31 Days · Good to Know · Thrifts

31 Days: The Thrift Project – Day 10: Best Things to Thrift

In which I admit to being even more crunchy than I ever imagined I would be

I’m back today with some more thrifing tips. It’s Wednesday again, so maybe I’ll go with Wednesday being Tip Day (or something more cleverly titled when I have more than 5 seconds to think about it).

I want to tell you what I think are the best items to thrift, or at least the best places to look at the thrift store. This is a mix of things that are either better to get used (inexpensive), or they are items that I have the most success finding and making work. Your list might look different – if so, please tell me about it by clicking “Comments” in the top right of this post, under the post title. I’d love to hear.

1. Vintage blouses. These are pretty easy to find at a thrift store. They are usually silk, so getting them at thrift store prices is a steal. Pair with jeans and a statement necklace, and you’re all set for date night, the thrifted way.

2. Dresses. It’s no secret I have a weakness for thrifted vintage – graceful lines, beautiful details, quality construction, and a great price. But it doesn’t have to be vintage – you can find some great, contemporary dresses that work just as you find them or with a little tweaking – change the neckline, raise the hemline, take in the sides just a bit, cut off the bottom of the dress and turn it into a skirt. Dresses are full of possibilities.

3. Lingerie Department. This DOES NOT mean undies (see below). But, I’ve found great pieces in the lingerie department. Above is a vintage chemise with embroidery that works great as a dress.

This is another great vintage piece, a satin camisole, that pairs well with a cardigan, jeans, and strappy heels.

4. Boys’ Department. While it’s hard to find men’s shirts – even small ones – that are flattering and feminine, the smaller scale of boys’ clothing can work well on a woman’s body. This blazer is a perfect example – a fitted, shrunken blazer for $4.

5. Linens. And here’s where I come clean on my crunchiness. I’ve decided I’m ready to try to go paperless in the kitchen. A few months ago, I stocked up on surgical huck towels (new, of course) to use in place of paper towels. It’s been fairly successful – we just tend to wash towels more frequently. However, we’ve still been using paper napkins. I searched for cotton cloth napkins to buy, but for the quantity we need (we have kids), buying them new seemed a little much, especially knowing they will probably get trashed. So, I added them to my wish list, and over the weekend, I found some great ones (brown and pink in photo look new, orange pattern ones are vintage). I got 20 cloth napkins for less than $10. And when they inevitably get trashed, it will be easy to replace them.

The linens department is also a great place to find fabric for sewing projects. My friend, Molly, finds vintage linens and turns them into adorable children’s clothing. In an upcoming post, I’ll show you how I used thrifted curtains to make my Halloween costume last year. The linens department is a thrifting gold mine.

6. Vintage Clutches. Isn’t this green clutch great? Check out that sweet little chain and the rhinestone clasp. I love a good clutch, and if you don’t want to make your own, they are pretty easy to come by at a thrift store.

7. Jewelry. Lots and lots of jewelry.

8. Scarves. Big squares, vintage, silk, paisley, monogramed – there are usually many options. I think people are intimidated by scarves, unsure of how to use them, so they donate them. Grab them up and use them with abandon! Tie up your hair, wrap around your neck, use in place of a belt, let your kids juggle them or play peak-a-boo. Can you have too many?

9. Baskets.

10. T-shirts. Not to wear, although you certainly could. I love to use t-shirts for sewing projects. They come in all colors, and most thrift stores have them organized by color, making it easier to choose just the right shade.  Here’s a sneak peak at a t-shirt project in the works:

Sometimes Good to Thrift:

  • Jeans. These can be tricky. Sometimes you’ll luck up and find a pair of designer jeans in your size and know the patron saint of thrifting is shining down on you. But other times, it’s hanger after hanger of cheap pairs and Mom Jeans. But, if your size is in fluctuation, like right after you have a baby, it’s a good place to buy a few pairs to get you through until your body stops changing.
  • Shoes. These are hit or miss. Sometimes you might find something great, other times nothing. Don’t count on finding good shoes, but pass on them entirely. (Unless you’re one of my hometown friends, in which case you’ve got Beaty’s, you lucky ducks, so you really don’t need to thrift shoes.)


  • Undies. Enough said.
  • Tank Tops. These are best to buy new. Think about it. You probably wear your tank tops into the ground. They are layered under clothing in the winter and endure hot temperatures in the summer. When you get rid of them, how do they look? Probably best to pass on these.

So, I just asked Husband what I should add to the “Never” list. His responses:

  • “Jock straps.”
  • “Electronics. You know that stuff isn’t going to work.”
  • “Anything over $10.”
  • “Going thrifting with your husband.”

Love that man. Today is the anniversary of our first date (well, yesterday by the time this posts). Seventeen years ago, he picked me up in a little red truck and took me to dinner at Olive Garden. He still makes me laugh every day. I am so blessed.


This post is part of a 31 Day series. Find all the posts in this series here.


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6 thoughts on “31 Days: The Thrift Project – Day 10: Best Things to Thrift

  1. I had almost forgotten the little red truck. Tell Husband I love his “Never” list. He still makes me laugh, too, and I love him more every year! Can’t wait to see what that T-shirt project is.

  2. Well, I have to admit – I may have to go thrifting. You’ve given me a vision of young children scarf dancing. :-)

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