These thrifting tips will help you manage your treasure-hunting adventures to make them more productive, less-stressful, and more satisfying.
Take Cash to Reduce Your Stash. A good deal is a good deal, but you’ll have a great deal of explaining to do if you come home with your car stuffed full of “stuff.” Taking a reasonable amount of cash will keep you on a budget and help you make wiser purchases.
Love It or Leave It. This will also help you manage the adrenaline that comes with scavenging for treasures. If it is love at first sight, plop it into your basket. Look at it again 10 minutes later to see if you still love it- if not, put it back and make room for something you really love.
Plan Ahead. If you go with an item in mind, odds are you won’t lose half your morning browsing through things you don’t need in the first place. With your plan, you can bee-line it towards the used doors and return home a much happier camper. Be prepared to dig through items to find that perfect specimen.
Measure Twice, Buy Once. If planning ahead means you want a coffee table, mirror, nightstand, or whatever, make sure you measure your space at home before heading out to hunt it down. Nothing is more frustrating than loading and unloading a piece of furniture only to find it is too big or totally the wrong scale for your space. Don’t forget to bring your tape measure and doorway/space measurements on your thrifting outings.
Do DIY. On those occasions that you find something you love and it is in rough shape or is the wrong color/textile, break out your DIY skills and transform it into something uniquely you. Sometimes a piece of furniture only needs to be sanded and re-stained or painted to be the perfect item for your home.
Stalk the Re-Stock. If you frequent thrift shops or swap meets, find out when the stores or your favorite booths re-stock. If you arrive early on those days, you will have first dibs on their latest inventory, and highly sought-after goods might fall more easily into your hands.
Question Need vs. Want. Sometimes we really love something. But we don’t need it. In fact, we may not even have the room for it at home. If a friend could use it, give it a whirl, but otherwise take a picture, blow it a kiss, and continue on. Over-buying on thrifted goods leaves an unfortunate bout of buyer’s remorse.
Avoid Vain Repetitions. Whether you are a fan of vintage Pyrex or retro alarm clocks, it is best to keep a personal inventory of what you already have. Unless you are planning on swapping good condition for better condition and selling the spare, try not to double-up on your treasures (unless, of course, it is that awesome pair of side chairs or tables). It will make for a more interesting collection and more money in your pocket.
When in Doubt, Don’t. A sister commandment to Love it or Leave it, this rule helps to avoid a buying binge. You may walk past a piece of art you think is pretty cool, but don’t know if it will work in your color scheme or design style. It is always good to get a second trusted opinion in these situations, especially if another person shares your space!
Go With Room For Cargo. You just might find that perfect office chair while you are out, but can you fit it into your car? Don’t go with the plan of buying a large mirror or coffee table and then load your car full of friends. Make sure you have the space (or a ready friend with available space) to help you bring your awesome find home.
These are just a few starter guidelines to help you along the way. Getting to know your local shops, swap meets, estate sales, and tag sale seasons will increase your odds of finding what you want for the price you want. Good Luck!
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