’s the style that catches your eye. Not every piece you find in thrift stores is old and outdated. In fact, you may have already discovered that it isn’t uncommon to find pieces here and there that still have the retail tags attached.
It could also be function that attracts you. If you’ve been thinking of adding some bookends to a shelf full of books, and you find a set that with a little tweaking just might work…you stop and ponder…Or maybe you want a new lamp for a side table and you see one for a great deal. Pause.
Or maybe it’s the material. I’m a sucker for anything metal, and it catches my eye every single time!
And sometimes it may just be the design that attracts you. The style could need serious updating, and the function and material may not be a good fit, but maybe sleek lines, soft construction, or ornate patterning pulls you in.
And you look.
And think – if only for a few seconds.
That’s your flashing light of warning.
Don’t want regrets later?
Don’t walk away empty-handed!
By the way, if you’re still not sure of your creative style, The Creative Design Template is just what you need. Learn to discover your style and develop creative ways to express it through your thrift finds!
Let’s Talk Cash
So now that we’ve settled the attraction issue, let’s talk about money.
Somehow we operate on a different monetary value system when we walk into thrift stores, don’t we?
I mean…we’re there for a bargain! And big price tags aren’t part of the bargain.
If you’re not a negotiator, it’s time to learn because if you’ve already developed a connection with a piece through its appealing nature, you sure don’t want to walk away from it over a few dollars, right?
I won’t pretend that I’m great at negotiating, because I’m not. My 25-year old son, however, is brilliant at it! He was along for nearly all my thrifting forays when he was growing up and that kid had some kind of amazing bargaining skills. He’d haggle over a quarter – and usually win!
I’m not as savvy as he was (and still is!), but I’ve learned that it doesn’t hurt to politely ask if something can be discounted. Sometimes it has worked for me. Sometimes it hasn’t, and sometimes I don’t even bother if I think something is already a good deal.
But if your piece is making a connection with you and the price is higher than you’d like to pay, by all means, ask! Then you can decide if it’s worth letting go over a few dollars or not.
What’s Your Vision?
You’ve made a connection, you’re willing to pay the price (or strike up a negotiation if you think you can get a better deal), but not really sure what you’ll do with your piece.
Is that reason enough to get it?
Absolutely! Because great ideas sometimes happen right there in the thrift store, but more often than not they don’t. They happen later. And guess what happens when you go back to the store to get that piece you have a brilliant idea for?
There’s a good chance it will be gone.
And that’s a deflating feeling because you had such a perfect idea!
I’m not advocating hoarding or creating a collection of thrift finds that overrun your home, but carefully selected pieces that have personal potential rarely disappoint, and when you decide what you’ll do with them, the thrill of the project will be that much sweeter.
How to Thrift Shop with No Regrets
So here’s your simple plan to avoid regret when you thrift shop:
- Test for appeal. If it grabs your attention and gets a second look and consideration, it’s likely a keeper.
- Evaluate the appeal. Is it style? function? texture? shape? size? material? design? Pay attention to what grabs you and see if there’s a connection with your style. Use The Creative Design Template if you need help, and keep that criteria list in mind too.
- Decide what you’re willing to pay. An inexpensive piece doesn’t make a great deal just because it’s inexpensive, but an overpriced item can test the limits of your deal too. Set your top dollar and learn to negotiate to get it, or take along a friend who can do it for you. 🙂
- Give your vision time to develop. Don’t stress if you don’t know right away what you’ll do with your find. Trust your attraction to the piece and give yourself time to let the project take shape. And if you do know how you’ll repurpose or upcycle on the spot, go ahead and have yourself a little happy dance right there in the store!
Hack #7 in Action
A few weeks ago, I decided to visit a thrift store I haven’t stopped by in a while.
And while I was browsing around, I found these two pieces:
And old bronze tissue box cover and a chunky strand of beads.
The shiny tissue box caught my eye because of my metal obsession. I’m no wild fan of bronze, but the heavy metal build was a zinger.
And the beads…they were just so odd. I wish I knew what they’re made from because they have an unusual squishy texture. Solid, yet a soft, smooth finish. No matter what they’re made from, I saw a perfect pairing of the two pieces.
The tissue box cover worked better turned upside down, and they both needed a new face, so I sprayed them silver, then glued the beads around the (now) top edge of the cover.
The beads didn’t quite reach around entirely, so I centered the final bead on the last side…
and used it as a handy mounting point for a two-toned bow.
Once the planter was finished, I dropped in a little faux Christmas tree and dressed it up with some blue and pink ornaments.
So for $2 plus a little spray paint and hot glue, I have a unique little planter for a tabletop Christmas tree – or any plant all year long.
And no regrets over a missed find!
There’s more! Read How to Thrift Shop Like a PRO for all ten hacks.