One person’s trash is another’s treasure — an adage that proves no truer than in the hands of Danielle Cosgrove, otherwise known as The Lowly Thrift.
Recently launched in a woodshop behind her 1970s A-frame in Murrayville, The Lowly Thrift is a curated secondhand shopping experience reflective of Cosgrove’s own flair for bohemian, midcentury, vintage and eclectic styles.
The shop, fashioned more like a boutique than a run-of-the-mill thrift store, is intentionally outfitted with clothing, housewares, home decor and pieces of furniture waiting for visitors to peruse during pop-up shopping events slated to recur every few months, with the next one penciled on the calendar for late February.
“It’s not just a random display of all these different types of items — they’re all cohesive,” Cosgrove said. “Everything in here is an intentional thing. I was very particular about what I wanted to put on my shelves.”
Cosgrove is a veteran thrifter, crediting her mother’s frugality as a pastor’s wife with sparking a hobby that’s evolved into a passion and creative outlet as Cosgrove herself has become a wife and stay-at-home mom to two daughters, Sybil, 4, and Evelyn, 1.
“I’ve always lived on a budget and try to buy secondhand whenever I can,” Cosgrove said. “Growing up, we would always go to garage sales. My mom was always at thrift stores or, if she saw a bargain and had a coupon, she would jump on that item.”
For Cosgrove, the itch to thrift grew when she married her husband, Jay, nine years ago and had her own space to furnish and decorate.
“We were on a very tight budget, so I had to be super creative with how I would decorate,” she said. “Thrift stores were just a godsend for me, because I could find nice things and I wasn’t paying an arm and a leg for them.”
The Lowly Thrift took its first steps via Instagram about eight years ago, strictly as a way for Cosgrove to sell items from her own closet.
“I was in no way trying to make a significant amount of income off of it,” she said.
Collecting dust for a stint as the couple moved from Austin, Texas, to North Georgia, started a family and settled into their A-frame — which is largely furnished with thrifted finds — the concept regained its footing earlier this year with a nudge from her friends.
“My friends would come over to my house and say, ‘Where did you get that armchair? Where do you shop for clothes?’ And my answer is always, ‘Thrifted! Thrifted!’” Cosgrove said. “I’ve helped several of my friends in furnishing their homes or their businesses … and they have just affirmed me time and time again that this is something that I’m gifted in. When people are affirming you constantly, ‘You are good at this, you can do this,’ it really just builds that confidence that you can do more with it than you even dreamed.”
The pop-up events, Cosgrove said, are slow, small steps toward her ultimate dream of someday owning a brick-and-mortar storefront.
Cosgrove noted she casts no judgment on those who don’t shop secondhand; for her family, it’s simply secured higher-quality items at more affordable price points.
“You can’t always buy secondhand,” she said. “But, more times than not, if you’re just willing to wait and look and scour Facebook Marketplace or check out a couple different thrift stores, there is a substitutionary item that is just as great as that new item that is of lesser quality and, more times than not, more expensive. It does take patience … but it’s worth it.”
Cosgrove also nods to younger generations’ affinity for styles associated with ‘90s sitcoms like “Friends” for bringing a comeback to secondhand shopping.
“Retro is now ‘in’ and midcentury is what everybody wants,” Cosgrove said. “With thrifting, I have the opportunity to show people you can have something so similar to this for significantly cheaper. But not only that; this was made way back in the day and the quality is a lot more heavy-duty and will last you a lot longer if you go this route.”
Acknowledging thrifting is somewhat unconventional in an era replete with digital advertisements and two-day shipping, Cosgrove hopes “to encourage people to get out of the house, get off your phones and go find the good stuff.”
For emerging thrifters, Cosgrove offers a few tried-and-true tips: “Look around your home and your closet and get an idea of what you gravitate toward — what you typically wear on a regular basis or a particular style in your home that you like, and also be mindful of things you don’t really like that are just kind of there,” she said.
With the items that aren’t serving a purpose, Cosgrove recommends decluttering and donating.
If thrifting is an altogether foreign concept, Cosgrove suggests drafting a game plan before embarking on the hunt and setting aside 30 minutes to an hour — at minimum — to browse.
“If you don’t know what you’re doing with thrift shopping, don’t go in there aimlessly,” she said. “Make either a mental note or write a list of things that you would love to find, and set aside a decent amount of time to do that … (so that) when you go in, you’re not overwhelmed by your surroundings.”
And for those who simply don’t have the time or the eye for secondhand finds, Cosgrove is available for hire.
“It’s really amazing what other people get rid of and don’t see much worth in, and what you can turn around and give life to,” Cosgrove said. “That’s where my passion comes from. It’s just a gold mine, and it’s magical. I want more people to hop on the bandwagon.”To connect with Cosgrove, email email@example.com, or follow The Lowly Thrift on Facebook and Instagram.