Last Friday I went thrifting and took you along for the ride. It was a really fun day browsing my favorite shops- for some, it had been over a year since I stepped foot inside. I received over 300+ messages requesting shop locations and while I tried to get back to everyone, it was a tall order while trying to cram in my favorite Salt Lake City vintage stops. I figured the easiest way to share my favorite locals spots was a blog post. For those of you who don’t live in Utah, don’t worry… I’m including five of my tried & true thrifting tips in this post for you, so you still get something out of it! If you follow along on Clubhouse, maybe you already heard a couple of these thrifting tips from my chat yesterday? That was such a fun conversation with Kate, Kyla, Lauren, Susan, and Kari (some of the best thrifters I know). Click through for the tips and my local favorites for thrifting & antique shopping…
I’m not going to lie, I was torn on sharing this post because I’m spilling my SLC secret (or not so secret) spots for finding vintage, but unlike camping spots (which I’ll never share)– I figured small Utah businesses could use the support now more than ever. I guess things might become more competitive for me when it comes to scoring the good stuff, but I’m also a big believer that it’s at least 50% luck. The other 50%? Well- keep on scrolling for the tips…
1 // Frequency
Thrift the same stores frequently. I like to think of it like lotto tickets (you know- the scratch kind), you buy them all from the same roll so your odds are better. It’s the same with thrift stores- the inventory is constantly being updated and to score the best things you have to go frequently. Most days you won’t find what you’re looking for or anything amazing, but one day you’ll strike it big and come home with treasures! I think that’s why it’s kind of addicting. You never know what you’re going to find. I NEVER go in looking for something specific because I’ll never it find it. I feel like it’s jinxing myself or putting bad juju into the thrifting universe. Haha! The mirror I snagged last week was just put out earlier that day, and I had visited the shop the week prior and found nothing.
2 // Make Smart Purchases
If you see something you like- snag it (or someone else will). You have to be decisive. At the same time, understand your impulse purchases and try to avoid the things you really don’t have a place for (easier said than done, I know). It has taken me awhile to recognize the things I gravitate toward if I’m finding nothing (like glassware), and then I stop myself from bringing more home. It’s almost like we want to “win” since we put in the time and energy to go thrifting, and sometimes we feel like we HAVE to make a purchase to make it worth it. I’ve found the best days are when I have plenty of time, don’t have an agenda or list, and go in with zero expectations.
3 // Negotiate
Thrift stores are the one place you can ALWAYS ask to negotiate without it sounding rude or insulting… just remember- everyone is there for a deal. The worst they can say is no, so you might as well try. You can also ask for discounts at the register. If something isn’t marked, just ask! It’s also important to know what you’re willing to pay for something. I’ll often lookup similar items or try to find out what a product is worth before making an offer.
4 // Train Your Eye
Training your eye to find “the good stuff” takes practice. I also call this “editing”, which is knowing when to jump or pass based on quality, material, design, etc. The next time you’re in a thrift store, try to determine the difference between low quality and high quality items. My friend Kyla carries a magnet in her pocket to determine if something is real brass or metal. Being able to spot a replica or dupe is important if you’re searching for designer pieces or real vintage / antique items. Look for things like solid wood, dovetail joints, down cushions, high-end fabrics, marble, name brands, etc. You can also practice by following the experts. My friend Gwen shares so many great tips on her Thrift with the Makerista account! I’d definitely recommend giving her a follow.
5 // Inspect
Look over items carefully prior to buying. I hate noticing flaws, cracks, or imperfections after I’ve already purchased an item, and it happens more than it should. That is added negotiation power and helps me decide if I really want something, so take note of the condition and closely inspect the items you plan to buy.
Favorite Local Shops
As for the Salt Lake City spots I like to shop? Locals can find my favorite places (with links) below….
- Capital City Antique Mall
- Haight & Ashbury Home
- The Village Vintage Interiors
- Euro Treasures
- The Other Side Thrift Boutique
- Old Flamingo
- Green Ant
- Ken Sanders Rare Books
- Home Again
- Restore / Salt Lake Valley
- Lost and Found Thrift
- Planted Earth
I have TERRIBLE luck at Deseret Industries (pretty much any DI). I’ve been to them all and I always strike out. I know some people really like thrifting there. Occasionally I’m come out with glassware, books, or frames- but those are usually the only few items I can find. Maybe I’m doing something wrong? Haha! For those who aren’t local, the DI is essentially Utah’s version of Goodwill. I feel like you really have to dig.
If you’re local and into thrifting clothing, Decades is my favorite! I’m typically shopping for furniture & decor though, so I haven’t stopped in lately.
Local friends- did I miss anything? Are there places I should know about that aren’t on my list? Does anyone have any additional thrift shopping tips? I hope those five easy ones are helpful. They’re things I always try to keep in mind. Sometimes you hit it big and come home with a good haul, and other days you strikeout. It’s all part of the fun and thrill of the chase! I try not to take it too seriously. Did that feel like a little virtual thrifting trip? I hope so! I’m wishing you a wonderful weekend- maybe you can even sneak in some thrifting! I’m signing off until Monday… see you then?