What projects do you do with thrift store finds?
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    Administrator Cricket's Avatar
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    Default What projects do you do with thrift store finds?

    What projects do you do with thrift store finds?-glassware.jpg

    When you think of the thrift store, you probably picture racks upon racks of used clothing. While this is certainly an accurate image, there are many other treasures to be found at thrift stores including glassware. Keep reading to learn about some clever crafts to dress up thrift store glasses. Dress Up Thrift Store Glasses with These Clever Ideas
    What projects do you do with thrift store finds?
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    Super Moderator Spirit Deer's Avatar
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    Oh, man, where do I even start?

    I modified this pot, bought at a rummage sale for $5, when I first started learning how to cook with a Dutch oven using charcoal. I picked up the legs for the pot at a thrift store, as well as a second lid, which I cut the center out of to make a ring to hold the charcoal on top the original lid of the pot. I did similar things with other pots.


    This fifty cent thrift store tin turned into a storage case with anti-tarnish cloth for my mom's squash blossom necklace and earrings.



    These $4 shoes from SA are now a pair of ring holders on my dresser. The purple fabric used to be a satin gown bought at another thrift store.


    I got this bookcase for $15 at GW, but unfortunately we could not bring it home the same day and had to make a 140-mile round trip to pick it up later. Total cost with gas was about $35, still a bargain considering this particular piece of furniture was the key to organizing my entire sewing room, which desperately needed organizing. I made some minor modifications so it would fit my needs and did some minor repairs, and it turned out perfect for my needs.


    I pick up wedding gowns and other gowns very cheap at thrift stores and remake them into wraps and gowns for angel babies. I paid $5 for this amazing gown at a thrift store in Rapid City, SD. I've never paid more than $8 for any gown but have two or three long flat totes full of gowns waiting to be made up.




    This $35 vintage entertainment center came from SA. It now makes the perfect TV stand for our flat screen on the top, with all of our video games and assorted boxes the TV needs and all the spare remotes, cables, owners manuals, etc. finally all collected and organized in one place.


    This former shaving kit bag is now our first aid kit in the truck. The spool of Aida cloth cross stitch ribbon I used to embroider on it also came from a thrift store.


    This little insulated cooler was bought at GW and repurposed as a Dutch oven carry case to store three of our DOs in the camper.



    When we bought our new camper six years ago, there was nowhere to go with cooking utensils. By sheer luck I found this knife block/utensil caddy at GW for $4. It couldn't have worked out more perfectly! It's actually better than a drawer because we can just grab what we need without having to get into a cabinet. I later added the handle from a wire basket also bought at GW. It's not pretty but it's sturdy and makes it easy to move the caddy to the galley counter or out to the picnic table. The caddy is very heavy so travels well without tipping.


    This armchair caddy was supposed to drape over the arm of a recliner to hold TV remotes and such items. I got it at GW for $1, cut it in half and sewed it back together so the pockets are now all upright, and turned it into storage next to my bed in the camper. It holds my glasses, toothbrush and toothpaste, e book reader, notepaper, clock (during travel), and other small items. It's like a bedside table I don't have to take time to clear off when it's time to pack up the camper. Everything stays safe in the pockets. I bought a wider, shorter truck caddy NIB for $2 along the same lines recently that I will install across the foot of the camper bed to use for a variety to items. I'm sure it'll be just as handy.


    I made this hanging storage for a former camper by modifying a long narrow hanging shoe caddy from GW. I loved it because it never had to be taken down and was ready for use as soon as the roof was cranked up on the camper.


    I made two of these from what I think are baby nursery organizers. I paid $1 each for them. I handsewed fronts on the shelves so they became pockets and added hanging straps that attached to corresponding buckles in a former camper. I could hang them up in the kitchen at home, load up food in them, and the whole works could be carried to the tow vehicle and loaded up. When we got to camp and had the camper set up, we could just transfer the wall pockets to their spot to hang in the camper, no unpacking needed. We sold one with the camper. Husby is still using the other one in his office closet for assorted office supplies.


    I wanted a table to use for Dutch oven cooking, since the ground seems to get farther away the older I get. But I didn't want a large, heavy, expensive, commercially manufactured DO table. I bought this broiler pan at a thrift store for 69 cents and paired it with a $3 folding camp stool to make a table that folds down small and weighs next to nothing but which allows me to stack 100 pounds of food and iron on it if I ever feel like it. (Usually three or four DOs at a time are enough. )


    To be continued...

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    Super Moderator Spirit Deer's Avatar
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    Apparently FV didn't like me trying to post so many pics, so here are the rest.

    This former shaving kit bag from GW is now our 'office' in the camper. It holds pens, pencils, small camping tools like our Truma LevelCheck, and our all-important field guide books to birds and wildlife.


    This $2 clutch purse from GW nicely holds all the owner's manuals for all the stuff that came with the camper.


    This $1 bin from a thrift store in Chippewa Falls, WI, got a custom cut to perfectly fit into wasted space in the camper 'bathroom.' It holds cleaning supplies and essentials like water treatment chemicals.


    The camper also did not come with a drawer for flatware and other kitchen stuff, so I got this fifty cent plastic storage container at GW and cut down some thrift store drawer dividers to customize a silverware drawer that fits perfectly between the sink bowl and the cabinet drawer.


    The legs on my #5 DOs are too short to fit over the handles of the bigger DOs, preventing them from being stacked during cooking. I picked up this pillar candle holder to create longer legs. The baby DO sits securely in its booster seat so now it can be stacked. The candle holder fits inside the baby DO for storage.


    I have a million more. I love a good repurpose! It's a good thing you didn't ask about garage sale finds and stuff I've salvaged to reuse and/or repurpose, because then I'd be here all week!

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    You just convinced me I need to check out more thrift stores AND rummage sales.
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    Registered User MaggieTrudeau's Avatar
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    Dang! SD: You are my re-purpose hero!!! I do minor things like I used thrift store loaf pans to make shelving in my shed (just jammed them on the random screws sticking through the exterior walls). I use thrift tins for most storage (clothes, food) because they are mouse proof/bug proof storage and that becomes essential when living offgrid without electric or plumbing. I use thrift trays and bakeware to protect the wall behind the woodstove. Cheap and cute and not flammable. Those things are pretty simple.

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    Super Moderator Spirit Deer's Avatar
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    LOL! I've been talking to some guy friends of mine on another forum and they can't believe the deals we get. I wonder if it has anything to do with them living in big cities. (Cinci and KC.) Overhead has to be lower in small towns. I admit it's partly luck, but we also are picky about what we buy. If it's not in great shape and priced low, most likely we'll pass. The end result is, when I list it somewhere like here, it might seem like every time we shop secondhand we get something great, which isn't the case. It's like fishing, sometimes you catch your limit and sometimes you get skunked.

    Here's another little gem I picked up fairly recently. I love antique sewing machines and couldn't resist this tin even though I didn't know what I wanted it for. I'm trying to cut down on that sort of buying because it leads to clutter, but I knew I'd come up with a use for that because I loved it so much. It was marked $2 at SA but when I took it to the till, the clerk pointed out that it had some dings in it and said it shouldn't have been put out. Did I still want it? Oh, yes, I did! So she insisted I take it for half price. Happy me! Since then I set it up to use for carrying thread and other small items to quilting gatherings. I haven't done that yet but have an interest in it, so I'm slowly setting myself up to be ready. I think the tin must have originally been a purse, although it seems like a weird use to me.




    Oh, yeah, that's another thing I've recently repurposed, a rolling suitcase. I had been obsessed with sewing machine trolleys till I actually saw one and realized how flimsy and cheaply made they are for the small fortune companies charge for them, around $80. And I can't figure out what kind of machine they expect people to put in them, because even the small machine I bought just special to take to quilting wouldn't have fit, let alone my bigger machines. I knew I could do better, so I started looking for a suitcase the right size and shape to hold a sewing machine. I found a like-new American Tourister for $13 at a GW. It's more than I wanted to pay but I had looked around enough to know it wasn't that easy to get the right thing so I forked over my money and haven't been a bit sorry. I also have a wheeled laptop case I got for $10 that will fit my embroidery machine in case I want to pack that away or take it somewhere. At any rate, IMO it's good to develop a knack for thinking outside the box.

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    Super Moderator Spirit Deer's Avatar
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    Maggie, those are great ideas! I like the loaf pan idea for shelves, especially. That's what repurposing is all about in my mind, seeing things as they could be, not necessarily as they are.

    I love tins and have to check myself not to buy too many and not to buy, usually, unless I have a current need.

    That sentence with the flatware tray in the camper, pictured above, should have said the tray fits between the sink bowl and the cabinet DOOR, not drawer. There weren't any drawers in the camper till I built some.

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    Just got 2 more tablecloths DD is making dish clothes and towels for me w/.

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    I love the ingenuity that is involved with small-space living. Seeing what SpiritDeer has done with random used items is impressive and very creative. Thanks for posting all of those, along with the details on what you did.

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    Registered User MaggieTrudeau's Avatar
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    I'm thinking maybe changing the "thrift" part of my "master list" to the need rather than the item. Like right now I need a better way to clean my solar panels. I wrote "mop/broom" but maybe there is something better.

    Other repurposes: I buy all cotton sheets or all natural rugs at thrift/rummage sales and use them as weed mats under garden beds or to line garden pots. Commercial weed mat is usually full of plastics and never bio degrades. I've also used several layers of cardboard, but find the sheets stop burrowing rodents for nearly a full season.

    I need cozies for some of my thermoses and am keeping an eye out at thrift for wool sweaters someone put through the washer and dryer so they are felted now. I see many of these in college town thrift stores. The sleeves are pretty easy to convert to cozies.

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    I really like the first aid kit idea, the ones in the store are always too small. I have some of the Aida ribbon around too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MaggieTrudeau View Post
    Other repurposes: I buy all cotton sheets or all natural rugs at thrift/rummage sales and use them as weed mats under garden beds or to line garden pots. Commercial weed mat is usually full of plastics and never bio degrades. I've also used several layers of cardboard, but find the sheets stop burrowing rodents for nearly a full season.
    What do you do about the thread? I've never found it to break down, and end up with it strung throughout my compost bins long after the fabric itself is gone.

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    Super Moderator Spirit Deer's Avatar
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    Mndtrp, our camper is truly small space living. Our camper prior to our current one had a fourteen foot box with a slide-out dinette, a front storage trunk, and two queen beds that slid out and didn't take up space inside the box. Our current trailer has a fifteen foot box, no slides for dinette or beds, and no outside storage. We gave up the space in favor of a one-minute setup time. I've worked very hard to maximize every available inch and done a ton of mods to that trailer to make the most of the space. A lot of those mods have been done with thrift store and garage sale items. It's been mostly fun and sometimes frustrating, but very worthwhile.

    I like the sleeve cozy idea for thermoses. I did something similar with neoprene can cozies. I put those on glass jars we use in the camper to prevent them from banging together and breaking. You can barely see two of them in this pic, on the first and third jars on the top shelf.

    Some of them fit as is, some have to be made smaller or larger depending on jar size, but they're easy to cut and sew. I use them in the "pantry" in the camper too, in wire freezer baskets repurposed to hold our canned food and other shelf-stable foods we take along. I have some glass jars with homemade mixes for things like Bisquick and cream soup mix. I've been using the cozies and glass jars over thousands of miles of sometimes really bad roads since 2002, and we've never had a broken jar.

    I also made an indoor clothesline in the camper out of a soft eyeglass case bought at a thrift store and some Dollar Tree clothesline that happened to come with two plastic hooks. We have latches in the camper that hold the A walls on the sides in place against the edges of the roof panels, so I just hook the clothesline to the latches for an instant clothesline. It can be used for a privacy curtain if need be, but usually we use it to hang damp towels. Those are in the way if we're in the camper, but if we're going somewhere for the day and the towels are hung in the closed camper all day, they dry great in the heat that builds up. The clothesline goes up or down in seconds and stores in the eyeglass case, which slips into a small pocket at the foot of my bed. The small pocket will soon be replaced by the truck pocket organizer I mentioned above. We have a device that reads LP levels in propane tanks called a Truma LevelCheck. It's an expensive little item that needed to be protected, so I picked up a hard eyeglass case for it. That works great to protect it. It's normally in the camper 'office' I pictured above. I've used eyeglass cases for a variety of small items over the years. I made a soft one into a storage case and added elastic to it so it slides around one of our e book readers, so the charging cord is always with the reader. No more lost cord!

    I guess it's too obvious to mention the items I sew with thrift store thread. That could be an entire book in itself, staring with things like the Add-A-Room I made for our first pop up camper. Mostly these days I use thrift store thread for charity sewing. And pretty much everything else I sew, even on my industrial machines. I haven't bought thread in retail stores for years and I own eight sewing machines and sew most anything you can think of and probably a few things you wouldn't think of, so obviously I do a lot of sewing. To facilitate using the large cones I buy (I don't usually bother with the small spools since thrifts tend to overprice them IMO) I took an idea from Pinterest and improved on it. Pinterest used a paper clip taped to the back of the sewing machine to guide thread from large cones through the machine to the needle. That did not work for me since I need it to be removable so I can pack up my machine to take to quilting gatherings. So I made a thread guide that sits on the thread spindle. Easy! It slips off and on so can be stored in the pin box in the tin I have my traveling sewing supplies in. You can see the paper clip contraption I made in this pic, with the thrift store thread leading from the tin (which normally would sit behind the machine) to the paper clip to the rest of the machine. This new paper clip gizmo was obvious and simple once I started to rethink what I feel was a brilliant idea from someone on Pinterest.


    In the sewing theme and thrift stores, I've picked up a large stash of trims and bias tape and similar items to use in sewing projects. The latest is this bias tape which I got at GW for fifty cents, NIP. JoAnn sells the same item in the same condition for $2. Buying sewing supplies at thrifts can save big money if you're aware of retail prices and don't overpay. I see a lot of that stuff way overpriced. I used my thrift store bias tape to trim this food processor cover and also hide the seam I had to make because there wasn't enough fabric to make it in one piece, since it's made from scraps from a quilt I made years ago. I love this fabric because it picks up so many of the colors in our countertops. I also have a mixer cover I made from the same collection of scraps and the same color of thrift store bias tape trim.


    Thrift stores, rummage sales, and repurposing have been constants in my life as long as I can remember. It's second nature for me now to come up with ideas. To your point about changing your thrift store list from a specific item to being open to what will serve the purpose you need served, Maggie, I think that's the right approach. That sums up what I do, although I never thought about it that way till you said it. It's not at all uncommon for me to have no idea what I need, but know as soon as I see the right thing that it's what will solve my problem, whatever it is. The little DO table I pictured above wasn't my first one. When we first got back into camping, I was desperate for a DO table and thought I should buy one of the manufactured 'real' DO tables that cost about $200, weighed fifty pounds, and were too big for what I really needed. But we stopped at a garage sale one day and as we walked across the street to the sale, I spotted two camp stools with torn-up seats and U-shaped legs, tied together with a piece of dirty twine. I'm sure the people having the sale thought I was nuts when I got so excited at finding those stools. I got them both for $1 and paired them with a large baking tray that had been laying around our garage for years, and I had a great little DO table that I've had at least seventy pounds of iron and food on at a time over the years. The day I found the camp stools, it all came together for me in my mind. I knew they were what I needed and I could see in my mind what the whole thing would look like and how it would work. I was right! I had the same thing happen a year or two later when I came around a corner at a GW and found a stainless steel folding tray stand like waiters use for those big trays in restaurants. I got that for $2 and later found a big roasting pan to make the tray for the coals to go on top, and that became my second DO table. I've always had to buy the tool clips that hold the trays onto the stands, but all three of my DO tables cost me less than $30 in total, including all the parts and the carry cases for two of them, which I made from lightweight canvas I repurposed when I trashed a hooked rug. The third one I used new canvas I had on hand. I've used all three tables for years now and even taught DO cooking classes using them. Looking back now I realize once I made that first table how fast I lost any desire for the big 'real' DO table. If I had bought it, I know I'd have never used it because it was just too much for my needs. We wouldn't have a place to carry to camp, especially now with our smaller rig. It would have been nothing but a fifty-pound headache. Now, I can take along my little one that is easily carried in one hand and takes almost no space so it can live in the camper and always be ready to get out and use. Finding the right thing that doesn't look much like the 'real' thing has become a gift that keeps on giving for me.

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    Maggie, I don't know what your exact needs are for cleaning your solar panels, but we use one of those extending poles that are used to hang Christmas lights to clear snow off our satellite dish. We wrap a rag around the end or use an old sock to wipe off the snow. That's not a thrift store tip, but I just thought maybe it's worth a mention in case it might help.

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    Super Moderator Spirit Deer's Avatar
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    Here's a few quick snaps of the thrift store suitcase turned sewing machine caddy. I'm not happy with how things have packed into it, but I know over time, ideas will come to me about how to make it all work better. The light is the problem so I'll have to come up with an idea how to make that better.

    These are the items I think I will need for basic supplies, not including fabrics and that type of thing. I'm trying to figure out the best way to pack that stuff into the pockets of the suitcase trolley. The round tin holds two extension cords.


    Here's everything stuffed in. As I said, not happy with how the light packs up. Maybe I need a different light, or a shelf for the light, or something I haven't thought of yet. I also need to make a small bag for the foot control and cord to fit into.


    It does make a nice tidy package once it's all put away, though.


    I tend to get a basic plan for something like this, then live with it a while before making changes. That seems to help me avoid making mistakes and wrecking stuff.

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