Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

5 Cool Thrift Store Finds -- What to Look For and What's a Good Deal


4
Depression Glass

Quality wood pieces are among the most sought-after and satisfying thrift store finds. The competition is fierce, though. It isn't uncommon for the pros to buy items right off the dock before a thrift store even opens for business. Don't be discouraged, though. There are still plenty of collectible, vintage and antique furniture finds out there. Here's how to find them:

  • Shop early. Visit resellers as soon as they open, and make a habit of visiting often. That way, you'll know the types of goods they typically deal in. You'll also develop a rapport with the staff and get the scoop on juicy details, like when big deliveries are expected.
  • Learn everything you can. A wood furniture education will take a little effort, but the more you know, the better equipped you'll be to spot a real bargain when you see one. Wood furniture made over a century ago is considered antique. If a piece was produced before 1830, it's likely handmade, too. These early specimens are made of solid hardwood and not veneers. Whether you're on the lookout for an antique or just want a sturdy worktable for the basement, always inspect wood pieces for insect activity, water damage and dry rot before you reach for your wallet.
  • Don't hesitate. Take detailed notes about your décor, including useful measurements. Collect fabric swatches, carpet samples and anything else you think may help you make an informed buying decision. You'll always be prepared for the next great find.

More to Explore