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. Karol says:

    I shop at a local thrift store that is run by Junior League (THE hoity toities of hoity toitydom) Part of their policy is that members must donate a certain amount of “stuff” in order to continue to be a member, so they are constantly getting in really good “cast-offs”. I buy toys for my grandsons there and have gotten some really cool kitchen stuff. I love to buy things that can be repurposed into something else.

  2. Shauna says:

    Sheesh, you have some awesome thrift stores in your neck of the woods. Usually, the only thing I find at thrift stores worth buying are vases. I would have bought everything you found as well if I had seen them in my local thrift stores.

  3. Bonnie says:

    Purchased an embroidered Talbots sweater with original tags still on it (for 95.00) for $10., less 20% because it was a holiday, at a local Savers store.
    🙂 Still giddy- 3 years later.

  4. Linda says:

    oooh…my passion….Teak kitchen table made in Denmark $15, Teak coffee table $14, sideboard $20, side tables $6, desk $12, various 3 drawer bedside tables, $2-$3..all REAL wood…and then my real fetish, West German pottery and Blue Mountain Pottery from the 50’s,60’s & 70’s. Goodwill seems to have caught on and are charging outrageous prices for these items now. I like my local Salvation Army store, they still have the best prices.

  5. Fawn says:

    This post makes me want to take a day off of work and go thrifting. I love thrift stores and love your blog!

  6. Leah says:

    I agree completely! My sister and I adore thrift stores. I can’t tell you how many wonderful “eureka” …” i have found it”experiences we’ve created. You walk away with a heart full of pride and the slightest smug on your face because you know you were the first to grab this thing of beauty and go right through the door paying little to nothing. I wonder if shoplifters feel the same 🙂

  7. Alex says:

    I live at thrift stores and do a monthly rundown of the stuff I am forced to leave behind b/c my husband is like stop bringing more stuff into our basement!! I love all your finds, especially the cheese box. The best find I had last year was a $49 Danish MCM credenza from the 70’s that’s worth a hell of a lot more than what I paid.

  8. Marion says:

    “This is NOT the time to act Canadian. Push, shove, grab, purchase.”


  9. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    OK..Since I have been a picker for many many years..I could sit here all day and tell you of amazing finds from thrift stores, yard sales, flea markets and any place with bargains in many states..One of the best I ever got in a Goodwill was an old Oxford cabinet made in Oxford Pa and similar to a Hoosier..When I saw the $50.00 price tag I almost tripped and fell trying to get to the register to pay for it..It is sitting here in front of me now and I am still pleased with that deal!!..Hoity Toity does not go with digging through piles and boxes of stuff..don’t want to mess up those pretty

  10. Pilar says:

    i havent read anything about flea markets. do you have any in canada? or have you other names to call them? I have sold and bought diverse pieces on those markets. you have there also the opportunity to meet the most diverse people and have really funny and interesting conversations.

  11. candace says:

    Haha! In addition to “push, shove, grab, purchase,” I would also add “obscure or conceal.” This is for furniture items mostly…

    I turned an aisle in the thrift shop one day to find 2 matching, excellently upholstered mid-century chairs, and immediately PANICKED, because I knew I would have to somehow claim them until I could arrange for my guy to come with a truck to transport them. So, you know, you have to sprawl your coat/purse/body over them so no one can swoop ’em.

  12. Annie says:

    I bought a pair of jeans from a thrift store once that had $60 in the pocket!

  13. Melanie says:

    I’ve been thrifting for a solid ten years now (I’m only 22 so this is a large hunk of my life) and I am frequently boasting my finds. “Oh this gorgeous dress? $3.” “Yes I do have an impressive book collection. And if you figure that I get them for about $1-$2 a book, I get 12-15 books for every one you pick up new at the book store.” Speaking of which, thrift stores are GREAT for picking up bestsellers and classics, since those are the ones more people buy, therefore those are the ones more people donate.

    I worked at anthropologie for two years and thrift stores saved my budget from being squandered on anthro clothes. I would go to the thrift store on half off day twice a month, spend $40 and leave with a TRASHBAG of cool work clothes. I always had unique amazing outfits and I never broke the budget. In fact, that $40 would only buy me ONE top from anthro. Instead it dressed me for the whole month.

  14. Sue says:

    There are some people that just have a knack for ferreting out the really *good* stuff-my husband’s cousin has an amazing knack for spotting the coolest things ever. I wish I shared it, but at least I occasionally benefit from it.
    After seeing Karen’s silver pitcher I spent months looking for one. I’ve now got a silver plated coffee pot, a silver plated teapot that tarnishes if you look at it crosswise (and it’s hard not to look at it crosswise when you realize how fast it tarnishes) and even a non-usuable but cool looking pewter-lead kettle. I also made the discovery that goodwill has their very own auction website where various goodwills put what they consider to be their “good stuff”. Not as cheap as the stores but you can thrift and auction shop at 3am in your jammies…and they SHIP-and it’s cool to see some of the amazingly awesome stuff that gets donated. The real thrift stores around here are kind of a mixed bag. Some are nice, some not so much, some are overpriced, too.

  15. Emily says:

    My top two tips: 1.) Put it in your cart, even if you’re not sure. You can always put it back or even tell the cashier you don’t want it. Don’t give in to the idea that you’ve committed simply because you’ve touched it. 2.) You can often pay for something, have them mark it paid, and pick it up later.

  16. Liz says:

    Charity run thrift shops are the best because if you ever start to think that you are buying rather frivolously you can always remind yourself that you’re donating to a good cause. And if you don’t end up using the things you bought, well you can always re-donate them.

  17. beth says:

    OMG that pot made me drool. I asked for more copper pots from santa! And I would have tackled you for it! Great Find!

  18. Kellyrae says:

    My motto is “it’s not what you spend it’s what you save” – I am constantly showing off my thrift store finds. When I was pregnant with my first son I would book off the days the Value Village 50% sale and load up on name brand clothing for him – I would say no less than 80% of his clothing has come from 2nd hand stores. I think my best find was a solid walnut sideboard (painted a horrid brown) for $20 from a garage sale. I moved to a small town a couple of years ago and immediately looked up the local Salvatoin Army – I hit it so often that the ladies all know me and my 3yr old – his cuteness and my appreciation for their hard work is often recipricated at the checkout. Plus they have a frequent shopper card $10 = 1 stamp, 10 stamps = $10 and “fill a bag for $10 sales” – SCORE!! I actually have a storage shed rented for our extra odds and sods, but mainly it’s my hideout for items until I can sneak them into my home! ~ love the post k

  19. GwenDee says:

    Love the thrift stores and garage sales. You can find things you want (if you are patient) and keep things out of the landfills.

  20. maureen mcgraw says:

    I so enjoy your posts. Not only are your ideas, projects and advice great, I really appreciate your sense of humor. I look forward to reading your posts ,knowing I will hve a good chuckle.

  21. I am wondering where exactly You shop Karen as I can never find really great stuff at my local VV Boutique (Value Village). I am in Flamborough and they ahve a good selection of clothes, esp kids clothes, and a decent amount of books but not so much home goods.

  22. TorontoThriftBoy says:

    Karen, what you say is absolutely true! There have been occasions where I’ve discovered a snazzy item in a thrift or dollar store and rather than biting the bullet and picking it up, I’ve let my mind simmer on the thought of buying it. As usual, when my mind finally stopped pondering on the issue and summons my limbs to action, unfortunately the item is gone, gone, gone! It just happened to me this weekend actually! So, if you really like an item at the very least carry it with you in the store until your brain makes a decision on the issue. Incidentally, is that a planted lavender in the antique cheeze box! It appears that you are a winter gardener I see! 🙂

  23. Marti says:

    Could you please show me how to determine if the copper pot is made by Mauviel? I really want a Mauviel pan, but have no intention of paying $500. (Although I bought a Piqua Cast Iron Dutch oven [aka “The Cauldron” around Halloween time] in Goodwill last year for $14.00; found same online for $275.)

    You did this post just so you could show us the Mauviel pan you found in a thrift store, didn’t you? You can tell us, Karen.

    • Karen says:

      Well yes. That was the whole point of the post! I took the pot into my local kitchen store and they identified it for me. The handle was the giveaway. Also, there are few copper pot makers in france, and the pot also has a Made in France stamp near the base of the handle on the pot. Although it’s in French, not english. ~ k!

      • Marti says:

        Ha! Well, good, now that you’ve identified your great find and what the “tell” of that particular manufacturer is, maybe I’ll have half a chance to find one. The “show me your great Thrift store finds” call goes out after the first of the year?

  24. Becca C. says:

    I’m a super consigner and most of my closet is full of used clothing and I’m totally okay with that.

  25. LisaF says:

    I love thrift store shopping but want to tell you about my trip to an estate sale…..loading my car by garage, seller told me stuff in corner was free. There was an old toaster on top of a big tree stump and I asked if tree stump was free….sure. Loaded it in my car and am making your tree stump table!

  26. Bonnie Cramond says:

    I love thrift stores, flea markets, garage sales, Goodwill, Salvation Army, Consignments shops, etc. BUT, I cannot stand sewing. It takes too much time away from shopping and other fun things.

  27. kelliblue says:

    I LOOOVE thrifting and like to boast about how much I *haven’t* spent! I’ve discovered that the best stuff is found in thrift/resale stores in the better parts of town (obviously). I found a pair of Ralph Lauren pants for $4, three all-leather Wilson purses for $12 ea; a pair of Pliner couture boots for $15, and a YSL jacket for $7. Not to mention myriad household goodies, jewelry, purses, pictures, kitchenware…best of all an old fashioned wood baby gate to keep my 2 kitties from killing each other. 🙂 Our dollar stores may suck compared to yours, Karen, but put me in any thrift store and I’ll dig up a gem!

  28. Jodie says:

    Hilarious! Made my morning.

  29. Claudine says:

    “This is NOT the time to act Canadian.” Heh, heh, heh.
    I’ve always called them Allen wrenches.
    I am more envious than you will ever know of your Mauviel pot find. Damn! Good for you.

  30. saf affect says:

    I live for thrifting! It is hands down one of my favourite pastimes. The thrill of the hunt for quality at a great price. Not to mention the environment reuse factor. My fav thrifty finds is an MCM silver ring…for $10!

  31. Karen,

    I’ve been really enjoying your blog lately (reading through all the posts.) and wanted you to know I linked to this post, as I have a blog that is solely focused on Thrift store finds:

    Keep up the great work!

  32. Nicki says:

    I LOVE thrift stores! About 99% of my and my husband’s clothing comes from thrift stores, and you would never know it. We wear name brand clothing, in style, and of course get it for a fraction of the cost. I have found Coach purses in perfect condition, Burberry sweaters, and my latest favorite find – a pair of brand new birkenstock shoes for $3.50! I had been wanting a pair since I was a teenager, and now finally own them! Our home is also decorated with thrift store and yard sale finds, and we get lots of compliments on it. I don’t understand how people can pass over such wonderful shops – but that just means more for us!

  33. Lee Ann says:

    Our daughter is getting married in Aug/2013 and is picking out the centerpieces for the reception tables at thrift stores…the guests will be able to take them home…she’s very talented and they are so nice…pitchers, book arrangements, … very ingenious

    • Key says:

      The Hoity Toity of the world are really our dearest friends if you think about it. They go and purchase best,use it for only half a season, then donate it for a tax slip, and it becomes our treasures. “I just love em”. So more power to the Hoity Toity of the world. Keep those great finds coming. lol
      Karen you blog is wonderful by the way. I stumbled in here and I can’t seem to find the exit. You idea’s are wonderful .. tysm for sharing

  34. Best thrift finds says:

    I have thrifted for many years . I live one mile from a goodwill so some days I go two times. Best finds complete sterling silver tea service 1/2 price day 17.50 yes $17.50. Tarafri bird paradise necklace 7.50 sold for 500.00 vicuña coat 7.00 sold 500.00 recently bought a leather sofa made for marshal fields 120.00 keeping too much to mention. I love junking as I call it . Happy thrifting

  35. Connie says:

    So jealous of the LeCreuset…have been looking for years…

  36. Akeelah says:

    I dropped by a yard sale where I bought 2 Le Creuset pieces. The woman selling them had gotten an entire set, but never found reason to use these pieces, so I got a small Dutch oven and a sauce? Pan with a lid that doubles as a small fry pan with the white enamel inside for $7 total. TBH, the prices in the thrift stores are rising fast, so I’ve decided this spring to go back to garage and yard sale shopping.

  37. Melanie says:

    I’m convinced that my local thrift shops are being shopped out. So packed all the time. Makes me sad, but I have scored big in the past. I also find they keep raising the prices on books (so much that it’s almost cheaper to buy them online). Crazy.

  38. cheryl seals says:

    I LOVE your mantra; PUSH,SHOVE,GRAB,PURCHASE..I to am a thrift store shopper! My idea is those who stick their noses at it are losing out and more stuff for those of us who love it! My closets are full of great clothes & shoes from those places. P.S. gonna try the kitty litter trick on a pair of brand new shoes i got from there that smell..! thx cheryl

  39. Cynthia says:

    We have a Goodwill Outlet here… it is insanity!!! Huge Bins of things just dumped in them. I have found one of those “Scout” dogs from Leapfrog in perfect condition that I gifted to my niece and a Lily Pulitzer bag also in perfect condition…same day….that I gifted to my BFF. A few weeks ago I went and found a vintage tin kids tea set that seriously made me so happy I started sweating thinking someone would see me searching for the other pieces and steal it (I am non-aggressive and have a serious problem with confrontation) from me mid-find. Since you pay by the pound I got all of those things for under a buck-fifty. Whenever, on the rare occasion, that I get to pick what I do during the day it is always going to a thrift store or yard sales… it is what makes me truly happy!!

  40. Susan Dulley says:

    I know this is an old post, but, I just found it…so it is new to me. I am an avid Thrift Store Shopper and reading all of the comments has made me feel like I am part of an Elite Club…A Great Club and one that I have belonged to for years. My Sofa in my Living Room, Ethan Allen, New, donated to the American Cancer Store/Thrift Shop, owner could no longer sit on soft surfaces, had sofa for three months, custom upholstered, absolutely the most beautiful sofa I have ever owned. Ethan Allen price, $1, 699.00. My price $375.00. Nearly everything in my home has been purchased at a Thrift Shop. I am sitting at an Executive Desk, made by the Jasper Desk Company in Illinois. Mint condition, Solid Walnut, Burled Walnut drawer fronts, solid brass drawer pulls, just had it valued by the Jasper Desk Company for insurance purposes. To purchase a new one, exactly like this one, $3,300.00. I paid $100.00. Love, Love, Love thrift shopping. Stiffel Lamp at my right elbow, solid brass, custom Linen Shade, $12.00, mint condition. This entire room is Thrift Shopping finds. Including my new and I mean “still in the original Packing, BeautyRest Mattress, $35.00, sells for $600.00. It is a twin size. Three Kitchen Aid Mixers, each purchased for $35.00 or less, mint condition. I give them as gifts…Janome Serger, used as demo model in Sewing Machine store, all attachments, all training materials, everything, for $35.00….love my home.

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