How to decorate and organize your home with thrifted finds

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I’ve written before about how I like to organize and decorate. (I’ve also written about how cleaning can be a coping mechanism for me.)

I like things with character and things that are different way more than something you might find at your average box stores. There’s something that just doesn’t seem right to me about spending a lot of money on something that is brand new and kinda lifeless. Sure, there are times when a new item is necessary or super delightful, but for the most part, you can find items for organizing or decorating at secondhand and thrift shops if you’re willing to think outside of the box and let go of perfection or using magazine images as a standard.

Honestly, there so much in my house that I found at Goodwill. I either bought something because I needed it or because it brought me so much joy there was no way I was going to leave it behind.

Also, our house was built in 1890. Basically anything modern or contemporary looks out of place.

Here’s what I keep in mind when I’m shopping for home goods at Goodwill:

  • What are some of the trends that I have seen that I do like? Vintage trays or items from old farmhouses, for example. If I find an old milk jug, maybe I can use it for flowers. And I always love finding trays because they are so good for organizing pretty much anything. If you have a tray or a basket you can dump a bunch of stuff in them and call your space organized.
  • What do I need right now? Maybe I need some new curtains or fabrics or storage or I have a space on a shelf that could use some cool items to fill the space with joy. (I am not a minimalist.)
  • The other trick is to go into secondhand, thrift, or Goodwill stores with no expectations and just see what you find. I know I like things that can be used as containers like old pots or trays so if I find one that I really love I will usually grab it even if I have no plan for it. I would never do this at a box store because that seems excessive to me and it usually costs more than $3, but Goodwill’s mission and prices are good and I don’t feel regret when buying from them. Ever.

Below are some images and lists of things from around my house that I found at Goodwill:

A kitchen decorated with thrifted finds

Kitchen (shelves)

Herman and I put up these shelves together. This is a big wall with not a lot of stuff going on and the island is pretty close to it so there’s not much we could do with it but put shelves up.

  • A grey pot from Mason Cash.
  • A plate that says Maine hanging on the wall behind the grey pot.
  • Two scales both in working order.
  • A cast-iron pot from Lodge.
  • A vintage/outdated container that says “A woman’s place is in the kitchen”.
  • Most of the containers that are storing the oatmeal, chia, and granola are either recycled containers or from Goodwill.
  • Both (!!) of those Le Creuset pots are from Goodwill.

The frames on the bottom left are from Goodwill and were perfect for framing artwork from my kids. (Artwork from my kids is a common theme throughout our home.) I will admit that the vase holding the plant is from Target. Faces on home goods bring me a weird delight. What can I say? Most of the other items are things that I’ve had forever or have been found/upcycled from other places.

A thrifted compilation of things in a window

Kitchen (window above the sink)

I stare out this window quite a bit. I spend a lot of time in the kitchen because I like cooking and my family spends a lot of time convening in the kitchen. When I’m making food and my kids are sitting at the counter working on something or playing cribbage I always think, “I have what those house hunters on HGTV are always pining for when they talk about lots of space at the kitchen island.”) There’s not a ton on this window sill but everything on it makes me smile.

  • Those three weird cats? I found those at the Goodwill in Rockland and I did consider not buying them but then this little old man walked up to me and said, “If you put those cats down I will pick them up and buy them.” He basically sold me on buying them 100%. I have no idea where they are from but I would love to know. Maybe their origin story is not that grand but my origin story of buying them makes me smile.
  • The green onions are in a mug with a face on it. It’s homemade and there’s a signature on the bottom. I have two! See above for when I said I like home goods with faces.
  • In the back, there’s a statue that was likely in a church at one point. In front of that is a planter with the Virgin Mary. This is the second plant in that planter because the first one got too big. I’m not saying the planter is holy but I do not have a green thumb. I’m not very religious but I do love religious relics and no, I do not know why.
  • The other items are things that I have had around for a long time. And, again, I’ll admit that the garland is from Target. It was in the $3 bin and I think I have had it for three years. If I buy something like this, or the face vase from Target, I will get as much use out of it as I can and when I’m done? Off to Goodwill it goes for someone else to love.

To read the rest of this post, including how she approached her super-cute office, visit

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