Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Thrift Store Shopping

Until about a year and a half ago, I had never stepped foot into a thrift store. Then I became friends with someone who loves to go "thrifting". There is an abundance of thrift stores in my area and I have come to love wandering through these stores in search of hidden treasures.

Awhile back Simple Mom posted 12 Tips for Thrift Store Shopping. Those are some great tips!

I find thrift stores are a great source of inspiration for me. I wander through and look for things that I can embellish, alter and repurpose. Every store that I've been to has a small section with crafty odds n' ends. I found a brand new thread organizer that retails for $15 for $3. I found my craft tote that was a file box in it's first life. I have found lots of fabric remnants and yarn, and embroidery thread. Recently, I purchased a grab bag of vintage jewelry for $8 and I didn't realize what treasures I had found until I got home. It was filled with everything from junky broaches I can alter, to what looks like diamond pendants, a couple of watches, some gorgeous earrings I can use as charms for my jewelry making, and a whole lot of other shiny odds n' edds that I can use as embellies on my projects.

Thrift stores are also an incredible source for baskets and storage containers. I may never pay full price for another basket. My first thrift store purchase was a large wicker trunk with an original "blue tag" of $24 but the day I found it blue tag items were 50% off so I got it for $12. What a steal! I use it to store my fabric stash.

I feel GOOD when I shop at thrift stores. I'm helping out the charity that runs the store and the people it serves by paying money for their donated items. I'm helping the environment by reusing what's already produced, rather than buying it new. And, I'm helping out my pocketbook because I get such great deals!

One very important tip to remember when thrifting is that you need to know how much things retail for as brand new items. Sometimes it makes sense to buy it new. For example, when I was in the market for a sewing machine, I found several at thrift stores. But, they looked like they were about 20 yrs old and were missing the manuals. As a brand new sewer, it was important that I have a reliable machine, with a manual that I could refer to and a warranty should I need it to be repaired.

Some of my favorite things to look for in thrift stores are: storage containers, dishes that I can use for storage and linens that are gently used that I can use for sewing projects.

I'm going to start posting some of my thrift-store finds on Thursdays in a new series I'll be calling Thrifty Thursday!

What are your favorite thrift store finds?