is a stylist, interior designer, event and wedding producer…and thrifting wizard. She is one of the most talented ladies I know. Her eye for design is cray and she can throw together a dinner party for eight in like thirty minutes with ease.
I’ve actually known Dean since elementary school. That’s a fact and a friendship I am very proud of. We grew up a few blocks away from each other in Lexington, KY and were both drama majors at an arts magnet school for most of our youth. Needless to say, we both talk a lot and like to do things with flair *jazz hands*. Dean now lives in Chicago, so we only get to see each other a few times a year. When we do get to hang, in between eating, drinking and laughing our faces off, we thrift. Or rather, she thrifts and I just wander around marveling at her genius. So, I thought it would be nice to share some of her thrift magic with the world. Here are her top 5 tips!
1. GO OFTEN. I go to thrift stores pretty much every day; sometimes I’ll go to the same thrift several days in a row. There are 2 between my house and my studio, so I’ll usually pop in after work…Since thrift stores get donations daily, there are almost always new things on the floor. I’m often asked “What thrift stores do you go to?” And I answer honestly: I go to all of them! It seems like I find all the best stuff because I just go all the damn time. Believe me, I leave empty-handed more often than not.
2. GET LOST. Whenever I’m traveling or simply in a part of town I’m not familiar with, I use the Yelp app to search for thrift stores in the area. On a rare day off, I’ll pick a suburb that’s at least an hour away from the city and thrift my way home.
3. SMELL IT. I don’t shy away from rugs or upholstered items, but I always thoroughly inspect them. Check for stains, fading, holes, and yep- odors. If a couch or a rug previously lived in a home with a cat…Well, that’s probably why it was donated in the first place. No matter how cool or how cheap it is…It’s a lost cause.
4. TO DIY OR NOT TO DIY? I’m all about giving ugly or broken furniture new life, but you have to consider the time and money you’ll invest to fix something up. It’s fairly inexpensive to have a lamp rewired, reframe a piece of art, or spray paint a vase but remember that it’ll take a lot of time and elbow grease to strip and refinish a credenza and it costs a fair amount of money to have a sofa reupholstered.
5. KARMA IS REAL / LEARN TO LET GO. Okay, yes, I have 2 storage spaces full of things I’ve thrifted (for clients/projects), in addition to my home and studio, which are like, 75% thrifted. But as my style changes, I donate stuff that I phase out in hopes that someone will be as excited as I was to find it in a thrift store. Also, when I find something rad while thrifting, I consider whether or not I reeeeeeeally need it (either for myself or for a client). If I can’t justify buying it, I leave it for the next person who shares my love of weird stuff.
I’d like to add a 6th tip! Bring water and stop for snacks. When Dean was in town last week, we made the very smart decision to grab some ice cream at Scoops
while we were out scoring some nice finds
Ice cream by Whitney A.