What To Look For When Thrifting

November 16, 2016

Thrifting can be rather straight forward - you walk into GoodWill or Salvation Army, see something you like, then purchase it.  But what if we told you that we could help make sure that used piece of furniture you are about to purchase is going to be a conversation starter whenever it is seen?  With this guide, we will help you with the inspiration, identification, repair, and overall view of the product. 


1 - Research ideas and establish how much time and money you would like to set aside for this given project

Before stepping out of your house, take some time to figure out what article of furniture you are in the market for.  Are you interested in a new kitchen table, or perhaps finally finding that globe stand you have been looking for? Once you have figured out which article you are most interested in, search Pinterest for the latest DIY trends as well as seeing which designs align most with the layout of your room. If you are looking for inspiration, we suggest checking out our Pinterest page which lays out some of our favorite projects and designs.  After your initial research and soul searching has occured, it is important to understand how much time and money you can realistically set aside to accomplish your goal. Regardless of your budget and time commitment, know that there are still fascinating and clever ways to use furniture found in your local consignment shop or thrift store. 


2 - Evaluate where you want to purchase from

After you are inspired, you can start to figure out where you can start to browse potential furniture pieces. There are multiple avenues that need to be considered, each having their pros and cons.  

For digital: Craigslist, eBay, Close5, OfferUp, and Facebook Marketplace (in the near future).  

For brick-and-mortar stores: Consignment shops, thirift stores, and furniture specialty stores. 

Secret Tip: Think about calling hotels and asking if they have any used furniture they are looking to sell or get rid of - most people do not think to do this, but it may work for you!

Helpful Tools:

Thift Store Finder 


3 - Look at the damages - are they beyond repair?

After you identify which piece of furniture looks appealing to you, it is important to do a very close inspection of the material and condition of the piece.  Is it quality wood or cheap composite material? Once this is established, you can then decide and see how long and how much it will cost to get this project from where it is now to where you want it to be.  Dents, scratches, and dings can be taken care of relatively easily with various touch up products.  Areas that you should be alert to would be uneven legs, loose joints, and stained fabrics or wood.  

An additional step should be taken when you are purchasing beds, couches, or the like. This is to test for bed bugs, and the first step is to put the piece of furniture outside. Once a white sheet or paper is laid under the base of the piece,  take an old credit card and scrape across the surface.  Once the debris falls to the sheet, take a blacklight or normal flash light and inspect what fell.  If it looks anything remotely like bed bugs, you may want to consider another piece.  


4 - Try your hand at bartering the price lower

Thrift stores and consignments shops are just about the last remaining places where bartering is not met with a, "Are you kidding me?" face.  When bartering, it is important to note the key flaws and state them as to why the price should be lowered. Do not offer a price that is so low that they do not want to participate, but just enough to get them to realize that the flaws you've pointed out reduce the value of the product.


5 - Begin the makeover process

You've done it!  You managed to find a treasure chest in an old thrift shop.  The next step involves putting the vision you imagined from Step 1 into practice.  If you are needing to fill in some dents, we would suggest using our Hard Fill Sticks and Battery Operated Burn-In Knife.  The hard fill makes permanent repairs to holes, divets, and the like.  If there is a corner of the table missing and you are planing on recoloring or staining the table, we would suggest using our Epoxy Putty in White.  If you are unsure what the Epoxy Putty is like or how to use it, follow our quick guide here.  With regards to small scratches on the surface, take an Ultra Mark or Pro Mark  and gently apply it to the areas - there is a helpful video here.  Whether it is staining it a new color (Find our Solar Lux here), or polishing the brass, Mohawk can help you with any issues you experience in the DIY process.  Even if you aren't a customer of us, we would still love to help or answer any questions that you may have! Our goal is to help you create that conversation starting piece of furniture - let's tackle it together.


What has been your favorite thift store or consignment shop find?  Tell us on our Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!  We would love to hear your story, and possibly feature you on our next blog post (Yes, you will receive free product).  

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