When you’re settling into a new space or reimagining your current place, curating the perfect aesthetic makes a world of difference. You want those statement pieces and accenting artwork that create an ambiance that is warm, inviting and undeniably—you. Whether you’re a maximalist seeking out that spectacularly unique knickknack to your collection, a minimalist searching for that one perfect fixture or somewhere in-between, we’ve partnered with local Milwaukeean Jenni Yolo—host of Magnolia Network’s “Makeover by Monday” and I SPY DIY, a do-it-yourself website showcasing Jenni and her husband, Mr. Yolo, right here in Milwaukee—for an insider’s guide to the ins and outs, the tips and tricks to thrifting in Milwaukee.

Now known for her Milwaukee-based renovation series, “Makeover by Monday,” streaming now on Max, Jenni has been a lifelong lover of DIY style. At a young age, her interest in fashion magazines inspired her to create her own versions of the latest trends and styles. She now has her own creative studio in the Walker’s Point neighborhood, alongside four short-term rentals in Walkers Point and Bay View. Here are Jenni’s five tips and tricks to great DIY thrifting in the Good Land. Here are Jenni’s five tips and tricks to great DIY thrifting in the Good Land.


3. Bring photos of your space with you.

To build a home aesthetic, you need to find just the right shade and hue to complement the view of the room you have in mind. Before you head out on your thrifting adventures, be sure to snap a few pictures of the space that you’re looking to DIYsign to ensure the colors align with your in-store finds.

2. Bring a measuring tape and measurements of your space.

Ever heard this one before, “Yeah, that’ll probably fit,” only for a piece of furniture to be way too big for the space? While your eye for a quality piece of furniture may be on point, the eyeball test tends not to be the best. A little planning goes a long way to making your life a lot easier. Measure your space ahead of time and bring a measuring tape along so you know you’ve got room before you buy.


3. Find sellers that match your aesthetic and visit frequently.

The Cream City is a thrifting paradise, with thrift shops, consignment stores and antique shops around every corner. When you start your search for elite thrift finds, sweet antiques and mantle-worthy statement pieces, there’s no shortage of businesses around town to help you find exactly what you’re looking for. So, whether you’re off to one of Jenni’s favorites like Goodland Antiques, Farm Girl Antiques, Clinton St Antiques, Dandy, Riverview Antique Mall or Clocktower Antiques; or one of Visit Milwaukee’s partners like Ultratwist Village, Refresh Vintage at Bayshore, Antiques on Pierce or The Shops of Cedar Creek Settlement, there’s never a shop too far away for a DIY thrifting day.

Shop around and discover hidden gems around every turn at each of Milwaukee’s many thrift shops, but once you find an aesthetic that you positively love, be sure to check back frequently to curate your own personal collection.

4. Spot original artwork with signatures and framing information.

Much like vases, pottery and other craft pieces, artist signatures are an indicator of authenticity. When you find that print that you just can’t imagine anywhere other than your dining room wall, you can make sure it’s an original by quickly checking the lower corners or back for a signature. If the pieces are in a frame, check the back for possible framing information that may help guide you to discover one of the shop’s hidden treasures.


5. Discover artisan originals with marks of authenticity.

That one-of-a-kind centerpiece, vase, mantlepiece or fixture is out there waiting for you to uncover it; you just have to know where to look. Often, rare pieces in thrift stores have identifying factors of authenticity and antiquity hidden beneath them. Carefully pick up these pieces and check underneath to learn more about when they were made, where they came from, who made them and if they were made by hand.

Bonus: Thrift vintage prints and frames to make a gallery wall!

A gallery wall can be an effective way to display your style. Using vintage botany prints and thrifted frames is a great way to fill a wall in a unique way. As an added plus, you can swap these prints and frames regularly to suit the season, fit the vibe and tailor to your ever-evolving sense of style.

Visit the I SPY DIY website and social channels to find even more thrifting tips and tricks and follow Jenni's latest DIY adventures.