Thrifting 101


Since starting my Instagram, the number one question I get is about thrifting.  If you aren’t used to thrifting, walking into a store full of second hand items can seem daunting.  Living near good thrift stores can definitely help your odds of finding good things, but even that little thrift store that may seem like it doesn’t have anything to offer will eventually surprise you.

(Me with my sweet friend and thrift store partner, Becky.  We go thrifting together about once a week!)

Monday I went to the closest Goodwill to my house.  I found several really great items along with some overpriced things as well.  Thrift stores can definitely be hit or miss that’s why it’s important to not give up on thrifting if you don’t succeed right away.

Here are a few helpful tips when going to a thrift store!

  1. Make a list of what you are looking for.  For new thrifters, this is a good piece of advice to not get overwhelmed.  Once you get the hang of things, you can veer away from a list and explore the store.
  2. Bring a measuring tape.  I recommend a mini one or even a sewing tape that you can roll up and stash in your purse.
  3. Check out the housewares section first, then come back again before you leave.
  4. Look at pieces slowly and try to think outside the box.
  5. I always make two laps around the store.  A lot of times that second trip will allow me to look at an item a different way and I find a lot of my really cool finds on my second trip.
  6. Check out the book section!!
  7. Don’t buy random stuff, think of exactly where you could use it!
  8. Before you check out, go through your cart and look at each item to make sure you are 100% sure you need it.
  9. Find out if they have sale days or online coupons.
  10. Ask what days/times they put out new things.

A few things to keep in mind while thrifting –

  1.  Cost of living in that area.  If you go to a more expensive part of town and shop that thrift store, chances are your selection will be way better but the cost will be higher.  If I am looking for specific pieces, often I will go to these thrift stores, but for my everyday shopping I tend to go to middle class areas because their price point is typically more reasonable.
  2. Don’t let one unsuccessful experience, scare you away.  One of my absolute favorite thrift stores now is one that I absolutely hated the first time I walked in.  I was too overwhelmed by how large it was and what I thought was disorganization.  I kept going back and once I got a feel of the store, I ended up falling in love with it!  It’s where I have found some of my most favorite thrifted items!

Here is an item I loved but it was overpriced, so it stayed on the shelf!  

These are the things I SCORED ONNNNNN!  In all my years of thrifting I have never seen a mint condition crock like I found!  I paid $25 for it and it’s currently holding a pretty little olive tree in my dining room.  Unique basket $4I loved these mason jars because of their shape, they will make perfect vases for any season. $1 eachI also found a few other great finds for a great price that I passed on because I didn’t have space for them!  Once you bring home your awesome finds, here are a few tricks that I have found useful to get them ready for your home!

  1. Removing permanent marker – Depending on the surface I typically use vinegar, nail polish remover, or a magic eraser.
  2. Removing a price label – Most of the time letting it soak in soapy water for a few minutes will do the trick.  If that does not work, try an equal mix of olive oil and baking soda.
  3. For shoes and purses – a 10 minute trip through the dryer will get rid of any bacteria.
  4. Clothes and Fabrics – Wash and dry of course 🙂
  5. Faux greenery – anti bacterial wipes
  6. Furniture – I personally use Thieves cleaner from Young Living, but furniture wipes will work too!

I hope you enjoyed these thrifting tips!  If you use any of these tips next time you wander into your local thrift store tag me @ourgatheredcottage so I can feature you on my page!

XO, Amy

  1. Erin says:

    GREAT post, Amy!
    I *love what you said about not giving up after the first unsuccessful trip. I canNOT even tell you how many people have told me they “never” find anything good at the thrift. Like, how can that even be?!?!?!?
    Yes, it takes a bit of digging and definitely some waiting time sometimes, but it’s so, SO worth it!!!

  2. Desirae says:

    Loved this! I am obsessed with thrifting (thanks to you, Amy 😂💕) I have also read blog posts on thrifting & I either already do what they say or it just doesn’t seem to work for me but these are amazing tips! Cannot wait to try them out! Especially the measuring tape idea! 🙌🏼

  3. Misty @heartinthehillcountry says:

    Loved this post Amy!

    Thrifting isn’t something I’ve really ever been a big fan of (mostly because I’m a freak and have a problem with weird smells), but I feel like I’m finally starting to get the hang of it. I’ve recently found a few new stores and some great prices for great prices. I’m about to the top of the ‘overcoming my fear of thrift stores’ rollercoaster…I’m getting ready to enjoy the ride down!

    Keep up the great work!

  4. Jamie says:

    I love Thieves cleaner! Great tips. I get overwhelmed thinking about thrifting. Maybe one day.

  5. Misty says:

    My thrifting heart loves this post! Such a great share!!

  6. Emily Jacob says:

    Hi!! I was wondering if I send you a pick of a table and chairs set, if I could get your opinion on how to refinish them??? Thanks! 😁

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