Thrift Stores and Yard Sales; Your New Best Friends

I grew up the granddaughter of a thrifty yankee. My grandmother and I spent countless hours shopping at yard sales and thrift stores. I watched her haggle for things that appeared to be useless and saw how animated she became while describing how she would repurpose these seemingly worthless objects, breathing new life into them. Below are my tips for using these resources to save yourself some wedding moola.

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1.) Get creative and think repurpose!

Use social media to your advantage. I searched Pinterest for hours to find ideas of creative ways to repurpose ordinary objects. Once you’ve established your theme and colors, you can find an idea and run with it. Pinterest and YouTube feature “How-to” and DIY articles and videos aimed at everything you can imagine. I knew that I wanted to go with a vintage theme so I searched mason jar centerpieces, old suitcases, burlap, glass milk jugs and repurposing in general.

Pinterest is where I first saw a unique guest book idea that was perfect for us; Jenga blocks for the guests to write well wishes on with fine-tipped Sharpies.

2.) Know a good deal

Educate yourself on pricing so that you are able to recognize a good deal. Just because you find something at a discount store or yard sale doesn’t mean that it’s priced right. Do your research so that you know when you find a good deal and be ready to scoop it up if you do!

3.) Frequent your local thrift stores

If you have never been to your local thrift stores, now’s your chance! Start by making a list of anything and everything that you need. I knew I was searching for mason jars, a vintage suitcase, craft supplies like glue, ribbon and scrap booking paper to name just a few things.

Most thrift stores offer discount days. For some, it is once a week or a specific tag color each week, for others, there are one or two specific sale days a month. Knowing these sale days offers you even more discounts. It also doesn’t hurt to “get in good” with the employees of the store. Because I was such a frequent shopper of my local Goodwill, one of the associates went out of her way to get me 200 napkins new in package that perfectly matched my theme for less than $5.

4.) Yard Sales: virtual and physical

Yard sales are still going strong! In my area, from Memorial Day through Labor Day there are dozens of them every weekend. Grab your local paper and map out which sales near you look promising. I was able to find lots of the mason jars I used for my centerpieces at local yard sales. Some for $1.

Social Media has brought with it an increase in virtual yard sale opportunities. Sites like Craigslist and Facebook are ripe with postings of things that can be easily repurposed. There are Facebook groups where brides sell their wedding supplies and leftovers for a fraction of what you would pay new. Find one in your area and shop away. I found 6 chalkboards and chalkboard paint for less than I would have paid for 1 new chalkboard in a retail store.

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Thrift store and yard sale shopping aren’t for everyone. I get that. But for me, its not just about the savings, its about the thrill of discovery and the creativity of what I can repurpose. It also speaks of happy childhood memories. If you do decide to give secondhand shopping a try, keep an open mind and enjoy yourself!

3 thoughts on “Thrift Stores and Yard Sales; Your New Best Friends

  1. Great post. I like how you opened with a description of how yard sales remind you of growing up with your grandmother. I too have memories of waking up early and hitting dozens of yard sales by noon.
    I like that you kept the list short to 5 topics, it gives adequate information but is short enough for a quick read. I also really liked how you didn’t just stick to yard sales but also discussed thrift stores. The title could use some capitalization to improve its presence and to catch the eye.
    I loved your use of pictures, old suitcases and birds nest, although maybe go a bit into how to restore one or what to look for so that you know it can be restored. That information would have gone well under #2, Know a good deal. It may be a good idea to provide links to various websites where brides sell used/un-used wedding paraphernalia online or maybe a link to your favorite YouTube “how-to” video.
    Overall, I enjoy how much fun you seem to be having in searching out re-usable items and it comes across clearly in your post. Good work.

  2. I really like your blog! These are all very good ideas. Some stigma still remains that thrift stores are for ‘poor’ people. People don’t think that they are clean or would be as good as the more expensive brands. I think though that more and more people are realizing that thrift stores aren’t so bad and some have had to shop there out of necessity due to the economy. So I suppose that garage sales and thrift stores are losing some of the stigma but there is still some more work to be done.

  3. I really enjoy your blog! I love the opening. It was like a nice trip down memory lane. You did a wonderful job of incorporating that into the rest of your blog posting. I think you did a wonderful job of explaining how brides can find the things they need for less. You give great tips on how to be organized and plan how to ‘attack’ finding the needs a bride has. I also really enjoy how you brought in the virtual yard sales that have become a huge thing on Facebook. I love to look at these and see what I can find for really cheap. Great job!

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