Building a simpler and greener life

My Favorite Thrift Store Finds

My Favorite Thrift Store Finds

This past September, my husband gifted me the one thing I that really wanted for my birthday.

An entire day, alone, to wander through as many second-hand stores, antique stands, and resale shops that I could find. Whaaaaaat?!?!

It was glorious. Thrift shopping fills up my cup by giving me the chance to save money while saving resources by reusing what others don’t need any longer. Plus, I just love scoping out all the unique finds, even if I’m not buying anything.

But there are a few items I’m always on the lookout for.

What I will always stop for at a thrift store - my absolute favorite second hand items that will make me take a second look |

Here’s a short list of what I’ll always stop to take a second look at when I’m at a resale store!

Linen napkins

I made the choice about 2 years ago to switch from using paper napkins (or more often, paper towels) at our dinner table. Not only were we wasting tons of paper, but I realized that we were also throwing money away. For the grand investment of just a few dollars for a set, we now use linen napkins that I’ve collected at flea markets and second-hand stores.

Here’s my mom hack for using linen napkins – grab a set of red napkins to use for pasta night. Trust me. Ours may not match anything in our home, but they save me a ton of frustration at laundry time!


When we first moved into our home, I quickly realized that even though we have a few large windows, there are still a few spots that are consistently a little dark for our liking. And one quick solution to bounce more natural light around a darker room is to add mirrors. Second hand stores often have quality mirrors for sale. So far, I’ve been lucky enough to have scored 3 wood framed mirrors since we’ve moved in. One was painted a funky lavender, but for the $6 it cost me, I didn’t mind spending a few hours stripping, sanding and staining to get the look I wanted.

What I will always stop for at a thrift store - my absolute favorite second hand items that will make me take a second look |

Outdoor pots for plants

My husband has taken up gardening now that we have a bit of green space of our own. He works hard planting and pruning, but it’s been a great stress reliever for him. Gardening can be a bit of an expensive hobby though. The terracotta pots he likes to use along the deck cost more than a few dollars. If I see some large outdoor pots in good shape, I’ll definitely stop and take a second look!

Single chairs

Because sometimes, you just don’t need a full set! Single chairs can fill up a corner, hold a plant or a stack of books. I don’t want to start hoarding chairs, but if they’re well-made or an interesting shape, I’ll always stop and check them out.

What I will always stop for at a thrift store - my absolute favorite second hand items that will make me take a second look |


I have a dream that someday I will find the perfect antique quilt to hang in our home. I have the perfect wall hang it on! Handmade quilts, even second hand ones, can be really pricey, but I’m always on the hunt!

Craft supplies

It’s really not difficult to save money when your stocking up your craft supply stash. Every major craft store puts out new coupons weekly, and you can find a few quality things at the dollar store. But it can be really worth your time to check out what your local thrift stores have, especially if you’re not looking for something specific. I’m always scooping up skein of beautiful yarn for future projects or old wreaths that I can deconstruct just to save their grapevine wreath form.


I will admit that I have a minor basket problem. I’ve got a pretty good collection going right now so I don’t even know what I could use another one for. But if I spy what looks like a sturdy basket from across the store, you can bet I’m going to make a beeline over.

What I will always stop for at a thrift store - my absolute favorite second hand items that will make me take a second look |

I’ve had some really fantastic finds over the years, and sometimes it is really hard to say no to a bargain. But one of the first rules of thrift shopping is that something isn’t a great deal just because it doesn’t cost much. If you’re not going to  use it or if it’s just going to take up space, don’t buy it even if it’s almost free! That’s why this list is really helpful to me. If I have a basic idea of what I actually need / want, I don’t feel pressured to purchase something I can’t use.

Do you have something you’re always on the lookout for at thrift stores?

Do you refinish furniture or love antique linens? What’s your all time greatest second-hand find? I’d love to hear all about it!

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