How To Thrift Store Shop { 3 tips for success}

It is no secret, I love the thrift store. To some degree, it is an addiction! I love the thrill of the hunt. For a lot of you, this is something you already know how to do well, but some of you have shared with me that you are just getting started and are trying to figure out exactly how to thrift store shop. I thought I would share with you three tips for having success while thrift store shopping. This is what I do.

  • Don’t look for anything in particular, instead, look for things that you love or things that you could possibly love after you give it a little love. Did I say love enough for you there?
  • Look past decorations and things that can be changed. Look at its potential.
  • Check it at least three times, making sure there are no broken pieces that cannot be repaired. I have made this costly mistake before and it is not fun. Run your fingers over the entire thing, including furniture, checking for nicks, chips and repairs.

Exibit A — I was in the thrift store on friday after dropping my 12 year old off at a youth conference. I saw this bird cage sitting on a shelf. Never in a million years would I have bought this in a store. It was sporting some horrible 1980’s fake, mauve, flowers.  To top that off,  it off had two, one eyed, fake birds on it. Nice right?  Even his head is sticking out of the cage! Ugly. Ugly and all it went home with me for two dollars. I couldn’t get that ugly stuff of fast enough.

80 s bird cage

Now doesn’t it look lovely and sweet? Look at that precious baby face in the photo!


Bird cages are for more than just birds. I love adding vintage photos or even recent ones for an alternative to the standard picture frame. If you have a large enough cage, you can use vintage clothes pins to adorn the outside with photos, memorablia or other paper items. I topped this one off with one of Jaime’s clay lavender tags. I carry these in the store.

Vintage baby photo

If you are a thrift store newbie, you are now armed with the secret. It isn’t rocket science, it just takes a few times of shopping to train your eye for really great pieces to fill your home or your shops on a dime.  For all of you seasoned thrifters, do you have anything to add? I would love for you to share your tips in the comments. Happy Thrifting!


  1. Hey Kelli! Next could you do tips for garage sales? I went today for the first time and struck out. How do you find great furniture? Thanks!

  2. That is so funny! That is exactly how I purchased my cage lol!

  3. my hubby gives me a REALLY hard time about my thrifting addiction….but I love finding treasures and transforming them into something new and lovely. I enjoy your posts, and this thrifting series is very useful.

  4. Your bird cage cracks me up because I bought one today at a yard sale for $2 and it had nasty flowers and a dead bird on it too! I ripped them off as soon as I got home and plan to repaint it!

    Angie @ Knick of Time

  5. I’m the same here in France. I just can’t resist the ‘Vide Greniers’ (empty your attics!) that are on nearly every weekend during the summer!

  6. Thanks for the great tips, another one is if you like something don’t move away from it until you can get the attention of sales person. I almost lost an amazing dresser this weekend because I started looking at something else while waiting for a sales person to come. A lady started looking at it, I remained calm and didn’t let on that I was dying for it. As soon as she stepped away I ran and guarded it with my life.
    I love how the birdcage came out btw.

    • I just realized that my email responses were not showing up on the posts :/ Does anyone know how to fix that? Anyway, thanks Jacky. That is a very valuable tip and so true. I hope that this post comment section becomes a wealth of information for newbies out there just getting started. If you are a seasoned thrifter, please leave your advice! Thanks!

  7. Great tips! I have been in a thrifting frenzy lately – it kinda comes in waves! Love that birdcage!! I’ll have to keep my eye out for one like that – it has a great narrow shape. Good find!!

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