Thursday, July 14, 2011

Making ¢ents....

On a hot sunny day, one of my favorite things to do is to wander around thrift stores. I adore thrift stores!! I drag my children down every isle while I shop happily to the sound of their whines and "pleeeeease"s. The thrill of the hunt keeps me coming back week after week. Thrift stores are wonderful, because I never pay full price for anything that I use to decorate my home and I LOVE to decorate. I change my design scheme at least 3 times a year. And I am amazed by how creative a mind can get while searching the cramped shelves and dark, dusty corners of these stores. My friends and family are always surprised at my thrift store discoveries and I often hear, "you found THAT at a thrift store?", and my answer is always, "yesssss". They shrug and ask, "how?". So.... for today's post I thought I would share some of my best discoveries and thrifty trade secrets.

Number 1) I never enter a thrift store without a plan of action. First, I start in the back. This is usually where the "Yard Sale" type items are kept and this is ALWAYS where I find my best "finds". The broken, outdated furniture can be used for a number of amazing household accessories. Decide what you need and then get creative! Use your imagination and remember two simple words: glue and paint!  For example...I needed a new kitchen table. One day while searching through the plethora of furniture, I discovered a much-outdated, glass top poker table. It was UGLY and it took nearly 15 minutes to convince my husband that it had potential. Eventually he caved and with his grudgingly wary help, I loaded the table into the van, ran to the nearest hardware store to buy a 1/2 gallon of paint, and Walla!! The table looks fantastic and I had the giggling pleasure of saying, "I told you so." Then I patiently waited until just the right stools came along on my local classifieds and I purchased the stools for $20 each. The total cost for chairs and table: $135....

You'll be amazed by how a can of paint can transform an outdated piece into one of your very favorites.....

The next example....I needed a desk; a place where I could write my books and still keep an eye on my children while they tear apart my house. I love green. One day, while rummaging through the "As Is" section of a thrift store, I stumbled across a sad little IKEA desk. The wheel was broken, the paint was scratched and dinged, and it was filthy, but it cost $5. I couldn't pass up that sort of deal. I crammed it into my van, brought it home, and cleaned it. (Mr. Clean Erasers© are truly magical) In this case, I couldn't paint it, because I loved the So  instead, I distressed it. I took a fork, a hammer, and a bottle of wood stain and I scratched and dinged it to my heart's content, creating an entirely new, shabby-chic look that blended perfectly with my collection of antiques and fossils. I glued the wheel in place, purchased a cheap black chair and now..... I have a fantastic work space! It cost a total of $18. 

Distressing furniture can suddenly bring an old shabby piece to life, and it's difficult to mess up the "distressed look". Not only is it easy, it's fun! If you  know how to yield a hammer, you know how to distress wood. 
Number 2) The next little bit of advice I can give is to move on from the yard sale section and race into the heart of the store. This is where you can find a melange of items to decorate your home....lamps, pictures, curtains, vases, old fishing gear and other crazy items that you never knew existed. The possibilities are endless. Broken trinkets can be glued, painted, and remade into whatever you need. Also, if you're like me, a simple object that piques my interest is often the inspiration to an entire decorative scheme. My dining room was built around one single object-- an old fan from the 40's. I found ← this fan hiding on the bottom shelf in the electronics section for $3, and that brings me to my next bit of advice.

.50 to 2.00 this-and-thats
Number 3) Always, always, always search the bottom shelves. You will be surprised how often the bottom shelves get missed by the casual shopper. I have found amazing nick-nacks, antiques, and other little this-and thats hiding in the back of the bottom shelf. When you go thrift, be prepared to get down and dirty and don't be afraid to DIG. Glancing and picking at the top shelves will yield you nothing but an empty cart and frustration.                                    

So the next time you're in a thrift store, keep in is a treasure hunt and you can't find the gold if you don't dig deep. Have FUN and remember that old adage, "One (wo)man's trash is another (wo)man's treasure."      


  1. I heard about your blog on bookblogs. I love the ideas. I am a new follower.

    Please visit me at I have a blog focused primarily on books and then another that is focused on being a mom.


  2. just wanted to let you know I'm following you now. I'm LDS too. We started a family book review blog this summer - - if you want to check it out.

  3. I love thrift store and good will hunting. One of my favorite past times. Great tips. Found you through Book Blogs. New Follower:)

  4. Loved the story. I am a new follower from Book blogs. I just tweeted and posted your blog to my face book page (My Life. One Story at a Time.) I would like to invite you over to my blog for a visit and follow. Hope to see you soon. I have a giveaway going on this week. Please enter. Donna

  5. Hey, thanks for stopping by at my blog, you can read my follow up comment here:

    I love your blog and your website, so professionaly done. Are you on twitter too?

  6. Also, best of luck for your book. Read first chapter, sounds interesting!:)

  7. Thanks everyone for all the fun comments...I've loved meeting such neat people on BB. @Review Girl---I am on can follow me @SlackMandi I always love new followers :)

  8. I love your blog! Blogs about 'nothing in particular' tend to be my favorites! Just added The Alias to my 'Bookshelf' on my blog! Can't wait to get my hands on it!

  9. My mother was an avid thrigt store shopper. While my husband was in the Army we used to get care packages every 3 months from her full of clothes for our little ones. She could find some of the most amazing things. She has a three corner chair that she found in a thrift store. The seat was worse for wear. She had it rewoven and it sat in the corner next to the piano with all our piano music on it. That was to keep anyone from sitting in it. I have a queen anne chair she found in another store that she had recovered. I loved it and when she passed away, my dad gave it to me. I love to garage sale. I have made some wonderful finds. Thanks for the blog.