Thursday, 04 April 2013 14:30

Seven Savvy Tips for Finding Thrifted Treasures

By Jenna Burger | Home & Garden

Hitting up a weekend garage sale or visiting a local thrift store is a great way to introduce unique, interesting, and inexpensive décor into your home. That “something special” is unlikely to be the same piece your neighbor picked up last week. Thrifting allows the opportunity to bring elements into a home that are meaningful and/or have the potential to be transformed or upcycled into something great, for little money. With the warmer days to come, it’s the perfect time of year to find some new fun and fabulous thrifty treasures.

Follow my seven savvy tips for hunting down your new thrifted treasure:

1. The Best Spots for Thrifting

There are various types of venues to find used and/or thrifted items, including but certainly not limited to: thrift stores, garage sales, flea markets, estate sales, and antique malls. I can’t forget to include my personal favorite spot for potential “treasures”—the side of the road. Roadside rescues are usually free, which is a major score. You’ll be surprised how that trash can be your treasure!

2. Keep a List

Looking for thrifted treasures can sometimes be overwhelming when you finally get to your destination, so having a list is key to staying focused. Either keep an ongoing list (I keep a list in my phone) or create one before you leave home. It will help keep you on track and evaluate what things are really needed. If you have your eye out for a specific piece of furniture, be sure to take wall measurements ahead of time, so you’re fully prepared and aren’t questioning the size when you finally find “the one.”

3. Look for Good Bones

When on the prowl for thrifted decor, especially furniture, look at how it’s constructed; be sure it has good “bones”. The stability and structure of a piece of furniture is important for its longevity. If it gets the approval, using it as is or giving it a fresh new coat of paint will make the perfect addition in your home.

4. Think Outside the Box

When on the search for a new treasure, look beyond the items’ current state and imagine what it could be with a little TLC. Whether you decide to upcycle, repurpose, or revamp, think outside the box at the item’s potential. Take a step back from an object and ask:

  • Can I paint it?
  • Can I reupholster it?
  • Can I use it for a different purpose than its original intent?

This is my favorite part of thrifting—finding an ugly duckling that just needs a little DIY love!

5. Look High, Look Low, Look Everywhere in Between

Finding a secret treasure can sometimes be a challenge, but in the end, the result is often worthwhile. When shopping at a thrift store or garage sale, take an extra minute to scan all surfaces—the lower shelves, the higher ones, and every spot in between. Oh, and since the back corners are usually forgotten, they often have the best hidden treasures.

6. Do you really need it?

When thrifting, having your list in hand will help you stay on track. When you find something, ask yourself, “Do I really need this?” or “Where and how will I use this right now?” Even if the item is a great deal, it’s worth nothing if it can’t be used. And if you’re unsure, take a minute to think about it. Walk away, and if the item is still in your mind 5-10 minutes later, it might be a keeper.

7. Negotiate

One of the beauties about garage sales or thrift stores is the possibility of getting your treasure for a lower price than marked. It doesn’t hurt to ask. If they say no, then you can ask yourself if the item is really worth it and how much money needs to go into the transformation, if any. Again, it doesn’t hurt to ask!

The best garage sale finds are usually snagged right away, so grab a cup of coffee and start your day early. As for thrift stores, if you want a great deal, be sure to ask if there are specific days that new inventory is added to the floor. If you’re looking for something specific, ask them to contact you if the item comes their way.

I hope these tips help you prepare and get excited for thrifting season. And don’t forget, shopping is always better with others, so put on your comfy shoes and team up with friends or family who also enjoy finding a treasure!

Jenna Burger is a local Interior Designer, Home Decor Blogger, bargain hunter, and avid DIY-er.  She delivers smart, stylish, and sophisticated design solutions tailored to fit the needs and vision for each client’s space. Additionally, her daily design blog is filled with do-it-yourself projects and simple-to-implement decorating tips. To get your dose of design inspiration, visit Jenna at www.sasinteriors.net. 

Some of my favorite thrifting stores in the area:

Stitches in Time
945 RT 29E / Lake Avenue
Saratoga Springs, N.Y. 
Phone: (518) 695-5643
http://www.stitchesandtime.com/offerings.htm

Treasures Thrift Shop
60 West Ave.,
Saratoga Springs, N.Y. 
Phone: (518) 580-4200

Muddy Boots
206 Glen Street, 
Glens Falls, N.Y.
Phone: (518) 598-7278

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