7 expert tips for thrifting furniture and home goods

Vintage finds in the <a class="ql-link" href="https://ny.curbed.com/2017/2/13/14594326/home-tour-greenpoint-brooklyn-midcentury-modern" target="_blank">eclectic Brooklyn apartment </a>of a Design Within Reach buyer includes a thrifted coat rack.

Take advantage of thrift stores swamped after Marie Kondo
mania

As the
KonMari craze
gets everyone decluttering their homes and saying
goodbye to belongings that no longer “spark joy,” many of those
items are landing in thrift stores nationwide, which have
reported

an uptick in donations
in recent months. For bargain hunters,
it’s the perfect opportunity to snap up some deals.

In addition to clothes and accessories, packed thrift stores
will also have plenty of
secondhand furniture and home goods
to dig through. To maximize
your trip, consider these seven quick tips from experts.

Start online

You don’t have to leave your living room to start thrifting.
You’ll find
used goods from private sellers
on sites like Craigslist,
Facebook Marketplace, 1stdibs, 5miles, and OfferUp—you can buy
directly or at least get a sense of what you’re looking for. If
you find a promising deal, ask the seller if they have any other
items they haven’t listed yet.

You can also browse online marketplaces (and sites like
Wayfair
and
Overstock
) for real-time price comparisons on items you find in
a brick-and-mortar store.


Photo: Mark Lipczynski
A peek inside the
time capsule bachelor pad
of a midcentury-obsessed millennial,
who hit up thrift stores once or twice a day for a while to score
retro gems. Research your route

Thrift with a plan: Know where you’re going and what you’re
looking for. Map out your route, research which stores carry which
types of furniture and decor, and give yourself a full day to
shop.

Popular thrift stores in big cities are likely to be pricey or
picked over, says Nicole Alexander, owner and principal designer of
Siren Betty Design in
Chicago. The best shops are in “the middle of nowhere,” so
you’ll want to set aside plenty of time to drive around and dig
through piles.

Measure and photograph your space

Note the dimensions of the walls or rooms you’re looking to
fill, and bring photos of oddly-shaped spaces. It’s easier to
place furniture and decor using measurements and pictures rather
than your memory—and this will save you from hauling home items
that won’t fit.

Bring a friend

A fellow thrifter can help you decide if that wicker vanity is
really the right choice for your bedroom. Bring a friend with
similar taste who will give you their honest opinion and offer an
extra set of hands for hauling goods to and from your car.

Stay focused on what you’re after

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when thrifting. You might be on a
mission for a coffee table but end up lost among dozens of
decorative mirrors. Focus on key pieces first rather than browsing
everything.

That said, narrow your search too much and you might miss out or
get frustrated when you can’t find exactly what’s on your
list.

“Instead, start with a loose concept of what you’re looking
for, and build from there,” says Lauren Svenstrup, owner and
design director of Studio
Sven
. “There are so many amazing decor items out there that
you would never have considered or even known they existed.”

Brooklyn apartment
Photo: Max Touhey More
furniture finds in the living room of Design Within Reach buyer Liz
Shea’s
Brooklyn apartment
. Study items carefully

Thrifting pros advise shoppers to look for “good bones”—an
indication that the furniture is designed and constructed well.
Julie Muniz, a curator and
art consultant
in the San Francisco area, says that if
something looks “off” with an item, it probably is.

Pick up items if possible, as heavier weight may indicate higher
quality wood. Muniz also recommends that buyers look for labels,
marks, or tags that identify the manufacturer or designer as well
as construction with wood-to-wood joints rather than nails and
screws.

Visualize the finished product

Thrifted goods likely won’t look perfect when you purchase
them, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t right for your
space.

“Don’t be afraid of items that need a little TLC,” says
Darcy Segura, a pro
thrifter
who buys and resells furniture and home decor. “A
reupholstered couch, reframed art or pictures, or a fresh coat (or
color) of paint really can do wonders.”

Conversely, if an item is in poor shape and you’re not into
DIY, keep in mind that repairing and refinishing can be costly.
What seems like a good deal upfront may be out of your budget when
all is said and done.

Source: FS – All – Architecture 10
7 expert tips for thrifting furniture and home goods