Monday, September 26, 2016

The Art of Thrifting: My Thrift Store Addiction

Join me in welcoming 
Cecilia of My Thrift Store Addiction as she shares
her thrifting experiences with us all.

Welcome Cecilia!


Hi there!  I'm Cecilia, the blogger behind  My Thrift Store Addiction and I'm really excited to participate in The Art of Thrifting.  As you might imagine from the name of my blog, I was intrigued when Laura invited me to guest post for this series. I inherited my passion for thrifting from my grandmother, who took me to my first thrift stores as a little girl. When my three children were young, we frequented as many yard sales as we could cram into a weekend and our home was always filled with upcycled treasures. Of course, that was before the word upcycled was coined! As a young single parent, I learned an intentional, frugal lifestyle that not only brought me joy but eventually became the foundation for my blog. My grown kids have carried on the tradition--even my little grandson loves a good yard sale. Today I thought I would share some tried and true tips that have served me well in my thrifting adventures. Following these practices has allowed me to create a lovely home by finding hidden beauty in unexpected places. 

Thrifting series

Keep a Running List

I've learned to keep a list on my phone so it's always with me when I pop into a thrift store or yard sale. Otherwise, it's like dashing to the grocery store without a list because you only need a few things, so you're sure you'll remember, only to get home and realize you forgot the main item you went for in the first place! Right? When I head into a crowded estate sale, I can be easily distracted by all of the pretty things. Having my phone list on hand, I can take a glance for a quick reminder.  For example, on my current list I'm hunting for just the right replacement seat for the vintage bike in my garden. I also have a few constants; things that are always on my radar. Vintage frames that I upcycle with chalk paint fall into this category, as do vintage accessories. The gorgeous vintage hat and gloves pictured on my dress form, Juliet were both from the same estate sale. The thrifted jewelry has been collected over time. 

Dress form dressed with vintage accessories


This applies to so many areas of life and thrifting is no different. Persevering is often required for completing the challenging makeover of a not-quite-treasure-yet piece. It also applies when hunting. Remember the bicycle seat on my list? It's been there awhile and I've seen a few, but none have been what I really want and I'd rather wait than settle. I am confident I will find it....eventually. I know because after years of looking for a vintage sofa in my price range, I found two within a year of each other! First came Rosie, named for her pale shade of pink. Now mind you, I certainly was not looking for a pink sofa, but when I saw the absolutely pristine upholstery, I reconsidered. The design was exactly what I had envisioned. Even so, the pink gave me pause. I snapped a photo before leaving the thrift store and once I was home, could visually picture it in the designated space. I hurried back and bought it. I could have never imagined how well it would complement my existing gray and turquoise color palette. That was almost two years ago and I love it just as much today.

Vintage pink sofa

 The second sofa I mentioned brings me to the next tip: 

Look for Hidden Potential

Less than a year later, I wasn't looking for another sofa and didn't really need one but I was inexplicably drawn to a $10 yard sale reject. It had really good bones and aside from the dreadful fabric, was in great shape. I had entertained the thought of chalk painting upholstery and something was telling me that this was the time to try it. I jokingly asked my readers if any of them would have run the other way when they saw it and a few confessed they would have! Even so, I couldn't walk I brought it home. I spent hours researching the best techniques and combined several to create my own tutorial. When people see it for the first time, after seeing the before photo, the reaction is almost always the same. They touch it, get a puzzled expression on their face, and then say something like, "Wait...paint?!" and then they touch it again. The texture isn't stiff, it feels very much like the original chintz. The rescued reject has been transformed into a real lady and dubbed Eliza Doolitle by one of my readers. 

Chalk painted sofa

Declutter and Resale

When I said I didn't need another sofa, I really didn't, so the very same week I put a chair and a loveseat in a local Facebook group garage sale. The gently used matching set sold within a few day for almost what I originally paid, providing adequate space for my new treasure.  As much as I enjoy the thrill of the hunt, the occasional purge is necessary because I don't want my home to look like an episode of Hoarders. Resale, donate or toss! {This is a great practice for clothes too.} 

Practice Makes Perfect

Practice not only means checking out your local haunts each week, it will teach you what to look for where. I am blessed to live in a small town with an abundance of really great thrift stores. I don't go to every one each week, but I do usually hit a few weekly. Other nearby towns each have overpriced thrift stores that I have learned to avoid. However, they have a few fabulous antique malls with thrift store prices that I do frequent. I found this beautiful tea set at one of them. There are also days I may spend the whole morning at yard sales only to come home empty handed which is fine because quality definitely trumps quantity. 

Vintage silver tea service

Shop Seasonal Year Round

I live in Texas, and it used to be really hard for me to think of buying Christmas finds in the dead of summer, but I've learned to do just that because I've found some of the best holiday treasures during the summer months. The rare thrift store will display items according to season, so if it's a great bargain, I buy it when I see it regardless of the season. I bought this lovely vintage tablecloth at a yard sale in July. It was in absolutely perfect condition and I sold it in my Etsy shop.

Vintage Christmas tablecloth

Timing Matters

There are times when it is worth getting to a sale extra early. This vintage file drawer arrived at my favorite thrift store two weeks prior to a scheduled half price sale. Even though I could just picture it next to my back door, repurposed for garden storage, red geraniums and all, I couldn't justify the full price. The store is quite popular in our community and stuff moves pretty quickly so I visited several times before the sale to make sure it was still there. The day before, I asked one of the store employees how early people usually arrive on the sale days. Prior to this, I usually arrived right on time. When she replied an hour or sometimes earlier, I groaned on the inside. I contemplated but I kept picturing those red geraniums and arrived the recommended hour early. There were three people in line in front of me.  Two women both had their eyes on furniture, but the wild card was a man.  Oh no--what if he wanted my file drawer for tools? Let me tell you when those doors opened, I gave new meaning to the term speed walking. I plucked the tag, took it straight to the register and they had it loaded in my car in 10 minutes. Woo hoo! Did I mention I'd already bought the geraniums and they were ready and waiting? 

Repurposed vintage garden storage

Now, there are other times when it really is wiser to wait. There is an estate sale company in town who habitually overprices. I rarely attend their sales until the second day when everything is half price. When the price is just too high, it's time to walk away. On the other hand, like the yard sale sofa reject, there is a time to just go for it. Timing matters.  

I hope you'll find these tips helpful. I'd love to have you drop by My Thrift Store Addiction and mention you're visiting from White Spray Paint! Each week I post the fabulous finds from my thrifting adventures, and often how I upcycle or repurpose them for my home and garden. I also share simple crafts plus the occasional recipe. I've included my social media links so we connect there.  Happy hunting! 


Cecilia My Thrift Store Addiction My eBook When the Glass Slipper Shatters: Recreate Your Fairy Tale After Divorce Etsy shops Thrift Store Addiction Secret Garden Herbs


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Debra She Who Seeks said...

Great tips, thanks!

Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces said...

Love all of your fun tips, Cecelia! You always have some great finds...and I have loved how you have re-done them and make them part of your home!

Summer said...

Thanks for the tips, Cecilia! Happy Monday ♥

Kim said...

Great tips, some things I haven't thought about, but they all make sense. I often lament that my thrift store stinks. Maybe I'm just not shopping the right way! ;)

Creations By Cindy said...

Enjoyed this post a lot today. I appreciate the tips too. Hugs and blessings, Cindy

Jemma@athomewithjemma said...

Great tips, thanks so very much for sharing them with us today!

Cecilia said...

Cecilia, you know I love your blog and all your thrifting tips! It's great to see you over here at White Spray Paint sharing your thrifting wisdom. As someone who's gone shopping with you, I know you definitely have items you watch for. It pays off too - you have the cutest home! :-)
Cecilia B

Ramblings of a Southern Girl ~ Rhonda G said...

I couldn't wait to read this after work this evening! What a wonderful series! I enjoyed Cecilia's insight and tips! I was drawn into thrifting by my grandmother, as well! ...and $10 for that awesome sofa... those are the deals that keep us hooked and coming back for the next big score! :) ~Rhonda

My thrift store addiction said...

Thanks to Laura for including me and thanks everyone for all of the sweet comments! Blessings, Cecilia

Linda @ Life and Linda said...

Welcome Cecilia! Love the wonderful tips and the creativity. I hope the both of you have a lovely week.

Stacey said...

These are very good ideas, Cecilia. I am not a thrift store aficionado and appreciate the great advice. Sharing on Facebook. :)

Jeanie said...

Hi Cecilia and thanks for sharing some of your very good tips!

handmade by amalia said...

So nice to learn a bit more about a fellow blogger and get great tips into the bargain :-)
xo said...

I love the tips Cecilia and enjoyed the post. I have never painted upholstery either, but when I get ready to do so, I'm following your tutorial. Love that old file cabinet!


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