Tuesday, February 23, 2010


{thrifted light green and dark green pitchers, thrifted plate}
I am gradually answering your questions. Kristen asked about thrifting: "I would love to know what types of thrift stores you go to. I've also been wanting to make the Mama's Bag, but just can't find any lovely vintage fabric." I can relate! I am no expert or a particularly lucky thrifter at all, but here is what I have learned since I started thrifting, a year or so ago.
{thrifted wooden box for sewing notions}
:: one thing I always wondered when reading about lovely thrifting finds on others' blogs was "what kind of 'thrift' stores are they really going to because all they have at our thrift stores is junk." I still wonder about those lucky ladies on the east coast who seem to luck into beautiful vintage enamelware or wooden Waldorf toys because I definitely never run into those things here. What I have found is that even though our thrift stores seem junky and really rather gross, you can still have fun and find some rather wonderful things with patience and a sense of fun and a good eye.
:: I like to shop at thift stores that have an obvious connection to well known charities. In Ventura, I go to the Arc, the Coalition, and of course our beloved Bargain Box (Asisstance League).
{pretty thrifted blue plate with my Lisa Leonard necklace on it}
:: the more time you have to spend at it, I imagine the luckier you'd become. I have very little time to ever thrift, but I go in with an open mind and voila sometimes I get a real find, like the fabric for my "mama bag". It is perfect, and it came from luck and being open minded in a store otherwise filled with lots of "junky" stuff. (Faith found a darling sweater that same day in the same store).
{thrifted sheets and a tablecloth}
:: after watching The Story of Stuff I feel very good about opting out (to some small extent) of buying things new and not being as much a part of that environmental disaster. (To tell you the truth I've only watched a few minutes of the film, but enough to understand how the manufacturing industry hurts the earth. All that new stuff we buy all the time is headed straight to the landfill!)
{thrifted boots}
:: I've grown to like the aesthetic of having older more unique looking stuff around. We don't all have to aspire to have a home looking like something out of Pottery Barn. I've found I truly prefer and more quirky and personal look and it's more affordable and easier to attain. There is so much inspiration all around the blogs and flickr.
{thrifted small plates--I love them so!}
Does anyone have any good tips they'd like to pass along? If so, I'd love to hear them.


Anonymous said...

The most important tip regarding thrifting is you have to go often, several times a week. That way you're much more likely to score something amazing. If it's amazing it will only be there until someone snaos it up. The more you go, the more likely it is that'll be you.

Inoureyes said...

But how much time do we really need to put into "shopping"
If i go a lot through the week, yes i get some good things, but i also find i get way too many good things.
I have limited my time and go with the feeling "if it was meant to be, it will come home with me"

Little Island In The Med said...

I agree with you about maufacturing. I like the philosophy that "Everything you want is already out there somewhere, you just have to find it". I lived in Canada for two years with the most amazing thrift shops, but have now moved to the Mediterranean where they are hard to find. I really miss Value Village!

Jessica said...

I have to agree with lovestitches that you have to go often. I am lucky to have three thrift shops in town, all 5 minutes down the road from each other. When I have a few minutes, I stop in one or two. Most of the time I don't find anything, but when I'm not looking (key!) the most beautiful vintage sheets or Pyrex will surprise me.

dust in the wind said...

I love to hear the things you have to say. Have you heard of The Compact? Seems like it's going around. You can read about it here >>


Anyway, you sound like a natural at it! Happy hunting!

dustin @ www.onlydustinthewind.blogspot.com

Debs said...

My problem with stuff that is manufactured nowadays is that it is not built to last. I've just had to buy some new bedroom furniture - the third lot since we married 11 years ago because after about 2 years they fall to bits. Our parents have furniture that has lasted a lifetime. I think the same thing goes for electrical goods. I'm sure they lasted a lot longer in the good ol' days!

Rain said...

I love thrifting! Some weeks there's nothing and other weeks its a good score.
One thing that hasn't been mentioned are tag sales known as yard sales on the west coast?
I actually tend to do better at these than thrift shops and they tend to be cheaper. The sales held at churches are the best for vintage. Must be all the older ladies : )
I have scored vintage christmas decorations, sheets & sewing notions. My favorite find last year was a HUGE bag of knitting needles and sewing notions for $1!

Anonymous said...

You've found some really great things. I don't have any tips. It seems to be just the 'luck' of what I find when I am there. I think if I went more often I would see more but I don't always make the time with two little kids running around.

Kristen said...

Mary Beth, thank you so much for answering my question! I love the little glimpses we get into your lovely home, and it is a good reminder that we don't all have to have a home that looks like it fell out of the pages of Pottery Barn. : )

It's also nice to read that my thrifting experiences sound pretty normal and one of these days I'll stumble upon my perfect Mama Bag fabric!

Thanks again, Mary Beth!

Fiona said...

I've just started dipping my toe into thrifting. I love your mellow attitude and the fact you don't go often. I get discouraged when I hear people saying they go once a week because I don't have the time and energy for that. Better to go seldom than not at all. Thanks for reminding me:)

Andrea said...

I love how you admit that your thrift stores are "junky and kind of gross"...the smell of Goodwill sicks me out, but I love big old antique barns full of stuff.

Heather said...

Wow, this is so much goodness. I love everything! We have 5 stores in our town, all right next to each other, and I have to agree that it is important to go often. I do it in spurts, and I tend to avoid burnout that way

Little Ol' Liz said...

I so rarely buy retail anymore after turning to thrifting -- I think the key is to anticipate the need well in advance so you can plan for it. Holiday dec comes out a good month before, so plan. Need a special dress for an event? Plan for it. Our family motto is "Everything goes to GoodWill." We wait for all those "as seen in TV" items to show up there before we buy it. By then we've read some product reviews and decide in advance if we really need in, not just want it.

If only you could get groceries the same way!

Redbeet Mama said...

Funny you should say that about the east coast _ I have found and bought many Waldorf toys at the thrift stores. However, most people around my neck of the woods or tail end of the city doesn't seem to know about Waldorf education - maybe that is why the toys are there for me to buy. My favorite thrift stores are BATS in Bryn Athen Pa and the Goodwill in Brookfield Ct.
I love your new finds!

Once Upon A Parent said...

You have definitely had some amazing luck at thrifting. I love to see your finds. I find the best things at church thrift shops. They seem to have the best prices because there not looking for the big bucks like some of the chain thrift shops. We have one here were everything is about a buck or less.

Sarah said...

just found you thanks to flower patch farmgirl and loving you. can't wait to take awhile and read through. recipes look like just what i'm looking for!

Molly said...

I love this post, it's ethic and aesthetic. And having lived all my life on the West coast and recently uprooted toward the East, I must confirm: the thrifting's MUCH better here. The West wins overall, but you know, there's just more old stuff back yonder. I'd add, only, that "antique" stores can often yield amazing finds, even in the West, even better than "thrift stores". If you keep your eyes and mind open, you can find wonderful everything, for just a few dollars. What great pitchers, those green lovelies!

hanna said...

You have some wonderful finds!
I do love thrifting and I think the key is to have an open mind as you say, and be patient - things come along if you are patient.