Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds

Photo by Alliance Images / Shutterstock.com

As the owner of a growing online resale business, I’m constantly surrounded by antiques, vintage clothes, mid-century furniture and curiosities too numerous to count. For me, organizing and decluttering isn’t a seasonal event, it’s a daily to-do.

If you’re drowning in a sea of stuff, head to your local thrift shop. With a bit of creative inspiration, you’ll find dozens of tools to organize your space and preserve your sanity.

Resolve to be clutter-free in 2021 with these secondhand finds.

1. Baskets

Cheap, lightweight, strong and made of natural materials — what’s not to love about baskets? They’re one of the things I always buy at thrift stores because they come in all shapes and sizes and add texture to a well-decorated room.

Priced between $1 and $5 in most thrift stores, baskets are a budgeter’s best friend. Use them to organize pet gear, bulk food in the pantry and that mountain of remotes and game controllers in the family room.

Pro Tip: Be careful when storing clothes in natural fiber baskets. The “snag factor” makes other types of baskets a safer choice.

2. Large bowls

Every home has a drop zone — that one spot where keys, mail and sunglasses get, well … dropped. If yours looks more like a disaster zone, organize it on the cheap.

Pick up a large stoneware, metal or wood bowl at your local thrift store and add it to your drop zone. But choose wisely. Bowls should be durable enough to handle carelessly tossed cellphones, keys and loose change.

If one isn’t enough, designate a bowl for each member of the family.

3. Vintage trays

Everything looks better on a tray. In the bedroom, use trays to organize makeup, colognes and perfumes. In the bath, waterproof cocktail trays are perfect for organizing and storing shaving supplies.

When shopping secondhand, look for vintage Florentine trays. These gilded wooden pieces are a hot collectible right now and work with almost any decor. Lucky bargain hunters can still find them for $2 to $10 apiece.

4. Old wooden drawers

When dressers and hutches can’t be saved, some thrift stores resell just the drawers. Solid wood drawers with tongue and groove construction will last a lifetime and are versatile organizers.

Use small drawers to tidy up your closets. They’re perfect for storing scarves, socks and belts. Add casters to large drawers to create unique under-bed organizers for shoes, purses and bulky sweaters.

5. Canning jars

Old canning jars are a staple in my picking business. I’ve bought rare ones at thrift stores and salvaged hundreds of others from crumbling old fruit cellars across the Midwest.

Simple and utilitarian, large jars are perfect for organizing craft and sewing supplies. Use small jars to store bathroom essentials like cotton swabs. In the workshop, they’re ideal for organizing screws, washers and nails.

6. Antique steamer trunks

Though they’re getting a bit harder to find, old steamer trunks used to be common in secondhand stores and estate sales.

Use a flat-top trunk as a coffee table or nightstand and store blankets and extra pillows inside. If you don’t like the look of overflowing bookshelves, organize those extra volumes in a dome-top trunk.

If you’re handy with a few basic tools, repairing and restoring a trunk is a simple weekend project. Pick one up for $25 to $75 and give it a new lease on life.

7. Flowerpots

You don’t need to have a green thumb to love flowerpots. Use them to organize kitchen utensils, make-up brushes or small gardening tools.

Outdoors, large concrete planters can double as firewood containers or a discreet place to store rolled-up garden hoses.

8. Muffin tins

Organize everything tiny with vintage muffin tins. In your home office, tins are perfect for wrangling paper clips, binder clips, push pins, rubber bands and keys.

If your jewelry box is overflowing — lucky you, by the way — use muffin tins to store earrings, pendants, rings and brooches.

9. Magazine racks

Online magazines have rendered magazine racks nearly obsolete. Turn vintage wire racks into clever bathroom organizers. They can hold everything from extra toilet paper to bath towels and bath mats.

Is your kitchen short on cupboard space? Use magazine racks to organize large cutting boards, baking sheets, rolling pins and serving trays. Easy storage. Quick access. What could be better?

10. Metal gym lockers

Over the years, I’ve bought several old gym lockers at my local Habitat for Humanity ReStore. They’re the perfect solution for organizing coats and boots in a mudroom or sports equipment in the garage.

One word of caution: Tall lockers can easily become top-heavy. If you have small children in the house, anchor lockers to drywall studs to prevent tipping.

For more ideas, check out “13 Smart Tricks to Organize Every Room in Your Home.”

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
If My Spouse Dies, Can I Get Her Social Security?

If a spouse dies, will the survivor collect the other’s share in addition to his or her own?

Eat This Food If You Want to Avoid Alzheimer’s Disease

One type of food associated with the Mediterranean diet offers especially large benefits.

The 2 Biggest Retirement Fears of Baby Boomers

Boomers have a lot of worries as they age, but two stand out.

7 Small Appliances You Don’t Need — and What to Use Instead

Here’s how to get the job done without blowing money — or losing counter space.

What’s the Difference Between FICO and VantageScore Credit Scores?

There are lots of credit scores out there, but if you’re keeping an eye on your credit, here’s the one to watch.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
8 Tips for Retiring Comfortably on Social Security Alone

It’s never too early to start learning how to live well while living on less.

Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?

Can an adult daughter tap into her late mother’s benefit?

27 Things You Should Never Pay For — and How to Get Them for Free

When you know the tricks, you can save big on all kinds of useful things that others pay for.

11 Generic Products You Should Buy at Costco

Not all generics are worthwhile, but these are among the best from Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand.

15 Free Streaming Services to Watch While Stuck at Home

These free movie streaming sites offer thousands of movies and TV shows, including recent releases and beloved classics. If you love free movies, online sites are where you need to look for the best list of features that are just one easy click away.

This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia

Nearly half of U.S. residents may face this threat.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

Can a Divorced Widow Claim Her First Husband’s Social Security Benefits?

The rules are complicated when it comes to eligibility for survivors benefits.

This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers

For the second straight year, a growing number of Americans believe they’ve fallen prey to this scam.

9 Mistakes Everyone Makes When Shopping on Amazon

Are you losing money due to any of these missteps?

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have

Few retirees have all of these documents that are crucial to their golden years — especially during a pandemic.

These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy

These vehicles boast reliability, safety and long-lasting value.

10 Things I Always Buy at Trader Joe’s

From snacks to sweets to side dishes, stock your cart with these time-tested favorites on your next TJ’s run.

15 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

The Worst Day of the Year to Buy a Used Car

If you need a new set of wheels, avoid shopping on this day.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

There are easy high-paying majors available in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required. We’re here to help you find easy degrees that pay well.

9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry

Keep more of future paychecks by eliminating these budget-busting unnecessary expenses.

7 Stores That Match — or Beat — Amazon Prices

These retailers offer some of the most consumer-friendly price-match policies anywhere.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.