With a new year comes new resolutions and one of the biggest I have seen is trying to save money. Thifting is a great option to keep your wallet on track but so many people give up after a few unsuccessful tries. This is something I wrote about for Amy's Thrifting 101 Series about how to thrift for the home with some additional tips to help you get around the thrift store and save you money!
Dress The Part: When you go thrifting don't forget to dress the part and be prepared to get dirty. Now some places are neater than others but most places are just old buildings with dust and dirt on the items. I honestly think they are the best but I always remember to wear my older and more comfortable attire. Also bring hand-sanitizer for when you leave.
Look At The Display: Half the time that golden piece is displaying a tacky lamp or other item. This is actually how I found my small credenza. Check out the item for a price tag and if you don’t see one simply ask how much. Most of the time if they do not want to sell the item there will be a sign letting you know it is display only.
Don’t Dismiss Ugly Things: If the piece has great bone structure but has an ugly paint job or fabric don’t dismiss it as junk. If you have the time and resources to fix it up then get it! This is great for D.I.Y projects and it helps to bring more of your personality into the room.
Smell It First: Sounds odd but just like buying thrifted clothing be sure the piece does not smell bad. This is real important for furniture made from solid wood. If there is any evidence of the item being in a smoker’s house chances are when the wood naturally expands that smell will be more potent.
Bring Measuring Tape: There are obvious items that you do not have to measure but if you are trying to fit things through doors or placing them in between spaces, it is important to measure before buying. Consider measuring the height and depth of the item too. A vintage side table might be too short to use as a nightstand or the depth of that retro credenza may not be big enough to hold your television or game system on top. Keeping a note pad with original measurements prevents you from getting height and width numbers mixed up.
Needle and Thread: Sometimes items such as clothing needs a little t.l.c and help with a thread and needle. I find thrift stores to be great options to buy fabric for cheap and reuse it for something else. I have seen many bloggers take an ugly long skirt and bring it more up to date with a simple sewing of the hem. If you are extremely handy with the sewing machine consider re-purposing the item and make a totally new
style out of the old fabric.
Know When To Splurge: This is very important especially to keep you on your budget. Sometimes you are looking for a certain style and you haven't come across it, then sitting in the corner is the beautiful piece but they want way to much. When is it okay to walk away? It's very hard and there were pieces that were so close that I would have paid twice as much. However when you could use that money for something more beneficial (i.e rent & groceries) it's okay to let that one go.
Sit On It: Just like any furniture store, you want to make sure the chair or sofa will work for you. Something that you think looks great may sit way to low to the ground or is too big to sit in. Even if you plan to get it reupholstered, you do not want to spend that kind of money on a piece that is awkward to sit or get up in.
Know Your Thrift Stores: Certain thrift stores cater to certain types of items. Most stores do carry furniture and décor but some have more variety and greater prices compared to others. It is important to figure which ones do and do not carry the style you want so you can use it to your advantage. This makes searching for a certain piece of furniture a bit easier.
It’s Okay To Replace Things:When it comes to vintage decor and furniture sometimes the frames, knobs or buttons can be plain tacky. If it is worth the cost and the piece can easily be removed buy a new frame, knobs or buttons for it. You can always check out the dollar store for updated replacement items at a lower cost.
It’s Okay To Buy New: Thrift stores sometimes carry newer items (marked down from popular stores) but no need to feel guilty for buying new. When you find something with the sticker price still on it that just makes it more exciting that you found the item at such a great deal and condition. You are not turning your back on the thrifting world if you buy it unused.
Know How To Clean It: Either clothing or fabric on a chair you need to know the best ways to clean it. For clothing always check the tag to figure out what fabric it is, if there isn't one best way to go is hand wash. I recently bought a chair that I wanted to make sure got a good cleaning. I didn't have a fabric cleaner so I poured dry laundry detergent and let it set for a few hours then vacuum it up. Afterwards I gave it a generous spray of Fer-breeze to be extra sure!
Don't Be Afraid to Ask: Don't be afraid to ask for a lower price or haggle but do it nicely. Certain places encourage it where others may not, but think of it this way all they can say is no they can't deny you purchasing it after you asked for a lower price.
Come In The Right Vehicle: If you’re just looking for small home décor or clothing then driving in a small car is fine but when you are searching for bigger pieces make sure you have a vehicle that you can carry it home plus the proper straps to hold it down on its voyage to your house. We brought our turck with us when I was looking for items in the bedroom and we lucked out and found an antique dresser. Also see if they offer delivery, this came in handy when I underestimated the size of my small credenza and my tiny car.
Don’t Be Discouraged: Just like any shopping adventure don’t get discouraged if you don’t come home with your golden piece. Depending on what state you're from and the atmosphere of the store certain items are known to be popular than most. As far as I have noticed in the south not too many thrift stores know how popular Danish Modern is so you don’t stumble upon it too often and when you do it is at a steal. Keep looking and revisit your favorite thrift stores and you’ll eventually stumble upon your dream item.