Over the years, I've learned quite a bit about how to shop at second-hand stores (aka "thrift shops"). Thrifting can be your best weapon against over-spending on home decor; and believe me, I see this all the time with home owners as they begin decorating a room in their home! Here's a taste of my tried and true thrifting guidelines....starting with patience.....
Patience is a virtue
If at first you don't succeed, keep going back to thrift shops! You won't find something you like, every time. Be patient!
5 Rules to Live by (when thrifting):
Always consider the condition of the piece. No matter what it is, consider whether a "flaw" is fix-able, and even if fix-able, is it worth your time? When that question takes you too long to answer, it's not the right find. You'll probably see that exact same piece next week, without any flaws at all (and for half the cost).
If you're a first-timer in thrift shops, you might think something is a "steal" but if you visit these stores enough, you will discover that what you thought was a steal, actually wasn't! As you become a more seasoned thrifter, you will start setting your own max price limits for certain items. Yep.
Ask yourself if it is something you'll use now, or at some point. If you think something looks cool, don't just buy it because it's $1.99. will you REALLY use it? Though this stuff is low-cost, it does add up quickly and soon your home will be overcome with items you don't need!
4. Cleanliness Factor:
Is the piece "clorox-able", or machine washable? This is a biggie for me. If it is something that cannot be easily cleaned than I may shy away from purchasing it. Used items are great, and even greater when clean! Consider the "clean-ability" of the piece, and the time factor in getting that item clean.
5. Multi-purpose Items:
Consider whether an item can be used in a number of ways. For example, use a cute hand-made ceramic bowl for jewelry, instead of spinach dip (that was a weird example but you get the point). I have seen some of the cutest accent pieces when used in non-traditional ways.
Thrifting really is an art. You have to know what you like, and why you like it. It also helps to know how you'll use it!!! Happy Thrifting!