Finding Treasures at Thrift Stores and How To Use Them

Do you love to find a treasure at a great price? I am obsessed with thrifting and estate sale shopping, and I want to share about finding treasures at thrift stores and how to use them.

“thrifting with the gals”

I’m so excited to be joining “thrifting with the gals” this month as the guest host.

These ladies share their thrifting finds in IG stories and in a blog post the 3rd Thurday of every month.

If you’re coming over from Rachel at The Ponds Farmhouse, welcome! I’m so glad you are joining us.

Isn’t this french wall basket that Rachel shared just fabulous??

french market wall basket hanging on white chippy door with wood cutting boards on table below

my thrifting story

female holding vintage rake and vintage wagon handle white blouse and tan linen pants and straw hat

I’ve definitely developed an obsession with thrifting, garage sale shopping and estate sales. Finding treasures at thrift stores is one of my favorite things to do!

Many years ago, a friend and I would host a garage sale a couple of times a year. But, for some reason, I never shopped at garage sales myself.

When my husband and I converted our garage into a gameroom in our former home, I had the idea to cover the ceiling in album covers.

We had to have about 450 album covers, and to justify doing that and stay on budget, I had to find the albums very inexpensively.

The only place I knew to look for the albums at a great price was garage sales. Somewhere, along my search, I thought about trying thrift stores.

And like they say, “the rest is history”. I started finding so many great things at unbelievable prices, and I was hooked!

One man’s trash, really is another man’s treasure!

tips for finding treasures at thrift stores

vintage bench with white ironstone thrifted pieces on it

Recently, I took a short road trip to visit my parents.

I decided to take my time and stop along the way at every thrift store and resale shop I saw.

I took one route on the way, and a different route home, so I could find more shops.

There are also a few local places close to my home that I frequent .

And, I also love stopping at new places when I travel. It’s amazing to me the difference in things you can find in different parts of the country.

A good way to find thrift stores is to Google “thrift stores near me”. It will pop up any thrift shops in the area you happen to be in.

Also, there is an app called “” that I like to use to find estate sales. It uses your location and will show upcoming estate sales in the area, in order of closet to farthest away.

You can also search by the date you are wanting to estate sale shop.

how I found so many great things at thrift shops

Often people will tell me they don’t ever find anything at thrift stores. Or, I will have messages asking how I find so many great pieces.

The key is consistency. You aren’t going to find something great everytime you go to a thrift store.

You have to go often and take your time looking.

As I mentioned earlier, take advantage of out of town or out of the way estate sales, garage sales, thrift shops and resale stores.

I have found SO many great pieces over the years for a fraction of the cost of retail or an antique store.

You might enjoy this post about “How To Add Character to Your Home With Thrifted Finds”.

neutral decor farmhouse style living room

good things to remember before heading out to thrift

Be sure and take wet wipes, especially if you are hitting up flea markets and garage sales.

Sometimes, the items you find can be dusty or dirty and it’s nice to have wipes on hand to clean up after shopping.

Take some cash with you for garage sales and flea markets. Most of the time thrift shops and resale stores will accept cards, but usually garage sales and flea markets aren’t equipped for that.

Dress comfy!! Most especially, comfortable shoes and ones that you don’t mind getting dirty. You never know when you might end up at a great flea market or barn sale that is muddy.

You don’t want to miss out on a great find, because you don’t have cash on hand.

Keep a list in your car or on your phone of shops you want to remember. That way, you will have a reminder or your favorite places easily accesible.

female standing beside pull cart at flea market holding corn dog with corn dog booth in background
pardon the corny dog, but you have to have one at a flea market, right??

For flea market shopping, it’s a good idea to take a pull cart with you. Typically, you may have to park a long way and when you find lots of treasures, you don’t want to make lots of trips to the car if you’re not able to carry all of them.

Another tip, is to go when you have plenty of time, and look through things carefully. I even like to go through the aisles more than once, if it’s a really good shop.

For example, if you are looking for dishes, be sure and take the time to look through stacks of plates and bowls. You never know what might be hiding at the bottom of the stack.

One of my favorite finds ever, was a set of brown transferware dishes that was displayed in a china hutch that was marked “SOLD”. I just happened to notice a set of dishes inside the hutch and assumed it was also sold. I took a chance and asked the store clerk and to my surprise they weren’t sold!

The entire set was $14.99!!

set of brown transferware dishes on wooden tabletop

some of my recent thrifted treasures

These are a few of the treasures I found on the road trip to visit my parents in East Texas.

soup tureens…

I love collecting ironstone soup tureens, and I found all of these at a couple of different thrift shops.

One of them was only $1.00, because it was cracked along the top of the lid, and the smallest one was only $2.99.

The larger one is an electric soup tureen. Have you ever seen one of these?

It actually still works and was only $10.00!

It will be great when I entertain and want to serve a warm soup. The presentation will be so much cuter in this, than in a soup pot on the stove.

This is how I styled some of them in my china hutch.

transferware dishes…

I have a bit of an obsession with dishes, most especially transferware!

All of these were also recent thrift store finds.

The purple saucers were $4.99 for 3 of them, and the little green transferware bowl was $1.99.

Eight blue transferware saucers were $1.99 each. I splurged a little on the delft blue cow creamer because it is a unique and hard to find piece and paid $20 for it at a resale shop.

I haven’t gotten to style all of these pieces yet, but here is an example of how I use my transferware dishes.

They make a beautiful display in a china hutch and I also love creating beautiful tablescapes with them.

You can click the link at the bottom of the photo to see more details about these tablescapes using transferware.

Plate walls are one of my favorite ways to display transferware, and they also make beautiful planters.

luggage rack…

This vintage luggage rack was a steal for $7.99.

The wood color was a little darker than I like, so I did a quick coat of the oven cleaner method and lightened it a bit. I love how it turned out!!

For now, it holds a vintage basket filled with blooms from the garden, but may eventually be used in the guest room to actually hold suitcases for guests.

some of my all time favorite thrifted finds

female holding white vintage christmas tree in front of Goodwill store

This white vintage Christmas tree was a Goodwill find many years ago.

I use it every year for my main Christmas tree, and also decorate it for New Year’s with my vintage clock face collection.

Last year, we decorated it for my granddaughter’s “disco” themed bday party, and I also left it up through Valentine’s Day and decorated with pink and white heart decor.

This vintage tobacco basket is another one of my favorite finds. Not only was it at a thrift store, it was free!!

I found it in the trash pile behind my local thrift shop when I went to drop off donations one day.

These are photos from our little Airbnb Cottage that we purchased and renovated last year.

Most everything in this house was purchased at thrift stores or estate sales.

I wrote a blog series about it, and you can read part 1 here, part 2, part 3, and part 4.

You might also enjoy seeing this post from last year about my “7 Of My Favorite Thrifted Finds”.

overhead view of my favorite thrifted finds written in scabble tiles with chippy spindles lid of brown transferware bowl vintage book and a basket on a woven rug background

Or this home tour video where I share lots of my thrifted treasures and how I used them in my home. You can see the thrifted home tour video here.

neutral decor farmhouse style living room

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post about finding treasures at thrift stores and how to use them.

Next up on the thrifting tour is Ann from Dabbling and Decorating!

Be sure and follow all of the hosts to see lots of amazing vintage and thrifted finds and ways to use them.

blessings and happy thrifting,

If you enjoyed this post, be sure and Pin It to remember it…..

overhead view of white neutral thrifted treasures pinterest graphic


  1. Michele your thrifted finds are amazing. All that ironstone and dishes. I was in heaven looking at your photos too. Thanks so much for joining us today!

    1. Thanks so much Ann! I was so happy to join you ladies this month!

  2. Michele,
    I love that you found the tobacco basket in the trash. It’s just perfect. You have so many great finds and I love how you display them. I’m so happy you joined us this month and I always enjoy your creative ideas.

    1. Thanks so much Rachel! I was honored to join you all this month!

  3. This was FANTASTIC, Michele! I enjoyed every second of this one. I too am obsessed with thrifting…like…I can’t get enough of it and want to go everyday but that seems ridiculous 🙂 I can’t believe you found that whole set of dishes for $15!!! That’s crazy. I’ve just newly gotten into transferware and LOVE it so much. Your style is so beautiful and I love how you share with such enthusiasm what you found!

    1. Oh, thanks so much for the kind words Rachel! I really appreciate it, and so glad you enjoyed the post!

  4. Hi Michele! I enjoyed this post so much! I recently started collecting ironstone and I love brown transferware! Your treasures are so wonderful and I’m inspired to head to the thrift store now! I watched the video of your home tour and I am in awe! Your house is amazing! Blessings, Donna

    1. Aww, thanks so much for the kind words Donna! I really appreciate it, and I’m so glad you enjoyed the home tour!

  5. I loved your post, Michele. I am crazy about ironstone and brown transferware. I can’t seem to find good prices in my area though. I’m holding out! I love how you style all your thrifting finds.

    1. Thanks Kim! It is not very often that I find the brown transferware at thrift shops, but I have gotten lucky a few times and also have had some luck on Facebook Marketplace. Good luck with your search!

  6. Mary Anne Russo says:

    Thank you for the great thrifting tips! You sure have found some great pieces! Love the tureens, I collected them as well! Happy thrifting!

    1. Thanks so much! I’m so glad you enjoyed the post and I appreciate the kind words.

  7. Michele, I loved all of your great thrifting tips, along with your ideas of how you have incorporated them into your home! I am excited to feature your post at Tuesday Turn About this week. Thank you so much for sharing!

    1. Aww, thank you so much for the kind words, and I am so grateful for the feature!

  8. So many great finds, Michele. Thrifting is one of my favorite things a well. Hugs and blessings to you.

    1. Thanks Renae! We could probably be dangerous together if we lived closer!

    1. Thanks so much Jennifer!!

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