Thrift Store Scores: What we look for (and why)

By Kerry

We’re nearly half way through October, which means the weather here in central Florida is almost comfortable enough to spend prolonged periods of time outside. We were feeling intrepid this weekend, so Glenn and I decided to spend the day doing some hardcore garage sale and thrift store shopping. We have very particular goals when we’re thrifting, so I thought I would share exactly what we bought, and why on earth we decided to buy it.

Cassettes in carrying case and Vinyl records

Our first stop was a community garage sale…that ended up being a bit of a bust. Only 5 houses in the neighborhood were actually selling anything. And only one had anything we were after. Glenn and I are both music collectors hoarders, so we couldn’t pass up a ‘6 records for $5’ deal…seriously, Juice Newton! CONVOY! SHUT UP & TAKE OUR MONEY! The seller was a jovial, older gentleman who clearly wasn’t a big fan of spending his Saturday morning sitting in the garage selling stuff. He saw us looking at the cassettes and made us a deal we couldn’t refuse…he even threw in the case. We would have taken more CDs off his hands, but it was largely country music – which neither of us have much love for (Saint Dolly being the shining, blonde exception).

Metal tray, floral dish, gilded shelf, wooden picture frames

We went from the jovial gentleman in his garage – to an estate sale. Neither of us are huge fans of estate sales, as they are sober reminders of mortality (bummer!)…but, I do love items with history – so we quietly searched for some well-loved treasures. I am a sucker for a pretty dish, so I selected this sweet floral number and a pretty metal serving tray. I’m a sucker for most things ornate and gilded, so the shelf was a slam-dunk, and one can never have too many picture frames. (Actually, one can…but these were nice).

Vintage cosmetology and typing course text books

After a quick stop for some breakfast, we decided we should hop online to see who else was selling in the area. We found a promising listing and cranked up the GPS. From the road, it looked as though we’d hit the jackpot – vintage goodies galore! Glenn saw some old school stereo components and started poking around, while I dug through a box of books. I found two vintage textbooks, one for cosmetology (with great hairstyle and anatomy illustrations inside), and one for College Typewriting. They are both pretty dirty, but they were filled with handwritten notes – which is pure catnip to me. They had to come home with us. Unfortunately, Glenn’s investigation into the stereo components revealed that the Florida damp and heat had not been kind (Florida folks, do not store ANYTHING you ever want to use again in the garage…nothing good can come of it).

Framed vintage needlework, paperback books, blendo candy dish, vintage craft and cookbook, Turmoil in the Toybox

Determined for even more booty, we jumped back in the car and headed to a favorite thrift store haunt. Jackpot! First, the Blendo candy dish. I collect Blendo glassware, but rarely find it in the wild – when I do, it’s an insta-buy. Blendo glass was manufactured in West Virginia (where my Mom hails from) and I have my Gran’s gorgeous set of Blendo dishes. I adore how the colors are bright, yet look so soft at the same time…like sherbet. The framed needlework was also an automatic purchase it has handiwork AND history. I also found a couple of trashy paperbacks, a 1970s craft magazine, and an old Galloping Gourmet cookbook. Glenn is responsible for “Turmoil in the Toybox.” We simply couldn’t pass this train wreck up. It’s essentially “Seduction of the Innocent” for 1980s toys. Seriously, the author has chapters explaining how every toy from He-Man to Rainbow Brite corrupts the youth. You know there will be a future blog post dedicated to this puppy.

Not purchased: a truly unsettling painting of a small child reaching for a lamp. We joked about buying it to use as a Halloween decoration, but the more we looked at it…the less we even wanted to be in the same store with it. It was clearly just the result of an ‎amateur painter…but a child that looks like a teeny adult + harsh lighting + copious shadows = RUN AWAY!

Retro entertaining book, vintage children's fairytale books, cassettes

We actually hit up a couple of pawn shops next, since Glenn was still chasing the vintage stereo component dragon. Alas, no joy to be found. However, we did find a new thrift store. I found a vintage entertaining book (you know those are my jam), plus a couple of beautifully illustrated children’s storybooks. Glenn found more cassettes: hair bands (a non-guilty pleasure for both of us), Prince (Glenn’s all-time favorite), and Elastica (I graduated from high school in 1995, so Britpop was the soundtrack to my coming of age…how do you pass that up?) Add in a Go-Go’s CD and we’re ready to roll out. On to the next one!

trashy paperback haul historical romance gothic and suspense

The next one was also the last one, as we were starting to lose steam for sifting through dusty piles of junk. But, what a haul! Trashy paperbacks are the one thing I ALWAYS look for at any garage sale or thrift store. I was not disappointed. Historical romance and suspense! Tell me you don’t want to read “Dark Moon, Lost Lady.” Tell me! If you’re not telling me, I don’t believe you. Look at all those beautiful couples in romantic clinches! I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again (ad nauseam)…BRING BACK THE CLINCH COVER, PUBLISHERS! Who wants a book with a headless, naked dude torso on it? Not I.

Okay, before I go off on a tangent about romance cover illustrations, I’ll wrap this up. But, I truly wanna know – what do YOU look for when you’re thrifting (and why)?

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4 Comments on "Thrift Store Scores: What we look for (and why)"

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Oh my goodness, look at all those books! I love used books. Most of my shelves are stuffed with them. And wow, that toy book sounds especially hilarious. I’m anxiously awaiting your post on that treasure!


Whoa, I feel like I NEED that Turmoil in the Toybox book. I cannot wait for your post on it.