November 17, 2017

Thrifty Treasures: 80% Living


Fiesta ware pitcher $4

It’s a joy for me to welcome people into our home. Yes, bedlam might reign on a regular basis, but my desire is that beauty peeks through a multiple of venues, and a “welcome home” mentality is established with guests.

It rarely crosses my mind to the fact that every time someone walks into my home, they experience my 80% off lifestyle without realizing it. Throughout the summer, one of my regular postings is my Saturday morning yard sales or “Thrifty Treasures.” Typically, I take a few months off from any kind of thrifting over the winter, but this year, our Christmas presents consisted of 70% thrifted finds that I’d been gathering for months.

Now, less you think I am “cheap, rather than frugal,” this was only for our kids/husband and it was discussed before hand. For instance, one son only wanted Ralph Lauren Polo shirts. Well, I explained that with our Christmas budget he could get one, maybe two, brand new Polo items, or he could let me hunt for second hand jewels and have an entirely new wardrobe. That smart boy put his money on his mom and I didn’t disappoint.

If you follow my facebook page, where most of my day to day life is discussed, you read about me pulling together decorations for a football banquet (150 people) in three days. I am so thankful that I already had a 80% lifestyle mentality in place because I was able to quickly scour multiple thrift stores and gather up trash to treasure items that I transformed in minutes.

Our son and daughter’s basketball gym is only one mile from a nice, new Goodwill, so while they practice, I’ve been popping in every week. Yes, I’ve had some amazing Frugal Fashionista finds that I need to show you here, but I’ve also picked up some house hold finds. This is a sampling, and it will give you an idea of how my mind works and what I’ve purchased. This is not just from one store, but from a variety of stops. I typically can pop in and out of a store in just minutes. Train your eyes to spot value and don’t get overwhelmed by all the clutter in the store. Most likely, a treasure awaits, it’s just hidden by all the trash.

I always keep an eye out for good area rugs. We still have the original carpet in our home from when we built it nearly 16 years ago and it needs to go. I’ve been researching options, but until then, I love cute rugs, and they are perfect for high traffic areas. Since we are hard on them, I snatch up thrifted ones and have purchased Pottery Barn quality numerous times.

Unfortunately, the one on the bottom near the dog was donated for a reason. It sheds. Everywhere, even more than the dog, which is a TON! So while it’s adorable and still lays on our floor, it’s days are limited.

Now the one above, the colors just make me so happy. For $2, it was a steal and after a good washing, it’s just like new. For now, it’s at the top of our stairs to cover the wear and tear that carpet has seen.

With seven people in our family and so many beds to outfit, I am the first to understand that quality sheets are expensive, but there’s a reason that five star hotels prioritize them.

Have you snuggled down into a bed with sheets that have thread counts at a high number to which I can barely count? Oh, it’s just divine and I am shooting for mimicking that feeling. (Note, it hasn’t happened yet, but some day I will splurge.) Until then, I pick up quality sheets and linens that people no longer need. I’m on the hunt for french linens, but those don’t come around very often.

It always astonishes me how people get rid of hand embroidered linens.

Too often, everyone “saves them for guests,” but if you pick them up when they are marked 4 for $2, do the happy thrifting dance,make the  purchase,  and use them every day.

Who ever put such love into stitching these, thank you. I cherish them, since I will never take the time to do such amazing handiwork myself.

Incredibly heavy brass piece: $4.99

While this piece’s finish is tarnished, it’s quality through and through. I will spray paint it either white or turquoise and use it as accent piece, but with a dual purpose as a cake/treat stand when needed.

Typically, when I purchase items these days, I attempt to have a purpose or future use in mind. I’ve had too many years of just finding great treasures that end up cluttering our attic and I am still paying for that,  so I have been more picky with my buys. This set of white nesting containers are just cool and I have no idea what I will use them for since only the largest has a lid. It’s brass (again), so brass lovers don’t cringe, but I will probably paint the lid to accent my kitchen. It’s pretty beat up on top, but for $3.99, and heavy duty containers, I love it.

My weakness for dishes is already known, and I am always on the look out for unique finds or just colorful bowls and plates.

When we host guests, I like to use my own dishes rather than paper plates and even though they may be mismatched, I pull them together with a central theme. Now, just for clarification, the fine china bowls on the right, would not be pulled together with the fun colorful bowls on the left, but they both have their own unique fun to them.

I use these for every day dishes. I wish I knew more about fine china because I am continually finding mismatched pieces that sell for $30/piece on places like Replacements Unlimited. I picked these six bowls up for $2. Plates not shown are selling for 4 for $100 and I got them for $1.99/4.

I know, I know….crazy. I didn’t know that when I bought them.

Don’t be afraid to think ahead. I will be hosting a baby shower in a few months, so already, I keep my eyes open for things that I might use. When one has to buy everything that week of hosting an event, that budget quickly get blown by last minute costs.

I am also purchasing ahead for next year’s Christmas decor. This is one ugly wreath, but it’s a large one and even thought I hunted the 50% off After Christmas sales, the prices were more than I wanted to pay. Right now, everyone gets rid of old holiday decor, so it’s the time to buy garland, ornaments and wreaths. Think outside the box. I will take all these added embellishments off and make it my own for only $1.99. I’ve picked up three now and I need three more to finish off our windows. I’ve picked up a few ugly cheap strands of garland, but I know from experience that if I combine two thin straggly ones together, they make one thick beautiful garland. Perfect for my mantle, or above my door outside.

My husband and I share a closet and it is a sight. We have no organization and no storage plan inside it, but one thing I know is that when items are hung on these matching wooden hangers, rather than the cheap wire dry cleaning ones, everything instantly looks better. For $0.50, I am so frustrated with myself that I didn’t buy all that this store had to offer.

So, the peek into my Thrifty Treasure shopping has come to a close.

It’s random and eclectic, but it’s how I do life. No matter if our bank account had plenty or was completely empty, this way of life is how I have always felt pampered because the thrill of the hunt confirms that treasures are to be had in the most unlikely places, and even for $, you can find treasures (especially during yard sale season). The little extra effort to find treasures brings total satisfaction to this “Junk Yard Gypsy.”

What fun thrifty treasures have you found lately? 

Whether you hit a great clearance or a fun thrift store, I’d love to hear.


  1. I love when you share thrift store finds. I, too, love to visit thrift store, but don’t seem to find the bargains you do. However, I will have fun trying!!!


  2. I love seeing all your Thrifty Treasures! Thank you for sharing and the motivation to think ahead with a purpose! Have a wonderful day!


  3. What fun, thrifty treasures have I found lately? Well…YES! And I laugh at my answer. I buy pretty much everything thrifted…you name it, furniture, clothing, books, linens, housewares, as in glasses, plates, my aquarium, lol! Right now I am doing a major decluttering/purging of our entire house, but there are a few items that we could use more of now, such as drinking glasses. We also need a new bed, minus the boxspring and mattress, and a new couch and chair for our cottage. Well, there just so happens to be an auction this Friday evening, and guess where we will be?!

    I don’t want much “stuff” anymore. I want he space. And less to have to dust and clean. Which means having fewer and fewer possessions, and I’m loving it! But, when I do want or need something, I want the best quality and the most pretty, for the least amount of money I can pay. And that’s why thrift stores and auctions are the way I shop.

    By the way, I love the colorful plates and the beautiful linens you picked up! Dishes, linens and jewelry are my weak points, but I’m getting much better at doing it in a minimal way.


  4. I love your style, very much like mine, similar colors and shabby chic quality. Beautiful! A couple of comments. I used to live in the Los Angeles area and the pickings were much better than where I live now. In LA there are wealthy people who donate stuff to thrift shops all the time. Now I live in a small mostly impoverished town in the south, and the pickings are slim. The nearest big city or wealthy area is over an hour away. The area where you live in has many wealthy people who will donate, so it’s easier to find great things. Also, Replacements is very overpriced. I have sold a lot of china on ebay so I researched prices for values. Replacements is generally the highest priced, better to check smaller ebay sellers for china bargains if there is something in particular you need. Ebay in general is the best indicator of the value of something. Always check completed listings, rather than active listings to see what things sold for. It’s an eye opener.


  5. I’ve been thrifting and going to yard sales since I was a child. My mom always dressed nice and decorated our home beautifully on very little. I rarely buy any clothing. home decor. shoes, gifts, new. I get some great new and barely used items at the Goodwill and yard sales. I truly believe it is one of the best ways to save money for your family. Hope your day is warm and wonderful!


  6. Unfortunately, I don’t even have the extra cash right now to go thrifting. Before Christmas I went at least once a week. I’m in desperate search for something cheap and frugal to put above my fireplace mantle. Back in October, our mirror we had above it fell off the wall and broke. At Christmas time I just put a giant wreath above it. But I took that down and need to replace with a giant canvas or clock. Dh says no more mirrors there.

    Also, waiting for spring so I can spray paint and repurpose some old frames and candlesticks I already own. Plus, spring means church rummage sales, which are better than thrift stores.


  7. Just curious though … aren’t you worried about bedbugs from large linens, rugs and upholstered furniture from thrift store. I don’t mind buying clothes because I know I can just pop them in a sealed bag in deep freezer for couple of days and then, wash on hottest water allowed for garments. But I’m not sure how I would clean larger fabric items so I don’t buy them.


    Jen Reply:

    Everything that I purchase as far as linens and rugs are ones that I can wash. As to upholstered furniture, I actually wrote a post awhile back about that very topic, so yes, it’s always something I am aware of. Here’s my litmus test.


  8. Jen – I just love seeing your thrifting scores – here and on FB! After dong a month of de-cluttering with Hannah Keeley I had a whole van load of stuff to pass on to Goodwill and friends with children a bit younger than ours and it felt so great to lighten up the load here! Now I’m ready to do some treasure hunting again – I’ve been buying summer clothes for our 12 year old boy all winter. I’ve found that men’s M TALL are really hard to find, and most of the men’s clothes are either worn out or out of date, so I’m glad you are able to do so well for your big boys. Maybe when he moves to the next size I’ll find more – and right now he is eating us out of house and home so a growth spurt is no doubt eminent!

    I always look for 100% linen clothes because I use them to make all sorts of things. I look for old silver plates and platters because they are great for taking food to church – they are lightweight, unbreakable and no one mistakenly takes them home! Who else is crazy enough to love polishing silver! I’m on the hunt for chairs right now – we need to replace two that are so old and uncomfortable. I’m on the lookout for lamps again because I’ve been using overhead lights too much and need to break the home decor faux pas! I sure would love to go treasure hunting with you – I think it would be so much fun!

    I cannot wait for it to warm up enough so that I can do some spray painting – I have some treasures that need a coat of paint so that their true beauty can shine!


  9. Love all your “treasures”. It feels so good to find some little item that makes a room or outfit complete, especially when it is inexpensive! I’m beginning the Spring perg to make room for some Spring garage sale and flea market finds! : )


  10. Oops! …that would be purge…lol!


  11. I was just thinking the other day about how I was looking forward to yard sales. This is going to be my year to shop regularly and see what I find, and then your post reminded me, why wait? I think I’ll be making a trip to a thrift store or two this weekend! Thanks, Jen, for inspiring me…again!


  12. I love the way you have a purpose for everything you buy. I stopped shopping at thrift stores because I just bought cool junk that I never had a use for. But I really like your plan about shopping ahead for parties, etc. Nice tip!


  13. I haven’t found any decent household treasures in a while but my local consignment store is rather drab in general and I haven’t been able to get out of town in months to shop at Goodwill and others. I did find some decent clothing there today, however. I was able to get three shirts (1 LL Bean and 2 Lands’ End), a pair of dressier pants (Dockers), a jacket (Coldwater Creek) and a wool peacoat (Liz Claiborne) for $22.00 total. There’s still a couple more months of cold/cool weather here so even though cold weather items are getting marked down now there’s still a need for them and these will be perfect to wear work!


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