TOMS BROOK — Seated in her dining room surrounded by the colors and smells of autumn, Joslynn Clark, home decor enthusiast turned avid thrifter, has found her niche amid the noise of social media.
The TikTok influencer, who shares her love of thrifting and upcycling, likes to remind her thousands of followers that no matter where they are in life, creating a customized space that feels like home is possible with any budget.
“When I share things on the internet, it’s not to influence people to buy things. It’s because I’m so passionate about people loving their homes,” said Clark, who lives in Toms Brook. “I just think that coming home and loving your space is such a happy feeling. That’s my goal.”
Clark’s interest in decorating came before her interest in thrifting. As a young girl she rearranged her home furnishings before her mother would return from work. Starting with her own bedroom, Clark worked her way around the house, often ending up with an entirely new home, furnished with items the family already owned.
“I would basically shop the house and change the rooms,” she said. “I think that’s kind of thrifting itself — using what you have and what you have access to for cheap to create a new space.”
When it came time to furnish her first apartment, Clark went thrifting and often found heavily discounted items that matched her style, a style she said has evolved over the years. Clark doesn’t consider herself trendy, rather she said she purchases items that speak to who she is.
“When you buy new, you’re limited because you’re not going to be able to decorate your entire house. Going to even just Target or Walmart is expensive. Being able to thrift and buy something for $3 that otherwise would be at Walmart $15 is a good deal,” Clark said. “Rather than it looking like everyone else’s, it’s a reflection of you.”
After getting married, Clark and her husband purchased their first home — a builder grade house that over time they customized to their liking. The couple completed many of the DIY projects themselves, with help from YouTube tutorials.
“I want my house to feel like a hug when anyone comes in,” Clark said. “I want people to feel like, ‘Wow, I love this here. I could take a nap!’ Everyone is welcome here.”
Clark said she likes to shop “open box” on Amazon or at Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore. She also finds discounted items on Facebook Marketplace and pokes around the local Goodwill stores. In the summer, she is often found at yard sales, and she never misses a Route 11 Yard Crawl.
“I think a lot of people dismiss thrifting because they think they don’t have the money to spend on an item or the time to upcycle what they find,” she said. “But they do — more than they realize. It’s patience.”
She visits most local thrift stores two times a week, when she’s in town grocery shopping. It only takes about 10 minutes to look around, she said, and she often leaves with a few must-have items to add to her collection. Occasionally, she leaves empty-handed.
“There’s a fine line for me,” she said. “Not buying something just because it’s cheap. It’s important to buy something that fits your style otherwise you might end up with a home full of stuff you don’t love.”
Sometimes it takes a little longer to find that unique piece. Take the buffet in Clark’s dining room. Knowing what she wanted and recognizing that it might take a little time, Clark finally found the item at a decent price — two months after she started looking.
Touring her cozy home, Clark said she picks up things along the way before redoing an entire space.
“I do buy things new, usually on sale. And because I’m always rearranging, I’m usually trying to find a new location within our home to use the same items.”
Clark said her home is 70% thrifted and 100% discounted. It’s a complete reflection of the couple’s personality, which Clark said is what makes her home — home.
“A lot of times people will ask me how I do it,” she said. “The only thing I can influence you to do is shop local stores and look for sales.”
While Clark doesn’t consider herself an influencer, her TikTok followers would beg to differ. A recent video that she posted went viral. Despite her popularity, Clark said she doesn’t let social media or trends strongly influence her style. Rather, as long as it makes her happy, she just “does it”.
Thrifted treasures are throughout Clark’s beautifully decorated home. The chandeliers hanging from her ceilings came from Facebook Marketplace. A side table in the bathroom, which she updated with some furniture stain, now looks brand-new. The farmhouse sink in the kitchen was an Amazon open box purchase, which Clark said she considers thrifting.
“You learn over the years,” she said. “Collecting takes time.”
As the Christmas season quickly approaches, each year Clark transforms her home into a winter wonderland, with magical trees nestled in the corners, Christmas bells chiming and the smell of peppermint welcoming Santa down the chimney.
“I buy a lot of things out of season too,” she said. “Thrifting for holiday decor, everyone is going to buy it in November and December but if you’re buying it in July you’re going to get it at a cheaper price.”
Clark said over the summer she picked up a lot of garland, vintage ornaments, nutcrackers and old sleigh bells.
“Lights — that’s another thing for me. I think that light creates magic and I love magical Christmas lighting.”
Her biggest advice: don’t be afraid to shop out of season. Look for those Thanksgiving finds in the summer, while shopping for beach towels. Purchase those Santas at the Yard Crawl.
“I guess I want people to know that you have the ability to create whatever you want, it just might take work, a little patience and a lot of sweat.”