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Goodwill Hunting: Thrift your way to an affordable kitchen

Goodwill Hunting: Thrift your way to an affordable kitchen

Regina Fox

I think I’m due for an intervention. No, not for drugs or gambling, but rather, an ever-so-slight thrifting addiction. Okay, so I wouldn’t actually call it an addiction, and I don’t think I require an intervention, but the women who dutifully greet my beaming face every Wednesday at the South High Street Salvation Army 50% off days might disagree. But, with little money comes great responsibility to find a good bargain—something I’ve become quite skillful at.

So gather ‘round, one and all, to learn the ways of the ‘will—Goodwill that is. Uncover deeply discounted treasures with these tips and tricks to transform your cooking space into the kitchen of your dreams.

Have a loose vision

There’s a saying that I find particularly helpful when thrift shopping: “You can’t see the forest for the trees.” That’s to say that if you’re too focused on small details, you won’t see the big picture. Similarly, if you walk into Goodwill looking for matching ivory canisters, odds are that you will not only leave frustrated because you didn’t find them, but you will have also missed out on the dozens of unique treasures you breezed right by. We only see what we’re looking for, so broaden your scope of interest to simply canisters. Sometimes you’ll find exactly what you wanted, other times you’ll find something better, or maybe you won’t find anything at all. That’s the thrill of the hunt, after all.

Get Inspired

Before you can have a vision, you have to have inspiration. Inform your shopping spree by first identifying your style. Do you prefer a warm or cool palette? Do you like sleek and sophisticated or boho chic? Then, pop your style + “kitchen” into the nav bar of your favorite search engine (cough cough Pinterest) and voila! Inspiration station. But, if you’re looking for something more realistic to your budget, there’s an entire sect of Instagram influencers just for thrifting. One of my personal favorites is @missmirandarose, but I’m sure a simple “#thrift” search will turn something up.

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Know the trends

Struggling to identify your specific style? It’s okay to be basic! With only a few items, you can take your kitchen from cookie cutter to cutting edge. If you’re fortunate enough to have a window in your cooking area, pack the sill with colored glassware. When the light hits, the pieces will throw beautiful reflections across your space. From vases to cups to tchotchke, thrift stores are absolutely packed with glassware at all times, so this should be an easy get. Elements of wood and/or wicker are also trending right now. That could be as simple as a wooden fruit bowl or woven placemats—also mainstays on the resale menu. Jars for your pastas, teas, and flour make for productive counter decor, while cutting board collections have both utility and sophistication. And always, always keep your eye out for anything copper (bonus points for a tea kettle!).

Go early, go often

It’s key to heed this bit of advice, specifically on deal days. It may be hard for you rookies to believe, but thrift stores—selling quite possibly the most affordable home goods known to mankind— actually hold regular half-off days. Volunteers of America hosts their sale on the last Tuesday of every month. Meanwhile, Salvation Army Family Stores throw the discount party every single Wednesday. Sneak out on your lunch break on these days (don’t tell your boss I sent you) because the good stuff never lasts long. In order to score all the happenin’-est finds though, it’s important to make thrifting part of your weekly schedule. No, I’m not trying to lure you into a double thrift intervention—it’s really the way to go! Turnover at resale shops is insanely high. And not only that, but thrifting is more popular now than ever due to people seeking more sustainable lifestyles (did you know the fashion industry’s carbon impact is bigger than the airline industry’s?). So, go on, give those unwanted items a new home while also giving your kitchen the TLC it so desperately needs.

Happy thrifting!

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