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Guide to Finding Antiques at Thrift Stores

By Rachel

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Find easy ways of navigating the aisles with a guide to finding antiques at thrift stores!

Many people have houses full of antiques yet don’t know the value of the items they have. They donate them to thrift stores as an easy way to get rid of things. This is the fun part and where you get to swoop in and find all the pretty things on the cheap! Below, you will find some helpful tips on how to shop for and spot old pieces of home decor at thrift stores, so read on for a simple guide to finding antiques at thrift stores.

The thrift store is my happy place. It’s where I go to decompress and clear my head when life feels stressful. I’ve been thrifting for many years and, through it all, feel that I have gained enough knowledge to share some of my tips and tricks.

Join me as I walk you through super simple ways of navigating a thrift store!

vintage decor used on open shelving in blues and whites

A Guide to Finding Antiques at Thrift Stores

  1. Get a cart!

    You don’t know how many times I’ve not grabbed a cart upon entering because I always think I’m never going to find much. But alas, 10 minutes later, my hands are full of dish ware and glassware that’s clanking around everywhere, desperately needing a cart.

    Just get a cart and save yourself the hassle of running to get one after you have found too many treasures to hang on to!

    faux flowers displayed on a stack of vintage books

  2. Take your time.

    You never know what is going to be sitting on a shelf at a thrift store on any given day so allow plenty of time to go up and down every aisle. Make sure to look on the very top shelves as well as the very bottom shelves, not just the middle ones, because there could be beautiful vintage hiding!

    Turn things over and around and look behind things. Sometimes there are boxes that haven’t even been unpacked yet. Check those as well because you never know what treasures could be in there!

    a guide to finding antiques at thrift stores

  3. Always look for maker’s markings.

    True vintage and antiques will often have a maker’s mark somewhere on them. In my experience, the price tag stickers will be covering them up on the bottom, so peel the tag back to see if there is a mark. 9 times out of 10 there is a marking or stamp on the bottom. Now you can get excited!

    a large vintage Ironstone platter placed against an antique mirror on a mantel

  4. Look in unusual places.

    Sometimes, the aisle that you least expect an antique to be in there will be one!

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    One time I walked down an aisle with baskets and office supplies on my way to clothing, only to spot a vintage tin kitchen canister hiding amongst the stationary!

    a vintage transferware pitcher with green print displayed on a dresser

  5. See beyond.

    Sometimes you will spot an antique or vintage item that is very worn down or is damaged. Try to see beyond the surface of that piece.

    If there is a crack in it, you can turn that part around towards the wall where it can’t be seen. The wear and tear on these old items is part of their charm.

    vintage thrifted decor styled in a hutch

  6. Be prepared to get a little dirty.

    Sometimes I talk to people that don’t understand thrift stores, because in their eyes, they are dirty and gross. They do have a point because they usually are dirty.

    But, just wear some older clothes and bring along hand sanitizer. It’s the thrill of the hunt, people!

vintage enamelware cups arranged on hooks

Closing Tidbits

There are so many treasures with your name on them waiting to be found at thrift stores. In doing so, you are creating a home that is unique and special to you. You are also saving these precious items from going in the landfill. I hope this simple guide to finding antiques at thrift stores encourages you to get out there and dig! That, my friends, is what it’s all about.

Comment below on what your favorite antique and vintage items are to look for at thrift stores. I love hearing from you!

Also, the website Porch.com has a great article on Protecting Your Collectibles. If you have large collections of more expensive items, this is a super helpful post to check out!

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If you are new here, I’m Rachel, the writer and content creator here at The Antiqued Journey. I’m so happy to have you! I encourage you to stop by the ‘about me’ page to get to know me a little more. Here on the blog, you will find loads of inspiration for decorating with vintage and antique decor, simple DIY crafts and many thrifting adventures. If that interests you, I invite you to sign up for my e-mail. You will receive a free digital download as a thank you!

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More Thrifting Posts To Enjoy

The Antiqued Journey’s suggested antique and vintage items to look for at thrift stores:

*antique dishes such as transferware or ironstone*vintage jars*old baskets or crates*vintage tin kitchen canisters*antique glassware*vintage linens*antique furniture*architectural pieces*antique oil or watercolor paintings*vintage frames*copper pots*wicker and/or cane furniture*vintage lamps*antique silverware*old tools*antique cake stands*vintage wool blankets*

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Hello I’m Rachel.

I’m so glad you are here! Old things are my jam. Antique malls and thrift stores are my happy places.

Here on the blog I love to share my excitement, knowledge, and ideas about all things antique and vintage. Let’s journey together!

If you like what I'm doing, feel free to buy me a coffee to show your support!

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Sign up for free antique and vintage inspiration, DIY projects, and thrifting tips straight to your inbox.


    My hand poured holiday candles are ready!

    I hope you enjoy them as much as I love making them!