My Favorite Thrift Store of All Time
Close your eyes and imagine a magical place that is clean and bright and well-lit and well-stocked and the employees are nice and everyone smiles and unicorns frolic through fields of buttercups (ok, maybe not that last part). What is this mystical place I’m referring to? It’s my favorite thrift store … 2nd Ave Thrift Superstore! During the month of March, I took three trips there because we all know that going often is the key to scoring the best things and I’m excited to show off my haul with you and share some of my vintage styling tips.
Kelly Elko and 2nd Ave Thrift Superstores are a match made in heaven so when they reached out to me asking if I wanted to collaborate, I may have shed a tear of joy.
My closest store is located in a former supermarket so it’s HUGE and it has everything and I mean everything including clothes, shoes, housewares, art, toys, books (mine even has a special rack filled with only vintage books), furniture – they have it all! They use a color-code tag system and on certain days, they offer discounts on certain color tags as well as 50% off days.
Let’s cut the chit chat and get to the good stuff … my March thrift haul!
I found not one but two vintage ice buckets which I love to use as planters. One has a winter scene so I’ll be tucking it away until Christmas when I envision it holding a mini Christmas tree.
The trio of little blue canal houses are actually liquor bottles that have been given away on KLM Royal Dutch Airlines flights since 1952. It’s these unique little things that truly make our homes so one-of-a-kind.
Styling Tip: Think odd numbers when it comes to creating a pleasing display. The trio of houses and the cake stand read as on thing, the plant is the second and the bowl of clementines is the third. Adding a fourth thing to the tray would not be as visually appealing.
Remember the giant vintage crewel I found a few months ago? Well it’s my unicorn find of all time from 2nd Ave and the best part was the price … only $30!
Let’s revisit that odd number thing we talked about? 1 – tray of glasses, 2 – bowl, 3 – globe.
I have a globe collection and the black ones are harder to find so into my cart it went. When you’re thrifting, it’s so important to put it in your cart even if you are unsure if you want it because I guarantee you, if you don’t, someone else will and you’ll live with regret for the rest of your life!
On what planet could you walk into a retail store and find a one of a kind, heavy piece of pottery with the most gorgeous drip glaze and pay only $5 for it? NOWHERE! Only in a thrift store could you score such a deal and 2nd Ave continues to amaze me every single time I go. I filled the bowl with my vintage corkscrew collection.
I have a weakness for vintage drinking glasses and I was thrilled to add this set of mint condition monogrammed S glasses (my husbands name starts with an S), to my collection. I think every kitchen, bar cart or dining room should have a set of vintage glasses on display. They are a great conversation starter too.
Tip: If you find a single vintage glass that you love, buy it and use it as a vase!
No shoppers at the thrift store were injured in my frantic sprint to snatch up this little chair because a plant mom can never have enough stands and this tiny little green metal school chair is perfect for elevating a favorite plant.
I’m always on the lookout for vintage paintings and the selection of art at 2nd Ave is huge and ever-changing.
Styling Tip: Prop a painting that one would not normally associate with a kitchen, like this floral, on the counter for an unexpected look. Best part, it hides those ugly electrical outlets.
Two more of my March thrifting finds made their way onto my vintage art gallery wall.
Styling Tip: Layer art of all kinds but try to stick to a similar color palette to create a cohesive look.
Thrifting is my therapy! I love that you never know what you’re going to find. I have an obsession for vintage but I’ve also found some amazing things for my daughters college apartment including all kinds of kitchen gadgets for next to nothing.
Did you know it’s been scientifically proven that young people love thrifting as much as old people like me! I brought my daughter on one of my trips and she found a football jersey (Go Giants), a few tops and denim shorts for a song and the bonus was the abundance of clean and well-lit dressing rooms so she could try it all on.
If you’re looking for the mother of all thrift stores, run, don’t walk (unless you live across the country, then fly) to 2nd Ave because it truly is super!
Learn more about 2nd Ave Thrift Superstore Here
Follow 2nd Ave Thrift on Instagram
2nd Ave Mystery Box Giveaway
Giveaway has ended – winner Heidi
I’m filling a box with fun vintage finds from 2nd Ave! What will be in it? Who knows … but you know it’s going to be amazing!
To enter …
- Leave a comment telling me your best thrift store find!
- Extra entries on my Instagram page so be sure to hop over there for more ways to win – @kelly.elko on Instagram here
Giveaway ends April 4 at midnight EST. Winner will be randomly selected from entries here on the blog and on my Instagram page and must live in the continental U.S.
Kelly, I have had so many wonderful finds since I was a kid. I have bought a lot of fun jewelry and clothes. One of the best things I scored was a vintage Tom & Jerry punch set that had the bowl and several mugs. My husband’s family had the same mugs (no bowl) as they have been making Tom & Jerrys at Christmas since their kids were little. My husband makes them now. I found another set online a couple of years ago and surprised my son so he can continue the tradition in his own home.
What a fun tradition Pat and love that you gave your son the same set!
Wow Kelly, your finds are amazing, can’t believe you found it all at a thrift store! I need to find a 2nd Ave!
Yes you do!
I found an extremely ugly sofa at the thrift store, but it was rounded in the back and we call it the Marilyn Monroe sofa. I do upholstery so ugly turned into beautiful with it restlyed and after putting 27 buttons on the back curve and sides, it has been in my daughters appartments- yep,, more than one move– and now going to a house she just purchased. The sofa cost 12.98.
Now that is a thrift store score Susan! It sounds beautiful
Best thrift store find, olive bucket 🫒 for dog toys. Perfect.
How fun Beverly!
What a nice haul you got. Such great looking items.
Me; I have gotten some old frames but the best find that I have found was a round 3 tiered wooden Dumbwaiter.
Thank you for this wonderful giveaway opportunity.
Wow that dumbwaiter sounds amazing Colleen!
What a fun giveaway! BTW, your talent is off the charts! Love your style and your ability to make to make anything magical. My best thrift store find was a set of Christmas china (for 25!) for 25$. I’ve used it forever!
What?! I love Christmas and when I find something I scoop it up no matter what the season!
Wow, you got amazing finds! I love the green chair you found. The best thing I ever got was a Morris the cat glass for my Mom for her birthday!
How fun Lisa!
HOLY MOLY I want to visit the mecca with you!!! I need to get out thrifting soon. My best find from a thrift store- gosh that is hard to say, but I think maybe it’s my dresser in my bedroom. So much other stuff I’ve found has come and gone over the years. but that dresser has remained.
That dresser is your thrifted soul mate … and knows all your secrets so never get rid of it!
Vintage dishes, lamps, you name it!
So many great things to discover at the thrift store Kayla!
My favorite thrift store find was a complete Bauer pottery canister set! I found it in a shop in Georgia, far away from my previous hometown in California. I remember my Mom having a few Bauer planters when I was growing up.
I love going in thrift and antique stores. I don’t do it as much now. I’ve found so many things I have in my home. Some of my best finds have been gorgeous laces and tatting. I do heirloom sewing and use these in my dresses. Also beautiful baby clothes.
What a wonderful post! You had me at “thrifting”! I love thrifting! It is hard to say what my favorite find has been. Like you, I love vintage and mainly go to find the vintage pieces. My daughter loves Waterford Crystal so one favorite piece was a Waterford liquor decanter for $30. It sells for over $450. I love to find blue and white ginger jars, Wedgwood, Fiestaware, globes, and unusual items. Thanks for a great post and sharing so many ideas!
Boy did you find a lot of wonderful treasures! I love your idea of using a vintage ice bucket as a planter. My mom has a really neat one from the 70s. She’s st my house this weekend and as soon as she wakes up, I can’t wait to share your idea with her.
My best thrift store find is my vintage teacher’s desk. I refinished it and it’s now in my office and gets used every day.
My FAVORITE thrift shop find was an old-fashioned rug and matching curtains for my kitchen. At the time, my kitchen was blue and white. I needed an update and found EXACTLY what I needed. Love thrift stores, but this stupid COVID thing has kept me away from them. Love all of YOUR great finds!
My favorite thrift store find was a globe! Now I will be on the look out for a black one. Your posts are always inspiring. I love your home tours! I am subscribe and follow you on Instagram.
Enjoyed seeing all of your finds! Speaking of drip glaze – I think my vintage Roseville blue/green drip glaze 10″ bowl from Goodwill for 5.99 is my most recent favorite.
This is my first time to comment, so I will also add that I am alway excited to see your newest post pop up in my inbox. I enjoy and relate to your decorating style.
Thrift stores, estate sales, auctions are my passions…favorite finds in thrift stores are vintage crystal stemware! Love your posts!
Thrifting is my favorite! You never know what you will find. The hunt is a big part of the fun. I found a French laundry basket this week for $4.00. Old canning jars for 35 cents each. Vintage flocked bunnies for 50 cents. A beautiful and clean floral ticking feather pillow for $2.00. It’s been a good week!
Weeks like this are what keeps me going back!
What fantastic finds! And that store, 2nd Avenue, wow!! Wish it was closer to me cuz I would be going there weekly!! Love your style!
My favorite thrift store find is the two-piece (top hutch with doors and bottom stand with doors) armoire I spotted at the Goodwill store in Fargo, North Dakota about 24 years ago. I paid $40! It was “antiqued” orange and has gone through three color phases since then. I was offered $200 for it in it’s present slate gray makeup. 🙂 When we move to Cheyenne, Wyoming in May I will be chalk painting it a serious yellow-green to brighten a corner of one of the rooms in our new (old) home.
That armoire has stood the test of time June! Your makeover sounds like its going to be beautiful!
My best thrift find was a hutch for my dishes. I loved all the shelves!
We can never have too much storage for our thrifted finds Kristi!
My favorite thrift store find (so far) is a hand carved bust of a Native American maidens for only $12! I think they were missing a zero somewhere. I still pinch myself every time I look at her pretty face.
Isn’t that the best feeling! Finding a treasure is so fun Pat!
So many amazing finds from the thrift stores, estate sales and auctions!
From the thrift store: I found a vintage wood living room side table with a marble top (it’s round and conceals our movie watching blankets) it has excellent neutral colors in the marble so it matches everything. It’s super solid and will probably outlast me. It was $5
From an estate sale: An oversized turquoise blue glass lamp with hand painted gold stripes. One of those pieces you are almost afraid to enjoy so it never ends up accidentally broken. $30
From an auction: auctions are my favorite – our tv stand is an old radio cabinet with inlaid designs of roses $2, and the metal peacock lamp with the original shade (that I paid WAY too much for but I love it so much I don’t care).
You are a devoted thrifter Jamie and have been rewarded with such great pieces! That radio cabinet sounds amazing!
Best thrift store find: a butter dish with a hammered aluminum lid that holds TWO short sticks of butter. California butter is short sticks (I’m from PA & they have long sticks!) Love your blog.
I grew up in PA and live in NJ now and I recently found short sticks of butter here!
You definitely have a gift for thrift!
My favorite thrift store find (so far) is a hand carved bust of a Native American maidens for only $12! I think they were missing a zero somewhere. I still pinch myself every time I look at her pretty face.
Kelly what a fun post!! You always score the best treasures. My best thrift store find was a gorgeous tall green glass lamp with brass details for $5!!! I rewired it and added a new shade and it’s seriously one of my favorite decor items in my home. We move a lot (military) and I love exploring thrift stores to find pieces to decorate and create a cozy home wherever the Navy has sent us.
I love brass and that lamp was a steal! I’m sure it’s so much fun to discover new thrift stores when you move Cortney!
Hi Kelly, my sisters, mom and I have had so much fun over the years hitting the thrift stores! We are a family of collectors and designers. My mom just went into assisted living and her small place is fixed up so charming and warm. Thanks for sharing.
How fun Kelly! A family that thrifts together stays together! I am also very sorry to hear about your mom but I’m glad she has a beautiful place.
Oh my, too many to name. Probably my best bargain was a rattan chair with good clean thick cushions for only $10. Things like that I have to buy even if I don’t have any place to put it 😊. I love all your finds! Wish I could visit there.
If we love it, we will always find a place for it Susan!
I’ve picked up many pieces of art, enough for a large gallery wall, as well as majolica, which I collect. However, my favorite thrift store find is a vintage rattan wine rack with removal tray in perfect condition for $35.00 If I had my coupon with me that morning, the price would have been $25.00. Either way, I was happy to bring it home. Saw the same item on 1stDibs for $425. Such a great find!
I love vintage rattan Cynthia and your wine rack sounds perfect!
Love this post. Brought back a lot of thrifting memories. The one find I still treasure are three stools from Army surplus vintage WWII.
Wow those sound amazing Mary!
My absolute best find was last months’s blue and white chinoiserie lamp for $7.89 at Goodwill. I let a very small one get away with my picky attitude about the bottom of it and I lived to regret it!! But the other one is on my parsons table and looks great AND at the time I had no idea where to put it but knew I’d figure it out. The attitude of a true thrifter!!
My van is always dragging something home! Needless to say it’s started many collections!!
A favorite thrift store treasure is probably my vintage buffet purchased for $25.00 at the Salvation Army. I peeled off the torn veneer on one end & painted it all white. Love this piece! Don’t we all just have such a swell time?? Junkin’ is in my blood!!!
Paint is a miracle worker on thrift store furniture Barb!
My favorite vintage clocks were pickedup at a thrift store to use in a around the clock wedding shower. Since then I use them in vignettes around my house. I loved your vintage finds and I love your giveaway!
I have a vintage clock collection too Vicki!
Since I live only 45 miles north of Louisville, KY and the Kentucky Derby, my best thrift-store find (so far) are occasionally the derby glasses that you purchase a mnt julep in at the derby. I currently have five, as they can be hard to find.
Fun! I love vintage drinking glasses and have some from a local race track near me!
Wow!! Wish we had a 2A Thrift store here in Oregon. You did great Kelly, love that adorable child’s chair. My favorite find was a few years ago in a Goodwill store here in Oregon. A storage bin for an old hoosier cabinet. I put it on ebay and it sold in a flash. Thank you for the fun tour.
What a score Toni!
Absolutely love your blog! You are such an inspiration! My favorite thrift store find are 3 glass bowls. I call them my “dead man bowls”! I believe someone that loved to cook died and the family donated their bowls to the thrift store.
LOL Lora! Let’s just hope the bowls didn’t come with his ghost!
My best find was a Henredon burgundy tufted leather chesterfield club chair for $50! It was marked $75 but I told them I wouldn’t pay that because it was so filthy dirty I couldn’t even tell what color it was our of part of the leather was damaged because the grind seemed baked on! It took 10 buckets of water and Murphy’s Oil Soap just to clean it off, and then more to get it really clean, along with an entire pkg of Q Tips to clean the tufting, but it was in good shape afterwards. A $3,000 chair for $50 and elbow grease! How many more do you want to hear about lol?
OMG I am not sure even I would have the energy to deal with that but it sounds gorgeous now!
A single child’s teacup that matched my mother’s set of dinnerware when I was a child.
How fun Diane!
Love your finds! I enjoy thrift shopping, about a decade ago I was tickled pink to score a 1940 swivel chair, absolutely still in love with it!
That sounds adorable!
An old SS Kress Company label storage. It is about 80″ tall and maybe 36″ wide. It had over 300 drawers when I bought it for $75 (it wasn’t for sale, I asked) about 35 years ago. It is now built in to my dining room. It holds, nails and screws and assorted hardware, all alphabetized and easy to find what you want!
I love that you made it a built in Diane!
I use your styling tips to show off my finds in new, different ways – thanks! Over the years I have found lots of great glassware, dishes, etc. at thrift stores. Among my 10 ten absolute best finds have been a hutch for $75.00, Drexel buffet/sideboard for $99.00, and a butler’s cabinet for $39.99! You can never have toooo much storage for all your finds! But my absolute best find was a $25.00, R. Rosini 24″ by 48″, framed (36″x60″), floral oil canvas. It began my hunt for more Rosini paintings!
Wow you have the thrifting touch Mary Ann! Fingers crossed you find another Rosini soon!
Oh goodness where do I begin! I love thrifting too ! I have found so many treasures thrifting along the way! I guess one recent find was a vintage child’s bentwood rocking chair for only $5! Love your blog! Wish I was close the Second avenue thrift store! Looks like an awesome place to shop!
I found an adult bentwood rocking chair but the child chair sounds adorable!
Awhile back I got some old clock parts from my favorite thrift store. Elsie Bell’s is the best but..I left them in my friend’s car..hoping I’ll get them back soon! I’m obsessed with little old round clocks. Thrifting is my passion! I’m missing it due to the pandemic. I cannot wait to go on the hunt again!
I have a vintage clock collection too! Here’s to thrifting!
I love the hunt and finding a treasure. I have so many pieces that I love it’s hard to say which is my favorite. I’ve bought many pieces of Pyrex, Fenton, and Westmoreland milk glass for next to nothing over the years. I once bought my twin sister a chna cabinet that is now full of our turquoise Pyrex. I love unique pottery pieces from the 1950’s or earlier. I scored a huge green frog water jug for $12 a few months ago. The cheapest I could find online was $150. It’s such a great piece. I have it sitting on a white cabinet in my master bath. It really stands out.
Thanks for you emails. Love you posts and home tours.
I am jealous of your frog pitcher Mary! I love finding stuff for my friends and family when I’m thrifting too and your sister must be thrilled with that china cabinet!
My favorite thrift store treasure was a 1970’s round bright yellow happy face mug. It was identical to the one that I received with flowers in it as a child from my Nana when I was in the hospital. The original got broken in one of our moves to a different Air Force base. I may have lost things due to being a military brat, but the memories are priceless.
I remember those mugs! So fun Patti!
What fun! You found a lot of great stuff! 2nd Avenue is the BEST thrift store ever. I miss it since I moved from the Phila suburbs where I shopped at the one in North Wales, Pa on a weekly basis.
You’ll have to visit me and we can go to 2nd Ave together Diand!
You always do find some great treasures. I have been looking for a dinning room table that is real wood, they want a fortune for them. I found a beautiful drop leaf table that I can open up for the few times we all get together, $55 is much better than $800-$1000. I am so happy and loved that little chair you found, thanks and happy thrifting!!!
The old stuff is so much better made then today’s furniture! God, I sound like an old fart Marlene!!!
My find was a piano bench that has the same patterned legs as my piano!! Couldn’t believe it when I saw it. The store was in Pattee, Iowa, years ago. I don’t even know if it is still there. My husband refinished it in black lacquer to match the piano that he had previously refinished.
Wow how lucky Marcia! It was definitely fate!
What a great haul! My fav thrift shop item is the vintage buffet that was in the very back that was just marked down to $37 and I flipped, took the tag & ran for a salesperson to help me get it out. When I came back to stand guard until they came back there was a couple there drooling over it saying it was worth hundreds and that they needed to get it…eek, sorry! 😬 I will pass it down to my kids & so on! Thanks for the opportunity! ❤️
So glad that couple didn’t snag it before you did Erin!!
Love your blog and what a great giveaway. Gosh, it’s too hard to say what my favorite thrift store is. I often go thrifting. My friends and I call it junking. Some favorites are vintage paintings, old baskets, vintage dishes, furniture, etc. I could go on.
So many good things to find Gina!
My best and favorite thrift store find was a lovely 101-year old chamber pot. Some people might think a chamber pot is a weird thing, but I love it!
That’s not weird at all! A fun and unique find Tammie!
2nd Ave Thrift is great! I found a fantastic art decoish lamp that i love… i wish there was one in SC but i haven’t found one yet. When i visit back home in nj i always pop in there. You found some terrific finds and styled them perfectly. You know it’s all about the lifestyle of the thrift and famous!
We think alike when it comes to thrifting Jamala!
When we were first married I found 2 corduroy velvet wing back chairs in a DINGY thrift store for $25 and had them recovered in a bold floral. It seems reupholstering was a little less expensive back in the day.
32 years later they are still my favorites.
That’s amazing but it’s so true how expensive reupholstering is!
My best thrift store find would be a set of small santa mugs ( plastic) there were 6 for .50!
Yay for me!
I can’t resist little Santa mugs Ronnell!
My Husband is a Die Hard thrifter (I am too, but his schedule is much more flexible than mine, so he goes multiple times per week!) and I have too many amazing finds to name! I love following along on your ‘trips’…I always wonder, what do you do with your rotating ‘stock’ when you change up your displays? Do you store them in the basement? I find when I switch things up I am constantly forgetting about things that I have ‘stashed’ in tubs in the basement!
LOL Beth! I do store stuff in my basement and it’s like Christmas day when I open those bins! I need to get more organized!
A black velvet dress with rhinestone buttons for $11.00! I bought it to reuse the buttons.
What a fun, mysterious give a way!!!
Ohhhh! I love old buttons! What a fun find Mindy!
I love your treasures, Kelly! Especially that darling child’s chair/plant stand. I live in Central Texas so I find some wonderful treasures each year at Round Top (the tents in the fields are PACKED with goodies). But my favorite Goodwill find is a small oil painting of beautiful bluebonnets by a local Texas artist. It is hanging in a place of honor on my wall with other treasured Texas Hill Country bluebonnet paintings.
Your bluebonnet gallery wall sounds beautiful Sharla!
My all time favorite thrift store find, was a leather horse collar mirror. They retail for hundreds if you can find them, and as I was browsing one day, there it was! I snagged that one fast, as it was in super condition with just the right amount of patina. It now has a home at my friends horse ranch! 😉
You’re a great friend to give that away!
My all time best ever Flea Market score was finding Wallace China plates from “The Seattle Town and Country Club “. I have collected Diner / Restaurant China for decades and never seen it ! My Dad was in the Orchestra for over 25 years at the STCC !! Now you can be sure those plates/ dishes had my name of them for sure. It brought me immense joy finding them and they are , without a doubt , treasured by me ! And I could have had a meal or two off of them in the past as a child going to see the Orchestra , dance and get really dressed up !!! Those plates brought back so many happy memories for me in a personal way !! Talk about a Score !!!!!!!
Wow Lynn what a great find! I’m glad you have such a great memory of your dad and your childhood
Best find Herend White Green Gold Porcelain Egg-Shaped Jewelry Box for $3. 1st Dibs has one for $380.00. Love thrifting!
I love these stories! What a great find Rene!
My best thrift store find was a pair of Fluevog shoes for $10! They retail for over $100 WHEN you can actually find them!
I’ve never heard of Fluevog but you bet I’m googling it now Wendy!
The little chair is so cute! I remember a while back you found a really cool vintage piano chair – not sure if that was from a thrift or flea, but I loved it. I apparently also have a thing for little chairs. I’m always buying them, but really have nowhere to put them. I recently found one at a thrift store in Austin when I went home to visit my family. It’s a child’s wood chair (the wood back is painted in a folk art style), and the seat is embroidered with flowers. I think it was $3, so I couldn’t pass it up.
One of my favorite thrift finds was an authentic vintage Burberry scarf (blue plaid, not tan plaid), for ONE DOLLAR!!! I wish I knew where it was – I haven’t been able to find it for years, sadly. 🙁
I’ve always decorated my home (and our 5th wheel camper!) in thrift store finds. I get more excitement from that than buying anything from a “regular” store. I’m always on the lookout for vintage Tupperware and find it occasionally (I like it much better than the new Tupperware).
My mom and I like to make windchimes when we get together, and we use finds from thrift stores (glass beads from necklaces, pretty silverware, random odds and ends that clink and clank and make pretty sounds). Those metal veggie steamers that fan out when you put in pots/pans are good for this too – they come apart and they make the best clinking sounds! 🙂
$1 for Burberry! I hope you find that scarf Glenore! Your wind chimes sound like so much fun and I love that you make them with your mom!
Oh gosh, I forgot another good one! I found a large vintage butter churn (missing the lid and wooden handle, but in otherwise perfect condition) for $6. I couldn’t believe it as I always seem them for over $150+. I had it in my cart and a lady stopped and asked how much it was. When I told her, I thought she was going to cry. haha
Glad you beat her to it!