A Thrifting We Will Go

January 30, 2013

Yesterday, I did something I love to do each month and that is to go thrifting.  I set out on my typical round visiting the four thrift stores I ordinarily visit when I’m in the mood since they’re all within 15 miles of my house.  I work fast and I can scour all four in less than two hours. 

I’ve been asked to feature a “what would you do?” tour of thrift stores by some readers, so I’ll take you on yesterday’s adventure and pretend you’re all with me to show you what I look for, what I reject, and the thought process along the way.  Here we go.

When I go thrifting for furniture, I’m looking for something with good quality construction and cool or classic lines.  Hidden adjacent to and among the yucky stuff are diamonds in the rough – I look for those pieces and in them I see potential. 

geometric hutch


With furniture, the first thing I do is give a cool piece like that hutch a good inspection.  Pull the drawers, test the hinges, and check for dovetail joints on the drawers since they are a sign of quality construction.

testing furniture

This one looked really good and was $75 so I considered it a good buy.   I think it would look great painted any classic color, black, white, cream, gray, blue, whatever.

Sometimes I spy pieces that should really be in antique stores but just need a little TLC.  Like this vintage dresser.  Remove the dated mirror, add new knobs and bam, a totally gorgeous addition to your home.

burled wood dresser


I spied a bowfront chest in the window of a favorite store, lovely right?  It looked a little beat up but some Restore-A-Finish may be all you need to bring it back to life

bowfront chest


I loved this cabinet with fretwork detail and I can see it painted a Chinese red with antique brass pulls and a Lucite tray on top with barware above and inside too.

red lacquer paint on cabinet


The colors on this credenza were ghastly but primer and paint can always fix that.  I’d paint it high gloss Kelly green or black or white or navy blue and add brass ring pulls to replace the carved ones and use it as a base for a flat screen television. 



If you have upholstery skills or a willingness to learn, overlook dated fabric and look for classic shapes – these French inspired chairs would look fab repainted or gilded and reupholstered in a fresh geometric – I can see them flanking a Parsons console table.

french style chairs


I was digging these X base tables because they scream ottoman to me – paint the bases black or white or gray then add foam and fabric on top, and place them at the end of your bed. 

x base tables


Thrifting takes a discriminating eye, my theory is look for anything that if repainted or reupholstered, will stand the test of time.  A solid wood curved four poster bed is a great find, how gorgeous would it be painted dramatic black like in this bedroom or this bedroom ?  Avoid anything to dated or beyond repair, and worn or bad fabrics.

headboard and pillow


I pull out linens and rugs a lot, and I’m usually disappointed but sometimes you stumble across something quirky like a hook rug owl which would be cute for a kid’s room, the fruit rug, not so much.

owl and fruit rug


Shoes and clothing are great if you have extra time to browse or try things on.

thrift store shoes

thrift store clothes


Some other things I look for are dishes or silverware – often it’s plated but sometimes you can find mismatched real silver. 



Frames and canvases are a few dollars, sometimes less, but you can spray paint frames and paint over canvases.

frames and canvases


I love old books for their unique covers, bonus points if someone has written notes in them.  Sometimes they’re good literature for bookshelves, and if not you can use their pages for crafts.

old books


I’m a textile junkie so I always look for cool patterns, and dresses are a good place to look if you sew and want to make a unique pillow or tote.

dress fabrics


And just so you know, here are some things I avoid like the plague.

Dated tchotchkes.

ugly tchotchkes


Frumpy poufy sofas.

frumpy sofas


Anything won at a carnival.

carnival st bernard


Tapestry bell lamp shades with feather trim.

tapestry lamp shades


Porcelain doll mannequins in Victorian garb.



Upholstered pieces that could have been a Cosby sweater in a former life.

cosby inspired textiles


And ducks, geese, or anything in the swan family. 

ducks geese swans oh my


But that’s just me.


What did I grab after all my adventures?  Just a few things… I’m a record lover, I grew up on them, I love the sound of the crackle as the needle hits the vinyl.  I like to listen to them as I paint stuff or do housework with our portable record player, so I picked up a few classics for $3 each.

old records

Also what I shall now dub my “coffee house” tote – a gray knit bag for $4 which is the perfect size for my iPad and will fit keys, a few dollars, and my sunglasses when I head downtown to my local coffee shop for relaxation.

gray tote bag


Finally, a killer credenza for the design studio…it will hold files and fabrics and be a great work surface too.  What to do with it?  I’m not sure yet, but I fancy something painted two tone and completely fabulous.  It has dove tail joints, and it’s solid wood with brass pulls and it cost, get this, $40 bucks.  I’m looking forward to giving it a makeover.

forty dollar credenza


For you Northern California and Bay Area locals, my four favorite stops are Sacks on Liberty, Goodwill on Lakeville, the Thrifty Hippy on the Boulevard (all in Petaluma) and the St. Vincent de Paul in Rohnert Park.


*and on a totally random sidenote, I finally watched Episode Five of Downton Abbey yesterday (waaaaahhhhhh *sniffle sigh*) and since I watch it on iTunes I noticed it downloaded the next few episodes ahead of the TV air time so if you’ll forgive me, I will disappear into a Downton Vortex for a few hours until I’ve watched them all.  “Free Bates!” is all I have to say. 




114 Responses to “A Thrifting We Will Go”

  1. robinanne says:

    Thrift shopping…my favorite past time. I find ALL kinds of treasures…most of which I have no outlet for or need at the time. Suggestions for that?? What to do with treasures you find and don’t want to pass up but have not place for? Keep on walking?

  2. Kate says:

    That was almost as fun as actually going thrifting! Great finds! You have a wonderful eye!

  3. R. Joyce says:

    I love how you said quirky cool. That is how I like to think of my fashion style…lol

  4. Elise says:

    Thanks for the great post! I, too, love thrifting and buying great furniture to re-do. Unfortunately I have waaay too much of it now. So I want to know the answer to robinanne’s question – what DO people do? (other than hoard the finds in your basement or porch) Would selling on Craigslist be a good idea, or is there little chance for profit?

    • CentsationalGirl says:

      Hi Elise, it depends on your area… there are plenty of people who refurbish as a business, I thought about it, but decided against it in the end. You have to put in the work to scour, paint, and then sell, but it can be done if that’s your thing! Not sure what the profit margin is but there are people who do this for a living because they love it!

  5. Kimberly says:

    I love thrifting posts!! It wasn’t that long ago that I was clueless about being able to have a stylish home for very little money. It is now my favorite pastime, searching for the bargain and bringing back to life pieces that have been neglected or need an update. I have a piece (buffet/sideboard) I purchased from Craigslist that has good bones and the woodwork is in excellent shape but it just isn’t me. I don’t know what to do with it. I don’t want to destroy it but something about it screams “give me a makeover”. Would love to send it to you for ideas or opinions.

  6. ThriftDee says:

    THanks for your Northern California thrift tour! I will have to do one for Denver on my site http://www.ThriftDee.com I would love to do a Petaluma thrift tour myself, I lived in Marin and LOVE the thrifting in the Bay Area!!

  7. I am in love with that first china cabinet! We’ve been looking for something like that for our dining room for months now. Pieces like that are hard to come by in Chicago for that kind of price. You’re lucky to have such a great thrift store in your area!

  8. Lisa says:

    The selection & prices are killing me! Here in middle America, where the incomes & selections are low…the prices are high! Most of those case goods you shared would be $250+ on CraigsList and that high or higher in “thrift” stores! You are blessed :)

  9. Kathy says:

    Love this post and all your advice. I love to go thrifting, but now when I go into a regular store, I cringe at how much things cost! Can’t wait to see what you do with the credenza!

  10. This was such a great post! And, why did everybody ever buy those Cosby sweater couches?? You’re right–they’re ALWAYS at Goodwill.

  11. Ki, says:

    Whooohooo! As I was reading this I was thinking “oh man, I wish I knew where these shops were” and guess what? I do!!! Field trip tomorrow! I live on Angel Island and I LOOOOOVE the St. Vincent DePaul and Sacks!

  12. jamie lynn says:

    Abbey Road for $3? I’m jealous!! :) Love me some records too!!

  13. Melissa says:

    Looks like your thrift stores have some great furniture pieces. It is hard to pick them up here. A local shop tends to get to them first and then tries to sale them at jacked up prices. :/


  14. Jerri Lynn says:

    I love the hutch in the first photo. I actually have two end tables that match. Trying to decide whether to paint them or not. Love your entire thrifting story. My niece and I thrift together via cell phone in different cities. Great fun.

  15. christie says:

    Oh no! I was going to get some work done today and now I want to go thrifting !

    Did anyone look at you oddly when you were taking pics in the thrift store ? Did you use your phone ??

    ~ Christie

  16. emorra says:

    Just a note, that’s a macramé bag you’ve got there, not knitted. Probably from the 70s or early 80s when macramé was hot.

    • CentsationalGirl says:

      Thanks Emorra, you’re right! Although the material feels like a poly blend, and rather new, and you know what? I’ve seen macramé popping up everywhere on Etsy shops and in designer spaces… I predict we see more of it this year!!

  17. Annie says:

    I have not checked where you live, but I wish the thrift stores here in NYC were this affordable. That credenza would be at least $250 around here. Sigh.
    I’d totally get that credenza for my dining room.

    • CentsationalGirl says:

      Hi Annie, the pieces vary dramatically in price around here… I’ve seen similar pieces for sale in the hundreds at thrift stores too…. sometimes you can get really lucky though.

  18. I love thrifting posts. So much fun to read and fun to put together too. Love the “good/not good” captions–those are awesome. :) I thought the Dowager Countess, Lady Cora, and Thomas were the stand-outs of Sunday’s episode. They each played grief differently, but so realistically and poignantly. That’s what got…all Maggie Smith had to do was walk and she nailed it!

  19. Margie says:

    I just found your website, and I love it! It has given me so much inspiration and will be of great help as I redecorate every room of my house. Are there any precautions you take when buying things at thrift stores (with the bedbug epidemic)? In the past I had no problem with buying wooden furniture, but now I’m not so sure.

    • CentsationalGirl says:

      Hi Margie, the “bedbugs” issue is always in the back of my mind, I understand it’s more prevalent in urban areas, but I could probably do more research on that. Anyway, my theory is anything that can be washed is fair game. For any wood furniture I give it a thorough inspection. Bed bugs leave dark spots or waste so look for that. I know there are steamers you can buy to kill them if you’re concerned, but in all my years of thrifting I’ve never had an issue. It’s best to leave things outdoors if possible for a few days to let them air our – I usually store things in my garage until I’m done with them. Her’s an article on a few tips for dealing with them. http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/bed-bugs-the-first-hand-freak-out-account-168191

  20. CentsationalGirl says:

    Oh you said it Amanda, just her walk was amazing, I had to replay it over again, I bow to Dame Maggie.

  21. April says:

    Great post, I loved reading what is good/bad and what you avoid!

  22. Mimi says:

    This is my favorite kind of Censational Girl post!! Thanks for keepin’ it thrifty!

  23. LOVE this post. I was just at a thrift store myself yesterday. I tried one in a ritzier neighborhood under the motto: the rich must have better trash :). It was better, but just not as good as what I am seeing in your pictures. I did find one good end table.

    I loved hearing about what you look for.

    Oh and I used your tip on getting an oil-based primer for my next furniture painting project. I am excited to try that out!

  24. Jen says:

    I will never cease to be amazed by your shopping karma. The things you find! And I’ve been wondering where you go forever – thanks for listing the shops. I’m about 1,000 miles away but someday I’ll get to see family in Marin and we do love thrift shops.

  25. veronica says:

    “Upholstered pieces that could have been a Cosby sweater in a former life.” Oh my goodness, I laughed so hard at that. I’m right there with you on that and the ducks. I can go through a thrift store in 30 mins or less. Sometimes I find great pieces and just have to walk away because I know I don’t have a space for them. That’s always hard but it helps keep the clutter down at home.

  26. vel says:

    Your lucky that your thrift store carries so much furniture! I love the first china cabinet, beautiful! I also like getting old records, mainly for the covers, I like displaying them in my craft room like art. :-) Agree with your pass ups, really not much room for improvements on those products, excpet the ducks, can be sprayed gold or something.

    Agree with you on Bates. :-)

  27. maude says:

    Love it! I am still haunted by NOT buying a round midcentury bamboo cocktail table I saw at local Goodwill for (gasp) $10. All it needed was a new gold paintjob and a new hefty glad mirror or.lucite top. I coulda pulled that off in a day but didn’t buy it because I didn’t need it. Now with a daughter going to college in the fall i realize it would have been spectacular for her dorm apartment. doh!!

  28. maude says:

    Have you thought of posting pics of before and afters completed by your readers whom you have inspired? Or, have you considered giving input on pieces people have bought but have not yet made over? I would LOVE to see your advice to others. That would be very interesting!

  29. Sivje Parish says:

    Oh fun! Thank you for the names of the thrift stores where you shop. I have not been to any of them. I usually shop at the thrift stores on Piner in Santa Rosa, of which there are many. There are also some wonderful thrift stores in Sebastopol. I need to try yours next.

  30. Shondra says:

    We live in Petaluma too and Sacks and Thrifty Hippy are definitely on the list for the best thrift stores!

  31. Denae says:

    Thanks for the information! Do you barter or group items and ask for a better price ever?

  32. Clementine says:

    Thrifting posts are the best! I’m stuck at home with sick kiddos today so it was nice to “go shopping” with you. :)

  33. Mary says:

    I love thrifting also. But since I drive a small car, I don’t have a way to get pieces of furniture home. Do you drive a SUV?

  34. That top hutch is exactly what I have in mind for my office… whenever I get around to fixing up that room! Best line of the post: “pieces that could have been a Cosby sweater in a former life.” LOL! Best deal of the post: $40 for a massive credenza. Awesome score!

  35. Kareb says:

    That was a great tour! You crack me up!! Yesterday I was in and out of two Goodwills way too quickly and got home thinking…everything I bought was stupid. I hate days like that! $5.99 for children’s vintage teapot with a big chip I missed, etc. I need to stay focused! I am an hour from the Petaluma area! Thanks for the names of these shops! I’ll have to go there sometime! Sounds fun. Looks great stuff.

  36. Sarah says:

    OHHHHH, I am so jealous of your thrift stores! What fun! I live in a large city in Iowa, and while we have two Goodwills and two Saint Vincent de Paul stores in the area, they never seem to have any solid wood furniture. Definitely never anything as interesting as what you saw on your trip! And never, ever at good prices. My goodness. I need to move to CA! :-D

  37. Maureen says:

    OMG! I covet those glass heads in picture 4. They’d be awesome for when I take pictures of hats (I’m a knitter). Been looking, but haven’t found them for a reasonable price.

  38. Kim says:

    Add me to the list of those so jealous of your thrift stores. Solid wood furniture at awesome prices. I am in FL, and while I often see wonderful pieces, the prices are so ridiculous that I can’t justify buying them. That first hutch you showed would probably be $200 at the stores near me, and the credenza would be at least $75. Lucky, lucky you.

  39. One of my favorite posts ever! I like your viewpoint and I like just seeing the stuff at the stores. Ahh, thrifting, it feeds my soul. There is just a thrill in finding that second hand tresure!

  40. Avilynn says:

    What awesome stores you have! The shops we have just don’t carry much furniture. I have yet to purchase one piece from there. What little inventory they all have is typically very old & damaged, overpriced, & just plain unsavable. I usually find all my treasures are estate sales (in the summer) which makes for a very long boring winter around here:)

  41. SarahR says:

    LOVE EVERYTHING!! I go to the bay area a few times a year (San Ramon) and I am always disappointed at how expensive the thrift stores and goodwills are around there…..BUT!!!….You just gave away the secret locations!! See you there sometime….I will be the crazy one wanting to buy all the cool furniture that I can ;)

  42. Shannon says:

    Great post! I love that first credenza and LOVE your idea of Kelly green/Navy/Gold pulls. I am practically itching to get off work and hit the thrift store. I live in a smaller city so I only have a few places to choose from, but whenever I travel I must thrift as well. Love what you ended up buying.

  43. Katy says:

    I’m so jealous! I saw that Saturday while shopping with my friend. Alas I had no place for it though I desperately wanted it. I saw all the potential and begged her to get it because of course she has tons of room.

    I’m glad it’s off to a good home, I can’t wait to see how you transform it, thought it will probably bring tears to my eyes.

  44. Tiffany says:

    This was a great post. Thanks for the dove tail tip. Love Downton Abby. Sniff sniff myself I just finished it.

  45. All really great finds. I don’t get out much. So, I virtually stroll through Craigslist doing very much the same thing that you just did. Thank you for confirming that there is beauty is some of these forgotten, discarded items. I always see what ‘could be’, but often need to convince others of my convictions. Great post and some pretty awesome finds in the furniture department. You scored pretty great with those albums as well.

  46. Debbie C says:

    Cosby sweater! I laughed out loud! And amen to no ducks, swans, or any such swimming bird. I love that new credenza you bought (for $40!!!), can’t wait to see the after!

  47. Sara says:

    Fun post! I live in Petaluma and took it on as my own personal challenge to try and figure out which item was from which store. :) I can’t believe I haven’t been to the the Thrifty Hippy yet though, I’ll have to make it a stop soon!

  48. I scored an awesome 6 drawer dresser at St. Vincent de Paul when I lived in the Bay Area years ago. There was also a great furniture consignment store (maybe San Ramon) that turned inventory so quickly and had great stuff. I can pick up a great pair of skis at the thrift store here, but that’s about it. It’s fun to see other’s thrifting posts.

  49. Carm says:

    Great post! What do you do when you have a great piece that you love and know will turn out AWESOME but you run into the equilavant of a writers block? That’s were I am with two current projects…head to brick wall…what shall I do? Help!

    • CentsationalGirl says:

      Hi Carm, I’d wait if you’re not sure, there’s no hurry! Look around on Pinterest for revamped furniture, some of it is restained others painted, and you’ll see something to inspire you!

  50. Peggy says:

    I just recently got hooked on thrifting. I’m not a big shopper, but there are certain things I look for. I won’t ever buy a full-priced frame again, not when I can get a great frame and mat for a couple of dollars. Also, we have large parties a couple times a year so I bought silverware and stainless so that we never have to use plastic again. At 6 pieces for $1 you can’t go wrong. Anything silk . . . no need to explain that one. On the other hand, I wish I could go back in time and not donate all of the wonderful things I did – everything from records to sewing patterns to furniture. Oh well. Move forward!

  51. Man, I can never find pieces like that for PRICES like that! So jealous! Great finds! Thanks for taking us along for the ride. :-)

  52. Jared says:

    I think Bates is guilty…

  53. Heidi says:

    Awesome Kate! I’ll have to give it a go. I’m usually scared of those places but keeping an open mind can really pay off. Of course I’d have to learn how to refinish furniture too! I like the challange.

  54. Elizabeth H says:

    I wish my area had some good thrift stores. Our Goodwill does not have anything good. Downton did require tissues! Bates is one of my fav characters. Free the innocent man!

  55. Alexia says:

    I love thrifting and it would be so fun to have you as a thrifting buddy with your designer’s eye. Thanks for taking us on the “journey” with you. Neat post!

  56. Angie says:

    These are my favorite posts that you do. :)
    Have you made your way up to the gigantic Salvation Army in Healdsburg?
    It takes me all day to go through it. It’s crazy.

    • CentsationalGirl says:

      Yes Angie I’ve been there, it’s HUGE but I like that it’s out in the open and I use the SA as an excuse to make the trip up there, it’s so pretty in that town!

  57. Mary Jane says:

    Good post. I just started thrifting myself and have seen some awesome bargains. Picture frames are one thing that are a really great bargain. Goodwill has great stuff in our area and there are several within 15 miles of my house. One thing I look for is wool sweaters to felt and make mittens out of but they are hard to find. I’m going to keep looking though.
    I did find a website where you can watch all of season 3 of Downton, but I think I am going to resist.

  58. Kate!!! This is one of my favorite posts of yours! I love seeing ‘thrifting’ through someone else’s eyes! It’s also a fave of mine to post about, too (We had some similar tips!! http://www.livelovediy.com/2012/09/how-to-shop-at-thrift-store.html). Just two more things: #1…Cosby sweater reference….awesome. And #2….Downton….it’s been the only thing to ruin my PB&J toast breakfast in weeks. Just because it was THAT heart-wrenching!!!

  59. Jannette says:

    I enjoy thrifting, however mr wonderful refers to my ideas as “stinky” and would not agree to have my finds used in our main rooms so I haven’t bothered in a few years…. Until I forced him to look at your re-dos. He has suddenly warmed to the idea. A little visual is all it took. Yay!!! Since I’ve found your blog I page through old posts every day. Love!!!

  60. Jennifer M says:

    Ok, your thrift stores are clearly far superior to the ones in my area! I’m so JEALOUS! Also, loved the Cosby Show reference, and Downton seriously breaking my heart with that episode!

  61. Lost Roses says:

    Great post! Thrifting can be such fun. I no longer have the energy for the big makeovers but I appreciate your eye for them. Did you finish the whole season of Downton? I did, and haven’t recovered yet. ;-)

  62. Yay! Thanks for the fun thrift store post! I love hearing your insights and vicariously living through your thrift shopping on a day when I’m holed up at home during a snowstorm.

  63. Lisa says:

    Love the X base tables. And that gredenza! What a score. You go girl.

  64. Linda says:

    Love reading this post! It was so much fun to take a trip through the thrift store and see what you see. Thanks so much for sharing this!

  65. Feral Turtle says:

    I totally would have grabbed that porcelain doll mannequin for Halloween. She was kinda creepy. (Sorry porcelain doll mannequin lovers) What a great score you found. Cheers.

  66. Brenna says:

    I want to go thrifting right now! I have never found wonderful pieces like you have found, but I will not give up! Please share the “after” of that credenza.

  67. Uta says:

    After reading this post, I wish I had the eye for the beauty hidden beneath that you have. I also wish the thrift stores in NC had the way cool stuff the CA thrift stores apparently have. Finally, I wish I had time to go looking for that kind of stuff. Sitting behind a desk for 8 hours is a big preventative for that! Lucky you!! Thanks for sharing!!

  68. Uta says:

    P.S. What is Restore-a-Finish? Have you done a post on using that?

  69. Jayne says:

    Great post! I used to live out there in northern Ca in San Anselmo and would love to go thrifting in San Rafael.

  70. Penny says:

    None of our thrift stores have prices that cheap. I have been thrifting for years and since the DIY market has gone mainstream it is hard to find a bargain anymore. Your tips were excellent and I love the contrast examples!

  71. Serena @ Thrift Diving says:

    See…. Now you’re speaking my language! This is what MY blog is about, Thrift Diving! I do these types of posts all the time over on my thrift diving blog, and on my Facebook page. I’m a little obsessed with second-hand, what can I say? I’ve decorated my entire craft room from thrift store finds, including my vintage drafting table I scored for $30 but later found its worth over $300 (!!!) Thrift stores are the affordable solution to decorating my whole house! And I pick up some cute dresses too :)

    I would love, Kate, if you’d stop over to my blog, Thrift Diving, if you love thrifting! :)

    Thrift Diving

  72. Deb says:

    Can not believe that credenza is 40 bucks. I swear you would never find that price here in Tulsa OK – prob at least $250 or more. That piece has lots of possibilities in my opinion!! Entry? Dining Room??

  73. JamieAbe says:

    Oh man, that china cabinet at top is to DIE FOR!!! I would have snatched that up in a heart beat! It probably would have been twice that at any of our thrift stores, though. Hey, you think you could send it to Texas for me? ;) I LOVE thrifting with a passion, it’s so much better than regular shopping. Thanks for sharing your tips!

  74. Mary says:

    I love repurposing. We have a place in our town called “The Barn” where I find just such things at great prices. It’s always fun to see how others recreate. I absolutely loved this blog…..keep it coming and thanks.

  75. Jenna Davidson says:

    Really enjoyed this post!

  76. Cynthia says:

    Thanks for showing these items Kate, we don’t have access to good thrift stores where I live in NJ. It is kind of sad really, because I would love it. I am jealous of all of the bloggers that have great thrift stores.


  77. Jessie says:

    I’m 61 and I’ve been thrift shopping a long long time. I shop for everything. I use bridesmaid dresses to make Christmas bags (I’ve even had people request that I make some for them). I use anything cotton (dresses, shirts, pants) to make quilts. I buy furniture, lighting, dishes, purses – you get the idea EVERYTHING. I live in a really tiny house so I have a rule that if something comes in, something must go out. I must admit, I find it very difficult to justify buying something brand new.

  78. Krystin says:

    Great items! That doll is terrifying.

  79. Tiffany says:

    Our thrift shops don’t have anything worth going for and they charge horrendous prices. One note: those chairs the stuffed dog was sitting in are from Pottery Barn!

  80. Sheri says:

    I am so jealous, we have thrift stores here, but nothing with that quality. The furniture is mostly cheap cast offs. But great tips and if I see anything close to what you describe here I am going to snap it up.

  81. barbara says:

    These look like some great finds. I’d love to go thrifting with you, in your neck of the woods! Heck, I’d love to have the time to just go thrifting!

  82. Thank you – I love these posts! And, thank you for including the names of the thrift stores you visit. I’ve heard from others that Petaluma has particularly rich thrifting possibilities. Can’t wait to head up there soon – looking for something that can do double duty as a cabinet for our new record collection and wine. (might just have to go wine tasting while we’re up there too!)

  83. Arlene says:

    I will make sure to visit all the stores – thank you for mentioning their names and whereabouts! I might suggest the Church Mouse Thrift Stores (3 of them!) and Plain Jane’s in Sonoma too. All have great finds. As for Downton – I haven’t cried over a TV episode of any kind, ever, until last Sunday! Heartbreaking!!

  84. Karen says:

    I’m always AMAZED by the prices bloggers say things are listed at in their stores. These furniture items would be at least triple the price in the Chicago area thift stores.

  85. Sylvia says:

    WOW…you have some great thrift shops in your area. There are 4 in our town…not so great. I still run through when I pass by just to be sure I don’t miss a treasure. Love your list of “avoid like the plague” items. Me too!!! I usually look for milk glass/white items that I can use for decor or at table.
    Happy thrifting.

  86. Kateann says:

    Thank you so much for sharing where you go! The whole time I was reading this post I was thinking, where is she finding this stuff? I live in Marin so I’m going to start making the trip to these stores regularly. And love your blog.

  87. Patti Z says:

    I enjoyed *shopping* with you today, Kate! Great post idea! And I’m with you, free Bates – SOON!

  88. I am a huge thrifting junkie and I do monthly round ups on my blog of all the amazing things that I unfortunately I have to leave behind b/c it’s such eye candy for any fans of second hand and vintage shopping. So I really enjoyed this post.

    This is great advice on looking for furniture and brands. And looking into cabinets and undersides of items is so important. It’s also one of the reasons I managed to score a MCM credenza from the 70’s for $49 that is worth way more. You may look ridiculous inspecting furniture on your hands and knees but it’s astonishing to me how many people don’t do this and recognize an antique/true vintage piece.

  89. Jackie says:

    Love your blog and this post. Bates is innocent. Wait til you watch the Christmas special, you will need LOTS of tissues!!

  90. Laura Bradley says:

    yes you have a good eye…and I hate to say this but Im glad you dont live by me…or we would be fighting for the thrifts…..like my sisters and I do! :)

  91. Mindy says:

    Ohhh…I have thrift store envy! Our thrift stores are ridiculously expensive! Like, $60 for the ugliest table lamp you’ve ever seen with no hope of being spray painted. I would love to find a great store near me!

  92. Amanda S. says:

    How can you tell if the silverware is solid silver?

  93. Jill says:

    How cool, I went thrifting yesterday too and got some great deals on wall art. My plan is to recycle the frames, glass and mats to display watercolor pictures my Mom painted. Art supply stores charge so much for framing and matting, I’ll probably save myself at least $300. Can’t wait to see what you do with the killer credenza, it would look great in citron! The bowfront chest you saw in the window is very similar to one I’ve had for years and I finally painted it white last weekend and spray painted the handles black. Now it is linen storage for my drawer-challenged kitchen. I purchased it at a great used furniture store in Santa Monica called Wertz Brothers, you should check it out. And yes, Downton Abbey was so sad!!! :(

  94. Jeanna says:

    I love that credenza!! I could see that painted in a nice glossy finish.. so cute, and for $40 bucks what a steal! I wanna go thrifting with you.. That’s a great find!

  95. Melissa says:

    So jealous on your thrift console find. Totally gorgeous. I wish it was that easy to find furniture like that here in my town in Australia.

  96. Ann Ruggles says:

    Thanks so much. I’ve always wondered how you tell treasure from trash.

  97. Charlie says:

    Those lampshades made me laugh out loud. My daughter is so confused as to why I’m laughing at the computer. Ha!

    LOVE the credenza! Amazing find!


  98. Brooke says:

    THANK YOU for this post!! I am dying to go thrifting and fix/paint something for my home, but am a little nervous!!! This was super helpful :)

  99. Suzan G. says:

    Thanks for the great info. I’ve been contemplating hitting a couple of local spots, but I’m a newbie. You sealed the deal for me!

  100. linda iwaszewski says:

    good eye for stuff ! beatles abbey road and wondering how the chairs looked that the st.bernard were sitting on ?

    • CentsationalGirl says:

      Hi Linda, they were all scuffed up sadly, if they’d been in better shape I might have bought the rattan chairs myself!

  101. amber P says:

    And I cannot wait to see what you do with that amazing credenza! Score!

  102. Darlene says:

    I volunteer weekly at a large Mission store where people bring their castoffs. It’s so exciting to see some of the beautiful pieces that folks are discarding for one reason or another. Mind you i always go home with some “treasure” that I intend to redo, repaint, or remake. It’s all about thinking outside the box. What a High you get from finding a treasure to work on. Too many ideas, too little time.

  103. Marie Vlasic says:

    Great article, thanks! I’m drooling over that vintage dresser. I’d grab it in a second if I saw it here in Colorado. I love to brag about my thrifting finds, and just finished a 2-part post on how I find the good stuff at thrift stores. I hope you enjoy it! theyearoflivingfabulously.com

    (sorry if I submitted this twice, I’m having web issues today ;-)

  104. cp says:

    Crazy…that hutch matches a dresser and night stands we have in our bedroom (the one in the very first pic on this post). It’s definitely from the same maker and same collection. We got it at a second hand store, not knowing anything about it except it was cool. :)

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