Announcing: The Mystery Thrift-Off


mystery thrift-off logo copy

Guess what, guess what, guess what, guess what?

The Mystery Thrift-Off is going to happen, that’s what!

Remember a few days ago, when I was talking about how I’ve always wanted to have a contest where I find some hilariously hopeless items at the thrift-store and send them to people, and those people then dig deep in their creative wells and (attempt to) create something fabulous with their mystery item?

Well, you guys were quick with positive feedback that you’d like to see it happen too. So I’m making it happen!

I’m probably way more excited about this than any one person should be. I spent like seventeen hours making that logo up there.


I’ve never done anything quite like this before, so we’re going to have to learn as we go.  First of all, I’m going to need some participants. Are you interested in being in the inaugural Mystery Thrift-Off?  Here’s how it will work:

  • I will select several participants based on the survey below
  • I will purchase the Mystery Items from my local thrift-store, and send one to each participant. (They will most likely be relatively small, easy-to-ship items.  Sorry if you had your heart set on refinishing a 12-person dining set or something. Maybe next year).
  • Participants will have a set period of time to transform their Mystery Item (hopefully for the better)!
  • Participants will need to provide their own tools and supplies.
  • Participants are expected to photograph the makeover process as well as the final result, and share those photographs with me.
  • Participants are not required to have a blog, but must live in the USA.
  • Winner will be chosen by reader votes, across several categories

Are you up for the challenge?  Simply answer a few questions on my Mystery Thrift-Off survey to apply!

I’m not sure how many participants I will be selecting just yet.  We’ll see how it all goes.


But wait, there’s more! mystery thrift-off prizes

What’s a contest without a prize? I will of course provide a prize! But here’s an idea I also had: would you like to provide one too?

If you are an Etsy seller or small-business owner, etc., and would like to offer a prize/store credit/gift certificate for the contest, then let’s work it out! Great exposure and advertising for you and a wicked awesome batch of prizes for the participants, and everyone is happy, win-win-win.   Email me at and let’s chat.

Whew! I think that sums it up. Any questions?

I’m so excited!

Yay yay super yay!

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  1. This is AWESOME!!!! For those of us snowed in and feeling the “winter funk” this is just what we need!!

  2. Can’t wait to see what treasures you pick out! And… I can’t see comments from the iPad. Is it just mine?

  3. I’m in!! Sounds like fun. Gives me shivers thinking about it-no wait, that’s the cold. ha!

  4. Oh my goodness, I am so excited that you’re actually putting this together! I was hopeful that you would, but with shipping and all, it is a bit of a project! I cannot wait to see what you pick out for the participants – and what they can do with their items!

  5. Yay! Super duper double bubble yay!

  6. Sheila Octaviano says:

    I can donate a small framed photograph say 8×10 or 5.5 square or 5×7 as a prize. Maybe if they want the square ones or small ones, it could be two. I could let them pick the one they prefer from several photos or by subject matter. I have birds, flowers, beach scenes, landscapes and random stuff. I have a few framed already or they can opt for just the print if they want to frame a print themselves. If they only want a print, maybe I could donate two prints. If you need to see a sample, let me know and I can send a photo.

  7. This sounds amazing! I wish I was in the US, but alas I’m in Canada. Would you consider expanding (maybe next year) if we cover shipping costs? Another idea (if shipping ends up being a hassle) would be to give everyone a random item, but they would need to find it themselves and transform it. Like an embroidery hoop. Or a butchers block. Or something equally single purposed. Anyway, most of my ideas are stemmed from my excitement about your original idea, and the fact I really want to try it. Can’t wait to see what people do!

  8. You did a great job on the logo!!! I am super excited to see the results!!

  9. Oh I wish we were not in the process of redoing this entire house! Sounds like a blast. Maybe next time I will be in a better place to participate.

  10. This will be an fun and interesting project.

  11. I want to participate! Pick me, Pick me!

  12. I would love to see a sample photo Sheila! Thanks so much!

  13. How fun!!! Can’t wait to participate or watch!!

  14. Susan Krauss says:

    Just filled out the survey! Crossing my fingers that I get chosen!

  15. This sounds so fun! Can’t wait to see what you come up with.

  16. I also like Shaleeta Harper’s suggestion, to challenge people to find and reform a designated item from their thrift store, like a magazine rack or a tray or something. Or maybe throw out a challenge like “create something to store or display jewelry” and see what people come up with.

  17. Sheila Octaviano says:

    Lindsay, I will send a couple your way tomorrow or Tuesday. Need to get to bed, now. Was busy turning my house upside down and inside out today. haha

  18. What a great idea and sounds like a blast!

  19. I’m so glad you posted the survey – I meant to comment that I would be interested but someone here at work thought it more important to get a map to a pilot than for me to finish reading a blog. 🙂

  20. This sounds like so much fun….to watch 🙂
    Good luck to everyone, can’t wait to see what they come up with!

  21. Sounds like tons of fun! Can’t wait to see the results!

  22. sarah martin says:

    I’d love to participate, but I’m scared! Hope this works out well for everyone and maybe I’ll have the guts next year.

  23. Stefanie Roberson says:

    sounds like fun!

  24. Oh man! I just saw this! I would love to do this. If it’s too late this time, maybe next?


  1. […] of the blog Better After, dreamed up.  For more details on all of this contest madness – READ HER POST HERE. (while you’re there – you should browse – her site is FANTASTIC!!  SUPER […]

  2. […] be. Have you been following #TheMysteryThriftOff challenge? This is the brainchild of Lindsey from Better After. She chose a handful of people to take part in this challenge. After scouring her local thrift […]

  3. […] the brainchild of Lindsey from Better After. She chose a handful of people to take part in this challenge. After scouring her local thrift […]

  4. […] the brainchild of Lindsey from Better After. She chose a handful of people to take part in this challenge. After scouring her local thrift […]

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