With the right attitude and supplies on hand, you can find exceptional and affordable finds with these thrift store furniture shopping tips.

Social media is rife with people who seem blessed with incredible thrift store luck. You see homes furnished with one-of-a-kind finds, and their style is truly unforgettable. Most desirable of all: They seem to pay pennies for all that great furniture.

Thankfully, you don’t need magic powers to find excellent furniture at the thrift store. You just need the right strategy and the right mindset, and you’ll discover hidden gems too.

Know your budget.

Thrift store furniture will be cheaper than brand new furniture, but it won’t be as cheap as thrift store clothing. You could still shell out a few hundred dollars for your unique piece. Establish a budget before you start shopping and check prices right away. It’s a bummer to fall in love with a piece and then discover the price is double your budget.

Be ready to buy furniture today.

Going to the thrift store is not like going to a big box store. You can take a few days to decide whether you want that table from Ikea. It’ll still be there when you go back. But the good stuff goes fast at the thrift store. So it would be best if you were ready to make a decision on the spot. Otherwise, someone else might buy your treasure out from under you.

Always be prepared for a thrift store visit.

On-the-spot decisions require some advanced prep. Take measurements of your space at home and bring a tape measure with you. That way, you’ll know right away whether an item will fit in your space. Bonus tip: Store a few old blankets in your car. You can use them to protect your purchase from scratches or bumps on the drive home.

Give thrift shop furniture a thorough examination.

You may have heard the expression “kick the tires.” When someone is checking out a car for sale, they’re going to poke around a little. Test the horn, sit in the driver seat, and maybe kick the tires to get a feel for the vehicle. You should do the same when you’re shopping for furniture at the thrift store.

Open and close drawers, sit on chairs, flip over cushions, and give that table a wiggle. Don’t be embarrassed to lean down and sniff the upholstery a little. Half the fun of thrift store furniture is the mystery of where it came from, but be cautious. If the mystery includes pet smells or a broken handle, you may decide to leave it behind.

Be honest with yourself about your DIY skills—and your enthusiasm for a project.

At Upscale Resale, we’re pretty particular about what type of furniture we’ll accept. So you’re unlikely to find a junky piece that needs a lot of repairs here. But that’s not true of all thrift stores. And you still might find that you’d like that table better with a fresh coat of paint.

If you love to get your hands dirty with a DIY project, you can buy pretty much whatever you want. Some people love reclining chairs and varnishing chair legs. But if you hate fabric swatches and power sanders, you might want to pass up on the fixer-uppers. Don’t buy something if you know you’re never going to get around to repairing it.

Shop for thrift store furniture regularly.

You may not find what you’re looking for on your first visit. So make a plan to swing by a few times and see what’s in the thrift store. At Upscale Resale, we get fresh stock all the time, so you’ll find something new every time you visit. So embrace the fun of looking around for a few weeks before you find what you’re looking for.

Come see us at Upscale Resale to flex your thrifting muscles and find your next treasure. Every dollar you spend goes toward our mission of supporting women and children in our community.