DIY Estate Sale Hack (or Thrift Shop Redo)

Thrift Store

One of my favorite things is visiting thrift shops, yard sales, estate sales, auctions and the like. “One person’s trash is another person’s treasure” is more than just a cliche for me–it’s a part of my life. Looking around my home, I realize many of my furniture pieces are thrifted or gifted and much of my home decor has been DIY.  I’ve had a long history of being thrifty because it directly impacts both my wallet and the environment.

There really are so many reasons to shop for used goods: It keeps stuff out landfills, reduces the amount of new consumer goods being produced, offers unique finds that can’t be found at BIG BOX stores, is wallet-friendly, and, of course, it’s loads of fun! I really enjoy the challenge of discovering something I need for my home while out at a thrift shop or estate sale –it’s kind of like a scavenger hunt. I also love the anticipation of seeing a do-it-yourself home decor project come together.  

Recent finds of mine have included a box of embroidery floss and hoops (I enjoy needlepoint and decorating the walls with my finished projects), some old hankies (which I use to wrap small gifts) and a computer chair for my husband’s office.

While out at a local estate sale shop (one of my regular haunts), I also recently found a battered chest of drawers that needed a little TLC. I had been looking for something to stick in the bathroom to store washcloths and other things you want to hide away. Looking online, I found what I was looking for but I wasn’t liking the $100 plus price tag. I decided I would eventually come across something while out thrifting. Pretty soon I did and for only $15! My find did need some paint and new knobs, but I had leftover paint on hand already and the knobs only cost $6. I think $21 is a whole lot better than $100 plus, don’t you agree?

Here’s the before and after shots of my project. I know it doesn’t look like much of a difference in these images, but believe me it is. Before, it was dingy, dinged up and dirty. After, it looks a hundred bucks!

Estate Sale Hack

For the uninitiated wondering how best to get started, here’s a list of places to discover great finds for yourself, your home and your life:

  • Yard/garage sales – many local, community and regional newspapers still post notices in their classified sections for these.
  • Estate sales/auctions – I’ve found the best way to find these is to look in the Yellow Pages or do an Internet search for your town + estate sale.
  • CraigsList – no explanation needed, except do use some caution.
  • Freecycle – Freecycle is a nonprofit grassroots movement  dedicated to connecting people and their stuff for the purpose of keeping stuff out of landfills.
  • Thrift store shops – this site is a national thrift shop finder tool.
  • Antique shops – it is possible to find good bargains at antique stores too.
  • Flea markets and junk sales – again a quick Internet search for your location will work.

Finally, thrifting is about more than just the destination, it’s also about the journey. Take a friend, make a day of it (I go at least twice a month) and have fun!

Top image: Orin Zebest

Bottom image: Jen Wallace

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