If you are having trouble cultivating your home style with full-price décor, or getting tired of waiting for sales to acquire the pieces you want or need, then perhaps secondhand / thrift store shopping is for you! Here are the reasons I love decorating with secondhand stuff, which has been “my style” for about three decades.
It’s budget-friendly. Even though I’ve noticed an uptick in prices at my local Goodwill and other thrift stores in the past couple years, it’s still far less expensive than shopping for new merchandise. And, there are shops and other venues (such as garage sales and online marketplaces) where prices on secondhand decor might be lower than the shops, so there are lots of options when shopping secondhand. (Having said that, here are five things I’d never buy used/secondhand.)
It’s eco-friendly. I know that not every item that gets donated to charity shops or set out at a garage sale avoids the landfill, but some of it does. And it seems to me that every little bit helps, so in pursuit of creating a home that reflects my own personal style, I’m also doing a small bit to reduce waste. I’m also not shy about stopping along the roadside and rescuing something whose next stop is literally the landfill.
It makes your home unique. Nothing against Ikea, Target, or even your local luxury home furnishings store… but I just don’t want my home to look like a designer did it. I want a unique, personal, curated vibe that reflects what I actually like – not what style gurus tell me I should like, or what’s “in” this season. (Related: here are the five categories I always shop for secondhand!)
It adds character and history to your home. Antique aficionados call it “provenance.” It’s the story behind the piece, the list of previous owners, the places it’s been and the people it’s known. Every vintage and secondhand piece has by definition a history of prior owners, and therefore has provenance. You’ll often hear vintage lovers say, “If only it could talk, the stories it could tell.” If you take a moment to study an object and just think about the lives of the people who might have owned it before you, you begin to feel just a tiny bit connected to the past. Even better if some of your pieces are handed down through your own family – they’re your own personal direct connection to history!
It offers the thrill of the hunt. There is something about walking through the gate of a large outdoor flea market, or even through the front door of a small charity shop, that fills you with optimism, hope, and anticipation. It’s the prospect of searching through all those bins and boxes, scouring the tables and shelves, and finding the perfect object at the perfect price to complete (or start) a collection, fill a troublesome corner of your home, or just bring a smile to your face.
Only secondhand shopping offers all these bonuses. It adds a whole new dimension to styling your home!