thrift it like it's hot

Thrifting- going to second hand stores to buy other people's junk.

Yep, that's what it is.  I can't flower it up- it's buying stuff other people are tired of, have no use for or think is junk.  It's used, it might be old, it can be dirty, it can possibly have an odour.  That description sounds like someone I know.....

Now, I realize that thrifting is not for everyone.  Not everyone has a grand old time hitting up the stores, digging through crap to find some kind of treasure.  And that's ok.  More for me.

I love thrifting.  I may have a slight problem with how much I love it.  I come from a long line of junk lovers- my folks were antique-ers before antiquing was cool.  My dad had no qualms about grabbing stuff left out for junk at the side of the road.  Both our homes are filled with those pieces reborn- and I challenge you to pick them out.  

My home is filled with thrifted pieces.  I love going to second hand stores and going through the shelves to see what is waiting to be found.  Some stuff is amazing, some is meh and some is downright scary - I am talking about you, faceless dolls who stand in the corner.  It just takes time, patience and a bit of an understanding of your style.

I'm going to try and share some tips with you that have helped me accumulate my collection of favourite things.  And I'm including some pics of things I found on a recent thrifting excursion.

Let's start with the fact that I am NO expert.  I don't know how you become a thrift expert, maybe it's knowledge of what is real and what is reproduction, or what is good and what is just garbage, or what stuff is worth?  No idea.  But, I do think I've been doing it long enough to be able to say, I have no idea know what I'm doing.  Kind of.

Go often.   .

Yes, sorry to tell you that one trip to the thrift store won't a collection make. You might get an amazing haul, you might find nothing.  That's part of the thrill of the hunt.  I am sporadic with how often I go- it's at least once a month, sometimes once a week.

I collect old brass candlesticks, they aren't there every time I go, so I go often to slowly build up my collection.

No one is looking at you.

I know no one wants to admit to this.  The first few times you go into the thrift store, I'm sure you're looking around to see if anyone you know is in there.  Cause who wants to be seen going through other people's junk!  Well guess what pal, if you see someone you know- they are in there too!
I also thrift a whole lot of my clothes, and my kids' clothes.  That sometimes can feel weird looking through used clothes- but who cares.  It's good for the environment, and (if you don't shop there constantly) it's good for the wallet too.  If someone gives you the look for it- that's their problem, not yours.  (um, and PS, I just scored a Burberry trench at the thrift store.  Yes, I did.)

Go at the change of seasons

Think of when you generally do a closet or basement clean out, for most people that's at the end of one season or start of the next.  That's also those times when I make some really good finds.  Along with this goes shopping off season.  I usually find a bunch of my holiday pieces in the summer- think Halloween and Christmas pretty much all year.

Part of me is kicking myself for not scooping this up.

I still want this Santa.

Look for markings or where it's made

There are some mighty good reproductions out there and sometimes even I can get snookered.  I find this is really the case in dishware and pottery.  Flip it over, see if you can find where it's made.  The little paper Christmas houses I collect, the real vintage ones are stamped as made in Japan.  I've seen some that look similar, but if it doesn't say Japan, it's not a real Putz house.  I recently picked up a pottery bowl, and my gut told me it wasn't a reproduction but it had no markings and I have seen pieces like these at lots of antique and vintage markets.  My good buddy Laurie from Vinyetc is pretty sure it's a piece of primitive yellow ware.  She's so sure, she wants me to mail it to her so she can check to be sure.  I'll get right on that.  ;)

Look past the dirt and the wobbly leg- but don't buy it if it's broken

A coat of grime you can clean off, a coat of paint you can sand off, a wobbly leg you can fix- but if something is broke a$$ broken, don't waste your money.  I wash ALL THE THINGS when I get home.  Dishware hopefully will go in the dishwasher to get that big blast of heat, or I fill the sink with scalding hot water and hand wash.  Linens and clothes- washing machine right away.  And I have purchased shoes (Tim won't even buy those) and I throw those in the washing machine too.  Not that the previous owners had cooties, but, you never know.  And, lots of thrift stores don't clean the merch, they just price the donations and put them on the floor.

I thought these two were super cute, but the chip on the nose, and how light weight they were made me take a pass.

Buy it because you like (love) it

This is so anti-Marie Kondo, but if you like it, grab it.  It won't be there the next time you go in.  You don't have to have a place in mind for it- but if you like it, you probably will have a good idea.  But, like it.  Really like it.  If you're so-so on it, take a pass.  If you start thrifting, there's a darn good chance you are going to start accumulating crap, make sure it's crap you love, not that you're meh about.

Did I like it?  Yes.  Did I love it?  Maybe.  Did I leave it?  Yes.

Ask yourself
"Does this work with other things I have?"

Thrifting is work, isn't it?!  It might take you a few trial and errors to really figure out what works with what you've got.  I gravitate towards rustic, farmhouse-y stuff (this used to be called country back in the 80's and 90's, but it doesn't sound as cool now) and 50's vintage, but a more June Cleaver style as opposed to a Don Draper-after-Betty style.  It's like I'm my grandma, and I'm ok with that.  So I won't buy some Mid-Century mod piece, even if I think it's crazy cool, because it's just not going to work with my stuff and I'm going to end up donating it back once I accept that.

Pretty trendy little piece here.  I've seen it now the last couple times I've been in.  It's not my colours- and it I don't think it would work with my stuff.  And for $7 and the good chance it's gonna sit in my basement- pass.

Just do it.

Find a store in your area and go.  Probably find two so you can do a comparison ;)
You might surprise yourself at how much you enjoy finding cool old junk- or the stuff you had when you were at kid.  I get a little stupid when I see Babysitter's Club books or old board games my brother and I used to play.  If you go and if you find something great or weird (I have found some SUPER weird stuff) use the hashtag #onehouse2barnsthrifts and we can see what you've found.

Here's what I actually grabbed during this trip....

This ceramic gravy separator.  I have never seen one like this before.  It's stamped China, but it's an older style stamp, so I know this isn't something newer.  I will never use it for it's purpose, but I loved the kitschy-ness of it, the colours and anything with words on it, I am a sucker for.

I grabbed a big old bag of embroidery floss for some Christmas projects I was thinking about just the other night- I can't get this many for $1.99 anywhere else. Plus lots of great colour.  Three old hooks just cause.  And that outlet cover.  Oh, I love it. Too bad it wasn't till I got home that I realized we have those square GFI outlets.  Grrr.

Now come on.  This was my big score today.  It's big enough to hold a small Christmas tree in the winter and perfect for a planter in the spring.  I'm having a moment with enamelware, so I was pretty happy with this guy.

The first time I went out with the purpose of taking pics for this post, was a complete and total bust.  I didn't find a single thing.  And that's just the way she goes. 

Happy thrifting people!

Until next time,