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Sunday, February 23, 2014



If you know me, you will agree that one of my quirks is a profound love of thrift shops.  I have been haunting these places since I was about 14 or 15 years old.  

I remember how I discovered that unique, cool stuff could be found in these places, by asking my friend's sister where she bought her [way cool, embroidered gauzy boho/gypsy] shirt?  She told me she had purchased it in a thrift shop in Rutland called "Gypsy's".  And a star was born....

This paragraph has been edited for clarification:
In 2001 to 2003, I was so very, very fortunate to have been hired as the Store Manager at The Second Glance ReSale Shop in Gloucester, Massachusetts. The store (still in operation) supports hunger relief efforts for The Open Door.  (Every dollar beyond operating costs supports hunger relief program for Cape Ann) The generosity of that community was beyond wonderful.  I bought many items while I worked there, most of which I still own.  I loved dickering with people, and I think they loved it, too.  I loved this job!

If you visit the City of Gloucester, be sure to check out  Bananas where you will find a lovely selection of both new and vintage clothing - always clean and pristine.  Tell Richard or Debbie that I sent you! :)

"The Hunt" - why I love thrift

First of all, I have said countless times that to me, "the hunt" is the fun.  The challenge.  Go ahead into your local mall, and have a look around.  Yesterday, I went into the local mall where I found the same styles hung in multiplicity.  There was no sense of adventure, no discovery; and, quite frankly, there was nothing unique or interesting.  When I shop thrift, it feels as if I can find something that says "me" - almost always in perfect to excellent condition, often with the original tags still on it.  Like they say on the television show - you'll never know WHAT will walk through that door.

The difficulty of the "hunt" is commonly too many clothes on a rack, jammed in like sardines, but I've been doing this so long, that I can scan a rack, and if the fabric is interesting or catches my eye, I will examine it.  I normally won't pull out every article to look at it. 

Let your eyes do the walking - look around, under racks and against the walls.  Open drawers and dig in boxes.  

Create your own style

This is another factor that I truly love about shopping at a thrift or re-store.  I think most of my clothing makes a statement about me, and I am frequently complimented on my clothing.  At home, I love to show off what I have bought for furniture or goods - and then tell you the price tag.  Find something that makes a statement about "you", would be my advise.

When you hit it, you hit it.  When you don't you don't:

Save money

Here is the biggest factor about shopping thrift.  Go ahead, look online or go into a store for comparison.  If you have never done this, it is definitely worth your time. Instead of going into a long diatribe about the obvious, let me just share with you some of my best finds:

4 Solid Mahogany, ornate dining room chairs - total cost?  $2.00 each!  I found them at an estate sale, in Plainfield, Vermont .(I bought new suede to recover them for about $24.00.  Still, worth the price.)

2 over sized red velvet pottery barn chair covers, still in the bag, never opened..  Original price tag $699.00 each (that's $1,398.00 total).  I bought both of them for $8.00.

Ralph Lauren crocheted vest w/ the tags still on it.  Original price?  $159.00 - I paid .75 cents, in Saugerties, New York.

Large Victorian Chaise Lounge - $40.00 (needed to be reupholstered - that's not a problem for me, I did it my self!)

Victorian red velvet covered mini love seat in excellent condition, and did not require reupholstering- $50.00

Hand-Carved Colbalt Salt Glazed Williamsburg pottery vase - .25 cents

2 pairs of Jessica Simpson boots (in the box/never worn) - original price?  $198 each.  I got them - free, at a church give away.

Wilson Leather coat, hooded and lined, tags still on it, never worn - original price tag was $499.00?  Yup.  I got it Free at the same give away....and an extra bonus was finding another free one for summer time when Russ and I travel on the motorcycle.

This was a very short list of things that I have found out hunting, and I maintain my bragging rights!

Pass it on  

My mantra is to pass it on. Who doesn't like to get a bag of clothes from a family member or a friend?  

Didn't fit?  Don't like it after all?  Not really your style? 

Give it away, sell it, or consign it.  Pass it on!  You are still recycling, and saving.

And of course, the 3-R's...

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle 

Open your mind when looking around one of these stores.  Like it but not sure?  Can you recover it? paint it? glue it? stain it? sew it?  Don't let a little laziness let you loose sight of the big picture!

Check out some of the amazing "Up-Cycling" that people are doing (pictured below). In my opinion it is a gift to the world, as it's eco-friendly.  These crafty and creative people really deserve some credit!

If you get sick of stuff, have a yard sale and make a few bucks back.  Donate the rest.  Just don't bring it back into your house! 

Rinse, wash, repeat.

Up-Cycled Products - Look what YOU can do!

Upcycling is cool, in my humble opinion!