Thrifting Secrets From a Viral Design Creator (2024)

Secondhand shopping can be a dicey and overwhelming experience, but sometimes thrift stores stores are the best options due to budget restrictions—figuring out how to ensure the risk is worth the reward is essential. HB's Creator Class alum Drew Michael Scott, the tastemaker behind Lone Fox Home, has built an audience of over 1 million by showcasing his DIY and thrifting chops on social media. He's currently renovating a 1920s Spanish Revival home in Los Angeles and just redecorated his dining room beautifully with exclusively secondhand decor.

While it seems like some people are simply blessed by the thrifting gods, always scoring the most beautiful items when they enter a flea market or Goodwill, Scott knows it takes a whole lot of work to find the secondhand pieces that call to you. Read on to learn Scott's veteran thrift advice on how to score amazing pieces on a budget.

Start Off Small

If you're new to the world of secondhand shopping and are unsure where to start, Scott suggests beginning with decor. "If you don't want to pursue larger items, try accent pieces," he says. "Artwork and small trinkets are a great way to layer that lived-in look into your home."

Thrifting the smaller items also allows you a larger chunk of your budget for the big-ticket items, like a really good mattress or an accent chair you love. "You can get little pieces that give you that character and that interest, and have money to invest elsewhere," Scott adds.

Have a Clear Aesthetic

While it's always fun to meander around your local thrift, if you're not in the right headspace, that lighthearted jaunt can quickly sour due to how overwhelming the experience can be. Thrift stores generally have piles of pieces to choose from, and taking the time to go through each pile, looking for something that calls out to you isn't everyone's favorite way to spend an afternoon.

Scott suggests going into the process with a clear aesthetic in mind. For example, he knew he wanted to center his dining room furniture around the coffee bar he put in, so he went into the decorating aspect knowing whatever he bought would need to look cohesive with the bar. "Look at the space you're decorating, and strategize what you want to have that is secondhand and then what you want to incorporate that's new," he says.

Thrifting Secrets From a Viral Design Creator (3)

That means setting parameters before shopping: "I might need an office chair, a desk, and a piece of art. Those are the three focal pieces in the space that I know a lot of people are going to see and are going to be the primary points in this room," Scott says. "So when I narrow down those focal pieces, I can determine if I want something to be vintage, secondhand, or new."

Be Open-Minded

Part of the thrill of thrifting is to follow your heart. "If an item sparks joy or if you feel like you can see yourself really utilizing that piece, whether it's a decor object or it has some sort of sentiment to it, I feel like that's a great way to intentionally pick out your pieces that you're adding to your home," Scott says.

You never know what you're walking into with secondhand shopping, so even purchasing items within your desired aesthetic that you might use later down the line should be considered a victory.

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Don't Be Afraid to Personalize and DIY

When it comes to those (scary) textile pieces—think armchairs, sofas, and headboards—Scott says he usually chooses to reupholster them rather than immediately pass. "I tend to not keep them in the state they came in if it's a plush item," he explains. Not only does this remove the fear of creepy crawlies from your thrifted furnishings, but it allows you to make the piece fit even better in your aesthetic and bring a modern touch on it. However, in the time between when he purchased the piece and when he can reupholster it, Scott suggests spraying the thrifted item with Lysol and cleaning it like you normally would.

"A lot of times, I'll find secondhand pieces that might not fit my room or the aesthetics I'm going for, but I feel that I could change them or add to them, maybe paint them and kind of mix them up and make them my own, which is another way that I really like to incorporate secondhand," Scott says. That said, factor in the cost or time (and skills) it takes to reupholster to make sure it still fits into your budget and be realistic if that isn't a commitment you want to make upfront.

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Explore Your Secondhand Shopping Options

Flea markets, estate sales, antique stores, and auctions are all wonderful options when it comes to sourcing secondhand. "Flea markets are where you can get the best bargains," Scott says. "And you can also find the most interesting pieces because each stall is almost like a little curated market." Scott prefers shopping for smaller decor pieces in person, like the dishes on the wall in his dining room, but uses online resources for the bigger furniture items.

"I don't really like shopping furniture in person because it's hard to find a place that has a good amount of the furniture style that I'm looking for at somewhat of a reasonable price point. I find that if I'm looking for a larger piece, looking online is better," he says. Facebook Marketplace and are two places Scott goes to for online secondhand shopping. "Most times, I opt for something vintage or secondhand just because I have the opportunity to get it same day or the next day, which is really nice about Facebook Marketplace."

Want more thrifting tips? Check out House Beautiful's editor-curated guide to secondhand, vintage, and antique shopping.

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Meghan Shouse

Assistant Editor

Meghan is the assistant editor at House Beautiful where she writes about interior design, pop culture, and furniture.

Thrifting Secrets From a Viral Design Creator (2024)


What is the trend of thrifting? ›

Thrifting has become increasingly popular. The sale of used clothes is expected to exceed $77 billion by 2025. That's more than double the amount from four years ago.

How popular has thrifting become? ›

It's also never been worse. Thrifting has surged in popularity, especially with members of Gen Z, who value individuality and sustainability. But traditional thrift stores are seeing a decline in quality items, retail experts said.

What's the meaning of thrifting? ›

Simply put, thrifting means to go shopping at a thrift store, garage sale, or flea market where you'll find gently used items at discounted prices. Thrifted items have been loved by a previous owner, but are usually in good shape with enough life left to be useful to a new owner.

How do I start thrifting? ›

Top 6 tips for successful thrifting
  1. Check the label to understand the item's worth.
  2. Find out the store's specialty beforehand.
  3. Know when the store restocks.
  4. Tackle the store section by section.
  5. Choose reliable brands.
  6. Learn how to discern quality.
Oct 31, 2023

Why is thrifting so expensive now? ›

“Firstly, the cost of operations — including rent, utilities and wages — has increased over time. Secondly, the quality and brand of donated items can also influence pricing. High-end brands or items in excellent condition may be priced higher.

Why is thrifting cool now? ›

There is another reason contributing to the young shoppers' infatuation with old clothing: people want to express their individuality through their outfits, but also in a sustainable way. Now, there is a new desire to transition to clothing pieces that are not harmful to the environment.

Why is Gen Z into thrifting? ›

Gen Z is making a conscious effort to reduce their environmental impact through sustainable fashion practices. By shopping secondhand, they're reducing the demand for new clothes and keeping old clothes out of landfills.

Why is Gen Z obsessed with vintage? ›

It's access. Growing up with access to search engines and social media made it really easy to not just hear about the past, but to experience it. Streaming platforms gave us access to millions of stories and videos and songs throughout history from an early age.

Why does Gen Z love vintage? ›

Gen Z's interest in the nostalgic aesthetic may not be as surface-level as it seems. They are a generation growing up in turbulent times, where instability is rife – jumping back into the past is an easy way to circumvent the stresses and anxiety associated with living in the present.

Does thrift mean cheap? ›

The word thrift originally referred to fortune and has come to mean the act of being economical; a thrifty person, or someone who practices thrift, is likely to be fortunate in the sense that he has savings. At a thrift store, you will find inexpensive clothing.

Is thrifting hygienic? ›

Most secondhand stores don't wash the clothes before selling them. Donations are typically washed before they're donated, but we still recommend giving them a good cleaning when you get home. Even if the clothes are washed before they hit the thrift store floor, people will have since touched them.

What is thrifting style called? ›

Thrift store chic refers to a style of dressing where clothes are cheap and/or used.

What is the best day to go thrifting? ›

While there's no “perfect” day to shop second hand stores, many regulars swear by shopping early on Monday and Tuesday. Homeowners tend to drop off garage sale leftovers on Sunday nights, making for new finds. Plus, the weekends are more crowded shopping days, so employees look to restock early in the week.

How do you flip a thrift shop? ›

How does thrift store flipping work?
  1. Research various thrift stores in your area. ...
  2. Look for typically high-value items. ...
  3. Search for items you find online. ...
  4. Purchase items. ...
  5. Take pictures of the items. ...
  6. List the items for sale. ...
  7. Ship the items. ...
  8. Track earnings.
Jun 24, 2022

When did the thrifting trend start? ›

The thrift movement:

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a thrift movement began to gain momentum. This movement emphasized saving money, being frugal and repurposing items, values that aligned with the economic challenges of the time, including the Great Depression.

Is thrifting becoming gentrified? ›

The main problems with the increase in thrifting today stem from corporate greed and gentrifiers reselling stock, or just ignoring neighborhood customs and not supporting local businesses.

What percentage of Gen Z thrifts? ›

Generational Thrifting Statistics

Younger generations are expected to account for nearly two-thirds of secondhand market growth in the next five years. 83% of Gen Z consumers have either purchased or are interested in secondhand apparel, 10.7% more than the average for all age groups.

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