Thrift Store Tips and Finds

I’m personally not a huge antique store, garage sale or flea market shopper (I have actually never been to a flea market, nor do I know where to find one. Please enlighten me if there is one I should check out in AZ). I do, however, occasionally like thrift stores. The stores give back to the community, everything is tax-free (huge bonus in Scottsdale where sales tax is almost 10%. YIKES!), and, with typical retail hours, they are easy to shop.

HGTV has a new show called Flea Market Flip and they offer some good tips on how to spot the deals. They, however, fix-up the items which is just way too much work for me. When I shop I look for items that are ready to use, and don’t require sanding, painting, re-finishing, or any other crafting project. I don’t like to create “honey-do” lists for myself if I can help it 🙂

Thrift stores can be overwhelming to shop. There is a lot of junk surrounding the treasures but with a little patience and the right approach you can find some great items for your home.

When shopping thrift stores ask yourself these questions:

  1. Do I have a place for it? I very much advocate a clutter free house. Clutter causes stress, anxiety and overall discomfort in a space. If you just like the piece, but have nowhere to put it, skip it.
  2. Does it go with my overall style? If you are designing a contemporary room, steer clear of overly ornate (or traditional items). Even if your style is eclectic keep true to your style when deciding if a piece is right for your home.
  3. Is it the right color? size? shape? So you have a place for it, it matches the style of your room, now inspect the details. Will it fit in the space you have? Will it coordinate with the surrounding colors?
  4. Is it “timeless”, “retro” or just “dated”? This is a tough one. I try to stay away from trendy items from the 90s and the 70s. My reasoning? The 90s are too recent to be “back in style” and I once heard 70s architecture referred to as “the dark-ages of design”. I laughed, agreed, and now always think about that when I see 70s style furnishings.

This is definitely not an inclusive list on how to successfully shop at a thrift store but asking yourself these simple questions will steer you in the right direction. I, myself, have made a few thrift store mistakes, but I do also have some treasures in my home. Here are a few of my favorites.


I found this southwestern vase for only $3.00 and I’m hoping it’s handmade. There are no markings on it, and I’m not an expert on this subject, but it doesn’t seem to be a mass-produced product. Even if it is, I still love that is has a handmade, southwestern look.


I found this unframed print for $3.00 and fell in love with the stark contrast. I popped it in a simple modern frame and it’s perfect in my guest room!


I got both the terra-cotta pot and the basket for $1.00. The pot adds a nice finishing touch to my basic Ikea plant.


I love these! They are placemats that I found for $1.00 each. It’s a cheap way to dress up a large wall.


The picture came framed and was only $5.00. My husband is the one who found it and it’s a nice addition to our “seating area” (aka the “dirty laundry catcher”) in our bedroom.

There are treasures waiting for you at thrift stores, it just takes a little more work to find them.

What are some of your favorite thrift store items?


7 thoughts on “Thrift Store Tips and Finds

  1. Such great finds Grace! Those placemats as wall decor is brilliant! I occasionally find some unique food photography props in thrift stores, but that’s about it 🙂

    1. Thanks for the positive feedback! I love the placemats on the wall and have fun creating unique designs. Sottsdale has great thrift stores. You might want to check our Rich Girl’s Rummage off Hayden and Thomas. They have great items you might like for your photography.

  2. Great idea’s! I’m always looking for new ways to decorate my place. I love the placemat idea. I never would of thought of that. Your blog is pretty amazing!

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