Thrifting 101: 5 tips for thrifting vintage




Hi, I’m Liz. I blog over at The Blue Eyed Owl, about all things vintage, handmade and my life as mom, wife and indie business owner. I work out of my home studio, run an online vintage and handmade shop, and participate in various local shows and markets.

I am also a self proclaimed thrifting expert. Digging through other people's old junk, or as I call it, treasure hunting, is my favorite activity. I hit my local thrifts regularly looking for unique vintage treasures for my shop and home. I'm constantly asked how the heck I find such great stuff. Here are my top 5 tips for thrifting vintage.



1. Go where the old folks are.

Skip that nice clean Goodwill near that new master planned community and head for the retirement homes! It's pretty simple, older people have older things. A lot of them don't understand why us young folks want all their old junk either, so they happily donate to their local thrift thinking it's worthless.

2. Check condition.

This is especially true for vintage clothing. Inspect seams, look for stains, make sure all the parts are there, and test it out. Take this advice with a grain of salt though, sometimes the best pieces are rusty and chippy.

3. Use that smart phone.

Diamond in the rough or just rough? Do some research right there in the store to determine the history of a vintage piece. You can find out when a piece was made and how much it's worth in just a few minutes with good ol' Google.



4. Find that secret spot.

There are a couple of local thrifts that are my secret spots. They are always chock full of vintage so I know there aren't any other vintage hunters that frequent them. When you find these spots visit them often. Enjoy your gold mine before someone else discovers it. I would tell you mine, but then I'd have to kill you ;)

5. Look EVERYWHERE.

When I visit a thrift I search in every section. Sizes are always mixed up, sheets are with the skirts, seasonal items are buried under tools, etc. Some of my greatest finds have been in the wrong place so dig, dig, dig. I once found an antique hat form buried in a pile of baskets...true story!

The Blue Eyed Owl
blog // shop 



16 comments:

  1. I love #1! Such a true statement but I never thought of it that way....and if you can find rich old people you are even better off :).

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  2. Thanks for the tips! I really need to go back thrifty shopping. Lately my near by Goodwill raised the prices of things and lowered their % off so I got discouraged :(

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  3. Sounds exactly like what I do! I've definitely found some great items that were in the wrong section. Too fun.

    The Tall Blonde Artist

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  4. Great tips. My daughter is a master thrifter! Shopping with her is an adventure.

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  5. Awesome tips! I love the hunt as well. I have found a Salvation Army that is dirty, cluttered and seems to hardly have anyone in there because they all go to the two "newer' cleaner thrift stores. Although I am VERY intrigued by the idea of the retirement homes. Are you saying that, they have thrift places there or what is is you mean? Hmmm, I need to look into that! :)

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    1. Anywhere near retirement communities, nursing homes, assisted living, etc. usually have a ton of vintage ;)

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  6. oo this is a great post. makes me want to thrift right now! one of my favorite thrift shops is actually in the bottom of an old church. i guess it goes along with the older people having older "junk". all the members literally dump their junk in the basement and call it a thrift store, but it's seriously my fave! haha

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    1. Bottom of an old church! That sounds like a great spot for finding vintage :)

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  7. Thanks for the tips!
    I LOVE thrifting!

    :-)

    MissYellowShoes.blogspot.com

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  8. True story about #1...one of my favorite places to thrift is a tiny shop in the middle of six or so retirement complexes. It's my secret goldmine! :)

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  9. Great tips!!! You know your stuff!

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  10. Great tips! I forget to look everywhere as opposed to my favorite sections!

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  11. awesome tips! i also have found some pretty rad stuff by digging through everything!

    www.jenniferlanedesigns.blogspot.com

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  12. #3 sort of makes me sad. It kind of takes the fun out of the hunt. That's what's so great about thrifting / going to garage sales / flea markets, etc. - not really knowing what you're getting yourself into. Modern technology has a way of ruining that.

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  13. Thanks for the tips! There is a nice little thrift shop a few blocks down from my apartment and I love shopping there. It's definitely my secret place.

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  14. I keep one of my thrift stores a secret. I showed it to visiting friends because one lives in Texas and another lives in NYC but that's the extent of my sharing.

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