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I hear people say it all the time: “There’s nothing in my thrift store.”

Location, location, location. It’s not only for real estate but for thrift stores as well. While there are times when items show up in an unusual spot, certain regions are thrifting gold.

Living near North Carolina, the furniture capital of the world, makes it easy to find quality vintage furniture. While brand names are important, sometimes you can find unknown brands because there were so many furniture makers in the area. Prices may also be a little lower because demand is lower.

This sofa was found in Lancaster, SC, thrift store for only $25.

During my trips to New York, I’ve seen a lot of low-cost furniture in thrift stores. Unlike the furniture down south, many of the pieces are from well-known companies that still have products on the market.

While New York can seem pricey, thrift stores are good places to find great pieces, like this breakfront for only $50.

Friends tell me that the Midwest and Florida have also yielded amazing vintage finds at great prices.

These Milo Baughman chairs were purchased for $16 a pair from a yard sale in Florida. Lynda from Focal Point scored four of them.

So let’s talk. What locations have you found with the best thrift items?


Design Inspiration

12 Responses

  1. Denise West says:

    Great post! Here in Houston I have never seen prices that low!!

  2. Laura Amundson says:

    I think in my area (central Iowa) the best places are Salvation Army or DAV (Disabled American Veterans), or, even better, auctions. You never know what you'll find at an auction, and lots of times you can get good dining sets or bigger pieces of furniture at a low price because you'll need a truck to haul them away. There's some good estate sales too.

  3. [...] Thrifting: Location, Location, Location HGTV Design Happens Fri, November 18, 2011 9:00 PM UTC HGTV Design Happens Rate this story Share (function(){var [...]

  4. L.Rice says:

    Hi Rashon!

    I also live in North Carolina. I'm a recent transplant from Charlotte to Winston Salem. I feel that I've hit the thrifting gold mine! I'm always finding little consignment shops and thrift stores. Some, I feel specialize in better products than others. For instance I may go to this store for furniture where another store has better children's clothing or dishware. We have so many Goodwills and a Goodwill Outlet, a Mega Thrift, as well as a Rescue Mission Thrift. I don't think a week goes by where I'm not thrifting. I just bought my kids new books today… just 29 cents each. As I teach my friends about where to thrift, location is definitely the key ingredient. I LOVE THRIFTING!

  5. Neka says:

    Im in love with that sofa! And its my home decor style of like french country vintage. Wow $25 ? you gotta be kidding me! that would have been picked up right away! Well, at least I know where to go to get some decent vintage furniture…Great article!

  6. Lori says:

    Ask me where I went with my husband on our first 10 dates, and I might be able to get you 30% accurate responses. Choose 10 random things in my house that I've thrifted and I can tell you what store, when and for how much 99% of the time. Priorities out of whack? hmm. Maybe.
    I've lived from east to west, and vacationed in between. One of my favorite things to do on vacation is to look at what's popular in thrift stores in a particular area. I completely agree, that location is a big factor in the find. It's like a visual cultural anthropology report. I've had great luck with unique vintage clothing in Burbank, CA (but no furniture to be found). Amazing housewares deals and wall decor in Cincinnati, OH (but book prices are high). Portland, OR used to be a good hub for deals. But they caught on and opened a store that all other area locations feed their name brand stuff to and it only sells upscale brands. Vegas is filled with Big Box Retailer's write-offs and casino freebies like water bottles and junk.
    And if you're looking for a Vera Bradley bag- go to Virginia. Yikes. They also have a lot of kids' furniture.
    My last two bits- give every store (and chain) at least two chances. I really didn't like Salvation Army in Oregon and Virginia, but couldn't get enough of them in Phoenix. Some locations of Out of the Closet in So. Cal aren't worth stopping at, and others are great.
    And thanks for the NC tip! I'd love to see more comments on other regions' strong points.

  7. Boots says:

    Also, it's just not the city but the store. Stores just 6 blocks away from each other can be a treasure trove or a wasteland. Also, don't judge a store by one visit or season. That said, beginner's luck can be awesome! I think it can be the universe's way of getting you thrifting addicted. BTW, when is the best time of year to thrift? January? Beginning of fall? Your thoughts?

  8. Loretta says:

    Location means so much when thrifting. We have some great thrifting locations here in Chicago. The key here is shopping thrift often the stock change daily. I was born thrifting and love it!!!!

  9. Peggy says:

    We have moved all over the country and oddly enough found some of the best finds in Ohio. Youngstown, OH to be exact. Camel hair sport coats from Saks 5th Ave (think deliciously vintage in perfect condition!) for a mere $5 to $10, brand new current books for a quarter, vintage pottery for pennies on the dollar and everything imaginable for the kitchen from the 40's, 50's and 60's. Currently we live an hour north of Indianapolis and may as well be living on the moon… over priced, terrible condition, and undesirable. So yes location definitely makes a world of difference (living between Indianapolis and Chicago does NOT help us… lol)

  10. Kim says:

    I'm from Rochester, NY and there are just run-of-the-mill thrift stores here. I favor furniture, so I usually swing through my Big 3: Goodwill, VOA (Volunteers of America), and Salvation Army. I use the sales when I can, but my favorite trick is to simply ask and be friendly. I scored an antique dining table with gorgeous chunky legs for 20% off the ticketed price because I asked (nicely). It wound up costing me $69. I plan on using it as twin vanities in my bathroom remodel. Cut it in half, install vessel sinks and voila, vintage character for less than a cheapo crappo out of the box fake "marble" one. Plus they gave me a coupon for next time. I find thrifting to be immensely rewarding and never buy new.

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