Tuesday, September 28, 2010

On Thrifting/Junking

Remember my milk glass dish that was filled with floral clay and all sorts of kitschy Christmas flotsam? Here's how it looks now:

First, I yanked out all of the plastic floral picks. Then, I used a grapefruit spoon to dig out the clay because it had these nice serrated edges that really helped me break it up. My husband kindly scrubbed it clean. It stacked nicely on top of the lace edge dessert dish that I already had in my hutch! I just think it looks so nice in there now. They're a perfect match.

One of the most common things I hear when I share my thrift shop finds with people is, "I went to the Goodwill by my house and I didn't find anything good!" or something along those lines. In the interest of full disclosure, when I say I went to Goodwill, usually what really happened is that I went to four or five different thrift stores. I've been known to hit even more than that if I'm making a day of it, but I'd say four or five is the average. While we're out running errands, I'll plot our course to hit the ones that are in the area and on the way home.

For instance, we had to go buy a birthday gift on Saturday. I knew there was a Goodwill a couple of miles down the road from the toy store we were visiting, so we hit that one. Then, instead of just taking the freeway straight to the grocery store afterward, we took a slightly longer route home that would take us past three more stores first. After the last one, it wasn't terribly late and my husband wasn't worn out yet, so we drove another few miles out of the way to hit a fifth and final store. So yeah, I found a few cool things, but I hit five stores to find them!

Also, when I go into a store, it probably only takes me 15 - 20 minutes to get in and out. I know I'm not looking at clothes or shoes or handbags. I head straight to housewares, and do a quick walk up and down the aisles between the shelves, giving them a good once over. Then, I walk back the way I came to be sure I didn't miss anything. Sometimes I'll head over to where the photo frames are and give them a quick once over. I try not to touch anything unless it's caught my eye. Thrift shops are, unfortunately, pretty dirty most of the time. I carry antibacterial Wet Ones wipes in the car and clean my hands after each stop!

The most important rule that I have for myself is that it is okay to walk out empty handed. I don't buy anything unless I absolutely love it and it's in perfect condition. Once I see something that catches my interest, I pick it up and examine it. Are all the pieces there? Is it chipped or broken anywhere? Is this something I'm going to use as-is, or will I need to do something to it to make it okay? Am I really going to do the work that it needs, or will it just sit and gather dust while cluttering up my house? Is it worth what they're charging or can I wait to get it cheaper somewhere else?

Items I buy are also going to have some sort of use in my house. Very few things end up in here as just decorative items. Even stuff that is purely decorative, such as the apothecary jars, serve some purpose usually. Right now, the last one I bought is filled with candy corn as seasonal decor. Come Christmas, I'll put some other seasonal candy in there. All that milk glass? I wouldn't bat an eyelash at using it to serve food or hold some sort of decor. I use the citrus reamers almost every day to squeeze juice for the boy!

Just so you know, I don't just walk into the Goodwill by my house and find all this cool stuff. As a matter of fact, I have never, not once, found ANYTHING I wanted to buy at the one that is closest to me! I am lucky to not only live in a city with lots of Goodwill locations, but we also have plenty of other smaller shops such as The Salvation Army, St. Vincent de Paul, The Boys and Girls Clubs, and even Savers who overprices everything they think might be the teensiest bit collectible. It's all about visiting frequently and keeping an open mind, because you never know what you're going to find!



Blogger Lauren Zabaneh said...

Miss M, I just love this. You and I are on the same track when it comes to thrifting. I keep straight forward to what I want, which is usually kitchen stuff: aprons, linens, plates, cups, vases, blah, blah...

It is thrilling. I use the same rule of thumb that I only get it if I REALLY love it. It cuts out a lot of crap.

Your writing is so fun to read and your creativity seeps out of every post. Such a great read.

I also want to thank you for voting for me in the PFB contest! I really hope I get to that next round...I'm menu planning right now. Cheers, my dear!

5:32 AM  
Blogger Little Miss Can't Be Wrong said...

thanks for the tips!! i think i'm one of those people who expect the item i'm looking for to be sitting under a gorgeous beacon of light, just waiting for me!

5:52 AM  
Blogger Paula - Buenos Aires said...

I really like the bits of beauty that you so lovingly take home. Sweet to see all the care and attention you put into it.

5:56 AM  
Blogger Olivia said...

Love this post. Total thrift store queen here. I collect vintage Pyrex and when I spot a beauty, I hear angels singing! LOL. Seriously, I have found awesome cast iron skillets, Le Creuset pots, Vera Neumann scarves, lots of vintage collectibles, and great furniture for repurposing projects. Have you ever been to Cucumberz on 7th Street/Ave (can never remember)? It's super cluttered and kinda scary, and some items are overpriced, but if you are up for digging, I have found some really great deals there too. Love this post <3!

8:21 AM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

Photobucket Photobucket

©2008 Sara Madrigal Fehling. All rights reserved.

Please do not take my photos without permission.

Contact me! sara.fehling@gmail.com

Related Posts with Thumbnails