How to Shop at Thrift Stores

One Man(Woman)’s Junk is My Treasure

Many people brag about how much they paid on things. I brag about how little I paid on things. I love finding a treasure in thrift store. Some people can’t bare the thought of buying something second-hand especially clothing and I respect that, but I love second-hand items as they have so much character than brand-new stuffs..

My husband and I have been searching for paintings to decorate our new home and here are our recent findings from consignment & thrift stores;

Large painting (Original) for the walls of stairs – $250

How to shop at thrift store

Incredibly complex, detailed work of harmony between nature and animals by American artist Susan Hartenhoff.

Oil painting for one or the bathrooms -$30

How to shop at thrift stores


 Abstract painting for our family room -$200

how to shop at thrift stores

I choose this painting because the color matches our existing pillows!!

Van Gogh print (Iris)in matching frame -$15

How to Shop at Thrift Stores

I love Van Gogh!

Fake Cast iron 3 piece patio set -$68 (Yep.  You heard me right. They are “Plastic”)

How to Shop at Thrift Stores

You can never tell these are made of plastic. Even in the close look….

How to Shop at Thrift StoresI wanted get cast-iron set for this space, but my husband was worried about rusting nature of “real” thing.  So this set is perfect. It will never rust!

How to Shop at Thrift Stores

1. Go check out on Mondays (preferably in the morning)

We will never know when good stuffs come in, but many people drop off their donation on weekends. I know it is not easy to go in the Monday morning unless you have a flexible schedule like me ;-), but if something is meant to be yours, you will still find it in the afternoon, or evening. That is how I got my 3-piece patio furniture. Many people were eye-balling it, so I could not believe it was still there when I returned.

2. Go check out often

Don’t give up finding what you want after only a couple of visit. You tend to find a great stuff when you are least expecting.

3. Go to the store near the affluent neighborhood

You have increased chance of finding high-quality items.

4. Know what to buy, and what Not to buy

Great to buy second hand:

  • Glass wears (if you can find even number of matching set)
  • Flower vases
  • Books
  • Baskets
  • Paintings

Not recommended to buy secondhand:

  • Under wear and bathing suits
  • Non-stick flying pan (They are usually shot)
  • Cosmetic items

My Newly found hobby

I was so excited about finding Van Gogh art so cheaply because I always loved his artworks. I placed Van Gogh’s Iris on the wall of dining area and noticed I have three more empty walls to fill in the same room. So I decided to make that room a “Van Gogh gallery”. I have been searching prints and reproductions on line and came up with a crazy idea…” What if I paint by myself? I have always aced art in school. How hard could that be?” Then I bought painting supplies (Acrylic), borrowed Van Gogh catalogs in Library, and painted two of his popular works.

How to Shop at Thrift Stores

“Self-portrait with a Grey Felt Hat”

How to Shop at Thrift Stores

Sunflowers. Believe it or not, this was more difficult than Van Gogh’s self-portlait.

My next project is “ Starry night”  and I will post the process and the result of it pretty soon, so stay tuned!

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