I love thrift stores, Goodwill, junk yards, antique stores and dumpster diving. I love it so much that I stop on the side of road, often, to rescue something with potential. My kids think this is totally normal behavior. Aaron has learned to love this about me – here’s why:
I save a lot of money
With most of my finds being free (literally) and “in style” (refab, vintage, repurposed, industrial) we get the look we want for hundreds less. Sometimes the only thing needed is a bottle of spray paint, most of the time not even that. I don’t coupon, it stresses me out, not that I don’t strive for saving in our budget through deals or coupons … I just don’t practice grocery couponing and our kids eat all the time. Like, all the time. So it’s expensive to feed this house on a monthly basis … but since I spend almost nothing on decorating or redoing our homes it kind of comes out in the wash for us.
I always have an idea
With Pinterest – gathering ideas is easier than ever. I’m always on the lookout for DIY and how to’s that are easy to do and I find them via blogs all the time.
After reading about Young House Love’s nursery dresser I saw these babies in a local thrift store. Without seeing the idea I might have completely passed them up. I did a different finish on the dressers (we bought two) and now they’ve added character and functionality to each space we put them in. (see one in Jessica’s old bedroom below)
It’s never the same
I realize that, for some, this is the very reason they do not thrift. They don’t enjoy hunting, no matter how great a deal is. They want to walk in a store, see it, buy it and be done. If I have to step foot into a “regular” store I am all over this type of shopping; I only hunt while I’m “junking”. BUT I love that it’s never the same, that whatever I find probably won’t be available again. I do go enough that I’m aware of what’s “out” right now, so if I see something but want to think about it and someone else picks the item up in the meantime? I’m fairly confident that I can find something close enough (maybe better) if I decide to pull the trigger. Mainly though, the perk to this is that you’re really buying something unique.
Because I go often enough and am always checking out new places, when I see something “different” for a good price, I generally pick it up. Like the above tin. There are tins all over, but most of them have to do with Christmas. I had been looking for a tin for tea for a while when I came upon this one (for $2 even!) – I would have paid way more for a tin I liked because we drink tea every single day. This is an item I would be using constantly and maybe even passing it on to Jessica when she got her first place. I wanted something special, and I found it.
Materials are cheaper
If you sew, craft, make homemade gifts, can seasonal food, drool over etsy/pinterest, own a glue gun or love photos … you are spending way too much money buying your materials at retail prices.
I made this pouf with thrifted materials – 10 cents. The materials for this project cost me 10 cents. Even if it doesn’t turn out or I change my mind after one season of decorating, I’m fine with risking 10 cents on learning how to make one of these. Now I can play with other materials that I come across.
It takes time to familiarize yourself with what it might take to thrift in your comfort zone. I have NO problem bartering on the prices, some people do. I have no problem rifling through stuff to find what I’m looking for. I will totally knock on someone’s door if they have something sitting outside (and it looks abandoned) to see if it might be for sale (only if I’m serious and can pay for it right away).
Most people start with Goodwill or their local, trusted, thrift store – but they’re everywhere. Consignment shops CAN be good, but I mostly stick to legitimate donation based stores, or straight up antique markets and stores.
I probably missed something essential, so ask away in the comments, and while we’re chatting about all things thrift – I’m putting together details to take you all shopping with me! Thinking May 27th might be a great first shopping experience. From there we can move in to the individual mapping of great thrift stores in my area. I might make this a series for the summer on the blog if you’re interested.
OK, your turn!