How to thrift like a pro and find one-of-a-kind items for your home.
4 helpful tips to get started on your thrifting journey.
It’s no surprise that as the cost of living increases and we become more aware of how our consumer habits impact our planet, that thrifting, clothing swaps and hand me downs are gaining in popularity. It’s my belief that there’s already a ton of beautiful items out there and that someone is always looking to trade or sell them at a much lower price than brand new items. Thrifting might take a little longer and come with a few dings, but in the grand scheme of things, what’s a few scratches on a coffee table? It might seem silly but giving these well loved items a new home brings me joy.
Below are my go-to thrifting tips to help get you started:
Tip 1: Facebook marketplace is your friend.
This one can get a lil’ addictive so I like to set a timer to make sure I don’t fall down a rabbit hole. (Is someone really selling chicken nuggets?!)
Use the save tool, pictured below, to make the algorithm work for you. By doing this you’ll notice that the ‘picked for you’ section will start showing you more items that match your style and what you’re looking for.
And if you do fall down a rabbit hole, don’t sweat it — use it as a reminder of how much is out there. Whenever I see someone trying to sell knick-knacks it reminds me that getting rid of things in a sustainable way is hard, and that maybe it’s best not to have so much in the first place. Do you really need that cute garden gnome? How hard will it be to dispose of it afterwards?
Tip 2: Flea markets, yard sales and thrift shops, oh my!
Fire up google maps and search your local neighborhood for thrift shops and flea markets. Also, most cities/towns will post yard sale calendars on their websites. If you’re lucky, some towns include a map with all of the addresses and hours they’ll be open. If that’s the case, use this to plan out your itinerary.
Things to remember:
- This might seem obvious but I never have cash on me so if that’s also you, here’s your friendly reminder to take out cash ahead of time. Most sellers won’t have change for bigger bills ($50 or $100) so make sure you do.
- Do some research ahead of time on Facebook marketplace to get an idea of what people are charging for the items you’re looking for and use that as a price point. If a seller has a few pieces you’re interested in, consider negotiating a discounted rate.
- When it comes to yard sales & flea markets, the old adage “the early bird catches the worm” rings true.
Tip 3: Cultivate patience
When you’re thrifting, it takes time to find the right piece but searching for those unique items is part of the fun.
As you hunt for treasure, here’s what you can do to set yourself up for success:
- Have an idea of what kind of items you’re looking for, this way you can pop into any thrift shop on a whim while always having in mind what to be on the lookout for. I like to use Pinterest for this because it’s another great way to make the algorithm work for you, plus you can create as many sub folders within a board as your heart desires. I created a main ‘home’ board and then created subfolders for each room, for art, plant styling etc.
- Take measurements, know your space. Don’t guesstimate, you’ll be sorry.
- Use this time to think things over — maybe you don’t really need another bookshelf? Maybe you can rearrange what you’ve already got? Get creative. Helpful tip: think about how much of a pain in the ass it’s going to be to move that piece of furniture if you had to move out. I call this ‘The pain in the ass meter.’
- Decide what’s essential. Make a list of everything you need and don’t filter yourself, just get it all down. Then, review your list and decide what’s top priority and what can wait. Can you live with just 2 kitchen chairs for now? Are new bedsheets more important than a bedside table? Take the time to reflect and shuffle things around. Note — This can and will change over time so this is a list you’ll wanna revisit and edit as many times as needed.
Tip 4: Last but not least, don’t forget to tap into your social network & community.
Ask your friends and family if they might know someone who’s moving or having a yard sale. Maybe your brother has an extra set of curtains or your friend’s mom has some furniture in storage. It’s always worth asking! You never know who might have exactly what you’re looking for that’s just collecting dust in their garage. Plus, thrifting is a great way to explore your neighborhood and meet new people along the way.
It’s important to enjoy the spaces we inhabit as best we can and making a space feel like home is a lifelong project. You won’t always find what you’re looking for, so it’s best to have a plan that leaves ample room for the unexpected. And most importantly, remember to have fun with it.