10 Gems to Look out for at the Thrift Store

Thrift stores can offer a wealth of treasure.  Here are 10 gems that you should always look out for in a thrift store, to decorate your home, add to your collections and more.


I have always loved shopping at thrift stores, and whenever I visit a new place, if I have the time, I always try to check out the thrift stores in the area. It is always an adventure going to a thrift store!

Over the years I have found so many wonderful things at thrift stores, and as they say – one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. That is certainly true of thrift stores.

I remember exactly where I found my favorite pieces from thrift stores, which kind of makes those pieces a little bit more special.

Like the china plate cake stand that I found in a little thrift store in a freezing cold English village, the set of 6 amber colored champagne glasses I found while visiting my daughter in her college town, and even the little tin tray that I found by chance in a tiny tucked away thrift store and  is perfect for taking somebody a cup of tea in bed!

Walking into a thrift store is exciting, because you just never know what you are going to find! It might be a gorgeous piece of clothing that is unique (maybe even designer), or a collector’s piece to add to your collection.  It really can be anything at all.

So here all some gems that you can find at thrift stores!

10 Gems to Look out for at the Thrift Store

Fine China

You can find all kinds of china pieces in a thrift store – including cups, saucers, plates, bowls, and more.  It is sometimes possible to find a complete set of matching china, although that is rare.

But you can buy pieces you love, and mix and match those pieces. Mixing and matching gives a vintage look to your table, and you can usually pick up different china items for reasonable prices in thrift stores.

I personally love to collect china cups and saucers. As a big tea drinker I love cups and saucers (and any big tea drinker can tell you that tea always tastes better out of a china cup!)

Fine china, which is good china, is expensive to buy new, but you really don’t have to buy it new, especially if you are able to mix and match pieces to decorate your table and home.

See also: How to make a Teacup Candle


You can always find glassware at thrift stores.  Sometimes it is a solitary glass on its own, sometimes you can purchase a set of glasses that match.

You can find some great collector glassware, to either add to an existing collection or start a new collection.  Glassware can also be mixed and matched for that vintage look.

One of the things I love is Depression Glass. It comes in many different colors and is highly collectable. Plus it looks great placed on shelves and in cabinets around your home.

10 Gems to Look out for at the Thrift Store

Designer Clothes

It can be possible to find designer clothes at next to nothing prices in thrift stores.  Some thrift stores know what they have, but many do not, and sell these clothes at very reasonable prices.

Some will be in perfect condition, some have never been worn, while others may need a little TLC – but it might be worth that if you find the most gorgeous vintage piece.

10 Gems to Look out for at the Thrift Store

Vintage Perfume Bottles

Vintage perfume bottles look beautiful, and with so many different designs and perfume companies they can all be quite unique.

Perfume bottles can be displayed in bathrooms and bedrooms, to create a lovely vintage looking decorative display.

It can also be fun sometimes to discover a tiny bit of the perfume still inside the bottle, and smell something that was once so popular all those years ago!

Pyrex Cookware

Most of us grew up with parents and grandparents who had a collection of Pyrex cookware, that they used to prepare, mix and bake foods and meals.

But now Pyrex cookware has become very desirable and collectable.  Pieces from the 1940s through to the 1980s are especially in demand right now.  The better the condition is the more desirable it is too.

Pyrex would make a great thing to collect for your home, as you can keep discovering and adding pieces to it. But you might just want Pyrex to cook and bake in quite simply!

Costume Jewelry

You can usually find all kinds of costume jewelry in thrift stores, including rings, brooches, necklaces, earrings and more. Some of it can be quite expensive, but some can be a bargain.

One of my most favorite pieces of costume jewelry to collect is bangles. I love all the different colors and materials that bangles have been crafted from.  Pride of place in my collection is a beautiful mustardy yellow bangle (trust me it looks better than it sounds!) that goes perfectly with black clothing.

See also: DIY Your own Statement Necklace


Finding books in a thrift store usually consists of books that people just didn’t want anymore, and can be really of any genre and condition.

But it is possible to find first edition books, collector’s editions, signed copies, and also rare books within the bookshelves of a thrift store.

If you just want the decorative look of old books, you can scatter them around your home on tabletops, in book-shelves, or anywhere you want to enforce that lived in look of a home. You can also check out some great DIY projects using old books!

10 Gems to Look out for at the Thrift Store

Picture Frames

Most of the time when you find pictures in a thrift store they are framing tacky pictures that you just wouldn’t consider having in your home!

But look past that – to the frames themselves. Picture frames come in an assortment of sizes, colors, materials and more.  You can find a great frame (and toss the picture) to frame over pictures in your home.

You can also paint frames, cover them with fabric, and more to create perfect additions to your walls.

10 Gems to Look out for at the Thrift Store


There are always collections of silverware at thrift stores,  many times just odd pieces including knives, spoons and forks. You can tell if something is real silver by tapping on it and listening out for a high pitched ringing sound.  

Sitting in a thrift store silverware always looks dull and unappealing. But you can polish it and make it shine like new again.

10 Gems to Look out for at the Thrift Store

Vintage Postcards

Vintage postcards can be found in abundance in thrift stores usually.  They can have beautiful photos of places, great designs, even photos of people.

These are great to collect. You can create many unique DIY projects with vintage postcards, and you can also frame them and place them around your home.

One of the lovely things about vintage postcards also is that you can read the messages on the back! These messages take you back to another time, and they can be just lovely to read.

Thrift stores can offer a wealth of treasure.  Here are 10 gems that you should always look out for in a thrift store, to decorate your home, add to your collections and more.

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