The Thrill of Thrifting: Unearthing Hidden Treasures

Walking through the doors of a thrift store is like stepping into a treasure trove of possibilities. With shelves full of eclectic items, it’s a challenge to know where to start. To gain some insight into the world of thrifting, I enlisted the help of Corrine Counts, an expert thrifter and the mastermind behind the popular Instagram page Frederick Home Finds.

Counts, who spends her free time scouring estate sales and hunting through Goodwill stores, introduced me to the art of thrifting on a recent excursion to Alexandria, Va. Here’s what I discovered.

Our first stop was an estate sale in an apartment complex just outside of Washington, D.C. We arrived at 9:15 a.m., after lining up early to secure our spot. Counts emphasized the importance of arriving early, especially if there are coveted items up for grabs. However, if there’s nothing in particular catching her eye, she prefers to arrive a bit later to avoid the initial rush.

For Counts, preparation is key. She recommends joining social media groups and following estate sale coordinators to stay informed about upcoming sales. It’s also helpful to preview photos of the inventory beforehand to ensure that the effort is worthwhile.

Once inside, Counts immediately headed for the items she had spotted in the preview photos. Furniture is her first priority since it tends to sell quickly. To claim an item, Counts removes the price tag or brings her own “sold” stickers, a signal understood by fellow shoppers.

According to Counts, estate sales are ideal for finding curated collections of smaller pieces that align with your personal style. She suggests creating a gallery wall with a selection of similar paintings or assembling a cohesive set of glass decanters for a unique home decor statement.

Keeping an eye out for specific colors also helps to navigate the overwhelming quantity of items. Counts, a fan of all things pink, advises focusing on a particular color scheme to filter out distractions and make the search more efficient.

After thoroughly exploring the estate sale, we made our way to a Habitat for Humanity ReStore. Here, the inventory consists primarily of furniture, home decor, and building materials. As with estate sales, Counts stressed the importance of arriving early to have the best chance of finding something special.

In the ReStore, Counts prioritizes searching for furniture first. Despite the abundance of sofas, she remains selective, opting for statement pieces or neutral options that can blend seamlessly into any style.

Throughout our thrifting adventure, Counts shared her tips and tricks for finding hidden gems. From scouring preview photos to bringing your own “sold” stickers, these strategies help separate the junk from the genuinely great deals.

Thrifting is an exhilarating experience that offers the opportunity to uncover unique treasures while staying within a budget. With a bit of preparation and an eye for the extraordinary, anyone can become a skilled thrifter. So why not embark on your own thrifting journey and see what gems you can unearth?

FAQ Section

Q: What is thrifting?
A: Thrifting refers to the act of shopping at thrift stores, estate sales, or second-hand shops, in search of used and discounted items.

Q: How can I find the best items while thrifting?
A: To find the best items while thrifting, it is recommended to arrive early, especially for sales with sought-after items. Additionally, joining social media groups and following estate sale coordinators can provide information about upcoming sales. Previewing photos of inventory beforehand is also helpful.

Q: What should I prioritize while thrifting?
A: It is suggested to prioritize furniture, as it tends to sell quickly. It is also beneficial to keep an eye out for specific colors or to focus on a particular color scheme to make the search more efficient.

Q: Are estate sales a good place to find unique items?
A: Yes, estate sales are often considered ideal for finding curated collections of smaller pieces that align with personal style. They can offer unique home decor items and smaller treasures.

Q: What is the purpose of “sold” stickers in thrifting?
A: “Sold” stickers are used by shoppers to claim an item they wish to purchase. It helps to avoid confusion and ensures that others are aware that the item is no longer available.


1. Thrift store: A store that sells used or second-hand items at discounted prices.
2. Estate sale: A sale where the belongings of a deceased or downsizing person or family are sold, often taking place in the person’s home.
3. Curated: Carefully selected and organized.
4. Inventory: The stock of items or goods available for sale.
5. Habitat for Humanity ReStore: A nonprofit organization that sells new and used home improvement items, furniture, and appliances to support Habitat for Humanity’s mission of building affordable housing.

Related Links:
Habitat for Humanity