Thrift Shop Buying Guide to Avoid Shoppers Remorse

It looked promising enough.

Plus it was only $3 …

for a huge basket made out of …

I know the suspense is killing you …

corn stalks!

So I bought it, brought it home and now stare at it and wonder

what was I thinking?!

I feel it is my patriotic duty to provide this public service announcement to help you learn from my thrifting mistakes.


Thrift Shop Buying Guide to Avoid Shoppers Remorse

Thrift Shop Buyers Quiz to Avoid Shoppers Remorse

1. Do I Love It?
If it brings a smile to your face and you can’t picture yourself without it, thrift shop fate has intervened on your behalf.

2. Do I Have a Place for It?
Can you picture the perfect spot for that tchotchke? Β Then haul it home.
If your find is so fabulous that you know you’ll replace something else that you already own with it, then it’s a deal.

3. How Much TLC Does It Need?
Perfect, unscratched, unchipped finds are a no-brainer but if it needs tons of money to bring it back to it’s former glory, keep on sashaying down the aisle.

4. Does It Smell?
If it reeks like it was once owned by the crazy cat lady,Β there’s no saving it.

5. Is it Quality?
Real wood – yay. Particleboard – nay.

6. Is it Safe?
Buy that vintage cradle for your plants – not your baby!

7. Can I Resell It?
If you happen upon a diamond in the rough but it’s not your style, you may want to scoop it up and sell it on Ebay. Β If you know you probably won’t, don’t buy it!

8. Will I Regret Leaving It Behind?
Don’t let “the one that got away” haunt your dreams.
If it’s something you’re likely to never find again, grab it
(your mental health is of more concern than living with regret)!


Check out all of my Fabulous Thrifting Finds.

What’s your biggest thrift shop regret?


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  1. Thanks for the tips…I love to learn from the master! I’m still in the “can-I-walk-into-my-house-and-put-this-in-a-specific-place” phase, because I fear becoming the crazy thrifter lady {with a full cart of junk because it’s all so cheap}. You’ve definitely perfected the art of integrating your thrifted finds into a broader design “look.”

  2. Great tips Kelly!! Gotta love ‘the does it smell tip!’…really!! And I just haven’t been able to buy thrift shop pillows, is it just me? My biggest thrift store regret was not buying an antique end table that had a some crazy paint layers on it! I was hungry and tired when I saw it and could only think of what was I having for lunch, went back 4 hours later and it was gone…epic fail! So there’s tip #9: don’t thrift when you are hungrya and tired!

  3. I am afraid if I follow this tutorial one of two things will happen; either I will never buy anything or I will buy everything. Is there a cut off to how many of the #’s must apply to either buy it or leave it?


  4. Great tips! I don’t think I’ve bought anything I regret…yet…though I’m sure it will happen unless I remember your post!
    Debbie πŸ™‚

  5. Where is the cornstalk basket??????? I wanted to see it! These are such fabulous tips. Oh my, I don’t even want to think of the losers I have dragged home from the thrift store, only to donate them right back again. I should have just thrown some cash at the cashier and called it a donation, saved the trouble of bringing it home and realizing how ugly it was, even it only cost $5.

    I have remorse, I can list the things I have passed by and then they were gone. Let’s start with a beautiful Leather Jacket at a Ralph Lauren outlet in Barstow, Ca. This was 22 years ago my friend. I still long for it. pahthetic.

  6. Kelly,
    I have bought things that I have no idea what to do with.But the price is right.I usually find a spot.If I don’t then I re-donate it πŸ™‚

  7. Oh boy, how I needed that set of rules!! I have lots of “what was I thinking?” items that I am slowly but surely donating back to the thrift stores! I need to learn to keep sashaying down the aisle!!!
    Thanks for coming by BCH.

  8. Argh…..I think I am the crazy cat lady…not old yet but I can see my future if I continue to buy thrift ‘bargins’. Thank you for the rules!

  9. Not if it smells, but when I find an old children’s cup or plate for my collection I specially love when it is dirty and I ask the seller not to clean it because my plesaure begins washing it at home. Little crazy?? haha
    Besos! I enjoyed your post! Silvina

  10. Kelly, i so need to remember this the next time I am thrifting or yard sale shopping. I usually make smart buys, but the deeper the discount, the more likely I am to make one of these mistakes. My biggest challenge is driving past things I see sitting out on the road for free. I have an ugly octagon storage table in my garage that I thought I could repurpose and sell. But it stinks and it has an ugly acrylic round glued to the top. I should take it to Goodwill.

    But then there are times where I don’t have buyer’s remorse. I actually wrote about that this week:

  11. If I get home and am still thinking about the piece I left in the store, I have to go back and get it, even if it’s the next day. If it’s not there, I usually can make peace with it. But I can’t stand that feeling that it got away…

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