Thrifting Advice: Tips and Tricks

So, everyone knows by now that Cason and I LOVE thrifting... and discovering new places that offer awesome products at SUPER cheap prices.
I'm gonna venture to say that I think Cason has become more into it than I have.
It's the thrill of the hunt, and the amazing deals that keep you going back for more!
One of the MOST common questions I get asked is...

"I go thrifting and NEVER find anything!  How do you do it?  Where do you go?"

To be honest... I feel like this MOST of the time too!
I'm REALLY picky about what I actually will buy.
It has to be named brand, in almost PERFECT condition, or just SO cheap... that I feel GUILTY walking out the door with it. LOL.

Sometimes you hit the jackpot... and other times, you feel like driving from thrift store to thrift store was just a waste of gas!
Be patient... you WILL find something.  One of the cardinal rules with thrift stores, is checking back often!  The GOOD thrift finds will go fast!

I think that another big thing... is "seeing it".
What I mean by that is... if you can't imagine an ugly gold mirror, spray painted and hung up with all your other beautiful things... then you'll never buy it!
Most of the time you WILL have to re-purpose thrift store finds!  But look for quality, and the condition of items first.  THEN look at the details and potential of the product.
Can you paint it, add it to a display, just clean it up, take something away?
Those are the questions that I have to ask myself, when I'm eying something that I think has potential to come home with me. :)

Okay... enough of that.  Moving on.
Here's the BIG question of the day.
Who knows what the NPS store is?
anyone?  anyone?
Okay... well I didn't either!  Cason came home yesterday and said...
"Shelley!!  There was this lady who came into my work today, who had these damask pillows, and I knew you would love them, so I asked her where she got them, and she told me about his place called NPS!  It's like 5 minutes from our house!  Get the girls' shoes on and get in the car!  They close at 7!!!"
First of all... can I just say that there are not a lot of husbands who would actually encourage their wives (with no money) to shop... let ALONE know what the HECK damask even MEANS! LOL.
honestly. just love him.

So anyway... we headed over to the NPS store and I was SO excited!  There are seconds/scratch and dent/surplus of pretty much EVERYTHING you can think of!
There is a warehouse for hardware type products, and then one across the street for home goods and grocery.
This place is a MUST see, if you are in the Salt Lake area (by the airport)

The NPS Store
1600 South Empire Road
Salt Lake City, UT 84104
(801) 972-4133
Monday - Friday
10:00 AM to 7:00 PM
9:00 AM to 6:00 PM

This is what I scored.

Small light green Pottery Barn shade (in perfect condition)
Decorative number 5 (for a project I'm working on)
Martha Stewart butterfly punch (works great!)

Green Damask Sunset Bay Decorative Pillow

Green Toile and ticking pillow (that TOTALLY matches my bedding!!!)

can you believe it!  It's the exact match of the green ticking pillows I have already! eeek!

These were actually found at Joann's Fabric and Craft.
They have all their wood trim on clearance for a little over a $1.50 each!
I'm working on a project that these are PERFECT for!
I cleared them out of THIS kind of trim, at my store, but they had LOTS left in all different kinds of cool styles!

whoops, how'd this get in here? :)

I decided to get to work and put one of my thrift finds to use, right away!
I had this lamp that I bought about 2 years ago that sits on our dresser in the Master bedroom.
I bought it because I LOVED the base, but not the shade so much.

So I took some Heirloom White spray paint to it, rubbed it a bit with some sandpaper, to reveal some of the dark underneath... replaced the shade with the Pottery Barn one... and
Brand new lamp!

See!  So easy!  Anyone can do that! :)

I think that sometimes it helps to have a list of things you are looking for, when going thrifting.
That way you can REALLY keep your eye out, and not get sidetracked by all the "treasures" to sift through.
Make sure that most of the stuff you buy, when thrifting, can serve a purpose, or be a project that you will start sooner than later... so it doesn't just wind up sitting in your garage for 8 months, taking up space, because it was "so cheap."
(what?  Why are you looking at me like that?  I don't do that!... ever!) lol

Happy Thrifting, Ladies! :)


  1. It is killing me not being able to get to the Good Will or garage saling! I love how your husband said quick get in the car! You really found some wonderful things and awesome job on the lamp!

  2. What GREAT finds!! Do you have the address or even directions to this WONDERFUL place??? I will be heading North on I - 15!!! :) Thanks!

  3. My mom used to shop at NPS all the time when I was a kid! I haven't been there for a few years but it may be time to revisit.
    Love those pillows!

  4. Ooh. I love your pillow-scape on your bed. It looks so cozy and comfy! I think it would be worth the drive to Utah for that NPS store - but only if you let me spend the night and snuggle in all those beautiful pillows!! :)

  5. The new lamp looks great! Heirloom White is my favorite color spray paint by far. I am really picky about what I buy anywhere (new or used). The GW by me is soooooo expensive I tell you. I laughed when I saw a frame from Wal-Mart with a $3 price tag that GW was charging $3.99! Prices that high make it really easy to be picky :-)


  6. Wow, amazing finds and great prices! I giggled a little when I read about your husband mentioning the damask pillows..you nailed it right on the head in the next paragraph...my hubby wouldn't know damask if I wrapped him in it.

  7. Oh how I wish I lived near there! I'm pretty sure it's too long of a drive for a day trip- I'm in good old Washington State, in the Great Northwest.. it would take a while. Yes, you do have to have vision a lot when perusing the thrift stores- paint goes a long way to change something up :) Way to go on all the great scores, those pillows and the fabric are beautiful!

  8. Wow ya! Great deals. I'm going to check it out!

  9. You amaze me Shelley...Bud and I have a $50 gift certificate to Kirkland's Home and we've gone in their 4 times and walked away with nothing. I just don't know what I'm going to do yet to my house so it's so hard to buy anything! Keep up the good work!

  10. Oooooh my gosh!!! I need those green pillows!!!! They would look perfect in our bedroom!!!!
    What great finds! My DH is really getting into thrifting too! It's one of our favorite things to do on the weekend!

  11. We just bought a game for my DH there. It was half of the retail price. Score! I admit that I don't go very often, but I LOVE what you scored.

    Were there any more pillows and the number 5? I am really digging that number 5. And could we have some specifics (like exactly what area) on where you found the number 5 and the pillows. Please! You know in case some of want to run down there and get some!

  12. I don't know if you all come back and read comments here... but if you DO... I wanted to answer Janae's questions.
    I DID see one more red damask pillow, like mine... in the house ware section of NPS. (the grocery store one)
    And I found the 5 in the hardware, warehouse building... it was with a bunch of other mailbox and house numbers.
    There was one more 5 left and then a bunch of other styles of numbers.
    BUT... things go fast... so I can't guarantee that anything will still be there!
    There WERE these awesome small cylinder drum lamp shades that I REALLY wanted... but didn't grab.. UGH dumb me! They were only like $3.00 each, and 70% off of that!
    What was I thinking! lol.
    (those were in the hardware supply building)

  13. I have been shopping at NPS for about 15 years and have gotten loads of good stuff over the years. It's not as good as it use to be but they still do have good bargains.

  14. So cute how Cason was into it..I love it :) I know you've posted it a million times before (okay, maybe not that many, but pretty close :) but where do you get your quilts??

  15. Ok- I'm DYING!!!!! Thank you SO MUCH for sharing about this place. Got my kids a sitter for tomorrow afternoon and I'm there!!! I can't wait! I love finding out about new places like this. I still need to check out George's too. I first heard about his place on your blog as well. Thank you for always sharing the goods!

  16. TOUCHDOWN!!!! Those finds are fab!!! I absolutely love the pillows and how they just matched up perfectly with your bedding:) Now what are you doing with that trim girlie????

  17. You definitely have a keeper with that sweet husband of yours. :) I saw a project around somewhere for a wreath made from yellow butterflies made with the MS punch you bought. If I see it again, I'll let you know!

  18. I LOVE all your tips and tricks...thanks for sharing...I am for sure going to check that place out!

  19. I just swoon over everything you do! Can you just come over to my house and redecorate every room for me? Thanks! Camille

  20. i have a huge blog crush on you right now. :)
    heading that way next week. can't wait to check out some of the places you've shared on your blog lately!!


  21. I have been wanting to go check this place out...Now I really have to make it happen!! You found some FUN stuff!! Thanks for sharing. Going to have to take a trip to NPS!

  22. i am loving the way your husband wanted to get into the car... my husband, well lets just say going anywhere to buy something heck no! he even says "if you spend $50 at the $store is still $50. i love the great finds you found! too bad the NPS store is only in salt lake city! ;(

  23. Every time my sister comes to Salt Lake from Colorado she has to go to Market Square (the other name for NPS where the food and other items are) and stock up on cheap food to take home. If you ever have any home improvement projects where you need new faucets or lighting or even tools, we always check out NPS first. Such a wonderful place. They get all their stuff from the store rejects or boxes that fall off of trucks where some get damaged but not everything.

  24. Great finds! That place does sound amazing! My husband and I LOVE thrift shopping too. He may also like it a little more. lol We just recently found an awesome store that we have scored some awesome finds the past two weekends. :)

  25. I heard about this place a couple weeks ago, but still haven't made it there. I'll have to check it out sometime. Thanks for the heads up. You did have some great finds though.

  26. Awesome finds!!! You gotta love a store like that! (and it's only 5 minutes from your house to boot!!!!!)

  27. I absolutely LOVE going to nps. It's a little adventure everytime you go and you never know what you're going to get. Your lamp, pillows, girls, family, house, everything. cute. I love it. :)

  28. My husband loves, loves, LOVES the NPS store. He stops by several times a week on his way home from work and we have gotten some amazing deals! If you go on Sat they have specials every hour where you can get great stuff at 30% off or more at already great prices. I got a new office chair for $20 bucks that was a Staples chair! Love your blog!

  29. Sometimes my hubby is that way! LOL, when hes in the mood.
    I made cute butterfly artwork with that punch, here is the link.

    You found some fantastic things!
    Have a great weekend!

  30. I LOVE NPS!! Last time I went I got crest white strips for 2.99. They have fab organic snakcs and lotions, tooth paste, shampoo ect!! NPS...I love you!! What is George's?


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