Friday, August 16, 2013

5 Things You Should Buy from the Thrift Store!

...or yard sale, estate sale, you get the idea!

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that you probably already have your go-to items that you look for when you're out shopping. You are either there with purpose, or you have a general idea of what you're looking for. If you don't, you should! I thought it would be fun to offer up my personal suggestions on things you should always try to buy at your local charity/thrift shop. These are items that, if possible, are best served buying second hand because of the absolutely STEAL you can come across with them! Stick around until the end of the post and see what some of my friends look for also!

1. Books.
I have found some amazing books while thrifting. I actually have a whole huge books-a-million bag full (irony?) of recently purchased thrifted books that are awaiting photos for blogs and videos so that they can be read and enjoyed. You can literally find ANYTHING. I'm going to need a new bookshelf soon to house all of my books found for mere CENTS. I never pay more than 1.00 for a book, regardless of value. One of the most recent finds was at our Habitat for Humanity ReStore where my son found a GIGANTIC ($40) book on Spain (of which he is obsessed) for .50!!

2. Cast Iron Cookware.
I do realize that this is a specific item and not so much a category of things, but I wanted to really stress how great of a find this stuff is. Cast Iron almost (read: never with the right skill set) becomes unuseable. Keep your eyes peeled for this stuff anywhere you go. I've known people who even found some great cast iron during curb alerts. There are an abundance of online tutorials that teach you how to re-season your cookware, so don't shy away from rust. Trust me, all it takes is cooking with it once and you'll never go back to anything else. I could go on and on about how great cast iron is and how you can literally throw it in a fire and it does nothing but help it, but I'll spare you those details and let you find out on your own.

3. Furniture.
Not the cheapish Ikea/Walmart/Target kind. I'm talking about the real deal. The good stuff is sturdy, and it's just a blank canvas waiting on you to sand it and paint it to fit your needs. In my most recent 10 Tips to Successful Thrifting  post, I talked about the importance of seeing things with an open mind. If you are able to look past the fabric or the knicked up wood on a piece, you can really strike gold for a fraction of what you'd pay for something of much less value. I've purchased a couch for $30 before. It's amazing.

4. Home Decor.
Paintings, Vases, Candles, Shelves, Linens, the list goes on and on and on. Depending on your area, you may notice a "theme" that runs throughout some of your stores. I noticed when I lived in Orlando that there was never a shortage of a certain male mouse, and in my current location (college town); no shortage of vibrant dorm decor. It's not all the same things though, and that's the beauty of it. I live for the unique and slightly weird when it comes to what I put in my home, and I couldn't achieve my personal style WITHOUT thrifting. There's something for everyone.

5. Accessories.
If you've read any of my previous posts, you'd know that I recently found a very expensive (at least for my pockets) J. Crew bubble necklace in my local Goodwill for an amazing price. Second hand is a GREAT way to get accessories. Personal style often changes, and with that many people clean out and donate. I buy most of my accessories this way now, but I do warn that you should have an idea of what things go for. You never know when something you may overlook is actually of great value. If you plan on shopping for jewelry, do a quick google search of how to tell real gold or silver from costume jewerly. This may help you profit off of your trip if you choose to do so. Thrift stores are also a great way to get an eclectic collection of belts, shoes, and of course... BAGS!

Honorable Mention: Clothing
I have a whole series planned on this topic, which is why I didn't include it on my list. I feel like clothing should be a given, but if it isn't, I urge you to give it a go. It's an incredible resource for building a brand new wardrobe for next to NOTHING. It's the only way I am able to keep clothes on my child, and it's also great if you have sewing skills. I've got a post coming up where I turn an old, ugly dress into something fun and "now". Keep checking back soon as I start a series on why kind of clothing you should look for when you go shopping at thrift store.

I recently took to my personal Facebook page and asked what some of my friends' go-to items are when they go thrifting. Here are a few answers:

Heather- Children's Clothing
Mayte in Miami- Tin Lunchboxes and Home Decor
Stephanie- Photo and Poster Frames
Jacqui- Cast Iron and Glass Cookware
Donn- Camo Prints

What items do YOU look for every time you shop?