Upcycling / Recycling Thrift store

Who doesn’t love treasure hunting at the thrift store? You can find all kinds of vintage goodies for your wardrobe and your home, and you can save a ton of money doing it. Check out which things you can get a great deal on by buying used, and a couple of things you really shouldn’t.

Bright, vintage kitchenware

If you’re like most people, you like your kitchenware to match. That makes a lovely setting, but it’s a little monotonous. Check out the thrift store for certain key pieces that can really make your table pop. Whether it’s a centerpiece for the dinner table, a special mug, or a tea pot, there’s always something interesting and unique.

Curtains and draperies

Sometimes you can find draperies that match, or curtains and valances that coordinate without being exactly the same. Give them a good wash, and pick the room in the house they work best in. You can really save a bundle, since new draperies can be terribly expensive.

Light fixtures

Stores like Target and Marshalls have pretty good prices on lamps, but they can’t beat the thrift stores. You can pick up vintage styles, or even new designs that someone else decided didn’t work in their home. You can even get just the lamp shades. If you don’t like the color of the fabric, you don’t have to feel guilty for replacing it with something you like more, which is surprisingly easy to do.


Every time I’m in a thrift store, I see at least a dozen tables in various styles. From dining room tables to end tables, you can get an incredible deal…as long as you have a big enough car to take them away. These items are easy enough to thoroughly clean, just pass on the deal if they don’t pass the sniff test. If they smell like smoke, they will always smell like smoke, so leave that one behind.


In a variety of sizes and shapes, with decorative or plain frames, if you’re looking for a new mirror, the thrift store is the place to go. There are always quite a few to choose from, and the vast majority will be in great condition. For just a couple of bucks, you have a new feature for your room décor, or a new functional piece for the wardrobe.

No-no 1. Pillows

You usually won’t find regular pillows for your bed at a thrift store anyway, but sometimes you’ll find decorative pillows or other throw cushions. Leave these germ bags right where they are! No matter how many times you wash them, any kind of pillows will hold on to bacteria, viruses, dirt, dead skin, and other nasty stuff. Pillows should be replaced in your home yearly anyway. You can wash your own pillows during that year, but bringing someone else’s germy pillows into your home seems kinda gross.

No-no 2. Cutting Board

You never really know the history of the items you get at a thrift store, so you can’t really tell the conditions a cutting board has been kept in. Has it always been washed and dried immediately? Or has it sat for days, or weeks on end, full of chicken juice, letting bacteria seep deeper and deeper into those cuts? It’s worth it to grab your cutting boards new, even if you pick them up at a discount store. The nice wooden or bamboo ones aren’t pricy enough to warrant a thrift store search, so leave these there.

Photo credits: https://www.flickr.com/photos/orinrobertjohn/