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You’ve been there. You see an item in a thrift store and immediately think, “Ooh, I’ve got to have this!” When in reality You may not even need it. My small condo is filled with things I should have left behind.

Today I’ll help nudge you past the items you should leave for the next bargain shopper.

Tips on Negotiating at Thrift Stores

I’m the first to admit that if a see a certain label or a stamp that says “Made in…”, I’m intrigued and want to buy it. However, the place where a piece of furniture, garment or tchotchke is made should not be the major reason you buy it. I’ll admit, certain items automatically exude quality or exclusivity, such as this tissue box, which was stamped “Made in Italy.”

I didn’t need it. Yet I bought it because, well, it said “Made in Italy.”

So you’ve got a garage full of I-will-paint-that-soon projects? That means the vintage Heritage sideboard for $60 may not be a wise purchase. I know it’s tempting to buy all of the amazing finds that are reasonably priced. However, to keep from being on the next episode of Hoarders, only buy pieces of furniture you need and that you can use immediately.

How to Find the Best Thrift Stores

Walk on by that complete plushy mattress set in the furniture section. Regardless of the low price, mattresses are not items I would suggest buying from a thrift or secondhand store.

One of the best feelings in the world is to walk into a thrift store and spy the perfect piece to complete a room. But this is only a good thing if you’re not driving a two-door sports car. Is it really a bargain if you have to rent a utility vehicle to get it home?

And don’t even consider buying it if you’re traveling. When the cost to transport an item significantly outweighs the cost of the actual item, leave it in the store.

Don’t worry, though. Something better always comes along. It’s the magic of thrifting!

So tell me, when do you leave something in the store?



29 Responses

  1. Kayla@HGTV says:

    Great advice, Rashon! And I'll take that sideboard in picture #2 please.

  2. mlarcher says:

    I totally agree about the mattresses! My daughter bought them and later found out she had bed bug bites ALL over and had to be treated by the doctor. Not worth the savings!!!!

  3. Crystal says:

    So do you use the tissue box????

  4. @LocalCeleb says:

    I am extremely indecisive, I have to really want or love whatever it is. I made a few purchases last weekend.. I loved what I found and couldn't leave it, I didn't even wait until half price days, I was afraid the items would be gone. I really think about the function of the object in my life, if I just can't live without it and it's the right price.. I do have a set amount in my head that I would be comfortable with paying for certain things.. If it's over that price but I would die without it, I may be willing to pay a *bit* more, if not, I'm out the door.

  5. Cas... says:

    Unfortunately I always leave the large pieces of furniture in the stores. I don't have a good way to bring them home. But I when I do purchase something I always have some idea of what I'm going to do with it!

    • Anna@HGTV says:

      That's why I've owned a pickup truck for the past 10 years. Nothing better than seeing an amazing matching Victorian-era couch and chair and being able to offer cash and to drive away with it on the spot. Helps to sweeten the deals I can get. Now I just need storage. Or a camper top.

  6. Upscale Downhome says:

    I agree with you. My thought process is that I have to have a place to use it right away. It's so funny you gave the tissue box example. I almost bought a green one just like the one in your picture this week. It said made in italy and I am a sucker for that, too. I decided to wait because I didn't need it. For once, I listened to my own advice!

  7. Jessica W says:

    Having just moved to L.A. (and using all of my savings to do so) I leave almost all "great finds" where i find them in the thrift store (as much as it breaks my heart). But, as was stated: something better always comes along. And when that one something that we really really need in our apartment pops up, it's mine, and I love it more than anyone should ever love an inanimate object. And all those things that I left behind melt into the past, never to be remembered, as I cherish my new fantastic find.

  8. For small items I ask myself "If you saw this in a favorite boutique would you be attracted to it? Would you buy it as a gift?"

  9. Lori says:

    My number one rule is to not look at my basket for a minute and list off everything I'm intending to buy. If there are items I missed in my listing, they go right out of the basket and back to where I found them. If it didn't make much of an impression, then it's most likely an impulse item that I don't need. I also try to use the rule previously mentioned of having an immediate use for something I find.

    These great rules have kept my house only *partially* overfilled with things I don't need or use.

    • This is brilliant! I'm going to have to try it. I always take my basket to a quiet corner of the store before buying & check everything for scratches, stains, etc. I also ask myself if I have a place for the item when I do my little review. Often, just looking at/touching the item is enough for me to get that 'thrift success' feeling & I don't buy it.

  10. mastercrafthcp says:

    "So you’ve got a garage full of I-will-paint-that-soon projects?"

    Haha GUILTY.

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