Once a kindergarten teacher, now your go-to guide for all things DIY. My passion for teaching didn't stop when I left the classroom - I merely switched from ABCs to DIYs. I've learned a lot from transforming my own home from scratch, and now I'm here to pass on that knowledge to you.
On a weekly basis (if not daily) I’m asked where I thrift shop to find my pieces of furniture. It’s my number one question probably due to my Instagram stories where I share our weekly thrifting adventure called #WednesdayWeThrift. My main goal consists of finding home decor pieces that need a little sprucing up and furniture to flip so it’s like new again. I’ve realized that majority of us go to the well-known thrift stores, for example Goodwill, when there are smaller business owners with amazing thrift stores begging to be discovered. It’s these thrift shops where I’ve discovered some of my best finds. But then there are also a select few big named thrift stores I’ll go to.
There are two reasons I shop the same thrift stores over and over again. One being 80% of the time I’m going to find and walk away with something at a great price. The second reason is the most important: they give back to the community and/or it’s supporting a family owned small business. Two great reasons to visit a local thrift shop. So, today I’m going to share how you can find thrift shops in your area and tips that will make you a thrifting pro! Grab that cup of coffee and get ready to head out the door to find your next treasure.
1. Pay Attention When Driving – As you drive to work, run errands, or explore a new part of town, keep your eyes out for thrift shops. They’re often tucked away in a shopping center, in a stand alone small building, or hidden behind another business. Once you start making it a point to look for them, you’ll notice they’re everywhere.
2. Ask on a Local Facebook Group – There are often groups on Facebook created for your town or city where you can learn about your community, ask questions, and get to know your neighbors. I joined the Facebook group for our new town as soon as we moved and asked if anyone knows of any great thrift shops in the area. I did this a few weeks ago and learned about 15 new thrift shops right in my backyard that I had no idea about. It was amazing! You can also join community groups where you work or travel to often to get an even bigger range of thrift shops.
3. Google ‘Thrift Shops in ______” (insert your location)- Googling thrift shops won’t necessarily give you the mom and pop shops but will give you the bigger and well known thrift shops near you. I did this and discovered a Habitat for Humanity was 10 minutes down the road. I’ve never noticed them before because they don’t have a sign by the road and they’re hidden behind another business. It’s worth it to take 5 minutes to Google!
4. Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist – Don’t forget about searching for pieces of furniture online. Craigslist is great but Facebook Marketplace has proven to be even better! I found this desk and flipped it after finding it on Facebook.
1. Habitat for Humanity – Habitat is near and dear to my heart. I worked with them last summer when I created my DIY Locker Planter Boxes. But it’s their mission statement that has made me a loyal customer. They bring people and volunteers together to build homes, communities, and hope. I’ve seen the work they’ve done and are doing here in Central Florida. I found this set at Habitat that’s perfect for my patio:
2. Teen Challenge SuperThrift – Mainly found in the southeastern United States, this is my favorite thrift store to visit. Not only do I usually find the best decor and furniture items, but the workers greet you with such an amazing outlook and willingness to help you. But it hasn’t always been this way for the workers. You see, this particular thrift store, gives support to teens that were battling addiction. They work in the store to earn their place to stay as they complete their recovery program and find freedom from addiction. We’ve heard a few powerful stories.
3. Goodwill – I’m only putting Goodwill on this list because they are one of the more well-known thrift stores. I haven’t had much luck with them in the past year or so. I know that they help create jobs for others, but I don’t see them as involved in the community.
1. Don’t be too overly cautious of what a thrift shop looks like on the outside. The inside may surprise you. Of course, you want to consider the part of town you’re in and your surroundings. For example, this thrift shop seems a little interesting on the outside. But it’s in a good part of town and it ended up being a thrifter’s paradise.
2. When thrifting for furniture, I always have a $50 max (sometimes a little more depending on what it is). It has taught me to walk away from a few items (even though I didn’t want to) and has allowed me to really bargain shop and find that amazing piece at a great price. You tend to look more carefully when you set a budget for yourself. I found this entertainment center for $25 tucked in a back corner.
3. Ask each thrift store their sales of the week. Many will have a day where furniture is an additional 20%-50% off or have markdowns on certain days. One particular thrift shop I check out weekly, gives you 20% off anything and everything you can fit in one of their red bags every Wednesday.
4. It never hurts to ask if they’re willing to negotiate on pricing. Some thrift shops are firm on their pricing, so once you ask, don’t ask again. Just really hunt for a great deal. Others are more than willing to work with you on price. For example, this chest of drawers was originally marked at $99. I walked away paying $49 for it. Ask if they’re willing to work on the price. When they ask what you’re looking for, you can either have them suggest a new price or tell them the most you can spend.
5. Most thrift shops will hold an item for you once you pay for it anywhere from 2 days to 2 weeks. So, even if you don’t have a vehicle to transport the piece furniture that day, don’t let it stop you! I often purchase a piece of furniture and Ryan picks it up over the weekend if I can’t fit it in my car.
6. When looking for quality pieces of furniture, make sure that it’s made of wood if you’re planning to paint it. You’ll notice the dovetails on the side of the drawers if it’s made of wood. But keep in mind, some wood pieces can still have veneer/laminate as a top layer. You can check for this by looking at the back, sides, and underneath the piece and seeing it there’s a layer of veneer or laminate attached to the wood.
So there you have it! You now know where to thrift, how to find thrift shops in your area, and the tips and tricks of having a successful thrifting adventure. This is certainly something I look forward to weekly and will be sharing more about my furniture flips on the blog soon (hopefully to inspire you as well). If you’ve made it to the end of the blog post and you’re local to the Central Florida area, then I have a surprise for you! Download my free guide to my top thrift stores to visit in my part of Central Florida. You just have to promise to say hello if we bump into each other. Good luck thrifting and can’t wait to see what you find!
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