Thrift Store Treasure Hunts

For my first content post I figured I would talk about something that I love: Thrift store shopping! It is something I always loved growing up – and I still continue to do because it is really fun and you can find some amazing stuff that no one else will have. My house (and my wardrobe and kitchen drawers) boast many thrift store finds. In general, thrifted items get a lot more attention than my other stuff because they are interesting and unique. Decor wise, they add charm and patina to my home that give it that comfortable lived in feeling. In my vintage looking 1960’s house they also fit in a lot better than all new stuff. Also let’s be real – thrifted items are really cost effective!

Growing up my mom and I would frequently go to thrift stores – she had a knack for finding what our family needed, and at modifying items to make them functional and pretty. I have three brothers so getting things at thrift stores (or garage sales) made a big difference to the budget. Many Halloween costumes and theatre costumes came from the thrift store. In fact, I never told anyone this (and now the whole internet will know yay!) but even my prom dress came from the thrift store! It was beautiful and my mom altered it so it was perfect. In university I also did a lot of thrift store shopping; especially when the budget got tight near the end of school. I got Eric into thrifting when we found a very expensive copper bottom saute pan for only $20. We still have that pan and it is a joy to cook with! We also bought many beer glasses and other glassware from the thrift store.

Thrifted Katy Perry and Snopp Dogg “California Gurls” costumes in 2010!

When I got my full time job after school and moved to Toronto I remember thinking how excited I was that I would not need to go to thrift stores anymore. Eventually though, Eric and I bought the house; on moving day all of our possessions fit in a third of the smallest moving truck U-Haul had. When we unloaded the truck we had an extremely empty house with many rooms, and not much of a budget to buy furniture. I realized that if I wanted any chairs in the house for the first few months that maybe I should venture out to some thrift stores. That is when I found my four solid wood dining chairs for $100 – I was hooked once again!

One of the four dining room chairs I bought at the Salvation Army, cleaned up and reupholstered. Each chair was only $25, and they are very comfortable and cute!

When people ask me about thrift store shopping I always mention a few rules and tips that I have picked up. So here they are – maybe you can give thrifting a shot (or up your thrifting game):

  1. Do not buy anything that you can’t fully clean. This includes things like couches and mattresses. You don’t know where it came from or what could be living inside it (like bedbugs ugh). Also, expect to spend some time cleaning up your purchases.
  2. Inspect anything you intend to buy very closely; a lot of times items that are donated are damaged.
  3. Visit stores often; on some visits you may not find anything but don’t let it discourage you!
  4. Have a shopping list of items you are looking for and their dimensions (if applicable). Carry around a small measuring tape so you will know right away if something will work for you.
  5. My favourite thrift stores: Value Village and the Salvation Army. Both have high turnaround, decent prices, and many locations. They also have sales! I have also had luck at small independent thrift stores but I haven’t found a good one near my house yet.

Below are some of my favourite thrifted items from the last year or so. All of these items were purchased from the Salvation Army or Value Village near my house; these stores have proven to be a gold mine!

Just bought these last week: Milk/sugar jars (great for entertaining), copper kettle (which I turned into a planter, more pics later), and a steel blue enamelled oil lantern. The grand total was only $16!
The two glass decanters were thrifted for around $5 each! I bought the jingle bell stopper since the stopper that came with that decanter was in rough shape. I have since added another thrift store decanter to my tabletop bar.
I bought the milk glass vases for a few bucks each. I have quite a few of these around the house; they look great with all the white baseboards and moldings.
You can’t see much of it, but I got a very fun jewelled BCBG dress for $25 at Value Village and then wore it to a wedding over the summer. The dress still had price tags on it – it was priced at $200 when it was bought! I think the only reason it was still there was that it was a bit wild of a dress – just my style!

Happy thrifting! And happy weekend 🙂


Welcome to the first post of Fortnight Living! Fortnight Living is a blog where I will be sharing things about my life and getting back into writing. In particular, I will be writing about several of my passions: Home decorating, cooking, fashion, shopping, and life! There will probably be posts on career stuff, marriage, dogs (especially my Pembroke Welsh Corgi Newton), and other random topics too. I am so happy to have you here so I can get all chatty about things that make my heart sing, and hopefully yours too!

A little about me – I’m Rebecca Cousineau; a woman who lives a double life (oooh mysterious). Since May 2012, I have worked as a geological engineer at a remote gold mine for two weeks at a time. After my two weeks of work are done I then I return home to Toronto for two weeks of time off (hence why this blog is called Fortnight Living). I married my university sweetheart Eric in January 2015 and we (and Newton) live in a house we purchased in Toronto in October 2013. As you can imagine, two weeks off every month leaves me with a lot of free time on my hands – so I generally use it to work on decorating the house, cooking and baking, shopping, and long walks with Newton. Back in school I used to write for the engineering newspaper (Eric and I even wrote a beer column together), so it is high time that I get back to writing again!


Now that wedding planning is over (I had so much fun with that!), the house has been bought and fixed to the point where it is functional, and Newton is no longer a puppy – I all of a sudden have a lot of free time on my hands. Which you would think would be a good thing, but it turns out that I am going nuts not having something big on the go. So instead of driving myself and Eric crazy I decided it was time to start a blog! Eric has two beer blogs that made me realize I really missed writing.

Eric, Newton and I during our engagement session back in 2014

The House: I am sure I will write more about this later, but Eric and I had a long adventure buying our house in October 2013 (after a long house hunt we ended up in a bidding war and had to beat out 9 other offers to nab our fixer upper). Toronto’s real estate market was hot, and it has only gotten crazier since then! We are slowly starting to win the battle in turning our home into the updated vintage charmer it has always wanted to be. The house was built in 1962 but has a more 1950’s vibe partly due to the fact that a lot of it is in it’s original state – it only had two owners before us. That was a big part of the appeal of this house; it has very good bones. The house has a lot of windows and space for us to eventually grow into. Cool features of our home include: Crystal doorknobs, a fully functioning brewery in the basement, a very old kitchen with white laminate counters with gold stars (not even joking, I will post a picture once I do a post about our future kitchen remodel), and a door painted to look like the Jamaican flag (we DID NOT do that, I swear I will paint it soon). There is still a lot of work to be done and I have made it my mission to make this house a cozy, bright and welcoming home!

The house as of March 2016

I look forward to writing this blog and seeing where it goes! And don’t be strangers, there is a comment section for a reason 🙂