There’s a strange satisfaction in paying a lot for something you really want. I’ve found the only better feeling is paying close to nothing for something you need. With the eco-friendly realization of our country has come a revolution of something most people once turned their nose up at; the art of thrifting. With the help of the “reduce, reuse, recycle,” secondhand buying has made a come back. With years of experience and a continuing education, I have some advice on how to thrift for the things you want as well as need.

Taking something old and upcycling, repurposing or reusing for everyday use has become a trendy way to save the earth. While there is no replacement for a well-crafted piece of furniture, clothing or art, but there are many cheap alternatives to rehab or use as a placeholder.


As for daily use items there are plenty of things that can be found very cheap and a few easy finds to never buy new. Items that are cheap to manufacture and that everyone uses are very easy to find. Other items that are specialty or high quality often are harder to find and may take sometime. If you stay specific to your needs and take some time to find them you can avoid becoming a hoarder and get some great pieces. The main thing to remember when thrifting is to know what you want, and be specific! It’s all too easy to spend a dollar here and a dollar there on things you may one day use because they’re so cheap. It’s not so easy to justify bringing garbage into your home. Some things were donated for a reason. It pays to be diligent in your searches and know when to say no.



Never Buy New

Hangers-plastic, wood or wire these things are everywhere. Don’t buy them from a department store, they are extremely common and most will end up in a landfill…forever.

Ice-cube Trays

If you’re looking for a run-of-the-mill tray check out your local thrift shop. I guarantee they will have some.


Basic Kitchen Items

Stainless steel mixing bowl, they probably have it. Spatulas, they have many. Dishware, everywhere. Glassware, they’re giving it out. You may have to look around for matching sets and take sometime looking for your style but it’s worth it. Sometimes sets are separated between stores or even in a separate spot in the same thrift store, so keep your eyes open. Many second-hand shops have little to no organization, don’t get discouraged.

Things to Wait For


If you are handy and confident then this warning may not be for you. However, it you’re like me and know nothing about furniture then take your time! Have a very specific item in mind and don’t buy until you have found something that meets all of your needs.




This one is up for debate but I think there are many factors to choosing secondhand clothes. Personally, I have a hard time finding basics, so I mostly shop for dresses, outerwear and separates. Whatever you find should be good quality fabric, you’ll be sad when your closet is filled with garments you never want to wear.

Factoring tailoring into the price will save you a headache later, especially if you are shopping for an event. Things will rarely fit right off the rack; many items found in a thrift store were tailored for someone else. It will also open your options for fabric, pattern and style if you’re not worried about the fit. But remember you can only take away – you can’t create more fabric – so shop up a size or two. 



The most exciting part of thrifting is finding something with a story, with age, something that speaks of a different time. The old saying, “they don’t make them like they used to,” is true in many ways. High quality can often be over looked because of age, but if you’re like me the real fun is in finding that quality. One last piece of advice; not everything is a diamond in the rough. It’s easy to mistake something for quality amongst garbage. Be selective but have fun. The real thrill is in the hunt.