The Best Things to Buy at Thrift Stores for Your Home

Are you a thrift store shopper? Fewer and fewer people seem to be shopping at them, with the rise of minimalism and changing tastes. But if you like antiques or farmhouse style items, you are in luck. Things of that style are everywhere at thrift shops and very reasonably priced.

I think the best things to get at thrift stores are home decor items. There’s no grossness factor, and you don’t have to worry about things wearing out or being old. In every shop, there are certain things that are consistently easy to find, with a good selection of actually pretty items, not just junk. (Although there is plenty of that too!).

Here are the best things to get at thrift stores for your home.

The Best Thrift Store Buys for Your Home

1. Baskets

They are EVERYWHERE. I can’t explain why everyone is getting rid of their baskets and selling them at thrift shops…but it is basketpalooza at these places. I have never spent more than 3 dollars for one unless it was a Longaberger, which I rarely buy. That’s cheaper than a gift bag, if you want a cute way to package up a gift. I use them for storage and organization all over the house, not just because I love them, but also because they are so cheap. Their price and versatility makes them one of the best things to buy at thrift stores for your home.

2. Picture frames

Again, everywhere. Just make sure you check the back to make sure it has both hooks for hanging on a wall, or a table display foot, depending on what you want it for. Don’t forget you can easily paint it to your taste. Often I will find framed prints that are ugly, but the frame itself is nice. Don’t be afraid to rip out what’s inside. Concentrate on the bigger sizes, because they are so expensive at stores.

3. Wreaths

Only for the wreath form! It’s usually very easy to cut off or pull off whatever tacky thing is on them, and it is still much cheaper than buying a brand new form. You’re going to have to look past what’s on the wreaths, because the decorations themselves are usually awful. If you’re looking for a specific size, bring a ruler, because the enormous fake flowers will sometime trick you into thinking that the wreath is bigger then it is.

4. Kitchen Items for Organizing and Display

I wouldn’t buy a food storage container there to put actual food in, although plenty of people do and are still alive. But maybe you don’t like the idea of serving or storing your food in a container with an uncertain history.  Here are some other ways to use them:

-Glass jars for cotton balls and other bathroom items

-Crocks for wooden spoons and spatulas

-Plates or platters for hanging on the wall

-Mason jars for buttons, matches, kids small treasures, and other tiny things

5. Reference or Display Books

I’ve gotten an atlas, bird and bug guides, and a book of state maps. No one is buying these things, but kids love them. I think they are so nice to have on a shelf for the kids to flip through and stumble on new things that interest them, I want to get an encyclopedia set but by husband thinks that’s totally ridiculous.

Books in general are one of the best things to buy at thrift stores in terms of value, but the selection is usually not great for adults. But for reference books for kids, it is great. Never, ever, ever pay full price for something like this. Remember you can throw out the ripped dust jacket and have a pretty hardback book.

Oh, if you ever see an old globe with countries that no longer exist, buy it! They can be worth a lot on the resale market.

6. Vases or Other Flower Holders

I’ve found pretty blue and white ceramics, teapots, large vintage mason jars, and other food service items that aren’t terribly useful for food, but very handy for flower arranging. Bud vases, for tiny flowers, seem to be everywhere.

Don’t forget about potting containers too.  Any large container that you can drill a hole through will work for outdoor containers or for houseplants.  Look for a cheap plate as a saucer.

7. Candlesticks or Other Candleholders

Another thing that has fallen WAY out of style, but I like them for the mantle and dining room. If you like them too, they are almost free. Keep in mind you can look for other other things to hold votive or non taper candles

8. Wooden Furniture

Look for things with no moving parts.  Think wooden chairs, step stools, benches. Doll furniture can be found easily too. Easy to repair, no drawers to get stuck, no upholstery to be totally grossed out by. Be picky! Are you really going to sand and paint that piece? If not, there is nothing wrong with letting it go. This is last on my list because it’s a challenge. Craigslist is way better for furniture.

Before you go…

I hope I’ve inspired you to go check out your local thrift shops. It is so fun, saves so much money, and you won’t have to worry about buying the same popular thing that everyone else has.

Keep these things in mind

Don’t expect to walk in the door and think “wow, I love this stuff,” the majority of it is not attractive, and you will have to dig.

Keep a list, written down, of what you are looking for. It can be general or specific, but give yourself some direction. My list currently has me on the hunt for white or cream serving platters, terra-cotta pots, and a large wire basket that can be used for play food for my kids.

Bring small bills.

Many stores have a minimum purchase amount for credit cards and your purchase probably won’t hit the minimum, since the best things to buy at thrift stores are very inexpensive.

Be picky.

If there is nothing you like, just leave without buying anything. This is hard for me because I feel like it’s rude, but it’s not. Many people come every week to check out whats new, and leave if nothing appeals to them.

Happy thrifting!



2 thoughts on “The Best Things to Buy at Thrift Stores for Your Home

  1. Ooh ooh ooh, a pet topic of mine. I’d also add:

    Children’s mittens because they’re perpetually lost
    Greeting cards with icons on them—I frame them (in a thrifted frame) for baptism gifts
    Pretty handkerchiefs—one for every pocket

    • Katie Shaw, Heart’s Content

      Ok. Are we taking handkerchiefs into which a nose is blown? I really want to adopt this, but I’m having a hard time. Is it gross? What do you do with it if you’re out?

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