POSTS BY Rashon Carraway

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A good thrift store becomes a great thrift store when you can maximize your spending power. Discount days are perfect for getting more bang for your buck.

Some stores run daily or weekly sales. Often times, sale items are identified by color tags. I find it difficult to keep up with the ever changing sale days and colors, so I have a notebook to write down which days have which colors and what percentage off I can expect.

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I’ve found so many exciting treasures in thrift stores and vintage shops. But knowing what constitutes a treasure takes time and experience. Over the years, I’ve honed my eye by browsing inspiring photos from my favorite design sites and blogs. I’ve created an internal database, so now when I see a piece in a store, it sparks a memory of a favorite vignette and gives me ideas for whether (and how) I can use a piece.

how to pick a sideboard from a thrift store


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The year is drawing to a close and I am sure many of you have projects sitting in your garage or storage closet waiting to be tackled. Today I’m offering one simple suggestion: paint.

A good paint color can transform a drab item into an amazing statement piece. Best of all, all it takes is some patience and a little bit of money.

Most people think painting furniture is only for wood or plastic pieces. Not true. Almost anything can be painted.

Just recently I painted a set of wing-back chairs. At less than $10 for supplies, I updated them in just one weekend.

In its past life this desk was probably the life of the room, offering substantial storage and a sturdy writing surface. However, years passed and trends changed. Natty by Design brought this gem back to the modern era with a fresh coat of paint. Its high-gloss finish adds just the right amount of pizazz without being overpowering.


You can also use spray paint to give something new life. While these particular lamps weren’t thrifted, Janel Beals knew the blue color wouldn’t work in her space, so she fixed that dilemma with a nice coat of white paint. Thrift stores tend to have reasonably priced lamps with great shapes.


Perhaps you like the idea of painting but want to go the extra step. Take this secretary that received a facelift for one of Amy Meir’s clients. Yes. I know. Spectacular.

Now I know the secretary was a quite daunting. Some of us are not quite ready for that experience. How about this boot jack? I found it while browsing a local thrift store and was not a fan of the color. I simply spray painted it gold and now I am using it as a paper weight. How easy was that?

Have you also painted a thrifted piece? Share!

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It’s the holidays. The time of year when people are buying gifts and sharing memories with family and friends. Although regifting is still quite a topic of debate, I would encourage you to regift…back to the thrift store.

Thrift stores’ profits are fueled by the donations of community and corporate patrons. While you may not be able to donate truckloads of goods or write a big check, you can still support your local thrift shops and declutter your life in the process.

I am not proud of it, but I have a lot of unfinished projects, and the likelihood of me actually finishing some of them is slim to none.

Brass chandelier base

Take this chandelier base, for example. I tweeted about it. Blogged about it. And eventually did nothing with it. So, I dropped it off at a thrift store. As much as I wanted to keep it, I knew it would take up my limited storage space. If you haven’t gotten to an item and aren’t sure when you’ll get to  it, donate it back and let someone else experience the joy of finding it.

Give extra neckties back to the thrift store

It’s great to donate clothing that we have loved or cherished but can no longer wear. For example, I have a lot of ties, and I recently donated several. Felt pretty good, too.

Striped arm chair with Queen Anne legs

Perhaps you’ve received items from a loved one and know they just aren’t your thing. If Grandma’s chair has significant meaning to others in the family, why not give it to one of them? Or, if it’s not on anyone’s wish list, wouldn’t Grandma be proud of you for donating it to an organization that’s built upon helping others and bringing joy?

What are some of the items you recently donated?

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The holidays are in full throttle. And although Black Friday is a distant memory there are still some amazing deals to find, especially at thrift stores.

My dearest mother loves brooches, so when I saw this one for $3 I knew I had to pick it up for her. It may not have much monetary value, but she loves wearing it, and it’s special for both of us when she does.

Rhinestone Brooch

This brass lamp was only $9. This would be a worthy gift for someone who recently moved into a new home or apartment.

Brass Lamp With Black Shade

Although some people are not hip to brass, it’s easy to paint. Look for timeless shapes, like this one, when you’re considering a lamp you might want to repurpose. Check out one my fellow blogger did:

Brian Patrick Flynn Modernizes a Traditional Chandelier

A well-stocked thrift store may be the perfect spot to find a vintage dress or coat for your hard-to-buy-for friend.

Vintage Plaid Coat

When I saw this vintage plaid coat, I knew I had to have it. I am sure you will find something amazing for the people on your list. And maybe – like I did – a little something for yourself.

What’s your favorite holiday gift to shop the thrift stores for?

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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?

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