Come along Thrifting, Part Un {1}

join us at the Thrift-shop

Hey Thrift Shop Treasure Hunters!

Just taking a few minutes of your mid-week day to get your frugalness in high gear while planning a pre-thrift store adventure for next week!  Mom & I will be out & about on Monday {after I work the weekend @ the 9-5’er} & thrift shops on the agenda.

This got me to wondering….how thought of this great idea?  Come to find out,  this idea was not at all popular & in the colonial era, used goods were considered harmful & tainted.  The Saturday Evening Post printed a short story in 1884 about a girl who bought a pre-owned dress from behind the counter of a resale store run by a Jewish woman.  In short she developed small-pox leading readers to correlate bigotry with secondhand clothing ‘dangers’ .  This was during a time of anti-semitism.  In 1902 Rev. Helms founded what would later be known as Goodwill Industries.  During that same time Americans viewed this Christian charity as acceptable, a concept of collecting no longer used goods from donations, employing disadvantaged people & putting them together in an effort to make it a useful venture.

Fast forward a few decades to today & all I know is I’m glad people want to give away or sell for less their slightly used clothing, furniture, housewares & such!  One adorable story in our family is our daughter’s favorite winter coat.  Always a fan of Goodwill, I shopped there often for the kiddos clothes.  I mean, why not?  They would outgrow them in a year or less, get stained, frayed, etc.  Even I thought it was a score when I saw a black, shiny Barbie coat with multi-color sparkles all over.  It was indeed super cute, clean {I would wash it once home anyway} & in great condition; I snatched it right up! Daughter knew it came from Goodwill too.  It was not a shameful thing to us, we were thrilled to get good deals.  When someone would compliment her in her 6 year old cuteness & the coat, she’d proudly boast “I got it at Goodwill!”  🙂   In her world, it was from Neiman Marcus.  It doesn’t get more adorable than that!

There are many more treasures ort family has brought home from all types of secondhand stores….too many to list so let’s talk some basics.  Be ready to rummage & get a little dirty.  This stuff isn’t out of a box, it’s been sitting around, maybe in someone’s garage or basement & then donated or brought in for a small profit to take it off their hands.  If you’re a bit edgy on this part, bring along some hand sanitizer.  If what you’re looking at has drawer, pockets, cubbies {you get the idea}, open then. look in, under & around.

Are you new to thrifting & don’t know where to start?  Do a quick google or FB search. Look at the reviews & comments, sometimes there will be listed other stores = bonus! Once you visit a few places, ask the person at the counter “Are there any other places around I should visit?” It never hurts to ask!  If you end up with a favorite place or two, make friends with the workers/owner.  Only lady brought cookies as a thank you for the staff helping her find something & after that they took her number & would call her when they saw something come in she might be interested in {Wow}!

Ok, this is no place to haggle.  The price is normally fair enough & please consider that most places are charity or private, small business owners who we need to support. Speaking of price, don’t get caught up in the cheapness….think to yourself ‘do I like it?’ & if you do and it’s a price you’re okay with, then by all means, buy it.  But if you spy a dozen or so things just because they’re say, 99 cents, you might be bringing them back…as a donation.

General rules I follow are:  if it’s broken or chipped, is that something I can live with, can I turn it around so that spot is not visible, could it be painted over to hid it?  If not, I will probably pass.  Do I really like it but not the color?  Depending on the material most everything is paintable!  One item I liked, a fake African violet, was drab, dusty & in a plain terra cotta pot.  After I quick rinse under the faucet & air dry, I painted the leaves, some of the petals and covered the pot with scrapbook paper using Modge Podge & wah-lah, it’s on the bookcase at my 9-5’er office!

Give back!  Some things I accumulate over time are still in good shape & I like to think someone else might think it’s a good find.  At least once a year I take a few bags to Goodwill.  They are happy to give a receipt too if want to see if it’s tax deductible. Luckily, we have a favorite secondhand clothing, accessories & small home decor shop we regularly visit.  Daughter & I are both ‘vendors’ & we all buy fun things there too.  It’s not going to supplement our income by any means but it’s a nice way to feel good after spending a little more for an item & being able to recoup some of it.  They have a few rules {like many independent shops} of taking non-Walmart, Target, K-mart, etc. brands, this keeps the selection a little higher end but still within a price range most can afford. There is one previously local family that ships their rarely-used things back to our favorite shop with brands like Juice Couture, Tiffany, Coach & Jimmy Choo!

Final thoughts:  keep an open mind, be prepared to walk away with nothing and be okay with that & delight in the found treasure{s}. Remember it’s all about the hunt & if you’re lucky like me, priceless time spent with your Mom ❤

Happy Thrifting!!!


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