Having a thrifter’s eye

Thought you might like to see what I scooped up at the thrift store two weeks ago.  I meant to post this on a Thursday in keeping with my Thursday thrifting that I had going on, but alas, the days got away from me.  First up, the big ceramic lamps that I cost me a whopping $6 for the pair.


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I am in looovve with the black and gold & plan on keeping them the same color.  Yes, you heard me correctly.  I am not changing the color.  Did you visibly just shudder?  I know that, for the most part, black and gold home decor items can scream cheap cheap cheap like that dumb chicken on those commercials, but don’t you worry.  I am going to take the unsightly duo and transform them into something elegant and modern.  Picture something more along the lines of this.


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via Centsational Girl

So much better, right?  I also found these lovely wood bowls for 50 cents each.


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These guys will look great full of snacks at a party and would look equally as great just sitting on top of a stack of books.  And I couldn’t pass up this great frame for $2.


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I don’t exactly know where this frame is going in our house, but I have been toying around with the idea of creating a gallery wall for quite awhile now and I could not say no at that price.  Some people may have been turned off by the color of the frame, the picture or even the mattes, but you have to look past all that when you go a-thrifting.

Which brings me to some tips about having a thrifter’s eye.  I talk to so many people that struggle to find anything that they think is worth buying when they “check out” a thrift store.  They think others just go at better times or have better luck….they claim all they see is junk.  I’m not saying they are lying…there have been times where I have walked out saying the same thing, but more often than not, I spot multiple things that I want to walk away with because I realize almost everything can be changed or repurposed.  With thrifting, up-cycling, re-using, & redoing on the rage, I thought it might be nice to have some knowledge to keep in mind during your next thrift store galavant.

#1.  Ignore the smell upon entering.  Sometimes, these stores can smell less than appetizing and all of my favorites have their own distinct unpleasant smell.   Spray on some perfume before you walk in or just breathe through your mouth if the smell becomes too overwhelming.  Do what you have to do, but you have to truly ignore that sense while your in there.  There are a few exceptions to this rule.  If a single item or object is giving off a horrendous odor, you might want to just walk run away from it.

#2.  As far as furniture goes look at the shape and lines of the items.  Ignore the crazy colors or cheap hardware.  Most things can be changed.  Could the item be repurposed?  Is it in relatively good shape?  If something is not, for example, let’s say a drawer damaged beyond repair, can you still work around it?  Maybe make a place for storage baskets, like these talented ladies from East Coat Creative did?


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On this particular day, Goodwill had this out for $12.


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I loved it…great lines, even the hardware on the center drawers was kind of fun, but I have WAY TOO MANY furniture projects going and I will not  Sam will not allow me to bring anything else into our garage.  It’s pretty obscene, actually, so I have to agree with him.


#3.  Always always check out the frame section.  Again, look at the lines and details of the frame.  Ignore the color, that can be changed.  Mattes can be covered with a classic linen or beautiful paper to create something unique.


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Pictures can be also be removed and replaced with meaningful art or photographs.  Never skip this section. I saw 6 of these frames that were each selling for $3 each.


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I think they are pretty just the way they are and can picture them hanging on the wall like this making a huge statement.



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#4.  Home dec area…you will find all sorts of items in this section.  Just have an open mind.  These two lamps were only $3 each.


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Ugly, right?  Now, just picture the wood in a high gloss turquoise or white and the gold area on the lamp brighter and shined up real nice with a lovely modern drum shade on top.  You would have a completely different lamp. Rub n buff and spray paint are your friends…and they are not difficult to use.


How fun is this…can’t you picture this in a kid’s room or even as your family’s message center?


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And hello, if you are ever needing baskets check out a thrift store.   Baskets, baskets, and more baskets.


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Use them to store magazines, toys, extra toilet paper, or if you are a sewer like me, fabric scraps.  Here are a few other odds and ends.  I picture these



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becoming something like this


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And these would be great spray painted white and used on your bedside table to store jewelry or on your desk to hold your writing instrument of choice.


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Are you seeing a theme here?  Spraypaint. Spraypaint. Spraypaint.

#5.  The last place and my absolute favorite spot is the apparel section.  This sometimes requires a bit more digging.  Now, for me, I’m always looking at the fabric not necessarily the actual shirt, dress, skirt, pants.  I have found some of the best fabrics at thrift stores.  Recently I snagged up a linen skirt that cost me $1.  That same amount of fabric would have cost me at least 10 times that at a fabric store.  The possibilities of what you can do with the fabric is endless and well, if you score a vintage dress or great shirt out of it, more power to ya.  You never know what you will find there which, I think, is part of the fun.  This blogger is an amazing seamstress and blows me away with what she can do with a crazy thrift store clothing purchase.  It’s like Project Runway on steroids.  Take a look at what she did to this dress…ahmazing. The before:


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And the after:


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both pics via.  Check out her blog to see what she can really do.

I found all these in the home dec area of Goodwill.  I thought it might be fun to show you what my brain thinks when I hit up this area.


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Perfect napkin for my next Mother’s day brunch/wedding shower/baby shower.  I could find so many uses for these and at 25 cents a piece who cares if I only use them a handful of times a year?


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Pillows!  I heart the black and white.  Such a fun and current pattern


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More napkins?!?  These are so cute and dainty!  Should I make a pillow out of these?  



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 I love these types of fabrics…especially to cover mattes for pictures.  The texture really adds so much!


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This 25 cent scarf (Gap!!!) would be beautiful to cover a matted frame or I could just frame part of the scarf itself…that pop of blue would be gorgeous anywhere on a wall.


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These tribal looking place mats are fab!  Turn them into something like this, maybe?



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(I do not have a source for the above pillow…saved the image to my phone…if anyone knows, please let me know!)

**I did not get the tribal placemats, but after seeing them again in these pics, I may have to run back up there and grab them…**


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This fabric would make such a fun pillow. Nuff said.


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Two yards of antique ticking?  $1?!?

Sorry, guys, I totally grabbed this.  I’m planning on making some pillows out of it for our guest room.  I thought a floor cushion for the kids would be adorable out of this as well. We will see what wins out. 😉

And then I spied this…yep, it’s a bedskirt, but I thought the fabric was insane!  Insane awesome, that is…and it went home with me, too.  You will soon see what I did with this in Henry’s room.


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I hope this helps you on your next thrift store trip.  I am sure there are people out there who are waaaay more savvy in thrift store shopping than me and could think of a bigillion ways to repurpose the above items.   That’s the beauty of a thrift store…people see different things in so many different ways!  You know what they say…one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.  And you might want to check out these hilarious and wonderful ladies, too!


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Katie from Bower Power and Sherry from Young House Love

They just videotaped their latest shopping trip to Goodwill.  Part 1 and Part 2. I started writing this post over two weeks ago (I know, I know) and it sat in my WordPress dashboard waiting for me to upload pictures.  It’s funny how bloggers tend to think alike!  I almost didn’t post this because I didn’t want any one to think I was copying.  But, then I thought, well if I was copying, then why would I point their post out to everyone?  Which led me to ponder that if I thought my readers thought that, then maybe they would think I thought it was too obvious and it would be a slam dunk post for me?!???  Which caused me unnecessary panic and headache.   Did you get all that?  Yea, me neither.  Bottom line…I’m just thrilled that my blogging is on point…Katie and Sherry definitely pave the blogging way and I’m loving that they are Goodwill fans, too.  😉