5 Simple Tips to Thrift Like a Boss for the Garden

Looking for budget-friendly ways to grow and decorate a garden? Learn how to thrift like a boss with these simple tips.

You may be surprised by what can be found at the thrift shop.

Thrift stores are great places to shop for clothes, furniture, and other household goods that are in good condition.

But sometimes, you’ll find something unexpected and unique, too.

And because items most found aren’t mass produced, you can find things that lend a vintage aesthetic to your home and garden.

Whenever I go thrifting, I always look for things I can use in the garden.

Plants need support, cottage gardens need vintage decor, the eye needs a place to rest in good garden design, and I love a pretty flea market flip to use as planters.

Sure you can head over to the local nursery and find some great items to use. But there’s something about thrifted finds that lends a lot more interest to gardens.

Wait until you see what I found!

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5 Simple Tips to Thrift Like a Boss for the Garden

Because the deals can be amazing, sometimes it is tough to hold back on purchasing all of the cool items you find.

But sometimes you have too.

Or you’d run out of cash! LOL

Although thrift store deals can be pretty amazing, you can walk out spending hundreds of dollars in one trip.

So be mindful when perusing thrift shops and flea markets, prioritize what you need, want, and most importantly, might never see again if you don’t grab it now!

Cut flowers from my garden in a glass vase on a thrift store end table with vintage shutters.

Shop Around

There are many things to consider when shopping for secondhand home goods.

While shopping, do a quick buzz around the thrift store or flea market to get a sense of what they have, what you might want, and what you need to grab immediately.

Because some items will be gone sooner than you realize if you don’t grab it first!

Gorgeous vintage green shutters and windows found at Wilmington, Vermont’s antique flea market. Shutters and windows add lots of interest to wreaths and other flowers in the home.

Be Patient

Thrift stores are often filled with good deals, but it can take time to find them.

To help save time, try looking for items that fit certain criteria you want.

Is it made of galvanized metal? Plastic?

Does it look old and vintage?

Is it real wood or is made from composite?

Does it have a lot of texture and details?

Will it fit in your garden or home???

Do I even need this???


(Trust me, I’ve asked myself this question plenty of times. Sometimes I put the item back and regret it later, but most often, I didn’t really have the right spot for it).

Old galvanized metal buckets make great planters that add alot of character to garden borders and porches.

When You Know You Know

When you walk by that item and just get that feeling it would be PERFECT in your garden or home.

Grab it.

Don’t wait.

Don’t walk away.

Because if you leave it and come back, it might be gone.

When you know, you know. Don’t leave it behind.

And if you aren’t sure whether you know?

Grab it and walk around with it or ask the vendor to set it aside for you so you can buy yourself a bit more time before deciding.

Vintage metal urn I found as I was walking out of the vintage flea market in Wilmington, Vermont.

Thrift With a Budget in Mind

Because it’s easy to spend a lot of money at the thrift store, know how much money you want to spend BEFORE you go shopping.

It will be much easier to make decisions later about purchases knowing you only want to spend $50 than walking out spending $400!

Know When to Stop Shopping

If you find something you really love that’s more than you want to spend, buy it and stop shopping so you don’t wind up finding 10 other things you want that you can’t buy.

It’s easier to choose to stop shopping and didn’t buy more, than to feel that twinge of regret when you keep shopping, find more things you love, but can’t buy them because it blows the budget.

Old wood trunks make great planters or storage items for the garden. They also look amazing as unique coffe tablel!

What to Look For at the Thrift Store That Looks Amazing With Plants and Flowers

There are lots of thrifted garden treasures that look amazing with plants and flowers both inside and outside the home.

Here are a few ideas of items you should never pass up while thrifting for the garden.

  • Vintage crocks and urns
  • Old tin cans
  • Baskets
  • Shutters, doors, and old windows
  • Crates and trunks
  • Milk glass and jadeite pieces
  • Ladders
  • Vases
  • Dough bowls, soup tureens, and cake pedastals
  • Vintage tool box
  • Chicken feeders
  • Metal pails, bins, and buckets
  • Vintage watering cans, milk jugs, and bottles
  • Pretty vintage dishes and tea sets
Thrift store finds – vintage hob nail milk glass vase on wood end table with vintage shutters. Fresh flowers are from the garden.

Want to See More Thrift Store Finds?

I’ve been sharing lots of cool items I found for our new home and garden.

Come thrift with me!

Front porch decor for summer with vintage baby carriage filled with scaevola flowers.

How to Arrange Flowers Like a Pro

Now that you found some cool flea market finds, how do you arrange them with fresh flowers?

It’s not hard to arrange your own bouquet or centerpiece and you can save a lot of money doing it yourself.

Click here to learn my best tips for arranging flowers.

And if you want to prolong the vase life of fresh bouquets, keep flower arrangements looking beautiful for longer with these tips.

Wait Until You See What My Friends Found Thrifting This Month!

My good friend Kim from Shiplap and Shells is showing off her garden with some gorgeous thrift store finds she discovered in the Pacific Northwest.

If you are not familiar with Kim, she has a GORGEOUS cottage garden by the sea that you will adore!

Kim adds lots of unique flea market finds you’ll find sprinkled throughout her gardens.

My good friend Jennifer from Cottage on Bunker Hill has been traveling around visiting vintage bazaars, thrift stores, and flea markets up in New England.

This month she found some pretty cool stuff for the garden at the Todd Farm Flea Market.

Wait until you see what Jennifer found that is perfect for her New Hampshire garden!

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Stacy Ling | Bricks 'n Blooms
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Join the conversation
  • Diane Tucker Diane Tucker on Aug 11, 2022

    there are many wonderful ideas in this post that I will definitely use - Thanks

  • Ann Ann on Jul 02, 2023

    I picked up a chipped enamelware pot at a fundraiser sale. The helper said, "oh hon, we have much better cookware over there". LOL I still use it for my fairy lilies.