Look What We Found: It’s National Thrift Store Day!

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Last week,  I posted my latest thrift haul from my favorite thrift store and invited you guys to share your latest (or most favorite!) thrift haul with me, as well.

Every week I will be featuring the amazing stuff that we all find in my new weekly series call Thrift & Tell Thursdays.

And while today isn’t Thursday (it’s Wednesday!), I couldn’t not post today. I mean…..NATIONAL THRIFT STORE DAY!

What a way to honor our love of thrift stores and thrift hauls by showing all the amazing stuff that everyone’s been finding, right?!

One reader said it best: “I can’t buy everything, so I get to live vicariously through you.” LOL

The same is true for me!

I can’t possibly buy everything, either (you do know that I once had a faux-hoarding problem, right??). Seeing the awesome stuff that you find, too, will satisfy my “thrift itch” and hopefully will satisfy yours, as well.

But I do caution you….This post may cause you to drop the keyboard and run to your nearest thrift store! After all, it is National Thrift Store Day! 

Don’t say I didn’t warn you…..


To Paint or Not to Paint?

Because I reeeeaaallly want to convert my garage into a workshop, I have been limiting myself from buying a lot of furniture from the thrift store. But recently I was walking past this desk at the ReStore and–I’m sorry–it kept calling me.

It wasn’t fancy and ornate…it wasn’t antique…just a nice ‘ole solid desk from probably the early 80’s.

It was $40, and if you shop at the ReStore, you know that’s a steal. So I bought it!

I’m debating on whether I should paint it or keep it natural and just change the knobs?

The color of the wood matches nothing in my house, but there’s something about that gorgeous wood that I hate to cover up… Hmmmm……


Should I paint this wooden desk 2


I’d love to actually strip and restain it, but those legs…….all those nooks and crannies….those legs will leave me ripping my hair out.  Trust me. Been there, done that!

What would you do?

Should I paint this wooden desk

Vintage Sewing Box

Sometimes you just see the perfect little treasure that you have to buy it because it’s so unique. I know that everyone and their Auntie had little sewing boxes like this, but I had never seen them. And since this doesn’t take up much space (read: I’m justifying why it was okay to buy, LOL!), I knew that I had to buy it.

Plus, for only $6.00, why wouldn’t I??


Thrifted vintage sewing box2


The larger one was in worse condition, so I just bought the cute smaller one and will likely use it for nuts, bolts, and small DIY odds and ends.

But someone had a great idea: paint it bright colors and create a LEGO storage box to use while on-the-go with the kids! Don’t you love that idea?!?


Thrifted vintage sewing box


Thrifted Bench Makeover

I couldn’t believe that Eileen had found this bench for $5.00! And you’ll want to take note of her use of steel wool! I discovered a few months ago the magical power of steel wool over paint. It shines like no other! In fact, I’ve been meaning to do a post on it! But you can see in my mid-century modern chair makeover how transformational steel wool is! Anyhow, Eileen did a great job on her thrifted bench makeover!

“The bench cost me five whole bucks. $15 for foam (the firm stuff), $3 for spray paint and leftover batting and fabric from a chair recover project. The plywood was garage stock. I had wanted a gray matte finish for the legs but was only able to find gloss gray paint (Rustoleum Painters Touch 2X Gloss Dark Grey). A light rubbing with fine steel wool gave me a surprisingly even satiny finish. And the steel wool wrapped nicely around those curvy legs.”- Eileen







Thrifted bench makeover with new fabric and paint - Thrift Diving

See how magical the transformation is?

Curio Cabinet

Craigslist is an awesome place to find stuff for cheap, and the following find is a prime example! Definitely with new stain and hardware, it will look even more beautiful! Here’s what Kathy said:

“I purchased this curio cabinet on Craigslist for $50, retail price is over $900. I think I got a good deal. I am in the process of sanding it down and then will stain a dark mahogany and new hardware. I have wanted one of these for years but could never afford it so was very lucky. In the process of a few more purchases from Craigslist so will send those as they get here.” – Kathy, Agassiz, BC, Canada



Ten Dollars Desk Transformation

Kathy from StylishRevamp.com sent me this picture of this really cute, but “ugly” desk that badly needed a makeover. I love that she restored it by sanding and staining and didn’t use paint. As much as I love paint, I have to totally agree with her! There’s nothing like the beauty of fresh stain on sanded wood, especially when it had been so badly marred.  The truth is that not everything should be painted ( as I mentioned in one of my popular articles What Should You NOT Paint Wood?). It’s okay to not paint wood, and this is one project I am glad wasn’t painted. It looks awesome, doesn’t it?

Here’s what Kathy had to say:

“The first thing I did was scrub it down with some cleaner and disinfectant.  Then I got started with the sanding.  I was surprised that it did not take that long to sand it down. Once the dust was wiped off really well, I stained it with a dark walnut stain. I am beginning to like the process of staining much better than painting. It is instant gratification when the stain hits the wood.” – Kathy









Pretty Metal Hanger

I love these metal hangers that Lisa found at the thrift store! There are a lot of things she could do with these, such as make lights out of them, use them as candle holders, and so much more. But she’s right–she could leave them right where they are on her front steps! They’re beautiful! Here’s what Lisa had to say about her awesome find:

“I shopped at the Salvation Army in Raynham, MA last week and made a bee-line straight for these pretty metal hangers. The large one was marked $9.99 and the smaller one $7.99. The nice lady there gave them to me for $6.99 each! Love her!  I thought they would look pretty with some sort of dainty flowers spilling out of the holes. Not sure where their permanent spot will be yet; but for now I think they look pretty on my front steps.” – Lisa

image1 (1)


Garbage Can Panels Upcycled Into a Colorful Privacy Fence

One of the greatest joys of blogging is to inspire people to be creative. It’s my mission, my “life blood.” So when Margaret emailed me this colorful picture of her backyard and told me that my patio makeover reveal had inspired her to do hers, it made me so happy!
But what’s even more cool is that she created a colorful fence using garage can lattice surrounds that she’s found for dirty cheap!!
Thrifted Garbage Can Panels to Hide the Trash Can
“I wish I had your will to walk away from a really great deal if I don’t have a need for it but I buy it and figure I will do something when inspiration hits me….such is my $5 find…8 panels of plastic all dirty and dingy…I found out they were garbage can surrounds that can be bought at Lowes for $60 for 4 panels…Remember, I bought 8 for five dollars. Well they set in my back yard for months till your back yard redo got me inspired…I had a side yard that was nothing but clay no grass would grow (North Carolina) so….I painted each panel with Rustoleum spray paint and attached to the dogs chain link fence with zip ties…instant backyard art. So one thing leads to another and I painted my patio furniture to match the fence. This all started because I found a multi-color umbrella for $10 at the thrift store but that’s another story. ha ha. I enjoy reading your blog keep it up.” – Margaret, Charlotte NC
After emailing her, I had to do my own research, and sure enough, I was able to find these garbage can lattice screens that come in sets of 4.
And she wasn’t lying! The cheapest I could find them on Amazon were about $75! And that’s for FOUR…….
Thrifted Garage Can Lattice to Hide Trash Cans
The fact that she found EIGHT for only $5.00….this woman knows when it’s wise to “thrift and store” until inspiration strikes! You can’t pass up a deal like that!!!

Coffee Table

Imagine the joy that Sue felt that day walking in and finding that all the furniture was 75% off! That’s unheard of! My favorite thrift stores do 50% off, and when they do, it’s like a madhouse and all the good stuff gets scooped up faster than my kids running to me when they hear the word “Candy!” HA! I love that it has a display top and she can change it for the season! Would festive!! Here’s what Sue said:
“This is my best find ever. I found it at our SPCA thrift store. It was $100.00 but that day they had 75% off all furniture, if you could take it with you. Well, we had the car that day, instead of the truck, but told her we would fit it in somehow. It is solid oak and has two drawers. The top drawer is for adding things to display through the beveled glass top. I got a great coffee table for $25.00, just had to polish it up a little with Old English!” – Sue
thrifted coffee table with built-in display not painted
Here you can see a little more of the built-in display case.
This actually inspires me to pull out some thrifted display cases that I had found but could never figure out what to do with them. Maybe make a coffee table out of them! Hmmmmm………..
Thrifted coffee table with built-in display

Vintage Buggy Display

 It’s not every day you find a buggy at the thrift store! Someone hand-crafted it and along the way, it was disgarded and left at some thrift store, just waiting for Claudia to snag it!
“This small Amish-style buggy was just $10.00 at a Goodwill store.  I had a 20% off coupon so it cost just $8.00!  It is very dirty!!!  I will clean it up and use it on a shelf in my living room next to a child’s antique dresser and Rocking horse (we have cathedral ceilings).” – Claudia, Ohio
Thrifted Buggy 2
Thrifted Buggy
Right now she’s trying to decide where to put it.
Isn’t that always the case with our thrifted treasures? 🙂

Thrifted Picture Frame Upcycled Into a Jewelry Holder for Necklaces

When Llima sent me this picture of a $7.00 thrifted picture frame, I couldn’t see its shape very well. It looks like any other picture frame you’d find at the thrift store, right? But when I saw the “AFTER,” I was like, “Wooow!”
You see, my friends….this is why I absolutely love paint.
What started as a tarnished-looking frame that was passed over by its original owner, has now become a beautiful piece of art itself!
Here’s what Llima had to say:
“I found this old frame at a flea market in Giants Stadium and decided to try something I saw on Pinterest. The paint was left over sample paint from when I was trying to figure out how to do my room. I then took thick cardboard and glued 2 pieces back to back and covered that with canvas. I found cheap pushpins that are small hands and now I have an easy way to pick out my necklaces that also functions as wall art. No more searching through a jewelry box and untangling messes.” – Llima



thrifted picture frame upcycled into jewelry holder for necklaces

Decorative Antique Silver Hand Push Pins

And you can’t see the close-up of Llima’s project, but these are the decorative push-pin hands that she used for hanging her necklaces. OMG, LOOOOOVVVVEEEE!!
You can buy them here on Amazon. I want!!!!
Push Pin Hands
It’s her project so darling and dainty? LOL As feminine as I am not most times, I do love feminine things, and this is something I could see in a gorgeous baby pink walk-in closet hanging on the wall.
Of course, I would definitely steal her idea and use the pretty decorative hand pins, too!
Ahhhh….a girl can only imagine, right?

Cotton Doilies!

Elizabeth was so excited to find four of these cottom doilies! Her first thought was to use it for a little girl’s overdress, but her mom had a great idea: curtains!

Here’s what Elizabeth had to say:

“Check out these awesome cotton doilies! There are four of them. Two are 15 inches wide, the other two are 30 inches wide. At first I envisioned incorporating them into a little girl’s pinafore, or overdress if you will. However, after my mother saw them……curtains……??  They’d be lovely in a powder room.” – Elizabeth


Cottom Doilies
Cottom Doilies 2
I think they would look awesome as curtains!
I searched Pinterest for “cotton doilies” and saw a bunch of creative ideas she could come up with for them. Great find!

Aquatic Needlework

Some people get rid of things for various reasons. Maybe someone was cleaning out their parents’ basement and said, “Hey! Let’s toss these old needlework pictures that Mom did 30 years ago!”
Well, it was Theresa’s lucky day at the thrift store.
She found these beauties for only $7.99!
I recently took Kojo (my 4-year-old) to the Aquarium for the first time, and both of our faces lit up at the site of all the amazing designs, colors, and unique looks of the fish and sea life! So when Theresa emailed me these pics, I knew she’s found something special!
Here’s what Theresa said:
“Lately, I’ve been looking for art, real art. I’ve decided that unless I totally loooooove some mass-marketed print, I’m going to hold out for a piece of real one-off art, or a signed and numbered print. So far, the thrift store has delivered! My first find is this absolutely stunning piece of needlework. It’s truly a masterwork. It’s 36″ long, and those cross-stitches are about 1/16th” square. I especially love the subtle use of glittery thread, giving the fishes’ scales a true shimmer. Whoever CM was, back in ’96, she outdid herself! You can imagine my Olympic-quality sprint across the Goodwill when I saw it leaning up on the shelf, marked $7.99!! My photos truly don’t do it justice. I wish you could see it in person….” – Theresa
Marine life needlework from the thrift store
I’m getting an image in my mind of her Olympic-quality sprint, and I’m laughing a little bit inside, because I know that same sprint! That joy of finding something so truly unexpected and wonderful.
What shame for someone to get rid of it, but what a treat for Theresa!!
Marine life needlework from the thrift store 2

What Have You Found Lately?

Everyone found such great stuff! I’ll be a little busy over the next two weeks because I’ve got an exciting new project coming up that I can’t wait to tell you about so I probably won’t be able to hit the thrift stores this week. However, I would love for you to share with me anything cool that you find over the next couple of weeks! If you do a project makeover, go ahead and email me your BEFORE & AFTER pictures so I can show it off to everyone!

So what’s your favorite find above? And how are you planning to celebrate National Thrift Store Day?







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  1. Hi Serena,

    I have had these 2 chairs in my studio for over a year waiting for a transformation So her is the first. The second is awaiting paint. I did use spray stripper to take off all the black and gold paint. I know what you mean about turned legs…Ugh next time i will use a deglosser and paint them . See it on my Fb page


  2. I’d say stain it! I am actually not a fan of unpainted wood… but if you run out of room for the desk, you can sell it later a bit easier! ;>

    This is an awesome post – so many good ideas and makeovers!! 😀 I missed national thrift store day and now I am sad. :<

  3. Brenda Fergen says:

    I hope you do not paint the solid wood desk you found. It is beautiful and worth the effort it would take to refinish it. It wouldn’t be nearly as hard to strip as the 100 year old piano I worked on years ago.

    1. Hi, Brenda! I’m thinking I might paint the body and refinish the top, though. The color of the wood is a little dated and doesn’t match anything in my house. Decisions, decisions! And OMG, you refinished a 100 year old piano?! I’d love to see pictures of that!! How long did it take you?

  4. Jo Richner says:

    At 12:30 PM I read your email and immediately called two friends with the news that it was National Thrift Shop day, so we immediately hit the road. Living in a small town, we hit a town at 20 miles away & visited 2 thrift shops. Then we went to another town about 30 miles away from the first and hit 2 more. I was very surprised that none of the staff at the four thrift shops knew that it was National Thrift Shop Day. We had a ball and got some good buys. Thanks for information. I subscribe to your blog and enjoy it very much – not only interesting but full of information.

  5. Serena, I personally had the small sewing bow years ago. I think it was in the late 60’s early 70’s. It finally
    fell apart so when moving I got rid of it. I really like the bench that Ellen redid. good color choice . Kathy did a good job on the desk. But my favorite is the privacy fence and table. Love the colors Margaret.
    These posts give me so much inspiration, I have to find something to do.

  6. Theresa Crawford says:

    I didn’t know it was National Thrift Store day, but I did celebrate in the spirit– I went by two today. LOL I’m awed by everyone’s finds so far. That bench is amazing, it looks like something out of a decorator’s room. And that refinished dropleaf desk… *swoon.* The grain on the drawer is gorgeous, and from the ‘Before,’ I would never have dreamed it could be resuscitated back to its original glory– great work!

    Serena, have you considered painting the legs of your desk, but sanding down and restaining the top? I’m finding I quite like the look of partly painted, partly stained wood pieces lately. The Lego-bin idea was so good, I’d run back and see if that other sewing chest was still available. Gah, those bricks wind up *every* where, don’t they?

    That display coffee table, now THAT was the deal of the day, and that tall glass display cabinet looks great now, and I’m sure it’ll look even better in it’s new darker finish soon. The Amish buggy model is just as cute as it can be. It’s great that is has a home now where it can be lovingly displayed.

    Heh, I’ve hung doilies as curtains, myself! They make interesting shadows, for sure. Those garbage can panels were a steal, and wow, they look like a party all by themselves! Just seeing the picture makes me want to go out and enjoy that yard. The mid-modern-mod streak in me wants to wire those pretty lacy metal hangers to hold a pendant Edison bulb, suspending them with chain for that retro swag-light look. *Giggle* I can’t decide if those hand pushpins are awesome or a wee bit creepy, or both, which is sometimes even more fun!

    This sneak peek celebration is so good, I’m *really* looking forward to seeing what tomorrow brings!
    Thanks for sharing your treasures, everyone!

  7. You lucky people who live in civilization….where people send nice stuff to thrift stores that charge enough to make the furniture do-able. But since it’s national thrift store day tomorrow (who that that one up????!!!!) I’ll go look one more time…..sigh,,….I would love to have that fish needlepoint. It’s truly a winner for someone who loves color (me!). I try not to be jealous…..(deeper sigh)…….

  8. Serena, I love this new “sharing” project! So inspirational! I loved the desk you showed, the “ugly” desk transformation, the gray bench and the sewing boxes, in particular. All pieces/ideas that I could use (want). The other projects were great ideas–just not as relevant to me personally at this stage in time. I’m still needing to move; haven’t found the right place yet, as housing here is extremely limited, but it will happen in due time. As for your desk, that is one project that would be worth the effort it takes to refinish. It”s just beautiful! Steel wool, cotton swabs, emery boards and chop sticks would all be useful in working those nooks and crannies. Stain would give it a depth that paint wouldn’t, in my humble opinion. I got so much inspiration from this post and it’s only the first in this series. You and your readers rock!

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