Channel Your Big Thrift Energy: Secondhand Tips From A First Rate Thrifter

Mar 2, 2023, 15:25 PM

Some people just seem to have an innate gift of thrift – seeming to always unearth some fabulous piece of furniture or artwork or kitchenware at thrift store or estate sale. If you dream of being one of those gifted thrifters, take notes from Virginia Chamlee, author of the book BIG THRIFT ENERGY.  Part resource, part inspiration, Big Thrift Energy is a comprehensive guide that offers tips for thrifting that you never knew you needed, like how to shop for the good stuff, how to upcycle and style vintage treasures in your home, and even advice for flipping your most-coveted items to turn a profit.

Big Thrift Energy

At Jacksonville Home + Patio Show, she shares her all-time best finds, from a Goyard trunk worth upwards of $10,000 (scored for $90) to a floor-length vintage Christian Dior cape, a $10 Goodwill find. She appears on the Fresh Ideas stage on Saturday, March 4th at 3 p.m.

She’s sharing some of her tried-and-true thrift tips with us ahead of the show:

Virginia Chamlee

Go Often. I get asked a lot about my favorite thrift store but the real key, in my estimation, is to visit as many thrift stores, as often as possible. Some thrift stores get as many as 40,000 donations per week—so you could visit one Goodwill on Monday and go back Tuesday and see several new pieces.

Look Everywhere. Thrift stores get so much merchandise that they often don't even have time to display it properly. That might mean paintings are leaned in stacks under a wall of clothes, or a small cabinet is on display in a hallway or in the bathroom. Don't just stick to the "Housewares" section—scan the entire store, including the tops of clothing racks. Treasures are everywhere.

Bring Necessities. I always bring a tape measure (I have one on my keychain), to ensure items can fit in my car, or in the space in my home I want them to be on display. A reusable bag is always handy, as-is a spare blanket or towel, which can be used to wrap more fragile items once you place them in your care.

Be Patient. Curating the perfect pieces for your home takes time, no matter where you shop. And this is especially true at thrift stores, where you often stumble on items so unique and exciting it sparks new ideas for your space. You might not find exactly what you're looking for with just one trip to the thrift store but what better excuse to keep going back?

Gather more advice at the Jacksonville Home + Patio Show – click here for info and tickets. Features of the Jacksonville Home and Patio Show (