My sister said to me the other day, "You always find the best stuff at garage sales!" Well, recently that seems to be true, but I guess what goes around, comes around, right? For every time that I score some really cool new thing, there are many, many more times when I walk away empty-handed.
I think that's an important part of shopping (Ah, how do I put this?) "vintage." Stuff at garage sales and thrift stores is cheap! So why not buy it, right? Sometimes that's true. If I find something that I think I might use someday, and it's a good price, I will usually snap it up. (The Nester had a great post on this recently, and I totally agree with her theories!) But I have to balance it with asking myself "Do I really like this, or do I like this because it's cheap?" "Where and how will I use this right now?" (This is for my husband's benefit. His blood pressure rises every time I put something else in the basement that "I can't use now but was such a great deal I had to buy it and we'll use it in the next house!")
That being said, there are times when you find something that you've been looking for, or that you know exactly how you want to use. I love that feeling! It's like a little victory against the big (and undeniably sexy) home stores that allow you to buy a whole room ("I'll take page 37 in Pottery Barn catalog, thank you very much!") with one credit card swipe. I doubt I will ever be in a tax bracket where I can do that. But lately I've been wondering: even if I could just buy everything new and perfect and pretty and shiny, with no elbow grease or spray paint, would I enjoy it?
See, for me at least, a lot of it is about the project itself. The hunt, the imagination it takes to bring something back from ugly. And to do it without spending a ton of cash. Would any of us trade that feeling of victory for an unlimited bank account to redecorate? Some days I definitely would! But ultimately I prefer the thrill of the chase. How about you?
OK, enough ranting. Let me show you a few goodies I have found lately! Below is a gorgeous old leather ottoman. It was sitting under a pile of old blankets at a garage sale and I "casually" (I think I am so sly) asked if it was for sale. The 18-year-old kid in charge of the sale ran into the house to ask, and came back out to say "Yeah, $5." I almost choked on my coffee! You have never seen anyone pull out a $5 bill faster than I did! :) A little leather cleaner and a cozy blanket on top of this guy was all it needed.
Next up is this kooky wire basket. I saw it at my local antique shop, sitting outside with the other yard stuff. It was only $8 and I thought it would be perfect for magazines, fluffy white towels in the bathroom, or about a million other things.
Next...oh, I am really excited about this! I had been eyeing those cool, vintage fans like this one at Restoration Hardware. But for $209 or more? I'll just stick my head in the freezer, thanks! But then I spotted this guy at a garage sale, and the woman told me it used to be her mother's, and that it sat in some kind of "domino hall" in Denver for years and years. I was sold because it's the perfect color, shape, and actually still works! Do you want to know what I paid for it? $5! Seriously? Who needs Restoration Hardware?
And because it's not all fun and games around here, I'll show you one more little item. Can't say I am as excited about actually using this, but nevertheless...Girls, this elliptical machine was $10! It's an older model but it works perfectly! Notice how it's in my basement rather than the pretty part of the house. I might need to glue gun some fabric to it just to entice myself to get working!
P.S. A few people have asked me where I go thrift store shopping here in Denver. My two favorite Goodwill shops are located 1) on Leetsdale Ave. and 2) on the corner of County Line and Broadway. Just check out Goodwill Denver's website for locations. Maybe I will see some of you there!