Day 9 – Shop at Thrift stores

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This post is part of a 31 day series – “31 days to decorate your home on a budget.”  You can read all the posts in this series here.

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If you can’t find good yard sales in your area or it is not yard sale season, thrift stores are your next best option to finding frugal home décor.

Some things you will be able to purchase, take home, and use right away.  Others will require some spray paint love! Smile

So on a recent trip to Goodwill, I snapped some pictures of some things you could rescue and some things you might want to just leave there. Smile  Here are my tips for shopping at thrift stores.

1. Check for sales.

Goodwill has a “color” that is 50% off each week and will have a sign indicating what the color is each week.  Each item is marked with a letter “B = Blue, etc.” or a color tag.   Another thrift store that I frequent, Value Village, has 2 colors that are 50% each week and has everything 50% on the last Wednesday of the month (excluding furniture and home décor Sad smile).  So as you are shopping, keep a look out for the discounted deals for even more savings.

(Another tip: since the sale colors change over at the beginning of the week, shop early in the week if possible to find the greatest selection of discounted items.)


2.  Shop for clothes

Of course there are racks and racks of clothes you can search through (I have found some great clothing items at thrift stores!),


but most of the time, my time is limited and I quickly walk back to the housewares department to see if I can find a treasure that day!


3. Know your price points

Just because something is at a thrift store, DOES NOT mean it is a good deal as far as the cost goes.  And this is becoming more and more the case as thrift stores are raising prices (Goodwill raised prices significantly this summer.)  And the demand for secondhand things continues to grow as more and more people enter the frugal décor world and realize the potential to paint outdated furniture, light fixtures, and décor.

I love milk glass!  But I do have to say, Goodwill must have caught on to the fact that milk glass is becoming more popular because I am seeing it priced as high as $6 for simple vases like this!  Craziness!  I just bought hobnail milk glass cups at a yard sale for 50¢ – so buyer beware!  Although, $6 for milk glass is a reasonable price if you compare it to eBay prices and shipping costs, I KNOW that I see milk glass nearly every weekend at yard sales much cheaper so I would pass on this.  BUT if you don’t see it as yard sales, then $6 might be a good deal for you.


More milk glass and a candle stick that could be beautiful with a spray paint makeover. Smile


4.  Look past the ugly and see the potential

This jewelry box has the potential to be gorgeous!!  When I see something like this … 


I am mentally imaging it painted white

White Elegance Jewelry Armoire

or stripped and finished with a dark stain.

Contemporary Espresso Jewelry Armoire

and since the one at Goodwill was priced in the $20 range and the ones above pictured were in the $250 range – definitely a good deal to me!

And these 3 candlesticks, although not a set, could become a set with a coat of spray paint!   Again look past the ugliness! Smile


A cute little end table, I am imagining painted in white and distressed, and the handles painted ORB.


This is what the above end table/nightstand would look like painted white.  Gorgeous!

This piece was gorgeous – I would just replace or paint the knobs.


These could be used as-is.  Already black and ready to install Smile


Beautiful serving tray!  Could leave as is, paint white or even another fun color.  And just because it says it is to display needlework – anything could go in there – fabric, pictures, a cute free printable.


5.  Shop for picture frames.

Yard sales and thrift stores are a great place to find picture frames.  Just watch the prices.  Again, I find picture frames for $1  and less at yard sales all the time so I would not be picking up a basic frame for $3+ at a thrift store.


When you are looking at frames, pay no attention to the contents of the frame – you are looking at the condition of the frame, does it have glass (if you want it to), and the price.  Everything else can be changed with some paint. Smile


I love ornate frames like this – they are beautiful painted white, distressed, and glazed.   But I wouldn’t pay $4.99 for it – $2-3 would be my maximum price.


6. Check the lamps and lighting department.

This is one of the first areas I check.  I love finding light fixtures for $5 that I can paint and use to update my home.


This lamp could be a definite spray paint redo possibility.  Painted white or oil –rubbed bronze – it could be very cute!  But priced at $5.25 is a little on the high side for me. 


This little white lamp is adorable!!  And for $4.04 a little more reasonable price. 


7. Don’t forget your linens

I have found some great deals on placements, towels, napkins, and more at thrift stores.  This brand new towel set priced at $2.12 was a good deal!


Now for the fun part!  The items you should probably leave on the shelves…

a family of ducks anyone?  I don’t think even Sherry at Young House Love would want to add these to her collection Smile


these are a little scary!


clay lions anyone??


And one more tip – shop often!  Thrift store put new things out all throughout the day,  each day, so every day you shop you will find new things.

What are your favorite tips for shopping at thrift stores?  Or your favorite thrift store find?



  1. I LOVE GW, though ours around here don’t mark down by stickers unfortunately! I went this weekend and had a HORRID experience though. I’m still sad/upset about it, but I’m trying to remind myself that it’s just STUFF!
    Haylee and I had shopped for an HOUR, had $45+ worth of stuff rung up and my debit card wouldn’t work! I had forgotten my regular one, so was using my old one, but I didn’t realize it had expired. 🙁 The teenage guy who I have had previous issues with told me he could hold it but not for very long. I drove home… was there just a few minutes, drove back and 99% of the stuff had been put back. I talked to mgr and she said it was company policy NOT to hold stuff. I said well your employee told me that he would {which he then tried to deny}. They said the stuff was put in the back in one of a hundred huge bins to be resorted and they had no idea which one.
    Ahhh! I had about $20 in cash I could have at least gotten my favorites or I could’ve called Chris to just bring me the card and I could’ve waited with my stuff. 🙁 I was so disappointed and so was Haylee since she had found some things too! I hate it b/c that’s my fave GW too!

    • Christina says:

      🙁 so sad for your finds that you couldn’t get and for your bad experience. maybe complain to corporate?? or maybe go back later this week and see if you see some of the same stuff?

  2. This was such a fun post! You are my kind of shopper. 🙂 I just found out about a Salvation Army thrift store nearby, and can’t wait to check it out! I don’t have any super great finds yet, but I have one tip. One of our local thrift stores has a half price day every Monday, and at the end of a season they mark the seasonal clothes down really low (right now they have shorts for $1). So maybe that’s helpful to someone. 🙂
    And just wanted to say I’ve been checking out some 31 dayers, and you are one of my faves. Loving your blog. 🙂

    • Christina says:

      Awww you are too sweet Georgia! Thanks for finding me via the 31 days series.

      I need to find a good Salvation Army store – someone was telling me that their prices are a lot more reasonable.

  3. I have to admit that I probably would have bought those lions, all three of them! I picture them spray painted either a high gloss white or black…my hubs is a Leo! so they kinda fit!


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