May 17, 2010

Thrift Stores R A Gold Mine

I have bought just about everything I could buy at thrift stores, excepting underpants. Example:

  • Facial tissue (unopened boxes of course)
  • Environmentally friendly indoor and exterior Halogen "flood" and "spotlight" bulbs
  • Hand-made stationery
  • Wine glasses
  • Shoes (since put a halt to this, deciding it wasn't good for my feet and bones)
  • Room-size wool rugs (2)
  • Brand new wooden porch swing
  • Caulk, bathroom towel rods
  • Espresso machine
  • Leather desk accessories
  • Fur-trimmed wool coats (2)
  • iPod dock / radio
  • Ion hairdryers 2)
  • Jack LaLanne's Power Juicer, new in box and wrapper

Things I've never purchased at a thrift store: live plants, food, toiletries, running shoes, my iPhone and MacBook Pro, a Sharpie, current calendars.

I'm thrilled to find I'm in fine company. That of Church Norris Mailer, author, sixth wife and now widow of Norman Mailer (who was 26 years her senior), step-mother and mother to nine.

She was profiled in the 4 April 2010 New York Times Magazine, and I was interested to discover that whilst meeting with the story's interviewer, Alex Witchel, she stopped into Housing Works, a thrift store she visits every week.

Stopping in the store re-energized Ms. Mailer, who has cancer.

"'They had nothing last week,' she said, whipping through the first rack...She found a copper-colored double strand of beads with crystals for $8. 'That's going home with me.' ...Was her Louis Vuitton bag real? 'Yeah, you've got to have one or two good things so no one knows you're wearing Housing Works.'"

One thrift store near my home has survived since the Great Depression. I walk by it daily, and for years thought it just a bunch of junk, never entering the store. It wasn't odiferous, but neither did it have that scent-sational effect you get when you step into an Origins store.

For every trip I've made to Bloomingdale's or Macy's in the last five years, I've probably gone into the two Salvation Army stores nearest me five times as frequently.

Truth is, Broke Girl really isn't broke, and that is one of several reasons why. She regularly collects gushy compliments from shopgirls the few times she goes into snobby boutiques--while wearing one of her two vintage, mint-condition, wool and mink-collared coats she's picked up for $25 and $35 each. She never reveals this to the shopgirls, of course, Let them surmise she inherited them, or picked them up at a Parisian flea market.

Tip of the Day:
Look for your nearest Goodwill store (got an extra wide ironing board I was not able to find anywhere else), Salvation Army Thrift Store (the $35 coat and brand-new Jack LaLanne Juicer), hospital thrift shop (new-in-box-and-wrapper espresso maker), generic thrift store (jigsaw puzzles for family holidays), or junk shop (primitive, carved single-piece wood that may have been used as coin drawer/ register in a general store), $10.00.  I think it's a totally beautiful decor item--one you'll never spot at Pottery Barn.

1 comment:

  1. I ran across your blog when someone else linked to it (can't remember who). I've been enjoying it ever since.

    I'm fairly new to thrifting. It was seeing other people's blog posts about their amazing finds that got me interested in it. I haven't been disappointed. I recently bought a fabulous new crockpot for a mere $6. I'm not sure it had ever been used. I even once found a brand-new Le Creuset pot with all of the stickers still on it--for only $11. (Sold that on Ebay and bought my husband an X-Box for Christmas with the proceeds.) And there have been the mundane household necessities that were nice to find for so much less than retail (AC filter, chandelier globe to replace one I broke, lightbulbs, etc.)

    I just wish I'd known about all this earlier in life. Look forward to reading future blog posts!