Thrift shopping has a different flavor than traditional retail shopping.
For starters, you don’t always know what you’re going to get. I didn’t know walking into the thrift shop last weekend, that I’d walk out with two soup cups, a tiny gold-etched bowl and one of the loveliest decorative trays I’ve ever seen in the entirety of my life.
It’s this not knowing what you’ll find that turns a lot of people off to thrifting altogether. They need a thing—say, a storage box for the closet or a sprinkler for the back yard—and since we’re all tight on time and rather impatient for solutions, we head to the nearest big box store where we know exactly which department to find our new possession, with a guarantee of brand-new condition with a retail price tag to match.
After having shopped the thrifts—often weekly—for the last four years, I’m ruined forever for that kind of shopping.
I’ll give you a for instance: last spring after planting my garden, I realized my old sprinkler (one of those cute spinning metal ones from Target with a butterfly on it) was getting rusty and had stopped spinning. So I needed a new sprinkler.
My first thought was to head to Target or Menards to get a new one. It was a tight month, budget-wise, so the thought struck me to see what the thrifts had first. It’s a long shot, I thought, as I headed into my favorite secondhand shop (link to restored blessings). I’ll head to the *real* store next, and probably drop $15 or so to get the thing.
Imagine my delight when I came upon a bright yellow sprinkler in the yard care corner—still in its original packaging—for $2.
If you don’t thrift regularly, you might not know which things can and can’t be easily found on any given trip. Never fear, grasshopper. I’m going to tell you right now.
Here is a [small] list of secondhand treasures you can reliably find at your local thrift store:
- Mason jars, all sizes (usually 50 cents or less)
- Plant pots (both the terra cotta clay ones, and more unique, non-traditional ones)
- Kitchen utensils of all kinds
- Specifically, potato mashers. Just a little bit of hunting, and you can score an old fashioned metal potato masher that out performs the new plastic ones, hands down.
- Pretty cups to hold pens, pencils and other office supplies on your desk
- Stunningly beautiful plates for an eclectic collection
- Tiny bowls and dishes to hold your rings and jewelry next to the bed, sink and bathtub
- Trays of all sizes (for home decor, serving food or catching water under a plant, for instance)
- Picture frames of all sizes
- Floral wall art (often handmade)
- Drawer organizers (if you can’t find a traditional utensil tray, you can definitely find an eclectic collection of little trays)
- Vintage pyrex cookware and bowls
- Vintage Tupperware and other food storage containers
- Classic cookbooks (steer clear of the “microwave only” cookbooks. No one wants those.)
- Floral pillowcases
- Wastebaskets (like wicker ones that can be spray painted, and old fashioned metal ones)
- Vintage Christmas decorations
- Classic nostalgic board games
- Lightly used towels (and if you’re lucky—pristine floral ones)
- Fondue pots! Makes a great gift, and an even greater party centerpiece.
- Pretty decorative tins and boxes for disguising phone chargers, toiletries and the like
- Flower vases (especially the white milk glass ones!)
- Thimbles and sewing accessories
- Fabric remnants