Thrift Store Retail Therapy

On Monday I dropped off my youngest back at college.  He survived his first semester only having a couple issues with Calc. 3.  With a second semester  about to begin, I helped reload his dorm room (did he bring everything he owned home?) dropped him off and was left with a quiet day to myself.

Time for a little retail therapy.  Don’t get too excited, my retail therapy was a quick stop at Hobby Lobby, the gas station then hitting all the thrift stores between school and home.

As I was driving along, I was thinking…what exactly am I looking for when I enter these stores?  I always carry a list , but that’s never what I end up buying.  Thrift stores are always hit or miss and it’s usually a miss.

That being said, I hit 2 Goodwill Stores, 1 Salvation Army, 1 ReStore and 3 non brand name thrifts. Seven stores and I only bought 3 items.

I’m pretty quick in my searches.  I check out if there are any sales going on then I skip over the clothes even though most of their clothes are nicer than my paint spotted tees.  Very sad.  Anyway, I head to the metal, wood, knick knacks, frames, baskets, lighting and furniture aisles. Sometimes I’ll check out the books.  If nothing catches my eye I can be in and out of a store in 10 minutes or less.


Thrift Store Finds- Wooden Forks

These are the three items I bought.  First up…You may see forks and spoons here but I see angel arms or legs.

Thrift Store Finds-wooden chest

This wooden toolbox is a more common find at a flea market and the first one I’ve found at a thrift store.  You just never know what you’ll stumble upon.

Thrift Store Finds-Oak side table

And my last retail therapy purchase, an old oak side table.  Very wibbly wobbly and water stained…in other words, he was calling my name.

So I came home happy and set with a couple new projects to keep me out of trouble.

Thrift Store Treasures- Oak dining table

What else do I look for at thrift stores you may ask.  Here are a few of my past purchases that I haven’t yet shared with you.

I’ve had this oak table sitting in the garage waiting for his makeover for a few months now.  As far as thrift store finds this is probably as large as I’ll get if I’m on my own.  I stuck the base in the cart and I rolled the table top to the cashier.  It happened to be half price day, so for $12 I couldn’t resist. 

Thrift Store Treasures-corner shelf

I envision great things for this corner shelf but it’s been sitting around longer than the oak table.

Thrift Store Treasures-globe

Globes are super collectible. This globe is not getting a makeover, I just liked the age on this one.  You can tell the approximate age of a globe by the names of the countries.  This one is not too old but it is before the USSR split off into it’s many countries and Myanmar is still Burma. It also has a huge area in Africa called French West Africa which dissolved in 1958. So maybe 1950’s?

Thrift Store Treasures-red toolbox

I love toolboxes.  Normally I go for the wooden ones, like the black one above, but those are really hard to find in thrift stores.

Red Toolbox Ladder.bmp

And I’ve been obsessing over red toolboxes ever since I saw this collection propped on an old ladder.  Now I have to have one…or two…or three.

Thrift Store Treasures-red oil lamp

This red lantern made an appearance at Christmastime hanging off of my old sled on the porch.

Chartreuse and Co. Holiday Sale and Scavenging Inspiration

You may remember these sleds from Chartreuse and Co. Christmas bazaar ( I must say, my bow was not nearly as pretty).  Thrift stores are also a great source for ice skates.

Upcycled chicken incubator Coffee Table

That white pitcher above is another thrift store find.  It makes a lot of appearances dressing up my coffee tables.

So what can you expect to find in a thrift store?  Lots of stuff, a lot of junk and hidden treasures.  

The following pictures are all from 2nd Avenue  (MD and PA) except for the last two, those are from Goodwill.  2nd Avenue carries mainly home goods and very few pieces of furniture.

Shopping at a Thrift Store Goodwill

I always check out the jewelry boxes.  None of these spoke to me today but I have transformed a couple.

Shopping at a Thrift Store Goodwill

Lamps are in another must check it out aisle.  The base for my oyster shell lamp,  driftwood lamp and hubcap lamp all started right here.

Shopping at a Thrift Store Goodwill

If you don’t need another candlestick, these also make great pedestals.

Shopping at a Thrift Store Goodwill

You see belts, I see leather handles.

Shopping at a Thrift Store Goodwill

They always have tons of vases.  I kind of like the brown and green one…can you find it?  It really is like a treasure hunt.

Shopping at a Thrift Store Goodwill

If you’re making a gift basket you might want to try here first.  Usually they will also have a bunch of picnic baskets which make a great display when painted the same or coordinating colors.

Shopping at a Thrift Store Goodwill

In the metal aisle look for metal bins, candlesticks, hooks and buckets.

Shopping at a Thrift Store Goodwill

This is part of their wood aisle where I’ve gotten many a salad bowl, yardstick or even bed slats.

Shopping at a Thrift Store Goodwill

Need artwork, a frame or just the replacement glass…

Shopping at a Thrift Store Goodwill

…need a silver or pewter tray?  The thrift stores are full of them.

Shopping at a Thrift Store Goodwill

Check out their collection of children’s books and they probably have 5 times as many adult books.  

Shopping at a Thrift Store Goodwill

Thrift stores are also a great source for cds, dvds  and even some old records.

Shopping at a Thrift Store Goodwill

This is where I usually head first, the furniture section.  Some stores are better than others with their stock of furniture and pricing.  Get to know the stores in your area and frequent the ones you like often.  

Shopping at a Thrift Store Goodwill

Again, try a thrift store first if you’re in the market for a mirror.  You can make a dramatic change and they’re easy to transform.

Make a list, go shopping, and be prepared not to find anything on your list.

Right now I’m gathering a list of all my past thrift store transformations which I’ll share with you on Monday.  I think I have about 50 before and afters to inspire you.  See you then. (You can find those makeovers here )

Shared at Metamorphosis Monday,


  • Cecilia says:

    Sounds like the perfect thing to do on your way home! I found the green and brown vase straight off! That is one of the neatest thrift stores I’ve ever seen…ours are always so chaotic but it’s fun to look! I’m going to look at my thrift stores today. Needing some TV trays to makeover! Can’t wait for Monday’s post!

  • Cindy says:

    I agree with Cecilia about how tidy and organized that store is! I very rarely find anything decent at our local thrift stores. I’m very suspicious about the people who work there – I think they take the good stuff for themselves before it even has a chance to hit the shelves.

    • Joan says:

      That particular store is always very neat, it makes shopping easier. Goodwill always seems to be picked over and a bit messier. That being said, my son’s girlfriend worked at a Goodwill for a year. They were not allowed to buy anything unless it had been on the floor for a day.

  • Here’s my trick for thrift stores. Anything you see that speaks to you, put it in your cart. Then before checking out, go through everything for a final decision. Fun!

    Also, I would have picked the white “finger” vase right above your green and brown one.

    • Joan says:

      I only noticed the white vase after I downloaded my picture. I don’t put anything in my cart the first go around, I just get a lay on the land. After that, if an item is still calling my name I’ll return and pick it up. And that’s probably the reason I only picked up 3 things in 7 stores. 🙂

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