I love junk stores, thrift stores and flea markets. I always have. I shop them regardless if I’m working or not. I shop them at home and on vacation. I don’t go thrifting because I have to; I go thrifting because I want to. I’ll admit I love the thrill of the hunt but what I truly appreciate is the act of recycling and re-purposing something, anything, that someone once loved or found useful. From vintage aprons and cookware, lightly used and abused furniture to designer purses, hand-knitted scarves and glassware, there are gems lurking everywhere (and money to be saved) if you are only willing to search.
And its not about finding a discarded and overlooked fortune – more often than not its about finding that discarded piece, seeing the potential and transforming into a personal treasure. I’m not searching for Gustav Stickley, Duncan Fife or Renoir (although I certainly do keep an eye open for such treasures) but rather for good lines and interesting features.
There are excellent reasons to thrift:
- Thrifting is good for the environment. This one is pretty obvious. Recycling and re-purposing items keeps them out of the landfills.
- It saves you money and you are supporting local businesses, sometimes charities, and other organizations.
- The fun is in the bargains you find when you come across some great things.
Thrifting is not for the timid. Bring gloves or hand sanitizer and start digging! Dress comfortably so you can move around easily, and bring a buggy or cart so you don’t have to carry everything. Most of all keep an open mind when viewing things, an item’s original intent doesn’t have to be so – doors can become tables, windows can become picture frames…
What I’m on the lookout for varies from week to week or even day to day, depending on what craft or design project(s) I’m working on, what mood I’m in, or what catches my eye. Near the top of my items-most-frequently-purchased list are things like: vintage cookbooks, linens; wicker; outdoor décor; chairs that can be easily reupholstered; furniture that I can refinish; unique decor pieces; and vintage dishes, silver and bakeware. And I am a sucker for 50’s and 60’s pieces – from toys to furniture to clothing…