Finds on Friday—why I thrift, slow decorating and a giveaway sneak peek!

This week I’ve got lots of new finds to share with you and I really mean share.

Today I’ll not only be showing you the wonderful treasures I found for keeps, but also a sneak peak of some lovely vintage pieces that I’ve thrifted to GIVE AWAY.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be scouring secondhand shops to curate collections of items for two distinct and beautiful vignettes that you’ll have a chance to win. Each ‘vignette’ will be a curated collection of five or six small pieces, styled together into one decorative statement. You’ll get to vote on which vignette you like best and simultaneously enter to win all the items in it.

I’ve found a few really special pieces already—here’s a little sneak peek!

Now that you’ve seen some of the goods, let’s talk about why I’m putting together this fun, thrifty giveaway.

Mostly, my goal is to show you exactly the kind of style you can accomplish by shopping secondhand. I don’t live in a place with exceptionally great thrift stores and I promise I don’t have better luck than you—anyone can create exceptional spaces with a little patience, perseverance and experimentation.

Finding your ideal home style is a learning process and your home will evolve throughout it. While I’m not any luckier than you I probably do spend more time thrifting and I understand not everyone is able to hunt as regularly. All this means is that the process will take you a bit longer and that’s ok—slow decorating is a good thing.

Thrifted vase ($4.00, found at Buy the Season in Salem, VA) paired with vintage millinery stems and handmade felt flowers

So often I find that the items in my home that hold the most value to me are the ones that took the longest to find. They’re usually items that have a story attached to them—the story of where I found them, the story of the restoration process, the story of how the item was handed down to me.

A pretty basket corrals napkins on the vintage baker’s rack in my kitchen (basket purchased for $3.00 at the MCEAP thrift store in Christiansburg, VA)

This is slow decorating at its core. Home style shouldn’t be about ‘filling a space’ or matching a Pinterest picture. It’s not about quick fixes, trends or seasonal decor rotation (ok, I am guilty of a *little* bit of that). It’s not about hurrying to finish the next space in your home. In fact, your home and the rooms within it should never really be finished.

So many young adults, women especially, feel this pressure to have picture perfect lives and the picture perfect home to coordinate—and we always seem to be in a rush to accomplish it. Instead of taking the time to explore what really makes us happy in our home style, we pick a pretty picture out of a magazine and try to emulate it.

Brass bird figurine found at the MCEAP thrift store in Christiansburg, VA for $5.99

The problem with copying a photo of someone else’s idea of home is that it’s not going to feel like you. Finding the home style that will make you happy isn’t a process that happens overnight.

This is where secondhand shopping comes into the equation. Trust me—I understand that shopping at thrift stores isn’t for everyone. Luckily, thrift stores aren’t the only way to shop secondhand or embrace slow decorating.

Floral needlepoint thrifted for $0.99 from a Goodwill in Lynchburg, VA

Why does shopping secondhand make a difference, though? Aside from the obvious benefits—saving money, environmental stewardship, supporting charity organizations—thrifting has the added benefit of exposing you to the largest possible variety of home decor styles. We’re talking about decades (and sometimes centuries) of styles all piled onto the same shelves at your local Goodwill (or antique store).

Online marketplaces like Etsy are great when you know what you’re looking for. But when you’re starting out I think it’s really important to see items in person—to feel them and look at them up close. To play with them, arrange them with other items and to imagine them in your space.

Another green rolling pin to add to my collection—found for $9.99 at Buy the Season in Salem, VA

What better environment could exist to explore and discover the items that really catch your eye? To see what pieces make you do a little happy dance inside when you spot them?

Over time, your choices will evolve. You’ll decide that mid-century lines are really cool but you’re looking for something less modern and more cozy. Or you’ll realize that while you find vintage linens to be really pretty, they have no practical use in your home and the clutter makes you anxious. Both of these examples are actual realizations I had after years of curating my home style.

A favorite treasure I found long ago for $7.00 at a roadside antique barn in Upstate NY

If I hadn’t experimented, what would I have learned? And where would my home style be now?

In 2020, I am really happy with my home and most of the things in it. I wouldn’t say my style is perfect and I’ll never say it’s done evolving. I have things I am ready to let go of and at the same time I’ve been starting new collections left and right. Mostly I am just ready for a space big enough for me to actually unpack all the things I love. Overall, my home feels like me and I can honestly say it’s not something I copied from a magazine spread. It’s also something that evolved over time, which brings us back to slow decorating.

The cutest brass ducks that joined my zoo of vintage figurines ($2.00 each from Treasure Trove Thrift in Christiansburg, VA)

When I say slow decorating, I mean slow. This isn’t the first time I am writing about the fact that sometimes it takes me years to find the right piece. Sometimes it takes so long that I end up not needing the piece anymore (because we move to a new house, the space is different, it doesn’t fit, etc) and my list completely changes. Chalk it up to military life.

Remember when I talked about my thrift list last month? Well, I’ve crossed exactly one item off that list. It was a lampshade that I found earlier this week (makeover post coming soon). That’s it—all of the other items from my list are still on it and I’m just waiting for them to find me.

My $1.00 bedazzled lampshade purchased from the MCEAP Home Store in Christiansburg, VA

This is why I love secondhand shopping—to find pieces and become a part of their story. Sometimes a piece is with me for a few months, sometimes a few years, and every once in a while it’s destined to be with me for a lifetime. However long I keep a piece, I learn something from it—either that it is the epitome of my style and makes me outrageously happy or that it served me well but doesn’t quite fit anymore. Then I get to pass it on to someone else and hope it will become a part of their story.

That’s why I thrift.

Giveaway info

I am beyond excited to be hosting my first giveaway here on the blog this fall. It’s so fitting that I’ll be giving away a few vignettes of items that I’ve thrifted especially for you—my readers!

I’ll be making a full post soon detailing the giveaway dates, how to enter and what items are included. Be sure to follow me on the blog or on Instagram so you don’t miss the announcement!

Winners will be drawn at random and the items will be shipped to you free of charge (within the continental U.S. only). Entries will be accepted through Instagram, email and Facebook. Full rules to follow.