I've been writing about my thrift store finds here for the last year and a half. I've found some awesome items for bargain basement prices... sometimes even lower than what's on the tags at the thrift stores themselves (partly due to being a regular and developing relationships with the folks that work there). I've found the majority of my favorite items and the Montana Rescue Mission stores and St. Vincent De Paul Thrift Stores.

My favorite era is Mid-Century Modern which is super hot right now... especially with the mid-20's to mid-40's crowd. Due to their popularity these pieces aren't easy to find but they are there. You'd think the highest quality would only be had at estate sales but a lot of great pieces slip through the cracks. What happens is that when elderly people pass away who were young adults during the late 50's through early 70's Mid-Century Modern was contemporary. The children of these folks often don't appreciate this style because it was their parents so they sell off these items without knowing their real value.

That's where the thrift stores come in. Things that don't sell during estate sales are often donated. The thrifts have become somewhat savvy in regard to the more rare items but they understand people are still coming to them for a deal and boy do they deliver. I've recently moved into a new place and pulled a lot of the furniture I had collected from these stores out of storage and (now that I have more room) I've put them together to create a Mad Men designed home for a fraction of what you'd spend, even at Walmart, for new pieces. For my money they look better than anything you'd buy today.

The dining set you see is Drexel Declaration (from 1959) designed by Kipp Stewart. I bought the 3 chairs and table at St. Vincent De Paul downtown for a grand total of $35. If it included the 4th chair (one of the pitfalls of finding these things at thrift stores is often they only have part of a set) the entire set would retail for about $1800 (including the middle leaf not pictured here). In my new living room let's start with the end table (I have the pair but the other is out of the frame of this photo). They are solid walnut step tables that I bought for $8 each at the Salvation Army Thrift Store before it closed. Their real value is about $100 apiece. I bought the walnut coffee table for $37.50 (one of my more expensive purchases, lol) but it's real value is approximately $200. The Keller brand credenza on the right was purchased for $50 and is really worth about $400. Finally the lounge chairs (yes, I need to have cushions made for them) were just $5 each... real value (according to Metro Retro Furniture in Pasadena, TX) is appromimately $350 per chair. Not seen in these photos is a Mainline by Hooker high boy dresser that I found for just $65. If you do some research online you'll see that it retails somewhere between $600-800.

Total cash outlay for the items seen here (plus the dresser I mentioned) is $193.50. Total retail value of these items is, conservatively, $3900. That might sound too good to be true but I had to put a lot of time in finding these things. For some they might prefer to just pay retail value but for me it's the thrill of the hunt. As you can see my hard work paid off in an awesome Mad Men themed home. What I didn't mention is that I've sold a lot of the items I've bought at a handsome profit so it makes for a fun part-time business as well.

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