[How to] benefit from thrifting


I love thrift stores, Goodwill, junk yards, antique stores and dumpster diving. I love it so much that I stop on the side of road, often, to rescue something with potential. My kids think this is totally normal behavior. Aaron has learned to love this about me – here’s why:

I save a lot of money

With most of my finds being free (literally) and “in style” (refab, vintage, repurposed, industrial) we get the look we want for hundreds less. Sometimes the only thing needed is a bottle of spray paint, most of the time not even that. I don’t coupon, it stresses me out, not that I don’t strive for saving in our budget through deals or coupons … I just don’t practice grocery couponing and our kids eat all the time. Like, all the time. So it’s expensive to feed this house on a monthly basis … but since I spend almost nothing on decorating or redoing our homes it kind of comes out in the wash for us.

I always have an idea

With Pinterest – gathering ideas is easier than ever. I’m always on the lookout for DIY and how to’s that are easy to do and I find them via blogs all the time.

Thrifting Finds

After reading about Young House Love’s nursery dresser I saw these babies in a local thrift store. Without seeing the idea I might have completely passed them up. I did a different finish on the dressers (we bought two) and now they’ve added character and functionality to each space we put them in. (see one in Jessica’s old bedroom below)

Jessica's bedroom, all grown up

It’s never the same

I realize that, for some, this is the very reason they do not thrift. They don’t enjoy hunting, no matter how great a deal is. They want to walk in a store, see it, buy it and be done. If I have to step foot into a “regular” store I am all over this type of shopping; I only hunt while I’m “junking”. BUT I love that it’s never the same, that whatever I find probably won’t be available again. I do go enough that I’m aware of what’s “out” right now, so if I see something but want to think about it and someone else picks the item up in the meantime? I’m fairly confident that I can find something close enough (maybe better) if I decide to pull the trigger. Mainly though, the perk to this is that you’re really buying something unique.


Because I go often enough and am always checking out new places, when I see something “different” for a good price, I generally pick it up. Like the above tin. There are tins all over, but most of them have to do with Christmas. I had been looking for a tin for tea for a while when I came upon this one (for $2 even!) – I would have paid way more for a tin I liked because we drink tea every single day. This is an item I would be using constantly and maybe even passing it on to Jessica when she got her first place. I wanted something special, and I found it.

Materials are cheaper

If you sew, craft, make homemade gifts, can seasonal food, drool over etsy/pinterest, own a glue gun or love photos … you are spending way too much money buying your materials at retail prices.

Sewing patterns turned POUF!

I made this pouf with thrifted materials – 10 cents. The materials for this project cost me 10 cents. Even if it doesn’t turn out or I change my mind after one season of decorating, I’m fine with risking 10 cents on learning how to make one of these. Now I can play with other materials that I come across.

It takes time to familiarize yourself with what it might take to thrift in your comfort zone. I have NO problem bartering on the prices, some people do. I have no problem rifling through stuff to find what I’m looking for. I will totally knock on someone’s door if they have something sitting outside (and it looks abandoned) to see if it might be for sale (only if I’m serious and can pay for it right away).

Most people start with Goodwill or their local, trusted, thrift store – but they’re everywhere. Consignment shops CAN be good, but I mostly stick to legitimate donation based stores, or straight up antique markets and stores.

I probably missed something essential, so ask away in the comments, and while we’re chatting about all things thrift – I’m putting together details to take you all shopping with me! Thinking May 27th might be a great first shopping experience. From there we can move in to the individual mapping of great thrift stores in my area. I might make this a series for the summer on the blog if you’re interested.

OK, your turn!

9 thoughts on “[How to] benefit from thrifting

  1. I love thrifting/antiquing but feel like I go the same places all the time. And those dressers!!!! Oh my – I want one if you, which you never will, get rid of them šŸ™‚ Have you gone to the Allegan Fairgrounds market thingy before? I just heard of it and think I need to go there this summer.

  2. I have been! Lots and lots of times – and if you want to go on the 27th, let me know šŸ™‚

    The dressers, we are actually selling one. Having a garage sale post moving soon. I’ll keep ya in the loop.

    I was also thinking of mapping out the best Thrift (some lesser known) Stores around town and spread out – I travel to a few consistently because they’re that good. Helpful?

  3. I think you saw my awesome retro lawn chair find on Facebook that I found while antiquing. I did not get it, but I did find some fun vintage dishes and linens. I think I’ve found a new hobby.

  4. Love this series Jodi! The little boys and I hit several thrift stores a week while the big kids are in school (it’s easier to avoid the junk toy corners when the non-carted kids are gone). I have a few Holland/Zeeland faves that we pop into often. Looking forward to seeing what you find and write about – also, looking for a long, but not tall dresser for Gavin’s room to fit under his thrifted loft style bed:)

  5. YAY! You speak my language. And I LOVE LOVE LOVE that you announced what you’re looking for. I kind of love to find things. I’ll be on the look out šŸ™‚

  6. Love the mapping idea! Very helpful. And love the idea of you selling me a dresser šŸ™‚
    On the 27th, I am going over to Brighton to go to Home Goods, you know, the “thrift store” for people who don’t know how to thrift? šŸ™‚ But I really want to go to Allegan so let me know if you go again this summer. When do they have it?

  7. The last Sunday of every month all summer. Starts in April ends in August, or September. FUN! ok, we’ll go together another time. I’ll message you about a dresser if you really want one, also about photos – later tonight. yay!

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