Ultimate Thrifting Guide for Your Home {11 things to buy}

Shopping for my home at thrift stores is one of my favourite hobbies. This is the ultimate thrifting guide for shopping for your home from a vintage enthusiast. There are 11 things you should look for and buy for your home so it’s cosy, one of a kind, homey and charming.

Vintage floral plate hanging on wall in kitchen

As a collector of vintage, I love sharing ideas and inspiration to show it is possible to find beautiful things in the thrift stores. Vintage is unique, and it makes your home one of a kind.

We just moved into our first home in a new city, so we sold a lot of our things and started fresh. The funny thing is when we were going through what to keep and sell, most keep items were second hand pieces I had thrifted. It’s easy to let go of newer things that are sold everywhere compared to the one-of-a-kind bentwood chair you found in the back of a thrift store.

I visited my local thrift store this morning and ended up walking out with 4 charming cottage dining chairs…all for $32. I’m thrilled! It goes to show you never know what you will find.

As a homemaker it’s important to create a home you and your family feel warm and safe in but if the budget is tight thrift shopping is a great way to go. 

Reasons Why You Should Buy Vintage:

  • Create a warm, inviting home filled with items that tell stories
  • If you shop smartly, it is affordable
  • Mixing modern with vintage creates an eclectic, charming style
  • Helping reduce consumerism by buying second hand not new
  • Usually, vintage is made to last
  • Thrilling finding beautiful, charming pieces for your home

For cottage charm inspiration check out my moodboard that inspires my thrift shopping motives!

11 Things to Buy for Your Home at the Thrift Store

1. Glass Jars

Without a doubt, I always leave a thrift store with a jar. Having jars around the house can be so useful, especially if they’re vintage Mason jars. I have a fair few around my home but here’s why they come in handy. You can use them to store your cooking utensils on the kitchen counter, to hold pegs, to hold pens and pencils on your desk, to store washing powder, as flower vases, to mix cleaning recipes in, to gather food scrapes or maybe to hold your collection of buttons in. I never use second hand jars for storing food in as I don’t know where it’s come from initially.

Glass jar filled with wooden and metal utensils on kitchen bench

2. Vintage Glassware

Do you love period movies that show wonderful dinner party scenes filled with elaborate dishes and glassware? I do! I find it so enjoyable to drink a homemade cocktail like my favourite sparkling gin from a vintage crystal glass. Usually inexpensive but very charming. When you can find vintage glassware that’s not made for just Sherry, it’s a great buy!

3. Vases

Crystal, ceramic, ironstone, brass, you name it the thrift stores will have something. My personal favourites are crystal and brass vases. They look so charming when filled with freshly cut roses from my garden. My new garden has 22 roses to be exact so next year the vases will be blooming. Sometimes I also find old glass bottles from medicine back in the day. They make for extremely charming vases to pop on windowsills, tables, or shelves.

Vintage agee jar being used as a flower jar for pink and white blooms

4. Books

Thrift stores are a treasure trove for books. Some of my all-time favourite books I’ve found at thrift stores, including newly published editions that I can’t believe I got for so cheap. You won’t always find something worth buying but when you do its exciting. There are always large arrays of cooking and gardening books so take advantage of these if you want to learn to bake bread or nourishing meals.

5. Serving bowls, vases, platters

Don’t look at the pile of dusty old plates and walk away. There may be treasures in that pile and its worth getting a little bit sticky for. I promise! Platters and serveware can be expensive brand new but I’m sure you’ll be able to find a lot of old Pyrex glass or pie dishes around.

Close up of floral plates and bowls. Red with rose florals and white with dinty pastel coloured flowers

6. Wicker Baskets

Yes, I am a sucker for wicker baskets. They are wonderfully charming in my cottage. If you hate plastic washing baskets or plastic anything to be frank, try finding baskets. They may not be wicker and that’s okay, finding these are rare, any baskets that are a good shape and size will do. Use these for storing potatoes, onions, or other pantry staples or for holding cleaning supplies, storing cosy blankets next to the couch, to hold the washing or to store your sewing kit in.

7. Linens

I’m not talking bed sheets here, that’s a bit past my level of comfort when buying second hand. If you don’t mind then go for it but I’m referring to beautifully hand embroidered linen tea towels, napkins, tablecloths, and doilies. I know you might be thinking dollies how naff, but they can be used as tea towels if big enough. Older linens were made from 100% linen or cotton, which is top quality fabric and gets more delicious with age. You can wash these in a normal cycle with vinegar to get them soft and delightful again (more hacks here to care for these).

8. Old Dining Chairs

Like I mentioned earlier I found a set of four wonderful dining chairs for $8 each. They need some TLC, but they are quality, solid wood chairs that are hard to come by anymore unless you pay top $$.

Besides old chairs, there are sometimes old cabinets or tables that you can sand or paint, so it’s cheaper than buying new ones.

Thrifted wooden dining room chair in light wood next to dining room table in cottage kitchen

9. Silverware

Finding silverware is a bit of a rummage activity but you can find delicious old butter knives, forks with etching, large serving spoons, cake servers, and serving tongs. I am slowly collecting these and building up my mismatched collection. Cutlery isn’t cheap, I know because I went to purchase some the other day and walked right back out of the store…yikes!

10. Vintage Bakeware

If you are lucky, you may find some rust-free baking tins. If not there’s plenty of goodies hiding amongst the sticky utensils trust me. Look for old baking tins to serve baking in lined with a vintage napkin, wire cooling racks, old quality utensils like hand beaters, whisks, spatulas, my favourites are all second hand and like what my nana has. 

Vintage baking tins one for bread and one for cake

11. Sewing supplies

As a sewing enthusiast I always check out the craft area. You can find bags of buttons, spools of thread, sewing patterns, fabrics, laces and lots of elastics, and zips. If you haven’t tried sewing before I encourage you to give it a go, this is a great way to start without needing to invest too much into it. You can learn how to sew here. My number one tip is to buy a few of the thread spools each thrift store trip because they come in handy if you need to repair a button or something. 

Tips for Thrift Shopping

  • Most of the time, you won’t find anything you like, or maybe one small thing. Remember, this type of shopping is a treasure hunt and a collection of things you’ve curated over time.
  • Don’t buy things you don’t need or that you already have!
  • Don’t get discouraged by all the junk you’ll probably see at the thrift store, that’s not what you’re there for. You’ll have to do some digging to find what you’re looking for. That’s part of the fun.
  • Sometimes I go thrift shopping and get distracted and forget what I’m looking for…so my biggest tip is to make a list.

Well, there you have my favourite 11 things to look for at the thrift store for my home. I hope this has encouraged and inspired you to find some charming pieces for your home that don’t break the bank. It’s so exciting to collect pieces over time which will bring charm, warmth, and cosiness to your home. 

What do you love to collect or find when thrifting?

If you want to learn more about homemaking, check out my full beginner’s guide and learn all the skills to get started.

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