5 Tips for Thrifting That Would Make Your Grandma Proud

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I’m not sure when it happened but it did.  I turned into my Mom.  I say cliches backwards, I click in my sleep (remind me to tell you about that sometime) and I love looking through other people’s stuff to collect things.  I have fallen in love with thrifting and antique shopping.  If you follow me on Instagram you’ve probably seen me post some of my favorite finds.  I’m here to tell you simple tips to become a thrifting pro.  That your mama or grandma can be proud of! 5 simple tips to become a thrifting pro- even your grandma would be proud! www.thirtyhandmadedays.com

  1. Do your research
    Figure out what you like and then do your homework.  The internet makes this so so so easy.  There are tons of online antique valuation guides.  You can search for all kinds of things to find out a base or average cost of what you can expect to pay for the items you are looking to collect.
  2. Go often
    I have found some amazing pieces.  But it’s not because I go to my thrift shop once a year.  I go often.  Sometimes once a week.  I’m a place in my life where I can do that.  When I had itty bitty kids I couldn’t go very much.  But now I run errands and make an antique stop on my way home.  Sometimes it feels like I’m spinning my wheels.  And then I find a $5 globe and I do a happy dance in the aisle. 
  3. Bring cash
    In some places this doesn’t matter.  At my local antique mall or thrift store they don’t care if I bring cash or not.  But if I go to stores out in the middle of nowhere, or an estate sale, this is a must.  Make sure to carry all kinds of denominations.  If you come bearing $20’s, it won’t make negotiating very easy.
  4. Grab it while it’s hot
    It’s happened to me more than once.  I’ve had my eye on something, unsure of whether or not I want to purchase.  I wait, wait, wait and then go back to purchase and it’s GONE.  I recently had this happen with the cutest Tom Thumb coral typewriter.  I’m still crying myself to sleep about it.  If you see something that you can’t live without, get it.  Part of the fun (and frustration sometimes too) is that there is constant turnover.
  5. Learn the art of negotiating
    This is something I struggle with.  It’s more of a “do as I say, not as I do” tip.  Most of the time, people are willing to negotiate on pricing of items.  I have come across items that say “$25 firm” a lot.  You know what that says to me?  That most items are NOT firm prices.  But there is a fine line in negotiating.  You don’t want to go WAY under the asking price and offend the seller.  However there is usually some wiggle room to work with.  I’ve found that the more I try to negotiate, the easier it becomes.  Some people are naturally awesome negotiators.  Others (like me), are not.  Practice, practice, practice.  The more you do it, the more confident you will become in your abilities.

What are the things that I gravitate towards?  My list has grown as I’ve gone thrifting more and more but on the top of my list these days are:

3 vintage finds that I love www.thirtyhandmadedays.com

  1. Jadeite– have you heard of Jadeite? I love the look of it.  It’s become hot over the last few years.
  2. Vintage Pyrex– oh Pyrex how I love thee. The bright colors, the retro designs. Pyrex kind of set my antique collecting on fire.
  3. Typewriters– I asked for a typewriter for Christmas when I was ten or eleven. I have loved them ever since.

Make sure to follow me on eBay to check out some of my other favorite vintage items.  These things make my heart go flutter.  (and yes that’s one of the names of my collections)

Disclosure: My eBay Collections were curated as part of my collaboration with eBay. #FOLLOWITFINDIT


  1. Eliza says

    I love thrifting . My car turns automatically towards a sale or a thrift store. I have found fantastic deals on all kinds of things. Thanks for the info.

  2. says

    This is so me Mique {glad to know I have all the tips down}! I’m a huge Vintage Pyrex collector- I just scored the best deal at a garage sale where I had some Pyrex thrown in with Vintage Nally canisters that I found. Love a bargain!

  3. says

    These are great tips. I too am a thrift store connoisseur. I have to go once a week even if just to look and find that something special. I agree when you mentioned bring small denominations. You have to teat the smaller ones a bit like a yard sale when it comes to negotiating.

  4. says

    Awesome tips! I love going to the local antique mall, but I’ve never tried to negotiate. I’ll have to ask whether the prices are firm or not next time. Thanks for sharing!

  5. says

    My mom and I are avid thrifters, antiquers, estate/yard salers! She used to work in an antique store, and when I’d come to the store after school, the owners would allow me to help customers. So, I learned a ton. Since my husband and I got married, I’ve taught him the art of second hand shopping, and he really gets into it now! I love finding vintage and antique clothing. Some people aren’t into wearing things other people have worn, but a lot of the time, the pieces are so beautiful that you could display them in your home if you didn’t want to wear them. I share your loves of Jadeite, vintage Pyrex, and typewriters. Carnival glass, items from the 1920s, and tin signs are some more of my favorites!

  6. says

    Great tips! I am starting to get better at searching more often, but this posthaste reminded me to go more! I need some serious practice with negotiating prices. Hopefully I can come across some more great finds after reading your tips!

  7. Kathy E. says

    I am a closet thrifter! I cannot resist a thrift store when I’m out of town. My sweet hubby will drop me off on the corner while he goes elsewhere. I also love auctions where you never know what you’ll find and can get great finds cheap! At auctions, I’ll often take a cell phone picture, send it to my husband and he’ll look up the value on the internet/ebay. That way I know where to place my highest bid.

    • says

      What a sweet man! Josh doesn’t understand why I like collecting other people’s stuff. ;) Super smart tip- to take a pic and look it up so you know what the highest bid should be. Can you believe I’ve never been to an auction!? I need to go sometime. Have a great day!

  8. says

    Great tips. I need to follow the one about going more often. Too many times I have driven past a thrift or antique shop saying to myself “I just looked there last week and there wasn’t anything”. I always forget that they get new things in all the time. I just posted my pyrex collection on my blog. I’ve been collecting for a long time, in anticipation of having a place to display them, and finally do!

    • says

      Hi Gale- I’m hopping over to check out your Pyrex collection next! I need to find a good place to display my pieces as I’ve collected LOTS over the last few years. Thanks for the comment. And get out there more! ;)

  9. says

    Great tips! I am so excited about thrifting right now. My husband and I spend a least one a week at a thrift store, estate sale, or antique stone. We just love it. The first tip was one of my favorites. I tend to do my research after the fact, but now I will start researching before hand. Right now I am on the hunt for a House of Lloyd Christmas Fawn that my In-laws have under their tree each year. One day I will find that elusive piece! :)

    • says

      Thanks Bree! I haven’t been great about researching in the past but I’m trying to be better at it. Also, obviously the more you go, the more you know where things should be priced. Good luck finding a House of Lloyd Christmas Fawn!! I’ll keep my eye out for ya. ;)