Breathing New Life Into Thrift Store Items

Walking into a thrift store can sometimes feel a bit overwhelming. There are so many amazing items on the shelf, but it can be a challenge to look at all of those items and see the potential in these used treasures. Luckily, for those of us that are more thrift store challenged, there are so many great blogs filled with fabulous inspiration for transforming those common thrift store pieces into true masterpieces.
Truly, my best craft materials come from Goodwill and the best part is the money you will save by acquiring those materials at the thrift store rather than paying the full retail prices.

Today I wanted to show three fun new ways to breathe a new life into Goodwill pieces that you may not have thought of. Let’s see if you don’t rush off to the store this minute after this craft inspiration!

Furniture Furniture deals abound at Goodwill and I love to look for pieces that can add a little bit of sparkle to our house. My most prized furniture possessions include an ’80’s desk that we transformed into a hutch for our dishes and a cute bench that was recovered in faux leather for our bathroom. I have more love for those pieces than anything else in my house because they were made by me. It also feels good to know that they are pieces that others overlooked, but I saw the potential in!
Centsational Girl is one of my favorite resources for transforming rooms on a budget and I absolutely love this easy dresser makeover. She purchased the details that were added to the dresser and then finished it with a fun painting technique. This would be the perfect addition to any room and I love that a simple piece can be so lovingly embellished. Think of how paint and a few appliques could transform a piece of Goodwill furniture into something that people would be envious of for their own homes. Any piece with good bones can be created into a masterpiece with a can of paint, elbow grease, and a whole lot of imagination. (Photo Credit: Centsational Girl)

Other fun furniture ideas: Use an old drawer for a serving tray for a family night (@ Farm Chicks)
Makeover chairs in a fun way with a little chalkboard paint (@ Pretty Ditty)
Think outside the box with a fun kitchen stool makeover (@ A Soft Place to Land)
Transform a worn out coffee table into a large ottoman (@ Little Green Notebook)
Create a beautiful kitchen table set from Goodwill furniture (@ Pink and Polka Dot)
A nightstand to a play kitchen is both inventive and inexpensive (@ My Little Gems)
Clothing Refashioned– If there was ever a year to try your hand at adding detail to Goodwill pieces this is the year to do it! This year’s style is all about delicious feminine additions- ruffles, appliques, and rosettes are all beautiful and easy details that you can add to Goodwill pieces to give you that elegant Anthropologie look on a Goodwill budget.
Bloggers everywhere are adding fun details to simple cardigans and this ruffled cardigan from say YES! to Hoboken is one of my favorites. Look for plain cardigans or even shirts that can be cut in half to make a cardigan, and use these pieces to add a little bit of ruffles and fun to your wardrobe. (Photo Credit: say YES! to Hoboken)

Other fun wardrobe refashions:
Transform a shirt into a cute DIY Cardigan with a Twist (@ Happy Together)
Turn a t-shirt into a fun summer tote for the kids (@ giver’s log)
Make an Anthropologie-inspired scarf out of fabric found at Goodwill (@ Sewing in No Man’s Land)
Add a flower collar from clothing or fabric found at Goodwill (@ katie did)
Turn men’s shirt sleeves into quick & easy toddler pants (@ luvinthemommyhood)
Create an unbelievably beautiful DIY J Crew ruffled cardigan (@ Mighty Girl)
Add doilies to a stained cardigan and add a little vintage flair (@ one pearl button)
Whip up an easy ruffled t-shirt (@ Tea Rose Home) Make a summer sweater from a t-shirt (@ Angry Chicken) Housewares With Style– The housewares section at Goodwill is a crafting mecca of ideas and there are tons of great tools for gift giving and creating beautiful crafts for your home. I love to visit this section for pretty baskets, platters for giving treats to friends, organizing tools for my craft storage, and even used craft supplies that someone has lovingly passed down.
One thing I keep an arsenal of is white mugs from Goodwill for a fun craft project with the kids. I let my children use a ceramic paint sets (purchased at the craft store) to decorate them for cute gifts for teachers and grandparents. Of course, I absolutely love anything with a monogram on it and these monogrammed mugs from Design Mom are absolutely beautiful and would make a very cute & creative gift. (Photo Credit: Design Mom)

Other Housewares Recreated:
Create a fun mud pie kitchen for the kids out of vintage housewares (@ Pepper Paints)
Create cute labels out of chalkboard paint to label mason jars (@ Wisdom of the Moon)
Paint mason jars to elegantly decorate your patio (@ tatertots and jello)
Add fabric yo-yos to adorn a wicker basket (@ Tea Rose Home)
Recycled pickle jars get a whole new life with glass candlestick holders (@ eighteen25)
Pull together a tiered cake stand from odds and ends in the housewares section (@ giver’s log).

What have you transformed from Goodwill that you are proud of? Any tips or tricks for things to look for when doing your thrift store shopping? I would love to hear your ideas!

Amy Allen Clark is the Founder of, a web community where she shares advice on parenting, money-saving ideas, recipes, and solutions for work-at-home moms. Visit her site for more ideas on ways to live on a frugal budget!

3 thoughts on “Breathing New Life Into Thrift Store Items

  1. I recently went to various Elkhart Goodwills and found a lime green bathrobe, brown and green fleece blankets, an avocado colored body pillow, a green girl's sweatshirt, a brown chenille bath rug, and a dog stuffed animal. With my machine and thread and some buttons and velcro, I created a puppy and a turtle "pillow pets" for my boys' birthdays. They're twice the size of purchased ones and 1/4 the price.

  2. Thanks for linking to our Mud Pie kitchen! I must say I absolutely love thrifting and vacationing. And one of my favorite vacations is when we visited Michiana Shores!!! It is absolutely beautiful. I grew up in Cleveland and thought all lakes were like Lake Erie–boy was I wrong! Thanks again.

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