How To Still Love What You Bought at the Thrift Store Once You Get it Home

published Oct 26, 2016
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(Image credit: Emma Fiala)

It can be easy to get caught up in the thrill of thrifting. Finding items that make you laugh. That you can’t believe are so cheap! There have been more than a few time that while at the cash register I have looked down at arms full of objects I absolutely do not need. If you’d like to avoid buyer’s remorse the next time you survey your second-hand haul, try out some of these tips, shared by someone who knows a thing or two about thrifting.

Tavia (of A Lovely Minneapolis Home Full of Thrifted Buys & Frugal Finds), has some tricks and tips she sticks to when it comes to finding a good deal, negotiating a price and more. Her advice might help you really love the items you buy next time you leave a thrift store!

Recognize a good deal

Don’t necessarily start with the price:

I can usually spot a deal by considering when, where, and by whom something was made versus the price. Mass produced items are not as valuable, but when you find something handmade, made with a higher level of craftsmanship, or designed by a recognizable name and it’s priced as cheaply as worthless junk, then you’ve hit the jackpot.

(Image credit: Emma Fiala)

Consider how an item was made:

When trying to assess the craftsmanship, I take into consideration the materials something was made out of, like leather, wool and copper as examples of sought after materials and the process that was used to create the item. Is the item hand sewn? Is it hand hewn from a particular kind of wood? Is a piece of artwork professionally framed and/or signed by the artist?

“It helps to have a clear idea of who you are and how you want to tell your story through design, which also comes with trial, error, and time.”

Consider current collectible trends

Also, you might find a deal when you come across something dirt cheap that has collectible value based on current trends. For example, old Fisher Price toys, especially the little people and building playsets from the ’60s and ’70s, are a hot collectible right now. Antique and vintage treasure shops are pricing them high, but you can still stumble across some of these things for a few bucks at a thrift store or a garage sale.

(Image credit: Emma Fiala)

Use this simple trick if you’re shy about haggling

I negotiate prices at garage sales, flea markets, and sometimes consignment shops, but I don’t try to negotiate at thrift stores, especially if the thrift store supports a nonprofit organization. When I’m negotiating, I usually decide what I’m willing to pay and start $10 lower so that I have a better chance of getting them to agree to my limit.

“Using the “maybe someday” litmus test for your thrifting is not a great idea.”

Apply the “What can I do with this now” test:

The more experienced you become, the easier it is recognize a deal or identify what you’re looking for. In my early days of thrifting, I bought so much crap. Everything seemed like a deal and I was worried that if I didn’t buy it, I’d live to regret it. However, the opposite began to evolve as the truth. I started to regret all the junk I was purchasing because it served no immediate purpose and was just taking up space in every corner of my home. Using the “maybe someday” litmus test for your thrifting is not a great idea. I’d suggest using the “what can I do with this now” test instead.

(Image credit: Emma Fiala)

Know thy (thrifting) self

It helps to have a clear idea of who you are and how you want to tell your story through design, which also comes with trial, error, and time. Now, at this point in my life, I’ve been doing this so long, I’ve developed an internal homing device which allows me to buzz through shelves of old dishes, piles of household items, and racks of clothes going “nope, nope, nope, nope, YEEESSS, nope, nope, nope.”

(Image credit: Emma Fiala)

See Tavia’s full house tour