Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Thrifting Kit

At some point, every thrifter assembles a “thrifting kit”. This is your go to kit whether you’re going to spend the entire day thrifting or if you plan on just hitting one shop on the way home from the library. Here’s what’s in my bag!

Notepads and pens - My thrifting notebook contains many things: 1) The addresses of thrift shops that I only rarely visit 2) A list of items I’m looking for and 3) measurements for specific items. It’s true that I could use my phone to look up shop addresses, but it’s so easy to dial an address into my phone’s GPS if it’s right in front of me. I’m always looking for specific and oftentimes random items. For instance, I need a bunch of ping pong balls sometime before October, so they’re in the book. My measurements list includes things like the dimensions of a space I’m looking to fill with a great chair or painting or the dimensions of a specific window in my house. I pick up these little memo books from estate sales and have a nice stack of them. The middle notebook shown is actually from "DuPont Explosives" which also makes me feel a little dangerous.


The tape measures lets me quickly decide if 1) something will fit in my car and or 2) if something fits the requirements of my measurements list. I carry two - a soft fabric tape measure, which as you can see has gotten a lot of use. The second is a small retractable tape measure that's easier to use when measuring furniture and hard surfaced items. I picked up my Fancy Free tape measure at an estate sale for a dime.


Random Items Not Pictured:

I carry wet wipes and hand sanitizer at all times. How many times have you spotted a terrific item only to discover upon closer inspection that it’s filthy! You’re wondering if all that dirt will come off to reveal a glorious vintage treasure beneath or if you’ll end up with a vintage, yet dingy prize. I can’t count the times! Now I carry around a batch of wet wipes. I have no problems giving an item a wipe rub down in the store to see if it is stained or salvageable. This probably goes without saying, but anyone who has spent an hour rummaging around a dirty shed at an estate knows what the hand sanitizer is for. I love digging around in the dirt, but that doesn’t mean I want to go home covered in it!

A cell phone is pretty essential for my thrifting these days. Not only does my GPS get me to all the sales and the stores; I’m able to do a lot of on-the-go research. I use apps for Craigslist, garage finding and catching up on blogs while I’m waiting in lines.

Lastly, I always keep a sturdy plastic bin filled with newspapers and a couple shopping bags in the back of my car. I've been to estate sales where I walk away with 50 pieces of china and they have no wrapping. This way I'm always prepared to safely transport my treasures home.

That’s my kit for now! I hope to be adding a jeweler’s loupe very soon. I see a lot of men using these at estate sales and hitting pay dirt!

What's in your Thrifter's Kit? If you've got an item you consider essential, please share!


  1. Hi Flo

    Thanks for the info about Sal Volatile...maybe you should include some of this in your Thrifter's Kit!

    An older friend of mine who was a nurse in the 50's and 60's has told me that every Mum and Grandma carried it in their handbag back then...just in case! x

  2. Plastic bin with newspapers in the trunk?!? Gosh, you're a genious! SO doing that!

  3. What a great post! Ok, I have the measuring tape in my purse at all times as well as a jewelers loop. My trunk has a few old towels for wrapping or cushioning. I also carry numerous of those recycled shopping bags too. I always take one in with two others folded in each back pocket. i have learned the hard way about setting my items aside in a "hold spot" and having them disappear. Grr!


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