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Know when the sales are. Almost every thrift store runs sales. Sometimes they have coupons in your local “Pennysaver” or it’s a percentage off the tags colored blue that day. Thrift stores are like regular stores; they need to move merchandise to make room for more merchandise.

Make a list of what you want/need. Don’t go in there without a list. You don’t want to forget why you are there in the first place in case you get sidelined by the childhood toy you just spotted.

Be open to new uses. Sometimes you will find something and think of a way to repurpose it. You could find some awesome wastebasket that could be perfect to hold your umbrellas by the door.

Find thrift stores that focus more on furniture. Sometimes you’ll go into the store and there is no furniture, just clothes. That isn’t the store's focus, so move on. There are stores that have more furniture than others. Try calling first to save gas.

Can you DIY? If you are willing to sand and paint or stain, maybe the purchase is for you. People will donate items that are dinged and scratched up. If you want to add elbow grease, you may have well found your diamond in the rough.

Skip the Laminate Furniture. Usually, someone has discarded their cheap laminate furniture and there it sits. I wouldn’t buy it. You can’t usually refinish it and there really isn’t much value to it. If you want to stick it in a garage, solid. If you want to furnish a room with quality pieces, move on.

Bring a tape measure. If you find the perfect desk and it’s too big to get through the door, you’ll have wasted your money. That’s no good.

Bring your swatches. If you have paint or fabric swatches, bring them along in your design file. You wouldn’t want to have spotted a perfect candidate and not know if it will go with your stuff.

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