How To Style Your Thrift Store and Estate Sale Treasures

I love thrifting and estate sale shopping!!! So, today I am sharing some ideas for how to style your thrift store and estate sale treasures.

Let me just say, if thrifting was a sport, I would be an Olympic contender!!

stack of thrifted and estate sale treasures wicker demi john vintage thread spools antique clock and tin

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It is my favorite hobby and I love finding a treasure at a bargain price. There is just something about the “thrill of the hunt”.

I would say I am sort of a thrift store junkie!!

I am constantly surprised at the unique finds you can get at a thrift store, estate sale or even garage sale that someone else is parting with.

So, let’s get started and let me show you some ideas for how to style your thrift store and estate sale treasures.

what you need to know about thrift store shopping

favorite thrifted treasures brown transferware lid vintage spindles antique basket

I am often asked, “how do you find so many great things at thrift shops?”.

Followed by, “I never find anything.”

The key is consistency!

You have to go often, and when you have time to really look.

If you are rushing through and you don’t stop in very often, it will be hard to spot the hidden treasures and you will miss some great finds.

Stopping in your local thrift stores anytime you get a chance is the best way to find some vintage treasures.

Another one of my tips is to visit different thrift stores.

I like to pop into new ones anytime I am in a different area.

I realize you can’t visit these often, but you never know what you might find that one time.

Also, it is amazing what different areas of town and certainly different towns and states have in the stores.

You can read more about how to add character to your home with thrifted finds here.

estate sale shopping

stack of estate sale finds pair of candlesticks vintage basket antique book

If you like to shop estate sales an aren’t familiar with the app, “”, you need to add it to your phone.

It is a free app, and is a great place for locating estate sales in the area.

The great part is, when you are traveling or are in an unfamiliar area, it will use your location and show you where any estate sales are currently, in the area.

You can even search by the date and zip code and see what is coming up soon.

See some of my favorite estate sale finds and a few great tips here – Estate Sale Shopping 101.

what you need to know about estate sale shopping

If you aren’t very familiar with shopping estate sales, you should know a few things….

They are typically held somewhere between Thursday and Sunday.

Sometimes, if they start on Thursday, they will end on Saturday.

Or, they may start on Friday and end Sunday.

Typically, the first day things are full price and whatever the item is tagged.

Then, each day after that, the prices will drop, but a lot of the best stuff will be gone.

Sometimes, it drops to 25% off the second day and then 50% off the final day.

However, there are exceptions to that rule so be sure and ask at each sale, if it isn’t posted.

The great thing about the final day sale is it helps a lot if you have your eye on something that is out of your price range.

You might want to check it again the next day and see if it is still there.

If you see something you like, it is best to grab it and not plan on it being there when you make a second look around the sale.

There is typically a hold table where you can accumulate some things you are interested in until you are ready to check out.

This way your hands are free to continue shopping.

be prepared…

Also, another thing to note, is that some estate sales are held by a professional estate sale company and sometimes they are held by the homeowner or family member.

If an estate sale company is handling the sale, they will usually be set up to take a credit card.

But, if a homeowner is handling the sale, they will typically only take cash.

If you are out and about for a day of estate sale shopping, it’s a good thing to have some cash on hand.

You need to be prepared to either pick up a large item immediately, or make arrangements to come back later. So, be sure and ask how long the sale is going and how long you have for pick up.

shopping garage sales

stack of thrifted finds pair of candlesticks vintage book basket tray

If you have the time, it’s fun to make of day of shopping garage sales.

I don’t necessarily have a great source for finding garage sales, like I do estate sales.

But, usually neighborhood garage sales will have a sign posted ahead of time, so you can make a note and that’s a great way to hit lots of sales quickly.

Also, churches will usually advertise a sale ahead of time and those are usually big sales.

I like to hit a garage sale the first day it starts, because obviously the good stuff goes first.

Also, if you can find an area of the city or town that you live in that typically has good sales, it’s fun to hit that area and make a day of it.

This is another situation where you definitely need to have cash on hand.

flea market shopping

A lot of the same rules of having cash on hand applies here too.

Sometimes vendors will take credit cards but it is fairly rare.

Some type of pull cart is a great and almost necessary idea.

Often times flea markets are very spread out and can be quite large.

The last thing you want to do is find so many treasures that you can’t carry them all and have to make multiple trips to your car.

You also might want to invest in a drink holder to clip onto your pull cart.

Having a place to keep a drink or bottle of water comes in handy on hot days.

Layering your clothes is a good idea.

You never know what the weather will do, and you want to be comfortable for your shopping adventure.

And most importantly, wear comfortable shoes!!

I can’t stress that one enough. Just save the cute shoes for later, your feet with thank you and it will make your shopping experience so much more pleasant.

other tips for thrifting, yard sales, estate sales and flea markets

stack of thrifted treasures lampshade spine antique spindles vintage clock face

I like to keep a list of specific items I am looking for, so I don’t forget the things on my wish list.

Be sure and have hand wipes with you.

Sometimes you are handling a lot of things that are dirty and haven’t been cleaned in a while.

It’s nice to have hand wipes to clean up after each stop.

Be sure and take a tape measure. You never know when you might find a great piece that has to be a certain size to fit where you might want it.

A garage sale, thrift store or flea market may not have one available.

It’s a good idea to take some bottled water with you.

One of the best times and my favorite ways to shop for seasonal items is right after a particular season.

For example, shop for fall decor at Christmas time or shop for Christmas decor at the first of the year.

That is when a lot of people will clean out and get rid of things and you can grab the best deals.

And a few reminders:

Wear comfy shoes, layer your clothing and take cash.

Keep an open mind and think outside the box for how to use your thrifted treasures in different and unusual ways.

how to style your thrift store and estate sale treasures

set of brown transferware dishes that were thrifted

Some of my favorite things in my home were found at thrift stores or estate sales.

I occasionally find a treasure at an antique store too.

Sometimes, you can find an antique store that has multiple vendors.

Often times, these type of stores can have really great prices.

Not necessarily thrift store prices, but still a good price.

I have a couple that are fairly local to me, and I love to frequent them as often as I can.

collections from thrift store finds

Some of my favorite collections were started because of things I found while thrifting.

I would run across something I immediately fell in love with, and as the saying goes, the rest was history.

ironstone soup tureens –

I have been collecting ironstone pieces for years, but I have a particular fondness for ironstone soup tureens.

I enjoy displaying them in my china cabinet and kitchen hutch, and often add a touch of a seasonal decor with them to change things up.

They have been used to create a table centerpiece for a dinner party, to serve out of and I have even planted paperwhites in them at Christmas for a table display.

vintage books –

I can’t begin to count the amount of vintage books I have collected over the years.

I love the texture and character that old books add to home decor.

They are great risers to add height to a vignette.

And make a big impact when grouped together and displayed as a large collection.

I have used them many times as part of a table centerpiece and seasonal displays.

And last year, at Christmas, I created a Christmas tree shape out of some of the vintage book pages.

vintage book pages, old patterns, sheet music and vintage photos taped to a gray wall in a christmas tree shape with a bench and christmas pillow below.

wicker demi johns –

I have a small collection of these wicker demi johns and love the dimension and texture they add to my living room bookcases.

They have also made an appearance for a table centerpiece on more than one occasion.

Because of the rich colors and texture, they are beautiful as part of a fall display.

wooden walking canes

collection of thrifted wooden canes standing in hall tree

I’m not sure what it is about vintage wooden walking canes, but I absolutely cannot pass one by.

Every one I have accumulated has been purchased at either a thrift store or garage sale for $5 or less.

I have collected about 13, at this point.

And every time I tell myself I’m not buying anymore, I run across another one for $2 and can’t walk away.

things you wouldn’t guess are thrifted – more thrift store and estate sale treasures

Would you believe this beautiful chest that serves as my nightstand was purchased at an estate sale for $75?

It was the last day of the sale and everything was 1/2 off.

I nearly ran over a few people to grab the tag, when I saw that is was marked $150.

I purchased this breakfast table recently and I am loving the look of it.

This one was actually purchased at a vendor mall, but was only $150.

The dresser and table are two of my most recent favorite finds.

vintage floral painting canvas hanging on gray wall

This beautiful canvas floral painting was from an estate sale.

They were desperate to get everything in the house sold quickly, so things were priced so great!

I inquired about the canvas, and was in shock when the lady told me it was $5!!!

vintage lamp white soup tureen and vintage painting for table decor

This was another piece of artwork, but was found at a thrift store when I was traveling.

I saw it hanging on the wall in a back corner, and it was marked $12.

the moral to the thrifting story is….

don’t ever underestimate secondhand finds.

Also, don’t pass up the antique shops with vendor booths.

There are so many great deals and good stuff to be found.

I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing some ideas for how to style your thrift store and estate sale treasures and tips for shopping second hand.

I’ve joined some of my blogger friends for the “Thrifting with the Gals” series this month as a guest host.

These ladies have some great things to share with you too and they post about their treasures every month.

Pop over to each of their posts by clicking the link at the bottom of each photo.


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

photo gallery of thrifted finds wooden canes antique table wicker demi johns vintage painting


  1. Michele
    It’s so great having you along with us this month. I love your tips. Thanks for sharing your talents with us.

    1. Thank you Rachel, and I loved joining you all again. Thanks so much for including me!

  2. You have such amazing finds, Michele, and I always love seeing the styling! It was so great to have you join us this month. You inspire me!

    1. Thank you so much for the kind words Robyn! I really appreciate that and I loved joining you all again. And your styling always inspires me, as well. Have a lovely weekend!

  3. What a beautiful post Michele. I am dying for some demi Johns. I just told Robyn the same thing. They’re just so expensive up here. And I’m looking for a round table and chairs just like you have here. I just love your style and thanks so much for joining us today!

    1. Thank you Ann! You find some pretty fabulous things in your area. I’ve never been to Maine or Vermont and would love to visit sometime.
      So glad to join you ladies again. Have a wonderful weekend!

  4. Amazing post, Michele!!
    We would be contenders for gold in the thrifting Olympics because I love it just as much as you do!!
    Your collections from years of collecting and curating finds looks simply stunning. All of your tips are spot on, as well. Pinned!

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

  5. GreT tips. Thrifting is one
    Of my favorite pastimes as well.

    So much fun.

    1. Thank you Renae! It is so satisfying to find a hidden treasure at a thrift store! Have a great Saturday.

  6. What great thrifting tips Michele. I too love the hunt, there is just something so satisfying about it.

    1. Thanks Wendy! We could probably get into some big trouble if we lived closer together!! Have a wonderful weekend.

  7. So many fabulous finds and tips! Thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience with us.

    1. Thank you Anna! So glad you enjoyed the post. Have a great weekend!

    1. Thank you Stacy! Have a great weekend!

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