You might think it odd that I would suggest buying antiques at a thrift store. For the purpose of this article I am going to include second hand stores along with thrift sores. The quality of the merchandise in these thrift shops vary widely in different locations. But I suggest you at least check them out. Many thrift stores depend on donations for their merchandise while most second hand stores buy their inventory. The fun part of shopping these second hand stores is looking for the diamond in the rough. Remember antiques and collectibles are second hand merchandise.
The most well known thrift stores are run by large nonprofit organizations. The ones that come to mind are the Salvation Army thrift stores, Good will stores, DAV (Disabled Vets) thrift stores, and St Vincent Depaul thrift stores. I am sure there are many others, but those are in many locations. A thrift store in NY might be completely different than a thrift store in Houston. You might have to check back often to see when they put their merchandise out on the sales floor. They get many donations on the weekends after people have time to clean out things. So are these things put out Monday, or later in the week. The same holds true for second hand stores, they may carry mostly used furniture but you can find some antiques here also. My parents bought a nice American round oak table and set of four T back oak dining chairs at a second hand store They also bought another round oak dining table that had been cut down into a coffee table.
You will be able to mark some of these off your list very quickly because they just have a bunch of left over garage sale or yard sale stuff. But you never know, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” One of the Salvation Army thrift stores not far from our antique store in Dallas had some pretty neat things. It was close to the upper end neighborhoods in Dallas, and even the discarded things could be nice. One of the dealers in the antique mall down the street, donated a lot of things from her booth when she retired. Most of these were hand selected English collectibles or “smalls” that she had purchased in England. So you never know what you will find on any given trip to a thrift store
I know there are some of you that will say, I don’t have time to do all of that running around. That is fine and you can always go to your favorite antique store or antique mall and find what you are seeking. You can even hire an interior designer who will do all of the legwork for you. I am just giving suggestions for those who love the thrill of the hunt and find that treasure at a bargain price. Yes, it will take time and patience, but it can be worth your time.
Those of you who love vintage and antique jewelry might really love these shops. Unfortunately, with the recent skyrocketing prices in gold and silver, most of these stores are on the lookout for any precious metal. But every once in a while a stray piece will slip by them. The Salvation Army thrift stores used to sell bags of costume jewelry, and sometimes you could find some nice things in them. Even be on the lookout for the backings of pierced earrings. Sometimes these are gold and to replace one today can cost $30 or so because of today’s gold prices.
Most second hand stores tend to deal mainly in second hand furniture while the thrift stores carry everything from second hand clothes, appliances, toys, furniture and even cars. There are also some stores calling themselves vintage stores. With the rage in vintage furniture and accessories, including mid century modern from the fifties, sixties and even the seventies, these are gaining in popularity. Of course vintage clothes are also popular with the young people and they can be fund in the thrift stores also. I have a friend that supplements their income by selling vintage boots on EBay that they find in thrift stores. There are so many sources for vintage clothing, even vintage clothing stores. The retro look and retro clothes is popular like retro furniture.
So if you enjoy the thrill of the hunt or you are on a tight budget, shopping for antiques and accessories at thrift stores and second hand stores will be fun and just might save you some serious cash.