The Essential Guide to Thrifting and Upcycling - How Much Does It Really Save You? What Are The Best Methods?

Being responsible about personal finance occasionally means saying ‘no’ to dreamy home furnishings. Our home décor allowance is often the first thing to be cutback when times call for strict budgeting. No doubt about it, living within your means is essential and responsible. But, don't fret! There are savvy solutions to keep your home from becoming stylishly dull when you’re on a money diet. Thrifting and upcycling are effective methods of shopping smart and staying within your financial plan while maintaining a home you can be proud of.

‘Thrifting’ consists of shopping at thrift stores that sell secondhand household goods, many of which raise funds for charitable causes. Shopping at your local thrift shop can be a surprising treasure hunt of home goods fitting your needs and your financial plan. It’s usually best to go thrift shopping for decorative items like antique dishware, affordable artwork or classic posters, lamps, vases or even accent tables and dressers. Some pieces are great in their current condition and others can be repurposed into fantastic furniture with an inexpensive investment.

Sometimes, you don’t even have to step foot in a store to revamp your space. Doing a little ‘upcycling’ – taking an item you already own and making it better – is all some home goods need. Upcycling can consist of either upgrading or recycling a piece. Use a few strokes of primer paint, a coat of a fresh new color you already own and a piece can look totally different without a penny spent! Sticking to a $50 and under budget allows you to buy new fabric, paint or other accessories that can help breathe new life into objects you already own. It’s cost-effective, plus is an opportunity for DIY fun, too! Recycle your home goods, by swapping out furniture from different rooms. Switch the throw pillows in your living room with the ones in your den. Bring the mirror from the foyer into your bedroom. It’s an instant new look that’s easy to change around for a $0 budget.

Follow these 10 Dos and Don'ts for best thrifting and upcycling methods to stay on the path of mindful spending:

  1. Do Prioritize
    Before you go thrifting or start upcycling, consider your home’s décor priorities. You don’t want to put time and money into a project then realize another area needed more attention. Estimate the price of a project before you get started and consider your budget and primary concerns.
  2. Don’t Thrift For Appliances
    Home appliances such as blenders, toasters, and juicers should stay off of your thrifting wish list. While it’s tempting to want to save big on electrical appliances, they’re often times not cleaned prior to being donated to thrift stores. Also, they’re electrical wiring may not work once you purchase it.
  3. Do Look for Inspiration
    Check out your favorite Pinterest boards and new items from your preferred retailers. See a table you want to get your hands on? Learn how to do a knock-off with the table you already own or can afford at the thrift store. Do your digging on popular DIY blogs for everything you need to know to be savvy yet stylish and do an upcycling job you can be proud of.
  4. Don’t Try To Be Perfect
    DIYing your own creation is a risk and a learning experience—don’t expect a perfect final product. Imperfection adds that personal flair to your furniture. Don’t sweat the small stuff when upcycling!
  5. Do Shop Your Home
    Before racing to the store, take a tour around your house and do a quick inventory of items and areas you love or are tired of. A look around can help you easily evaluate how much you already own, the best ways to distribute and decorate with those pieces and what items or rooms do need some upcycling or thrifting.
  6. Don’t Focus on Unrecoverable Items
    Some items just don’t have ‘good bones’ to begin with. It’s best not to put too much time and money into furniture that can easily fall apart. If the joints and the structure of furniture isn’t strong enough for longevity, don’t invest in repurposing this item.
  7. Do Have a Plan
    Research your local thrift stores and learn if they have any half-price days or discounts on certain items, or special bargains for families and seniors. Set this groundwork and also establish your spending limits. Deciding how much you’re willing (and able) to spend in a certain store or on a certain day helps perspective on your outing.
  8. Don’t Be Tempted
    It’s easy to be tempted by the amazing prices in bargain shops. Stick to your plan and evaluate if you really do need that item. Ask yourself if you already own something similar.
  9. Do Take Your Time
    Before purchasing an item, be sure to take your time and have a good look at it. Poke around and make sure that it’s really in good in shape and doesn’t have any hidden stains or tears that can’t be fixed.
  10. Don’t Delay Too Long
    If it’s a good find, don’t wait too long to purchase it. A strong piece will more than likely be picked up by another shopper if you leave it there for too long. Quality items don’t last long at thrift stores so be sure to check back often and jump on an incredible find once you’ve given it a good look over.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Tags: Budget, Décor, Makeover, Shopping, Decorating, Upcycling, Thrifting, DIY

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