Remember When?

DIY Decorating ideas using thrift store items.

Fridays in blogland can get a little quiet. Everyone is ready for the weekend. Me, included. :-)

Even with my readiness to close up my computer, I always like to share something different with you on Friday.  Sometimes it can be a list of my favorite things, a fabulous project done by another blogger, an inspiring read, a round-up, or an Insta-Style. Today I am going to add a new category to this Friday posting list.

Thrift store junking treasure hunting

Remember back in the early days of DIY Home Decor and Lifestyle blogs when it was popular to post about thrift store hauls and the decorative repurposing plans for the treasures found?

I miss those early days and the inspiration I came away with after reading a thrift store find post. Do you miss and enjoy them, too?

As much as I love new items to decorate my home, the thrill of the hunt to find treasure on the cheap is a past-time I always find enjoyable and very rewarding. I like that I can take a forlorn castaway and give it new life, but best of all I love that I am able to give it my own style.  Thrifting allows me to use my creativity and become a designer of merchandise, creating exactly what I want with some DIY skills.

Shopping in general these days is more accessible than ever before. With a swipe and a click on your phone or computer you have a package heading straight to your door.  I love this way to shop, but I also miss getting to chat with the people face to face that I meet while out shopping. Thrift stores are one place I find kindred spirits who love to chat about what they found and how they plan to use it.


When I lived in Pennsylvania, I had many large, well stocked and organized thrift stores nearby. I found many gems to decorate my house over the years by keeping my eyes and mind open as I browsed the aisles.

Since moving to South Carolina I have three small thrift stores nearby. I made it my mission this week to find more in nearby towns.  Many are only open a few hours a week so I had to plan ahead.

I am glad I did. I went to 2 thrift stores and found what I was looking for and then some… all for a total cost of: $16.50

Albert Einstein quote about creativity

As a blogger I realize that what I find, you may not be able to find the exact same thing, but what is more important to share is what can be created with an open mind and some creativity and a few DIY skills. You can create your own decor to fit your style with your finds.

Thrift store items to repurpose

So here my thrift store haul I found in one shop. I already started to apply painter’s tape to the wood box.

Thrift store finds to repurpose for budget friendly decor

I found these two items in the second shop I went to.

I have plans for all of the items in my haul today.  The only item that I will keep just as is, is the gold acorn and the blue pitcher.  I plan to place the acorn on top of a stack of books on my coffee table in the fall.

I will post about all the transformations these items take on as I finish each one.

What do I look for when I go thrift store shopping?

Sometimes I am looking for something in particular, like today I was looking for a piece of round marble. I found it on the cheese board in the first photo of the items I bought. Most of the time I just go in with an open mind looking for classic shapes and items that will stand the test of time. The woven base in the photo above is broken off of something, useless to many, but I know my decorating style and this woven texture fits right in. I know I can use it to create something else. You will see it this Wednesday.

For more tips on how to really shop a thrift store to find the best items, click over to this post.

Decorating With Thrift Store Finds

When was the last time you found a treasure at the thrift store?  What did you find and what did you do with it?

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  1. Diane,
    What good thrift stores did you find that are close by? I have four in Chapin. I have had to limit my trips and trade off — because I have too much “stuff” coming in and not enough out.

  2. So glad you posted this. I was just talking with my sister the other day about how long it has been since we thrifted. I can’t get enough of thrifted DIY projects. They are so inspiring and just plain fun to see how people can transform items. Look forward to see what projects you come up with. Thanks for sharing.

  3. You have inspired me to go thrift store shopping again. Not that I need a thing but such FUN!

  4. Impact Thrift got sold to a different (for-profit, boo) group and isn’t quite the same, but the other local shops are still fun to browse. Both my winter coats (the long black wool one and the parka) came from thrift stores for $20 each. My best score ever was a serger (specialized sewing machine) from our church rummage sale. I’ve made an entire wardrobe of knitwear thanks to that machine. And with my trusty Dremel, I turned a $3 wooden salad bowl into a yarn bowl, following instructions found on Pinterest!

    1. Hi Jan – So sad to hear about Impact. I got a lot of great stuff in the store. Is 2nd Avenue still around? Church yard sales are the best… and retirement homes, too. They have great shops inside that are not advertised. I found this out when my parents and Ed’s mom lived at different retirement communities in Bucks and Montgomery counties.

  5. HI Diane, I love thrift store posts! Our church had a winter Rummage Sale this weekend, and I found a pretty little bowl with a Marjolean Bastin bird painted on it I love her artwork. I also found some jewelry–one piece may be a gift for my daughter, one I may use for a project, but it is in a theme I collect (hearts, made of wood) , and one was just for fun, a giraffe pin that reminds me of my time in Africa.. I’m not the DIY genius that you are, so my finds are often used as is, or maybe with a touch of paint, but I love to see the things that people come up with!

  6. Hi Diane, I have been following your blog for a few years and love everything you do. We are considering moving to Lake Murray and wonder if you would mind answering a few questions? Thank you in advance for your time.

  7. My sister and I planned a trip to a small town near wisconsin with plenty of antique stores. Years ago there was an old barn there just filled with all kinds of treasures.
    Also, at a senior center thrift store, I found the most beautiful and colorful set of lunch plates.
    Treasure hunting is so much fun. Thank you for the reminder and your lovely article.

    1. Hi Barbara – I have found that senior retirement homes have the best thrift shops. Both the communities where my mother-in-law and my parents lived had a thrift shop inside. They were not advertised so only people that spent anytime around the retirement homes knew about them. They get great stuff as sadly the residents pass away and their families don’t need most of the contents of their apartments.. it all goes to the thrift shop. I have gotten great deals. It is worth a call to see if any in your area have a shop inside.

  8. Diane, can’t wait to see what you do with your finds! I love going to our local thrift stores and find some incredible things that others have no use for. I also used to go garage saling with my husband. That was our together time with an activity that we both enjoyed.

  9. I so love going into thrift stores! I call it treasure shopping because what was somebody’s trash could easily be my treasure. Good for you, Diane!

  10. Goodness! I am inspired by your blog. It’s been awhile since I’ve been thrifting. I must get back. I can’t wait to see what you’ve done with your latest finds.

  11. When I was switching from plastic Tupperware to glass containers in my home, I found tons of glass items at our thrift stores. But many times Homesense (Homegoods in the US) offer plates, bowls and cups at such great prices that I’m not really saving money by buying those items at the thrift store.

    1. Hi Holly – I agree with you that stores like HomeGoods have become the place for “New” treasures. I would be sad to not have a HomeGoods near me, but I love thrift stores as they are where you can find a $5 piece of furniture to makeover, stuff that they just don’t make anymore, or for parts to use for to create your own items. I need both stores in my life to be happy. :-)

  12. Love thrifting and need to get back into it!!! I am excited to see your inspiration

  13. I have to be honest. Three of my favorite bloggers have recently moved into new homes. I am loyal, but I am getting a bit tired of all the new home remodeling stuff almost to the exclusion of anything else. I love repurposing and upcycling. Please do more of this!!! Love, love it.

    1. Hi Carol –
      Just like you, I am seeing this shift to sharing only new stuff on blogs to buy for a home along with perfect everything. I miss the old days of blogging when creativity was everywhere. I love new just as much as anyone, and did just buy a new lamp for my living room, but only after I could not find the look I was after at a thrift store.

      As another reader mentioned, writing about new items is lucrative for bloggers since we can affiliate link to the product and make a little money. Not so when you write about thrift store finds. I will mixing it up going forward sharing thrift store goodies as well as new stuff from time to time. Thanks for reading my blog.

  14. I love thrifting and repurposing as well. I learned as a child from my mother and now my oldest (my youngest does not see the charm!) daughter loves to thrift — possibly more than I. This post is just one of the many reasons I love your blog Diane. I know we could be BFF if you didn’t live so far away :)

    1. Hi Mary –

      Both my daughter’s enjoy going thrifting. I took them so many times when they were little, it is just simply what you do in life. :-) Since the we don’t live close to each other, the next best thing is that we are online BFF’s. XO

  15. Glad to see that you are bringing back the thrift store finds and your transformation plans for them. I love thrift store shopping, but just haven’t had the time to do it lately.

    Would you mind sharing the names and places of the thrift stores that you have found? I live in Northeast Columbia and the only places that I have found are Roundabouts Consignment store on the corner of Two Notch Road and Polo Road and a couple more just down the road in Elgin on Highway 1/Two Notch Rd. I need to do some more exploring!

  16. My daughter and her hubby go thrift storing at least once a month. It’s their fun day out.

  17. I am thrilled you are going to bring back posts about thrifting. Before Thanksgiving last year, one of my sons requested an old family favorite…orange jello with mandarin oranges. I had donated my jello molds, thinking I wouldn’t use them again…dumb. So off to the thrift store I went in search of a jello mold. And lo and behold they had three to choose from…I chose wisely. It wasn’t just any jello mold either….it was one exactly like the one I had donated five years ago or so. It was $2…I was thrilled! My son was the first to notice saying….isn’t that just like the old one? I’m keeping this one forever! Btw….the jello was a hit too! ;)

  18. Love your blog and the haul you found this week at the thrift stores. I hope you do more thrift store finds and the “afters” of them also, they’re my all time favorite! I love to get ideas and see what wonderful things people turn them into!

  19. I have been thrifting forever. Long before it was cool. These are my favorite types of posts. I enjoy seeing what treasures others find and what they do with them.

  20. As a joke I often say that we have our own “thrift store” at home because we are surrounded by a lot of stuff handed down by my in-laws, aunts and uncles. Joking aside, I LOVE to go to thrift stores but my husband, not so much! He usually does not see the hidden potential of some items the way I do. Until last week…
    The other day, I noticed we had 2 empty cabinets in the basement that were collecting dust .When I asked my husband where they came from, he said that they used to be in his parents’ dining room. When I looked closer, I noticed their style was mid-century modern! I looked for a similar style of furniture on the Internet and found that I could turn them into sideboards. I immediately ordered hairping legs from a local workshop. I cleaned the cabinets, used teak oil to put some shine back, installed the legs and we have 2 “new” dashing sideboards. Even my husband can’t believe how good they look. We gave them to my youngest daughter for her apartment. A lot of young people are into MCM nowadays. She is thrilled to have something from her grandparents and I guess she saw first hand that you do not always need to buy something new and shiny.
    I truly believe in giving a second life to items and I’m glad there are bloggers like you out there to remind us! It’s always a pleasure to read your blog.

  21. I was SO happy to see this post about thrift-store treasure hunting. It’s something I truly love to do! I enjoy repurposing/makeover projects & seeing how others transform their treasures. Thanks!

  22. I love the thrill of the hunt:) Sometimes I find something and sometimes I don’t. Love your ideas

  23. I’m delighted to see this topic revisited. When I lived in Philadelphia, there were a plethora of shops to visit. Here in Florida, it mostly clothing and children’s items. My favorite find from PA was an end table in perfect condition for $15. Here in FL, I scored a patio bar table from someone’s trash. I repainted it & sold it for $75.

    Hope to see more thrifty finds and repurposing

  24. HI Diane,
    I Love thrifting and would love to see you post about what you do with your treasures. I miss those posts on blogs!! Thanks

  25. Going to second hand stores, I have found is my get away place. A place I don’t have to think about anything, sometimes I wonder where an item might have lived before someone discarded it….almost like if this item could only talk. Thank you for posting on Friday, I have found so many bloggers I follow have not got back into regular schedule of posting since 2018. Reading blogs are another thing that gIves me my time like second hand stores. Thanks Diane,

  26. Great finds, Diane! You know until I started blogging, it had been decades since I stepped foot in a charity shop (as thrift stores are called across the pond). Now, I’m always in them and I have found some amazing treasures. Most of our shops are not as well stocked as yours selling mainly clothes, kids’ toys and bric-a-brac. However, I have managed to seek out a few larger places that sell furniture and by far my greatest find was a beautiful, lead glass corner unit (hutch) that was perfect for my Victorian Gothic dining room. It cost me just £10 ($13)! Looking forward to seeing what you do with your treasures. Sue x

  27. I love thrift shopping and have found many treasures over the years! I bought a wooden bread board with no particular plan, but when I decided to try my hand at wood burning this was the perfect piece to use. I created a laurel wreath monogram and gave it as a gift to my delighted niece. I once found a Longaberger basket for 99 cents, a Williams Sonoma bowl for $5, but my biggest coup was a MacKenzie-Child tray for $3! I can’t wait to see what you do with your finds!

  28. Diane,
    Greetings from the upstate. Thank you for your “Thrift Store Friday.” I enjoy seeing what you find, and what you do w it.

    I have been thrifting since the 80s. Between thrift stores and yard sales I was able to find pretty much whatever we needed. As a stay at home mom w 6 children, if I didn’t find it that way – we didn’t need it. :)

    I still love to shop thrift stores, but now I call it my “recreational shopping .”

    That blue pitcher is just like one we have that came to us from my husband’s grandmother. The family sticker on the bottom says “Ma’s milk pitcher.” She lived in Horry county in South Carolina, not far from you.

    Thank you for sharing all you do w us.

    Sue in Clemson (insert orange tiger paw)

    1. Hi Sue! I’m in Pendleton and retired from Clemson! Have you been to Apple Dumplin’s in downtown Anderson? It’s my favorite place now to browse. I just got a beautiful mahogany end table…two tiered with a fluted edge…for $60!

      Love this post Diane! You’ve done discovered my favorite past time! I can’t wait to see what you do with your treasures! Reading everyone’s comments, I think you’ve found a big interest.

  29. As a mom of 3 and soon-to-be-4, I love our local Goodwill. Even though I live in a rural area, I can find all sorts of designer clothes there because of the Goodwill’s distribution processes. My crazy best find happened in the Fall of 2017 when I found a beautiful original painting for $16.99 and later confirmed with the gallery that the painting is actually worth $3,000! It’s beautiful and now the central picture in my living room.

  30. Truth be told, I’ve been shopping at thrift stores since the late 70’s when it wasn’t even “in” and “cool” then. Almost all my home decor and much of my furniture too, is from thrift stores or rummage sales. I use them “as is” or paint them to suit my style.

    I too go with an open mind to thrift stores but often I have a particular item I’m searching for too. To avoid buying things I might not need I have recently started asking myself “Do you really love this and have a plan for it, or is it just pretty?” If I think I don’t have a plan or if I can’t say “What am I going to get rid of to make room for this new item?” I leave the item in the store for another person to find as their own treasure. Occasionally I think about the item and say “I wish I would have bought that. Wonder if it’s still at the store?” I might go back and if it’s there, then it’s meant to be :-)

    Latest treasure I’ve gotten at a thrift store is a galvanized oblong bucket with leather handles. I’ve seen similar ones in Hobby Lobby for about $50. I snagged mine for $10 :-) I’m using it to hold magazines in our living room.

    Because I too like to visit with other shoppers, I enjoy that part of “treasure hunting” too. Because I used to be an interior decorator, I’ve helped others find their own treasures at thrift stores while we visit. :-)

  31. I can’t wait to see what you do with your thrifted items! You are so creative. I live near a Goodwill. I mostly buy books, shoes and tops for work. I recently bought a pair of bookends. Not a color I love, but the style is great. I hope to paint them soon. Thinking about a paint I saw that makes things look like concrete. Enjoy your weekend!

  32. We have two “okay” thrift stores in our area… but if I travel another 20 minutes there’s a tiny Goodwill that always has something for me. I LOVE your finds and can’t wait to see how you use them.
    Diane, I totally agree, there seems to be less and less, make do, makeovers. Sure there’s a niche where that is regularly done, but overall, I’m seeing more purchased products because it’s more lucrative.
    I love this post and hope to see more!
    Have a wonderful weekend! xo

  33. I haven’t gone thrift shopping for quite some time now and I need to get back to it. Thanks for the inspiration. I do love the blue pitcher you found. I collect pitchers – not large lemonade sized pitchers, but 6-10″ pitchers of all kinds and types, both old fashioned and modern. Don’t know why I am so obsessed by pitchers but I think it’s the hospitality factor – and one of my favorites, a Japanese hot/cold chocolate server from approx 1950, is quite slim and stands only about 5″ tall. The history of these chocolate servers is interesting – prior to and after WWII, only the wealthy could afford chocolate, so it was consumed in liquid form, and sparingly in thimble-sized cups, hence the small size of the pitcher. You never know what interesting thing you’ll find at a thrift store.

  34. I have that acorn , I’m gonna paint it gold. Thanks for that post.
    I like the pitcher. I bought a hand thrown pitcher at a thrift store. Walked into the house and promptly dropped it. Big score for me , not.