Posted in Recycle, Repurpose, Thrifting, Upcycle

The Art and Science of Thrifting

(This post originally appeared as a guest post on the Metrolina Habitat Restore Website)

Thrift hunting for vintage is a real combination of science and art to me. The science part of it is purely statistical….you have to go often to get the good stuff, especially if you are thrifting in a city like Charlotte where there are a lot of people looking for goods.

In addition, it is helpful to think strategically about where the goods you are seeking might be: i.e. “Hey, I like old stuff, maybe I should head to the thrift store closest to houses built in that time period!” and you have to spend a little time on the fabulous interwebs making yourself familiar with the items you are hunting so you can identify (and grab) quickly!

The art of thrifting it much more esoteric but equally as fun and creative a muscle to develop. We all know that it’s no fun just to keep all your fabby thrift finds in a closet–then you’ve possibly just become a hoarder and whoa, Nellie—that’s a whole other blog site! So, when you find a thrifty gem that you know you cannot live without, you should be thinking: how can I use this item in my house? How and where will I display it? Can I upcycle it into something truly unique and cool? Many modern houses have no need for some of the wacky or ubiquitous devices of yesteryear; so can you creatively repurpose it in some clever way for it to be fun and useful to you again? This is where the art of it all comes into play and the possibilities are just thrillingly endless.

Here are some quick personal examples of repurposing some common vintage goods for current use, from my current house project— closet transformed into a dressing room:

1. Vintage frame upcycled to necklace display & organizer–all you need is a frame, paint of your choice and the hook screws!

2. This one’s a twofer repurposing: Vintage Planter (I adore vintage planters and have them everywhere!)  and mug tree into scarf, purse and accessory holder:

3. Vintage Divided Candy Dish and Tall Milk Glass Vases (Both easy to thrift and find ) upcycled into ring, pin and bangle holders:

And here’s one more that took a little more ingenuity – I had an extra Pyrex cloverleaf  blendor (yeah, that’s actually how they spelled it in retro times) jar for my Osterizer beehive blender; doesn’t it make an adorable upcycled light fixture for my breakfast nook? After we removed the blade assembly with a wrench and then took the existing pendant light off, threaded the wires through and voila!  No additional glass cutting needed, only took about an hour and easy-peasy!

These vintage items can all be easily found most any day of the week at the ReStore! Want more fun ideas or in the mood for some advanced DIY? I have compiled some of the vintage fantastic-ness here:  ModBettie’s Cool Vintage Upcycle Ideas on Pinterest!

What cool upcycling or repurposing have you done? I’d love to hear…



I am and actor and producer on the lookout for midcentury gold while furnishing my 1956 atomic ranch! Happily thrifting my way through life and sharing the info and tips as I go... I am a vintage dealer at Sleepy Poet Antique Mall in Charlotte, NC

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