Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Thrifting like a pro: A guest post.

Hello, lovely people! How has the week been treating you so far? I have a treat in store for you today....the always vivacious Evie from the blog Post-College Working Girl has put together a wonderful post on how to spot a bargain and thrift like a pro. As you may know, I'm a big fan of thrifting...for me it makes sense on several levels, it's economical and it's Eco-friendly (reuse, recyclye, upcycle....just make sure it isn't headed to a landfill!), it's also about the thrill of the hunt and finding something unique. And it gives me a chance to flex my creative muscle without working our way into bankruptcy, LOL! Like the saying goes "you don't have to spend a million........"

So without much further ado, I present to you Evie and her wonderful tips (be sure to pay extra attention to her wonderful home in all the after pictures too; if you haven't discovered Evie's blog yet, you positively have to click on over!! Resourceful comes to mind. As does creative. And of course, fun!) Take it away Evie.....

I was honored when Gagan e-mailed me (which was no small feat considering the e-mail malfunctions we had!) and asked if I would write a post about thrifting!  She is so sweet and I love her blog so I didn't hesitate one moment to say yes!  So, I must confess to y'all, you know, get it out in the open, since we are getting to know one another:  I am a thrift store junkie.  There.  I said it.  I love going thrifting.  I mean, lah lah lah love it.  Sure, the excitement of finding a bargain is about as addictive as watching the Lifetime specials leading up to the Royal Wedding, but for me, the real thrill comes in finding unique objects that can't be found all across the world at your Ikeas, Crate and Barrels, and Pottery Barns.  

The most common thing that I hear from friends and my blog readers when they see the things that I have found at a thrift store, is that they wish they could find "good" stuff like that but that they just don't know what to look for.  I am here to offer my humble tips and tricks of the thrifting trade because there is TONS of "good stuff" to be found out there!

1)  The best thing to take with you when going thrifting is... an imagination!  Sounds corny, I know, but to find the "good" stuff you have to look past the dingy fabric, the color of an item, and the nicks and scratches on wood.  Look at the structure of an item, or the "bones," and picture it in your minds eye in a different color, or re-upholstered with a different fabric.

I purchased this couch from a thrift store for $42.  The fabric was old and dingy but I loved the curved back and arms along with the wood detailing on the bottom.  It was also sturdily constructed, which is important!

A little bit of new upholstery and some wood polish and I was able to make a drab couch a "great find"!

2)  Another one of my favorite things to look for in thrift stores are little figures and items to use in the decor around my house.  When looking for these things don't get caught up in the exterior, but rather look at it's shape.  For instance, I love elephants, but I wasn't in love with the dull, metal finish of the guy below.  I picked up this pair of elephants for about $3 though because I thought that the posture of the trunk was interesting and knew that I could change the exterior, which was the only draw back.

A little bit of spray paint and now I adore seeing this pair with their GREEN trumpeting trunks!

3)  I cannot stress this next tip enough:  WOOD FURNITURE CAN ALWAYS BE PAINTED!  Ok I think I scared myself a little bit with those capital letters, but I really think that this is the biggest tool of the thrifting trade.  Sometimes things just need a coat of paint to go from dated and tacky to hip and fantastic!

Coffee Table purchased for $50

Painted black with shined up brass legs!

Dated looking side table.  Purchased for about $15

Now a super chic two toned table.

The wood here makes me want to cry it's so bad, but I love the scalloped edges and unique shape of the cabinet windows.  Purchased for $90.

Now I cry only tears of happiness!

A "nothing special" mirror for $6.

Sophisticated in black!

4)  When all the other rules of thumb fail you, and you see something that you just HAVE to have, go for it.  At the end of the day, if it makes you happy and you love it then you can't go wrong.  I, for one, fell immediately in love when I saw this PINK velvet chair.


And then I fell in love again when I saw THIS pink velvet chair.


Both are currently living in harmony in my house, because let's be honest one can never have too many pink velvet chairs.

I hope that you found this helpful and that it inspired you to go out and find the thrifted things you love!

Evie those were some excellent tips! And I especially enjoyed looking into your gorgeous home--I love how warm and inviting it is without being too fussy..and now I have a strange hankering for a pink velvet chair. Hmmm now where did that come from?? :)  Thank you so much for putting together this wonderful post!

I hope you enjoyed the post, dear reader, and whether you're thrifting at the rose bowl or back in Mumbai's chor bazaar, don't forget to tell me about the treasures you bring home..... :)


  1. Evie...you are my officially my hero :)

  2. wow!!These are some awesome before and after project
    All those furniture look alive and gorgeous after a little DIY.
    Great drab to fab story:)

  3. Evie and Gagan......fabulous post. What a gorgeous and creative home. I did my share of thrifting before the kids. Now I am waiting for my two year old to grow up a bit more before I can start again!!

  4. Thanks everyone, I'm so glad that you liked it!!

    Gagan I just posted on my blog letting everyone know to come over here to read the post! Thanks again for the opportunity!!

  5. i so so so love make over posts..all of them are beautiful..im a big fan of thrift stores

  6. Great post Evie and Gagan! Nice makeovers Evie :)

  7. Lovely home Evie!! I am sooooo going to steal that idea of small chests on the sofa table :-). Thanks for sharing GB and a home tour is awaiting you on my blog too :-)

  8. Evie, you are my hero!! Thanks for the intro Gagan, I am so impressed:):)

  9. Love the tips, Evie! Thanks Gagan, for once again introducing us to a great blog!

  10. Evie, thanks for these great tips. Gagan, thanks for the guest post. I'm hopping over to Evie's blog to see more of her transformations.

  11. 2 of my favorite bloggers in one fabulous post! Love all your finds Evie! You have a great eye for the potential beauty in ordinary stuff! Keep it up, both of you!


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