I was thrift store shopping long before TikTok made it a thing. As a teenager, I haunted the local thriftstores, looking for used Levi’s so I wouldn’t have to break them in myself. In my early 20’s I was a waitress in a bar, and the management required us to wear dresses. I didn’t own dresses. I couldn’t afford to buy dresses. So once again the thrift store came through, providing me with a whole wardrobe of awesome vintage 40’s and 50’s house dresses. All throughout my life I have furnished homes, decorated rooms, and clothed kids with the help of antique stores, Goodwill, Salvation Army and vintage clothing stores.
Not only does buying used save you money, it is also good for the planet. Studies show that the average American tosses out 81 pounds of clothing every single year. Add all that up and it can be equivalent to 26 billion pounds of textiles that end up in landfills! Reduce, recycle, reuse is not just a catchy slogan, it is a necessity if we want to save our planet.
When I go thrift store shopping I go up and down every single aisle. You never know what treasures you might find and the thrill I get from unearthing that perfect, eclectic, unusual piece will never be matched through mall shopping. So although I love TJ Maxx and World Market as much as the next person, there are certain items that I never buy new.
Seriously, the amount of martini glasses, shot glasses, highball glasses, pint glasses, wine goblets, and beer mugs at my local Goodwill is staggering! Whether you want to outfit an entire bar cart, or just need something for your evening glass of wine, you will find it at the thrift store. I don’t really have room for any more glassware, but if I find a vintage piece rimmed in gold, I will buy it. (I have amassed a rather impressive collection of mismatched, gold-rimmed barware.)
Novelty mugs with kitschy sayings (Coffee Now, Wine Later. My House, My Rules, My Coffee), matching sets of six, dainty china cups and saucers, handmade pottery mugs; they can all be found at the thrift store,, usually at a price of .99 to 1.99. Tip: If you see a mug you like, make sure and turn it over to check the maker's mark. I found a beautiful gold-rimmed (again!) mug that was hand signed Sberna Deruta Italy on the bottom. A quick Google search showed that it was from one of the most important factories in Deruta, which is famous the world over for their lovely handmade Italian ceramics.
The first piece I purchased when decorating my townhouse was a 3 ft x 4 ft original oil on canvas painting of an island maiden. Although it is unsigned, it certainly evokes the spirit of Paul Gauguin’s Tahitian women. It is a real statement piece, and since it was 50% off day at my local Goodwill, I got it for $3.50!
These are great for spicing up boring kitchen walls. Again, check the back. I found a beautiful hand painted plate that was signed Altin Gini handmade, Kütahya - Turkey. I bought it because it was beautiful, but a search of the maker’s mark showed similar plates selling for as much as $150 on Etsy. My price? $1.99.
Whether you prefer silky nightgowns, matching sets, or (like me) lean toward oversized tee shirts and flannel pajama bottoms, thrift stores are a great place to find sleepwear. Tip: Men’s boxers make great summer pajama bottoms and often come with pockets! Tip 2: Check the lingerie section for slips and nightgowns that can serve as sexy slip dresses.
You can't go wrong with thrifting!
The list of amazing things that I have found when thrift shopping goes on and on. Vintage Levi’s 501’s, a designer label Calvin Klein maxi dress, a Ungaro Uomo calfskin jacket, a pale blue leather Diane Von Furstenberg jacket that never fails to get noticed when I wear it. So do yourself (and the planet) a favor and go thrift shopping today!