Monday, March 22, 2010

Shopping Thrift: a review of tips for finding gems among junk

Good morning and happy Monday to you all! I missed you last week, and am so glad to be back here in this online space (I know--normally people don't feel this way when they return from spring break, but what can I say? I love my job!).

I am very excited to introduce a new series to you starting Next Week,
but before then, I've prepared a short montage of posts highlighting some of my favorite subjects and images from the past year. Beginning with thrift store shopping...

The honest truth is that I LOVE thrift store shopping. While other people crinkle their noses at weird smells and various vagrant shoppers, I see colorful neighbors and a world of possibility.

This is why Craig gets very, very nervous when I say I'm going "out" for bit.

"Out where?" he always wants to know,
afraid that I'll come back with some kind of hideous contraption that he can't stand the sight of.

To be fair, I have come home with a few hideous items that I was forced to promptly return. Items that undoubtedly came from someone's garage...and probably should have just stayed there. In other words, I have definitely made some choices in poor judgment. As such, I thought it prudent to share a few tips I've learned about thrift store shopping:
Tip #1: older furniture, though sometimes less fashionable, is usually better quality than new stuff. And since thrift stores tend to mark up what looks hip and current, you can usually find good deals on older pieces.

Tip #2: like with us ladies, it's the inside that counts. You can always makeover the surface or finish of a thrift store find--but it is much more difficult to fix water damage, poor construction, and misalignment.

Tip #3: thrift stores are great places to find kitchenware! Need a bundt pan or a 12-count fluted cupcake tray? Try a thrift store before you hit Wal-Mart and you might be surprised with what you find for a great bargain.

Tip #4 thrift stores are also great places to find fabrics. My favorites are the wool from men's suit jackets, and any type of high-quality sweater. Just make sure to check for stains and holes that are too large to fix--
Tip #5: shop often with an open mind. Thrift stores usually rotate their merchandise frequently, so you never know when you're going to run into something marvelous. And it helps to browse with a general--not specific--list of things you're interested in. Because rest assured, you'll find that perfect chair when you're searching for linens instead.

There are other tips, of course, and many of you have probably already read about them from my thrift store e-book. But since it is a popular season for giving our homes a little facelift, I thought it would be fun to revisit these ideas!

Do you have any thrift store treasures you'd like to boast about? Mine is definitely my mid-century modern armoire that I got for under $100! How about you?

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