Have you ever watched a thrift with me or other secondhand shopping videos and thought “Sweet I want to go thrifting!” Then you go, it’s absolute mayhem, stuff is stacked everywhere that you’re afraid you’ll knock over,  and you’re ready to throw in the towel? It’s also hard to visualize how something could style or look in your home with all the stuff around it. Leaving you to sometimes overlook something great. That was me, and it wasn’t until I shifted my mindset and learned what to look for I was able to transform items to create amazing home decor! 

Come along with me on a thrift store run and I’ll share what I found plus tips and tricks to help you find some gems too – and I’ll show them styled in my house.

My #1 Thrift Tip…

First, I say this in every thrifting video, but I’m super passionate about it. I swear by the 1-in-1-out method. I pack up a box of items we’re no longer using to donate when I go in to shop. That allows me to still enjoy the process and not pile on stuff when I get home. Speaking of donating, if you can, go to a more affluent area – items tend to be more disposable and the level of donated items is just better in my experience.

How I find the best items at the thrift store

Go open-minded and pack your patience! You typically see all my awesome finds, but sometimes I walk out empty-handed. If you go in thinking we’ll see how this goes it’s a much more enjoyable experience.

This day I was looking for rustic baskets – so that’s where I started in the first store. I typically do that or the candle/candlestick aisle because I like that one.

As I’m looking for baskets I keep in mind alternative uses like storage, wastebaskets, can also paint them or use twine to add a fun addition. I duped a Pottery Barn look for way less using Dollar Tree twine on a basket – I’ll link that tutorial below if you’d like to check it out.

Lamps have come in clutch going second-hand vs buying new for our home. Something most struggle with is seeing past the icky shades! I usually always replace them, so that’s never a dealbreaker. I like to go to Walmart or Target they have on-trend ones for a good price. I always check the cord and test them before you leave. Some stores will have power strips and bulbs. If they don’t work, you can add a battery powered light to make it work

This one was a SCORE because it was my vibe without any DIYiing. For this other one, I loved the woven texture, but it was a bit dark. So I spray painted it and voila much better!

  1. Vases/pitchers
  2. Anything wood, brass, terracotta, or amber glass
  3. Fabric/linens
  4. Seasonal items
  5. Crocks – you can remove the paint
  6. Platters/Serve wear – plates can be used as plant stands
  7. Baggie section
  8. Records/sheet music
  9. Candle holders
  10. Glass wear 
  11. Books – like hardcover ones, remove the jacket to see what the cover looks like
  12. Mirrors
  13. Unique trinkets
  14. Craft blanks
  15. Artwork
  16. Photo frames – great for printables or photo ledge with thrifted frames – bonus points if it already has a mat it’s way easier to fit a print to it

There are people on both sides of this but I always get a cart and put items in if you’re deciding. If I’m on the fence, it goes in the cart and then I can always put it back, but if someone snatches it while I’m deciding I’m out of luck.

I like to go on Mondays and Fridays because of restocks – you can also ask an employee when they restock.  I try to avoid weekends if at all possible because it gets cray – especially if you go somewhere that has alot of resellers, they can get intense. 

This may feel woo woo, but I like to visualize and manifest what I’m looking for.  I keep a running list in my notes app of what I’m looking for to help keep me on task – if you’re looking for shelves, furniture or other things keep measurements there too! I’ve even been known to toss a small measuring tape in my purse so you can measure in the store.

I also love to get inspo before I go from Pinterest and TikTok or IG reels showing what people bought vs styled I also like to say “what’s meant for me will be” before I walk in. I heard that on TikTok and it helps me not to stress and just see what is waiting for me.

It’s a long game. I also like to try and hit up multiple stores in a day if I can, that helps with my odds.

Don’t let the prices lead you to over-buying! Looking at things that are super cheap can give us a dopamine hit and cause us to buy more that we don’t need. Tag days can be amazing for saving but it can also lead to a ton of add-to-cart moments. I try to be aware and not let that impact me.

A great tip is to look from above and see if everything is matching in your cart, if something (other than season) is off then it might not be for you. 

When you find something you like, thoroughly check it, make sure there isn’t anything hiding in it, and keep in mind how you’re going to clean it when you get home.  I steer clear of soft foods because I don’t know what has seeped in and I’m never sure I can get them 100% clean. I always

I’m so thankful I’ve been able to get a lot of decorating done in our first year in this home with second-hand finds and I hope this video gave you some inspiration on how you can save too!

I have a Christmas-specific version of this video linked here for you in case you’re ready to start hunting for those items too! 


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