Photo Styled by Maggie Troyer All Photography in this post by Kendra Dawn

Thrifting is a marriage of art and luck relying mostly on consistency and imagination. Some days it will be worth it–others not so much. Buy a latte, grab some germ-X and roll up those sleeves, you never know what you’ll find.


If you’re making a quick stop, know which section you want to spend your time. Personally, I find overflowing, messy shelves overwhelming when rushed. If you have only 10 minutes, make a mental list of the necessities before opening the door. Needing a new lamp? hit up the housewares section first. There is no need to run through every aisle, every time, take time to rummage–gracefully.


Among the piles of trash there are gems, but sometimes hard to see. If a piece catches my eye, several things happen by habit. | A |  Touch it. Pick it up to make sure there are no cracks or damaged parts. | B |  Imagine it in (insert your favorite room here). For me, it’s our living room, so I ask myself if the item in hand would look good on the coffee table, over the fireplace mantel, or hanging beside the french doors. If the answer is yes and the price is right, it ends up in my cart. If you are not certain it would look good– run. The point is, separate what catches your eye from the clutter around it.


Antique glassware, Target area rugs, Swiss Gear luggage – all of these have been real life finds. Google is your best friend, find out what the product is worth. Some of my favorite purchases have been “expensive for a thrift store” but in mint condition and the price tag a fraction of the retail price. ALSO. Take note which Goodwill stores in your area have Target brands still in boxes. Target donates pallets of returns or slightly damaged packaging to Goodwills across the country each week. (thanks for confirming this Claudia!) Ask an associate which day of the week Target delivers. If they don’t know or refuse to tell you–smile and wave.


The lone thrift store in my small town has a punch card rewards system– yes, they know me by name. Goodwill offers a points card you scan with each purchase and for every $100 you spend–receive a $5 discount. Establishing relationships has gotten me half-priced furniture without bartering, or grace when my husband is unable to pick up a piece within a week. Thrifting has also stretched my imagination, saved money and made new friends and I hope it will do the same for you!

Create Your Own Collections

My friend Kendra has some beautiful, one-of-a-kind collections from years of thrifting. She has 30+ glass goblets of varied colors and shades perfect for fancy parties, if one breaks– it can always be replaced. She also collected an assortment of cloth napkins over the years, also perfect for aforementioned parties.

Make Your Own Cake Plates
Watch for elegance, sturdy silver candlestick holders and silver platters. These make unique cake plates when glued with E6000, an industrial strength adhesive that can be found at most craft stores i.e. Pat Cantans.

Some of My Favorite Things

  • Candlestick holders
  • Silver platters
  • Goblets
  • Cloth napkins
  • Milk glass
  • Old books
  • Lace tablecloths
  • Small metal cream + sugar sets (perfect for succulent plants)

Sew pages of an old book together for a table runner! Styled by Rae Schrock

Styled by Emily Coblentz

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