Thrifting


When I was a small child we drove our garbage to the dump. Our neighbors had oil cans and would burn theirs, but my mother hated the smell so we’d go the dump. I remember that my father would nose around and find things, useful things, that others had thrown away. I’m fairly certain he found most of the building materials necessary for the greenhouse he built behind our house.

My grandmother, my mother’s mother, was the president of her antique’s club in Troy, New York. She would have turned her nose up at my father’s dump habit but really it’s not that different from rescuing junk from rummage sales, second hand and antique shops. The end result is that same. You have some worth having and you got it on the cheap.

One of my favorite thrifting finds. It’s an early 20th century reproduction of a Chinese porcelain pillow from the Kangxi dynasty. It’s not collectable but I still thinks it’s amazing.

So, I come by my thrifting abilities naturally. Here are a few things I’ve learned:

  1. You need to go frequently and get a feeling for the various thrift stores. Different stories have different specialties. One might be good for dishes, another might be good for artwork. After a few visits you’ll know where the best stuff is.
  2. Pay attention to what kind of people donate. A women’s center has a different donating base than a Salvation Army. You want to think about where the rich people in your area drop things off.
  3. Monday mornings. People drop things off all weekend. By Monday morning they usually have a glut. A glut means a lot to choose from.
  4. Don’t look for specific things. If you go into a thrift shop thinking I want cheese knives they won’t have them. If you go in and look at everything they have, once in a while, you’ll see cheese knives. Since you need them, grab them.
Nearly everything in this picture is a thrift store treasure. Especially the fish tureen $4.99 which I have named Mr. Limpet.

I buy a lot of stuff at Good Wills. They seem to be very good in Michigan–though I have a lot of luck at St. Vincent DePaul as well. Typically, I buy things at $3.99 to $4.99 come home, look up whatever it is and discover that it sells on line for $10 to $15 dollars. That doesn’t mean I could get that but it does mean it’s what it would have cost — plus shipping — had I shopped online.

Categories: Decorating the house

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