Let’s Go Thrifting!

March 2024

article & photos by Claire DePinto

When you walk into a thrift store, do you find yourself overwhelmed by the excess of items, or do you get excited about the hunt for the unknown treasure hidden on the crowded shelves? I’m sure you can conclude that I fall into the latter category. As a frequent flyer at local thrift stores, I find that going often and with an open mind leads to the most success.  

At thrift stores, the shelf inventory changes multiple times a day, and you never know what you will find (except for coffee mugs - there is always an abundance of those!). You will often walk out empty-handed, but don’t let that discourage you from returning; remember, it’s a treasure hunt! 

I rarely have a specific list when thrifting and keep an open mind about how items could be used. Start by looking for unique and visually enticing items. When something stands out, brainstorm possible uses for the item and how to transform it to function uniquely or unexpectedly.  

Thrift store pricing is ambiguous at best, but if you are ever unsure of something’s value, a quick search online of a comparable item is an easy way to determine if you could get a good deal. Remember, if there is damage to an item, it never hurts to ask for a steeper discount, especially if you have the materials and knowledge to repair the item.  

Item #1: white woven bowl 

I was drawn to the shape of this porcelain woven bowl because of its visual interest and large size. I loved how the gaps in the weave would showcase the items nestled inside, making it a great bowl to display natural elements. It was in excellent condition, so it just needed a quick scrub. Displayed with these beautiful apples piled high and full in the bowl to show off their color and create an easy grab-and-go snack for my family. I love decorating with seasonal items that are beautiful as well as edible. At just $7.99, this was a bargain given its unique character, large size, and perfect condition! Similar-sized generic bowels at Target would sell for at least 2-3x this price.  

Item #2: mirrored tray  

This mirrored tray seems like something that could easily go unnoticed. On its own, it isn’t anything remarkable. This item caused me to stop and think about using it in different ways throughout my home. I didn’t purchase it with an immediate plan, but because I knew its simplicity would make it versatile in multiple spaces. Plus, I didn't have much to lose for a glass item at just $2.99. I tinkered with the tray in several places throughout my home but decided I really liked it as a vessel containing items in my bathroom. The tray adds a sense of sophistication to this rustic bath as it reflects the glass jewelry dish.   

Item #3: lidded jar  

This jar was found on one of the few thrifting trips with a specific goal –vessels to transform into candles. When I saw this beautiful jar with the lid attached, I immediately knew it would be perfect. The color is gorgeous, the glass is thick, and the ribbing detail is likened to something from a high-end store like Anthropologie. This is one of those finds that keeps me returning to thrift repeatedly, unexpected and unique. After giving it new life as a candle, I styled it with some other vintage items. The jar was $3.99, a great deal for a unique vessel to upcycle as a candle.  

Ready, set, go! I hope you are inspired to hit the thrift stores with a fresh perspective and an open mind – you never know what treasures you will find! 

Originally printed in the March 2024 issue of Simply Local Magazine

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