02 November 2009

A Renewed Interest in Thrift Shopping

Over the past year, as we have all become more aware of the unpredictability of the world we live in, I have found a renewed and increased interest in the frugality and simplicity of thrift shopping. It’s a phenomenal way to save money, a fun treasure hunt and a great means of recycling useful items. It’s also a beautiful give and take: give away what you don’t need (which is also a fantastic tax write-off if you take the time to get the receipt properly filled out when you drop things off) and a great way to get high-quality things you really need without paying new prices.

As I look around at my home, I realize how much money I’ve saved over the years furnishing it with thrift store finds and how much this has personalized my surroundings. I see a favorite dresser which has held my clothes and valuables in at least 6 different homes, price $14. On top of it rests a beautiful mirror I bought for $10 many years ago. Across the room is another dresser, $29, which is chest-high, just the perfect height to break up the visual elements in a room. I stained it dark brown and tripled its value when I purchased 12 knobs for seven drawers from Anthropologie.

On each side of my bed sit nightstands, $9 each, non-matching, painted in black with matching antique handles purchased in a NYC salvage shop. No one has ever noticed they aren’t identical and with a small shelf on the bottom and drawer above they are perfect for storing a few favorite books, lip balm and other bedside necessities.

In the front hall is a small buffet, $14, one of my first furniture finds, which had been painted a horrible baby blue. I stripped it, painted the body beige, the doors a brick red and installed new patterned glass, $20, in the four small doors panels of the cabinet. It served as an excellent TV stand until recently. A fabulous and perfect chocolate brown armoire, $99,  now houses the TV and accompanying electronics and below there is plenty of room to store a few toys for kid visitors. Above the couch are two paintings, originally $200 each that I bought new for $20 and over the fireplace is a large oil painting of dark red poppies on a hill overlooking a lake, $20.

In my office is a small faux-bamboo table, $29, which was once an ugly and dingy off-white. I stained it dark brown and it has worked as a side table and storage area for guests in two different homes. In that room there is also an old cabinet, $15, I painted beige and added big metal rose petal knobs, again from Anthro.

In each room the thrift pieces mixed with other design elements from other eras, some new, some used, give the room a depth and charm that could not be achieved at a big box furniture store. People often comment on pieces and I am pleased to know that my instincts were right with each purchase prominently featured in my home. That is not to say that there haven’t been a few mistakes that never worked along the way. Another blessing of thrift shopping is that I am more willing to take creative risks to repaint, reuse and refashion pieces because I purchased them second-hand. And as the years pass, I find I am more and more fond of the unusual, imperfect and non-matching than I am in things that come in pairs or are without ding or scar.

A regular feature here on kalanicut will be thrift shopping adventures. My next thrift store share will be tips & hints for easy, successful and regular thrift shopping adventures.  I often hear non-thrifters complain about never finding anything good when they walk into a store. We’ll cover that topic and more. My third thrift shopping entry will detail amazing purchases I’ve made this year and a few before and afters. Until then, I’d love to hear about your thrift shopping experiences. Do you have a favorite all-time thrift purchase? Does thrift shopping frustrate you? If yes, why? Share your recent thrifting adventures!

1 comment:

Mariah said...

After I quit work to stay home with my now three-year-old twin girls, I started learning about kid's consignment sales. They are AMAZING! I've always loved a good deal and with consignment sales you price your items and then sell them to other moms. It's basically like a huge garage sale hosted by someone else. I typically save 80 to 90% on slightly used items and make money doing it. My best find so far was a brand new pair of pedi ped shoes for $3 that retail for over $30. My goal is to only spend what I plan on making which works out great. The two that I know of in the Los Angeles/Ventura area are www.lakidsconsignment.com and www.kidsconsignment4you.com.


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