Thrift Store Finds.
Are you missing out?

There are a select few of you out there who avoid thrift stores.  More specifically you eschew them.  Because that’s what the hoity toity do.  They eschew.

Incidentally, hoity toity has nothing to do with wealth or income.  It has to do with a mindset.  Often the hoity toity can be found buying only what is the most expensive regardless of whether they actually like it or not. And regardless of whether they can afford it or not.

The hoity toity will not shop in Dollar Stores, thrift shops or stores that require you put your goods in a cart.  And they don’t use allen keys. Which works out well, what with them not knowing what allen keys are.  To be perfectly honest, the hoity toity don’t even like people named Allen.

Then there are the rest of us.  The ones who appreciate quality goods, but know that you don’t *always* have to pay a lot for them.  The ones who not only cross the threshold of places like Dollar General, Goodwill and any number of dumpsters, but we get a tingling thrill from it each and every time.

Just writing this post today about my 4 best Thrift Store finds from the past year is giving me the wiggles.

And with the holidays upon us, Thrift Stores are a  great place to find inexpensive presents that you normally wouldn’t be able to afford or would never be able to find.

So if you’re part of the hoity toity who don’t shop in thrift stores or for some reason you’ve forgotten how great they can be, take a look at these things I picked up this year.  They may not be to your taste, which is fine.  That’s not the point. The point is V A L U E.

And the thrill of the hunt.




Cheese Box


Corn Broom




Copper Pot


Now, to get deals like this you have to act fast, be decisive and make sure you grab it before the person behind you does.  Don’t be embarrassed and don’t be coy.  If you like it, put your head down, take a football blocking stance, run towards it and GRAB it.

Thrift stores don’t have 20 french copper pots.  They have one.  And if you like it, chances are someone else will too, so if you think about your purchase, or politely let someone else look at it you’ll probably lose out.  This is NOT the time to act Canadian.  Push, shove, grab, purchase.

Remember that mantra.  PUSH, SHOVE, GRAB, PURCHASE.  You are a thrift store warrior and PROUD of it.

The moral of this story?   I think it’s pretty obvious.  Don’t be a Hoity Toity …  be a Shifty Thrifty.



  1. taria says:

    when our best local thrift store closed someone told me it felt like she was losing a family member. we tend to take these things seriously. best buy for me was a $15 featherweight sewing machine worth $500 at the time!

    • Karen says:

      You got a featherweight? A REAL FEATHERWEIGHT? Not just one that looks like a featherweight, but isn’t actually a featherweight? A REAL ONE??? I actually dream about owning a featherweight. Which really sucks since I used to have an antique booth and sold TWO of them. 🙁 ~ karen!

      • taria says:

        you know how much junk you gotta look at to find the good stuff! FW’s are still around and at better prices than a long time. Take a look at singer 301’s which are similar and even less money. You could sew your chickens some cozies or something. happy birthday to you! Hope good cake is involved!

  2. Angela says:

    I miss the thrift shops in Japan, also known as recycle shops. I bought an amazing wood block print for about $20 that’s actually worth a few hundred and have a great selection of beautiful plates and trays that I use as serving platters. Gotta find a recycle shop here in Korea, I’m going into withdrawals just thinking about it!

    • Natika33 says:

      I can completely understand where you’re coming from. I comb them constantly. I’ve found plenty of antiques. Once I passed on an antique head rest that still had a silk pillow on it and I still kick myself.

      Best find so far though hasn’t been an antique, but rather a Diane von Furstenburg dress. 100% silk chiffon and silk lining, $12.00!!!!

    • Taria Lorehand says:

      I found an authentic kimono in a costume shop. I begged the guy to let me buy it so he sold it to me for 20 bucks (after three days of me begging, I did beg.) and I took it to my friend Yoshi (who is Japanese) who said it was a real one, a summer one because of the shorter sleeves. It is hand stitched and the gold leaf was hand painted. It’s soft pale green with pink along the bottom with lotus flowers. I wouldn’t know what it’s worth, but I wouldn’t sell it anyway. It adorns my wall like it deserves to be presented (she showed me how to do that the proper way) and not worn so it can be ruined. I consider that an awesome find.

  3. I have a featherweight and I cherish it – runs perfectly. I didn’t even pay for it, it was given to me – but I still comb thrift shops. People who don’t are missing out, so don’t set them straight Karen, please!

    • Karen says:

      Grr. I mean, good for you Tricia! My mom has one too. Apparently everyone but me has one. My sewing machine is CRAP. ~ karen!

      • Sue says:

        Nope, My sewing machine is crap, too. No featherweights here-except by capability-but then, I don’t sew a lot, either…Or, hmmm….wonder if there’s a connection.

        Although, seriously, as someone who’s “fortyfied”, one of those modern self-threading machines is beginning to really appeal…. 😉

      • Langela says:

        I don’t even know what a featherweight is, Karen, so you can’t be the only one who doesn’t own one.

        Now I’m off to google ‘featherweight sewing machine’

        • amy watson says:

          I had to google it too….I have a very very ols singer with the pedal,,, very decorative, It was my grandmothers, she and my Great aunt were master seamstress…Then that talent started skipping the next 3 generations…My Mom couldn’t sew…I can’t sew..My daughter can’t sew…..Well, I mean, I can sew a straight panel curtain..( wow) anywamy 30+ years ago I bought a Sears sewing machine…But it stays in the closet most of the time and has been in the closet most of the 30+ years that I have had it….But now I am curious about this ” Featherweight” and being a thrift store junkie, I will be looking out for one, If I find one maybe I wll send it to Karen 🙂

        • Karen says:

          That’s an excellent idea amy. 😉 ~ karen

  4. Shhhhhhhhhhhhh, Woman!!!! How are we to get the good stuff if your wandering around telling everyone!?!

  5. Kim says:

    My best thrift store find (so far) is a leather hand-painted purse that retails for $215. I paid $1.99 plus tax!

  6. Chris says:

    My mantra is Jab,Poke,Grab!! It’s every woman for herself.;) My best Christmas thrift shop find was a ceramic light up tree with it’s base for $6. I was going to make one but it started at $28.

    Chris =]

    • Chris says:

      I also got a $125 Dooney & Bourke purse for $35!!

      • Key says:

        Chirs I found a Dooney and Bourke purse for $4.00 and then turned around and found the matching checkbook organizer for only $1.00 in another little shop. That was my best buy of 2012 I think as prices go. I live to what’s it as I call it lol.

  7. kelly says:

    I need to find some better thrift stores!

  8. Love it!!
    I’m a thrift maniac, and it makes my day if I happen to be in an antique store & see things I have at home that I thrifted for WAY LESS than their price tag.
    Thrift on, thrift on!

  9. Court says:

    LOVE the thift shops! Once spent $15 on a print actually valued at around $250! But my most beloved (and used) finds are my several old Griswold cast iron skillets.

  10. Maddy says:

    Totally!!!! I Love this post because I decorate my whole house with thrifty finds and they are just treasures! The things I buy have had lives before me and I love to wonder where they came from, wasit a gift, given lovingly? Was it something someone saved all their pennies for? I love the bargains, the uniqueness and the character of all my bits and pieces. Plus, it’s really good to reuse and recycle. Go planet!

  11. Lin N says:

    I luuuuuv shopping thrift stores! I’ve found almost new shoes, tailored silk shirts, shadow box frames, baskets, teapot with copper cozy, charger cords….the list goes on. The other place I’ve found awesome bargains are auctions….oooh gotta go shop!

  12. Rosemary Walsh says:

    Delayed gratification is so much sweeter to me – that kind of sums up thrift buying. I get ALL my clothes, shoes, accessories at thrifts and garage sales. And have a play room filled with fun stuff for a huge range of ages – all from the above. Enjoy (make that ADORE) the hunt.

    Hey, Karen, want to buy my pristine Featherweight? I choose to use the Singer Slant-o-Matic 403 I bought in about 1959.


    • Karen says:

      Rosie – LOL. Thank you but no. I’m looking for something closer to a 421. BUT, thanks for reminding me of your machine. I looked it up and my mother used to have that machine! I don’t know how young I would have been when she had it but I seem to remember she had it forever! Until she got a digital machine in fact. ~ karen!

  13. Agnes says:

    I have a love affair with thrift stores, no hoity toitiness here. My most exciting thrift store find this year was a simple french butter dish. I had been eyeing the shelves for one for several months. I would search the kitchen sections lifting up lids with a secret hope in my heart that it would reveal the coveted butter bell inside…then it finally happened and I let out a little, but audible shriek of joy. I looked around to see if anyone was watching me. With relief I scooped that baby up and continued on my merry way. What made it even sweeter? This was a 50% day, so my wish came true to the tune of $1.50 (plus tax).

  14. Gina Shar says:

    Great eye for the good stuff Karen! My latest find: 2 Revere Ware copper bottom frying pans and one Evan-Picone leather purse…..Total Bill: 7.00….HA….Take THAT, you hoity toity people….

  15. Tracie says:

    I love thrift shops too, but I’m nowhere near as good as my mom at finding deals. I don’t know how she does it. Last time I saw her she had a beautiful silver pitcher just like one I saw in one of your photos, and she only paid five bucks for it! My granny got me started many moons ago, only back then they were held in church basements and called rummage sales.

  16. Erica Filpi says:

    This year I found a tacky light pink tinsel tree with Disney Princess decorations all over it. I paid $5.00, and walked away with the perfect present for my 8 year old daughter. Incidentally I went to Kmart to buy the matching tree skirt and paid $7.50 for the small tree skirt. DEAL

    Years ago my son wanted a messenger bag for his school books. Messenger bags were $30-40, and I couldn’t qualify spending that. I found a messenger bag for $.99 with a small silly business logo. I went and picked up a HUGE patch to cover it ($7, but it was Invader Zim), and everyone begged him to know where he got it from.

  17. Gina Shar says:

    P.S. With all the money you saved maybe you can buy a new sewing machine…until you find your Featherweight, check out the Brother CS6000i. I bought one for my “little” sister and she LOVES it…and it’s practically thrift store priced on that big “Am….” retailer we all love for books….

  18. Carol-Anne says:

    I love thrift stores! My best purchase to-date was a 5 quart, white Le Creuset dutch oven (like brand new)for $6 and matching small fry pan for $3! I could not believe my luck!

  19. stephanie says:

    My heart stopping thrift store finds are too numerous to mention. I have been thrifting all of my life (thank you Mom!) And have a bit of an addiction.
    The crowds in the thrift stores are definitely changing in comparison to years ago when the stores smelled like urine.
    Don’t let the cat out of the bag Karen– jeez, it’s like a code of honor!

  20. Beckie says:

    I body blocked people at an estate sake to claim a set of dishes I had been coveting for years

    to be clear…these were most definitely a *want* and not a ~need~

    but they HAD to come live with ME! 😀

    $400 set of dishes for $65

    go me!

  21. Laura Bee says:

    Love the pot! I found four small Canadian made copper pots last fall on half price day. Tags still attached – paid about $12. They had probably hung on someone’s kitchen wall since their wedding day. So sad.
    The bigger ones we use all the time. I saved the tiny 2′ pot & 4′ pan and they are going into my daughter’s play kitchen I’m building for Christmas.

  22. Darlene says:

    Karen – Can you tell me what font the words “thrift store” is please??

  23. Kim Merry says:

    You found some great stuff!!! I love thrift stores, when my dh and I go to other towns I always try to find a thrift store to check out. Right now I am on the look for Christmas plates to decorate my kitchen. They are usually less than a dollar!
    I also snatch up old Mason Jars! People don’t know what they are missing!

  24. Kim Merry says:

    I forgot to say my best find. It was from a garage sale. I quilt and I am always looking for scraps. I found a big tin (like popcorn comes in at Christmas) that said quilt scraps $3.00, I pop the lid for a fast look and bought it. When I got home I found 2 old quilt tops and enough pieced blocks for 2 more quilts!!!!!!

  25. Erin says:

    My mom and I LIVE for thrift stores – she has her own resale shop, and is able to take the inexpensive, but TOTALLY cool things she finds in Goodwill, resale shops, and thrift stores, make them her own, and then sell them for a profit…I just like the absolutely amazing things that I can find!!!

    In fact, this past weekend I found a vintage infant scale…I know how that sounds – dude infant scale? – but it’s absolutely the coolest thing that I’ve found in the past 6 months!! and it was ONLY $8!! $8!!!!! Mint condition, cleaned up, and painted in-your-face red – it’s going to look divine on my kitchen counter!! I’m all in a bother just thinking about it!!

  26. Sarah says:

    I LOVE that you LOVE thrift shops!!! I have had amazing finds: a large arisan tooled leather handbag $8 (retail $400); 3 or 4 vintage leather jackets in mint condition, never more than $35 a piece; authentic western cowboy boots (fit JUST RIGHT) $18; and so much more. And yes, shove, poke, elbow, tackle…whatever it takes to get that great item in YOUR cart!

  27. DzynByJules says:

    Don’t forget the flea markets too, (or down south this way, a.k.a. “the Jockey Lot”) I just paid $10 for a Renelli concertina accordion that usually sell for about $175 on line. Now I have to find someone to give me lessons so the cats don’t run around like they’re possessed when I bust that baby out to play it! Great post Karen, much love from your devoted non-hoity-toity fan, Jules

  28. New Tommy Hilfiger sweater with the $55 price tag still on it at Goodwill…..$4.95. I just can’t remember who I got it for.

  29. Magpie says:

    I bought a teak midcentury sofa and chair at the sally ann at the corner of my street that is generally not worth combing ($20 & $15). My mom had the cushions reupolstered for me one xmas in black linen. Beautiful lines, and precious wooden scoops for arms.
    I also bought there a midcentury teak entertainment sort of unit that’s sort of modular and has a built in desk, magazine display, shelves, spot for a small tv, etc. It was $20 and I talked them down to $10! Normally they don’t barter, but furniture was non-returnable, and it was in a state of disassembly and it was hard to tell if everything was there to make it work, or what it would even look like in the end. I was beside myself when I put it all together! Unfortunately I’ve been a bit rough on it. *gloat* Gloat *gloat*

  30. Nicole2 says:

    Looove the thrifts! I got a beautiful Pottery Barn silver-plated julep cup for $6. They retail for around $30! And the furniture! Lotsa furniture. Yes, it’s all about the thrill of the hunt. And value.

  31. OMG LOVE LOVE that copper pot..seriously jealous…oh and LOVE thrift stores.

  32. Thera says:

    Love thrift stores, dollar stores and yard sales!
    Best recent purchases:
    Antique egg basket (I always admired yours Karen) $0.50
    White metal Victorian looking decorative bird cage $3.00
    Solid wood, 6 drawer vanity with a gorgeous tilting mirror $5.00
    Solid wood secretary desk $10.00

  33. Ah…thrift stores…just the mention of them makes me want to hit the circuit today. In fact I think I will! I up-purpose t-shirts and picture frames for my nature prints. I have a large barn that I have filled with great items from thrift stores. I need to sell stuff so I can go buy more!!!

  34. deb says:

    How about 2 knarlie (technical term for yukky) looking blackish (technical term for aged patina)rings for 10c each? Cleaned them up to find the markings…solid 14K!!!
    I’m a shifty thrifty pushy shoving grabby proud to be an American descendant of some fine Canadian thrift store warriors!!!

    • Spelling Police says:

      (Technically, it’s “Gnarly”, with a “g”, and a “y”–but only if you’re going to be technical and all…)

  35. Ann says:

    I adore thrift stores. I have gotten some of the best deals at the ones here locally. I recently bought a gently worn Lord& Taylor wool jacket for 3 bucks. Lots of good unworn stuff too for next to nothing. I constantly buy good china plates to break up for mosaics. I have no problem going to just about any kind of resale shop. But there are a few that are just to seedy for me. That’s OK. There are still plenty of great places that I feel safe in.

  36. erin says:

    I found a “Big Dave’s Fish Caller” for my dad @ a thrift store this year. It’s hilarious! Basically packaged like anything in a retail outfitter store, but inside the box is a small funnel, plastic hose and a kazoo. He’s gonna love it!

  37. Tricia says:

    Don’t forget about the other stuff that maybe you’re grandma wouldn’t be caught dead with but that you can turn into some other amazing, beautiful or functional work of art! I {heart} thrifty!

  38. cred says:

    I had purchased a set of silver plated water goblets from Goodwill for Halloween decor and my husband was smitten. He didn’t know why but he just loved them- perhaps because it harkens to time when things were made with quality. But they are small and impractical for manly use.
    He asked me to look for a silver tankard (which he could put to good use). Not expecting to find one in the thrift shop any time soon, I searched online. But $40-$50 for a new one, I decided to wait. And 2 weeks ago I found a sheffield rose silver tankard for $6 at Goodwill. I was so thrilled- thanks for a chance to brag about our finds when no one around us is much interested in our 2nd-hand deals- hoity toity, indeed!

  39. Ruth says:

    Grrr…. no thrift stores here. That settles it, you’ve convinced me… I’m moving to Canada. Canadian Embassy, here I come! 😀

    • Karen says:

      LOL. Yes, but with thrift comes drift. As in snow drifts. Pretty much wherever you go. Although … I spose you could move to Vancouver and at least not get a lot of snow. ~ karen!

      • Ruth says:

        I have a six-year-old son who thinks snow is the coolest thing since sliced bread and would dearly love to make contact with said snow drifts….. that’s one more vote right there. Seems the election is rigged against poor hubby. 🙂

        Seriously though… it would nice to experience a place where low prices are not married to a ‘Made in China’ label. *wistful sigh*

  40. ARod says:

    Lol great post and great finds

  41. Debbie says:

    I have been shopping at thrift stores for years. I probably would not have been able to survive raising two sons as a single parent without thrift stores,consignment shops, yard sales and flea markets.
    I actually liked it better when more folks were hoity-toity! The trend which has now taken over makes the deals harder to find. We can’t even find a place to park in the Goodwill parking lot on Saturdays.I recommend that the hoity toity stay away until they need to donate!

  42. J9 says:

    Guess I need to get off my lazy butt and venture further than Value Village eh.

  43. Jenni says:

    I heart thrift & junk stores…they r my fave…guess I like the hoity toity’s throw aways!

  44. Beth says:

    Three Fire King Jadeite coffee mugs for 50 cents each. That was probably my best thrift store find, it’s hard to top that one.

  45. Tracey says:

    One of my favorite things to do is poke around in thrift stores….a few months ago I came home with at least 10 boxes and bags of really, really, really old glass Christmas ornaments….spent the rest of the day sorting through and admiring them. Some are works of art….and some of the boxes still had price tags from the store….$.69/box of 12. Almost felt guilty for scooping them all up, and not leaving a few for others….almost 🙂

  46. Deb J. says:

    Looks like I am not alone. Can’t pass a thrift shop without dropping in. Finds over the years include silver candlesticks, a silver platter, a silver pitcher, vases, tablecloths, napkins, etc etc.. Even yarn to use for felted bowls and other knitting/crochet projects. But my best find EVER!! was some china. I fell in love with a teacup my mother had when I was a preteen (think bellbottoms and long straight hair). I over the years I looked in every shop I went to looking for more. Never found a piece. When eBay arrived I finally found some and between eBay and a china old pattern place, I scraped together 4 place settings. Figured I would stay at that. Waaaay too expensive to buy more. Then one day I dropped into my local VV. I nearly fainted. They had 11 place settings (minus cups – bummer). And at VV prices! I had looked for this stuff for over 40 years and here was the mother lode – cheap. I grabbed it all. And it cost less than one of the dinner plates I bought on eBay. If I hadn’t been a thrifter before, that would have converted me. Only one problem – can’t resist a thrift store and may have to open one myself soon:)

  47. Cathy says:

    I need shopping lessons! I never see antiques at the thrift shops. I am probably also not patient enough. I love the antique crocks.

  48. Netmiff says:

    I’ve had a few bargains, most recently I sat on a couch until someone came to me because I was not giving it up – and I had my $25 in hand! Then there were the two really ugly lamps – Mason jars painted in a rally kitschy hunter green with pink country hearts; once I ditched the mason jars, and put the lamp guts in 2 whisky cartons that were covered in one leather-look gift bag from the dollar store, I felt I could splurge $25 on lampshades for them. Oh, yeah, the original mason jars were $1.99 each, and included plugs and switches…

  49. Cindi says:

    And if you want to think about it or aren’t sure — PUT IT IN YOUR CART WHILE YOU FINISH SHOPPING. LOL
    I seriously love thrifting. My favorite score this week was a Butter Bell for keeping butter spreadable on the counter. I have been wanting one for years. Website prices start at $20 — my price .99

  50. I would also like to mention that a bargain doesn’t always have to be found in a thrift store. I am a huge bargain hunter,and it’s my motto to incorporate that as well as show my clients that it does not have to cost a lot to look good in your home! Besides there is truly something way more gratifying finding a deal rather then just paying the price because you can!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Optionally add an image (JPEG only)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

The Art of Doing Stuff