The Unexpected Organizing Tool I Always Buy at Thrift Stores

updated Feb 11, 2020
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I love shopping at thrift stores, flea markets, and antique stores. I could spend hours walking through crowded aisles and imagining the stories behind the old jewelry, furniture, and knickknacks that line the walls (and floors, and shelves). And while sometimes my spending habits are more than my bank account would like, shopping secondhand is not only more affordable in many cases, but also better for the environment than buying something new. Plus, purchasing an item with a history feels particularly special and antique and thrift stores sell things you may not be able to find anywhere else in the world.

Even when I’m trying to restrain myself, there’s always one item I always buy because I know I’ll use it around the house, no matter what. Whenever I spot a pretty or unique secondhand bowl (think: colored glassware, or hand painted pottery), I buy it.

Credit: Olivia Muenter

Why I Always Buy Bowls at Thrift Shops

In most cases, these pieces are somewhere between $1 and $5, and there is always a spot for them in the house. I use them in my bathroom to hold hand lotions and reading glasses, and in the living room to hold our keys and display small polaroid photos. I’ve used them in the kitchen to store sugar packets and granola bars. I’ve stored countless pieces of jewelry in them and stacked them full with sunglasses, wallets, and change. I’ve used them for just about everything.

Credit: Olivia Muenter

As someone who loves organization and keeping things tidy, but can’t really seem to get behind minimalism, the idea of having special, designated places for items works for me. If I don’t want to do a deep clean, but instead need to just speedily declutter things, throwing items in their designated bowls takes only seconds. It also makes it much less easy to lose things when everyone in the house knows where they’re supposed to go.

These pieces are almost always much-needed bursts of color and texture on a shelf or on a table. And while I can’t always afford the ornate pieces of antique furniture or paintings that my heart desires, a small dish or bowl cost me less than a latte most days.

This post originally ran on Apartment Therapy. See it there: The Unexpected Organizing Tool I’ll Always Shell Out a Few Dollars for at Thrift Stores