thrifting rules...


I used to love visiting garage-sales when I was a kiddo and then my friend Heather got me hooked on thrifting.  We have quite a bit of variety here in Portland including Goodwill, Gospel Mission, Salvation Army and also your high-priced "vintage" shops which Portland is known for.

When Heather and I used to shop for furniture that we would re-do, our rule was to never spend more than $50 on any piece and that has always stuck with me.  Although you certainly could spend a lot less on any given piece, $50 was the max.  We were able to do quite a bit with that $50 as you can see:





We had a lot of great projects (I only pictured a few)!  Here were a few rules we had when scouring thrift shops for new pieces to refinish:
  • Under $50
  • Good condition with no major repairs
  • If we couldn't sell it, would we be willing to have it in our own home? (we actually sold every piece for at least double what we paid for it but most of the time it sold for a lot more).
  • Good lines and good style (If it was from the 70's, could we modernize it?)
  • Could it be staged nicely?
  • If it needed to be re-upholstered, could we do it ourselves or would it require a professional?  Professionals can mean $$$.
  • Had to be 100% real wood.  No particle board allowed :)
When I am looking for thrift finds for the etsy shop, here are the rules I follow:

  • Good condition and easy to ship (I try to stay away from ceramics and glass although I have sent them before and they have been fine)
  • No repairs needed and no chips, cracks, etc.
  • If it doesn't sell, would I use it in my own home?  If not, I pass.
  • Can it photograph okay? (sounds weird, but something may be gorgeous but can I photograph it?  I am a total amateur and some things are really tricky to get a good shot for).
  • Can it be used in numerous places in the home?  If its a dish, its just a dish and can probably only work in a kitchen.  If its a brass item, can it work in a nursery, in an entryway, etc?).
  • Can it be cleaned?  
  • Is it unique?  One of a kind?  If yes, then take it to the register!  
When I am looking for thrift finds for our home, here are the rules I follow:

  • Good condition with no repairs needed and no chips, cracks, etc.
  • Can I get it home easily?  If it doesn't fit in the good ol' S.U.V...pass.
  • Can it be used in numerous places in our place? I try to not buy pieces that work in only 1 room.
  • If I want to change it, can it be updated with minimal effort?  (So like this map project, can it be done in a weekend and easily?)  If the answer is no, its not worth storing it until you think of something to do with it, because by that time you may already be bored with it :)
  • Can it be cleaned?  
  • Is it unique?  One of a kind?  If yes, then take it to the register! 
My best piece of advice is to have a plan when you are headed to the store...what are you looking for and what is its purpose?  Have a handy tape measure and your wall measurements if you are looking for a specific furniture piece for a specific space.  I am by NO MEANS any expert, but these are the rules I try to follow.  Happy hunting!!!
ladybird & fellow. * BLOG DESIGN BY Labinastudio.