DIY Living With Less

Why I Love To Rummage Through Thrift Stores and Some Useful Tips

I don’t have a lot of time to rummage through thrift stores but I love doing it. I have had a lot of success finding some treasures and I have a couple horror stories, one involving human urine (yes, you read that right). I have one rule I abide by when I shop. 1. Don’t by things you cannot wash and/or sanitize. You just never know where an item originated or how it was treated. It’s better to be safe, then sorry. Items I personally wouldn’t buy are soft furniture such as sofas or lounge chairs. I can imagine my only exception to this would involve me completely gutting and reupholstering the furniture. These things could be professionally cleaned, but I haven’t found that to be financially beneficial. My favorite things to buy at thrift stores are home décor and organizational items. When I decorate a room in my home for less than $10, I seriously get goosebumps. Each time I venture into Pier One, Home Goods or Target, I see an item that will just sit on a table or hung on a wall for $40+, it confirms that I will never go back to retail for home décor.

Here is an example, I saw this milk crate at Target for roughly $29. I thought this would be perfect for holding books in my son’s room. It’s a storage solution and will add to the appearance of the room. So, what was holding me back? The price. The crate probably cost more than all the books it would be holding (I often buy second-hand books). Plus, If I know my son, he will stand on it, use it to play with, or try to put his sisters in it, thus, getting damaged. A few days later, I found my way into a thrift store and discovered a wooden crate! It was priced at $1.99 and was 30% off. The frugal gods were looking down on me! I went home and found a can of red spray paint in the garage. Here is my final product. FOR LESS THAN TWO DOLLARS!

Here is another thrift find for book storage. I bought it for $2.89 and let my daughter pick the color spray paint.

As mentioned in my about me page, I am on the journey to living with less. When I shop at thrift stores, garage sales, or bargain stores, I find that I often buy things I don’t need because I have found something at a great price. I need to stop doing this! When I go rummaging through a thrift store, I try to go with a purpose in mind. A couple months ago, I decided it was time to decorate the top of our buffet table in the dining room. It was a blank space and I wanted to make the space look charming, not like we just moved in.

I found a cart full of items that had potential in the space, but I narrowed them down by price and this is what I came up with. Total cost was around $5 (I bought the blue candles from IKEA).

This dresser was one of my more pricier thrift store purchases. I bought it for $40. I refinished it with furniture paint. This was my first try at refinishing furniture and really enjoyed it. The decor came from my husband’s old bedroom at his parents house and the lamp was purchased from IKEA. 



  • Buy only the items you need. Just because it’s a great deal, doesn’t mean you should buy it. If you don’t need it, you’re wasting money by purchasing it.
  • Inspect every item before purchase. Be sure there are no holes, stains, cracks, or missing parts.
  • Look out for thrift store sales. Most thrift stores will offer discounts for a specific color tags (i.e. all green tags will be discounted by 50% or all blue tags are 30% off)
  • Be sure to check the thrift store price against the retail value. There have been a few times while shopping at a thrift store I realize that I could buy the item new if I paid 2-3 dollars more at Walmart.

I would love to hear about some of your thrift store finds!

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