5.21.2009

Thoughts on Thrifting

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!

Now, go out and get you some bargains!

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! 


73 comments:

Ms. Tee said...

So true! I was just thinking about this the other day, how I don't think I would enjoy things nearly as much if they didn't involve the hunt & some work. I love it when things have a "story" behind them, too. And how great that you said you like "the imagination it takes to bring something back from ugly". Funny but so true! Oh, and you totally scored with that ottoman and fan - I love them! :)

frillsfluffandtrucks said...

$10 for an elliptical? Oh I shudder to think how many $100s we spent on ours...and it sits unused in the garage. Not good!

The ottoman is quite a find!

~ Sarah

Gray Matters said...

Love your finds - I need to get my rear in gear and find some garage sales.

Kitty Scraps said...

Wow you hit the jack pot with that elliptical! We scored a Nordic trac for $20 and it sits unused in our back room *smiles* I don't feel guilty though cause it was so cheap *smiles*

Wendy @ The Shabby Nest said...

The key to thrifting is definitely patience. Great finds!

Momma to Bug said...

Seriously!?!? You have to tell me what area of Colorado you live in so I can go to Garage Sales there. I live about 20 miles NE of downtown and do not find stuff nearly that good (and for such a bargain) hardly EVER! Good idea for a post...you inspired me to want to do the same thing b/c I think in the past five years I've found one or two good deals I could share with you!
-Desiree

Kelli said...

I love the wire basket! It's my new thing. I'll have to be on the lookout. Thanks for sharing.

Nikki said...

You have had some great finds! I'm trying to learn to be patient. We live in such a small town that good stuff is harder to come by.

I do enjoy the whole process and and sense of accomplishment when I find something cheap and make it look high end for little money.

the pleasures of homemaking said...

Oh my gosh $10 for an eliptical!! $5 for the ottoman - goodness you did so well!!

I always find good stuff at the thriftstore but I only have but so much room to store stuff. So unless I really really really think I can't live without it I usually pass it up. I "mostly" buy things I use right away. You're still spending money even if the thing is cheap - it's not free just cheap and all those little cheap things can add up after a while!

Manuela

Jessica said...

You are good! Sooner than later, you're going to have me garage saling!

Lisa-Marie said...

I love thrift shopping. I think yuo are right though, most of the time, its best to buy only things you know what you will do with. Unless you just really love it, and then It's ok too!

Our best 'thrift' recently was from Gumtree, which is a UK based communtiy website. We got out pine coffee table for £25 which is about £40. However it is like new, it is huge, and it needed no work whatsoever. My husband has gone about sitting cups on it though, because he likes things to 'look used'.

Man this is a long message! I love your blog! x

Shannon said...

Great finds!! I cannot believe the deal on that fan!

Jboo said...

You are simply the best! I have started at looking at stuff I used to call "junk" in a whole new light! Great finds!

Janet

Chris said...

$5.00 for a leather ottoman!? That's crazy. Pure craziness, I tell ya! I like what you said..."Do I like it because I really want it, or simply because it's so cheap?" I struggle with that, too, and I'm certainly trying to be more conscious of it!

southerninspiration said...

WOW,Carrie, GREAT treasures you found!

suzanne

Blanca said...

Thrifting can be a bit of a challenge especially if you do buy stuff just because it's cheap. Trust me I've had several breakdowns about this. I found myself with too much stuff I didn't need. I'm slowly working on that. I won't say I'm cutting it completely out but just being more careful about the purchases I make.

~Carole said...

Great finds! I love thrifting. In fact, I'll be hitting garage sales with my mother-in-law very soon. It's fun to do it by yourself, but even more fun to go with someone of the same mindset.

Enjoy the fan! It's gorgeous.

Chandra said...

Love that fan...and the price! I have turned into a garage sale/thrift/antique store junky in the past few years. It's ridiculous to pay full price for anything, and the thrill is in the hunt!

Emily said...

I like the hunt, but then sometimes I get tired of it and just want what I want. If you know what I mean?

Laurel @ Ducks in a Row said...

I love making things, and I love making it custom. It fits what I want, not what PB tells me to want, does that make sense. Also, I love that no one else has it!

ALVN of WhisperWood Cottage and Junkologie said...

All the finds are fabulous! I love thrifting because of the creativity and the finds. Buying all new just doesn't feel right. I like the quality and history of older pieces.

Amy

Jessica said...

I'm usually not a garage saler, but I found one near home this weekend and put it on my calendar. I'm hoping to score some great things!

Justin and Jenn said...

Oh my goodness- are we the same person?!? I totally agree with you! I LOVE the thrill of the hunt! And your thrifty finds are great!

Stacey @ The Blessed Nest said...

Those are some great things! I especially love that ottoman! :)

Julie said...

Great post I think I love the hunt and the story behind something than sometimes having something new. You totally scored this time around. Have a great weekend
julie

Lisa said...

LOVED, LOVED, LOVED, EVERYTHING BUT THE LAST ITEM... I AM A LAWNSALE-AHOLIC, AND REGULARLY ATTEND MEETINGS IN MY AREA. JUST KIDDING ON THE MEETINGS PART. MY HOUSE WAS DECORATED WITH LAWN SALE ITEMS AND EVERY TIME SOMEONE WOULD COME OVER IT NEVER FAILED. OOOOOHHHING AND AAAHHHHING, ALL OVER THE PLACE. I COULDN'T AFFORD ANYTHING ELSE, AND AM SO GLAD. NOW I HAVE AN EYE AND SOME GREAT STUFF. SO FUNNY.

HUGS FROM MAINE

linda said...

I'd say you found the bargains of the week! What great finds...and prices.

I was NEVER a thrifter until I started blogging. I saw all of the wonderful goodies that are being found and thought I'd give it a try too...now I'm hooked!

Lynn said...

OK, now I am inspired to go to garage sales this weekend. I'm in the market for tacky old jewelry; the gaudier the better!

Incidentally, 2nd hand is the ONLY way to buy exercise equipment. Unless you buy it from my daughter in-law it's probably hardly used!

Shilo said...

I loved hearing your philosophy! It's so easy to get caught up in the "more, better, prettier" mentality that we lose out on the journey sometimes. Good reminder.
Blessings today!
Shilo

Inspired Kara said...

Oh i just LOVE LOVE LOVE that little basket!!!

Miss E said...

My mom is a garage sale queen. She finds "treasures" as she calls them and with a little love, they are amazing pieces in her house (and mine!). I love that mentality... One man's junk is another man's treasure. I just wish I had more time to find my own treasures...right now I to enjoy what she finds/passes along to me. But someday, when I'm not a slave to "the man"...oh the possibilites :)

Jen said...

Awesome stuff. I would have choked about the leather ottoman. Holy cow! What a steal!

Ally0005 said...

Great finds. I just got back from thrifting had not been in a long time. I'll post about them soon.

Nancy said...

I love the things that you found! I was reading other blogs where thrifters and lawn salers have had such good luck! Around me-not so great. People tend to do "tag sales" and put others in charge who are "in the know". I think I have to go a little further out of town! Although, I have been incredibly lucky with my neighbors tossing out perfectly good things! I have them up on my page from Mother's Day. Keep at it! It's fun to see. :D
~Nancy

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

If you don't mind sharing I'd love to know what thrift stores you find are the best, so I can tell my daughter-in-law that lives in Denver. She's been looking for a china cabinet and a few other things. Thanks!

Jodee Leader said...

Great finds! I love the wire basket!

Sarah @ Thrifty Decor Chick said...

Carrie, that is so true -- I've been thinking lately that I would MUCH rather find something at Goodwill then purchase it outright -- especially furniture!! The time I put into making everything the way I want it is why I love it SO MUCH. You got some great deals!! Now if I could get my butt out of bed in time to get to some sales tomorrow, that would help. :)

Peggy said...

There are so many ironies in life. When I was younger I haunted all the yard and garage sales in town, now that I am old and been to some of the third world countries, overstocking with things is a thing of the past. I am thinking about having an inside the house sale. Come in and buy anything, but the furniture and the pictures of my family. I am further along in my collecting than you are though.I love to read your blog. Enjoy.
QMM

Happiness Is... said...

Love the ottoman!

I agree with you...doing impressive things on the cheap is way more satisfying. I love Tory Burch flats, but anyone can buy those with a certain amount of money or credit card debt.

I get way more pleasure out of compliments on my cute lime green patent leater flats when I get to respond "AND they were $10 at Stein Mart."

It's SO much fun!

Beth said...

You found some great items girlfriend! I love the leather ottoman. I also love your musings on thrifting. I completely agree with you. Such joy can be gained from doing things on-the-cheap and saving that cash for something or someone or some ministry instead!

Kimm at Reinvented said...

I SO agree, it's definitely the thrill of the find, and the fun of "reinventing" that I LOVE.
You found some fabulous stuff, I heart that fan!

Empty Nest Full Life said...

Amazing bargains! Love the leather ottoman and fan! I would have whipped out that $5 bill fast too. The fan is a steal especially if it is working. You did great!Jackie

M.L. @ The House of Whimsy said...

Great post, great tips, great finds! Thanks for the sweet encouragement on my new endeavor. : )

Amber said...

I think that like you, I enjoy the satisfaction of snagging a great deal or creating something. I only wish I had more time and energy to hunt!

Jane said...

I was just thinking some of these same thoughts today. I don't think I would be as satisfied from an Ethan Allen room as I am when I get that good deal and see the diamond in the rough-when I use the creativity to make it mine. Those things-trash to treasure are the ones I love the most.

Sarah ~ A Beach Cottage said...

I really enjoyed this, I love reading anything about thrifting and more seeing what you got! so excicting even when it isn't me...just think of the things that don't go into landfill because of thrifters at yard sale and all the money saved

the best is the leather ottoman, OMG I would soooo have picked that up to, it is divine

happy thrifting

Sarah
A Beach Cottage

Half Gaelic, Half Garlic! said...

I think the thrill of the chase give you more satisfaction than buying something new and shiney to place in your home......it just means more when there is a little elbow grease that goes into it:)

Great finds all of them....that fan is FANTASTIC!!!

Enjoy your weekend!

Lisa

Blissfully Enamored said...

that ottoman is gorgeous!!! i am so jealous and would love to have one like that in my home!!!!! $5?! You cannot beat that!!!

Darlene said...

I really enjoy thrifting and do get a "high" from the excitement of finding something I have been wanting. You have found some great deals!!

Hope you have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!!♥

Carol VR said...

I love checking out your steals/deals/

Keep em coming.

Christi said...

You sure have snagged some bargains recently! I am wanting to hit the yard sales soon, but tomorrow, I will be getting rid of my junk by HAVING a yard sale...maybe someone will come along and turn my trash into treasure! :)

The Graves' House said...

the ottoman looks great! you ran upon some great finds. have a great weekend...

SoBella Creations said...

Wow you found some great bargins!

jennykate77 said...

Awesome stuff!!! I love the ottoman...what a deal! I'm with you, I think I prefer the thrill of the chase and taking pride in something that you have worked hard on, rather than just purchase things right out of the stores or magazines. However, I do love some things right off the shelf. It just depends what I'm looking for.

I'll be back in Denver in August. We're spending our vacation there! So, I may have to check out your Goodwill stores while I'm there. I may be asking for directions. :)

Have a great weekend!

Courtney said...

Just stopping by to let you know I have opened my blog. Feel free to stop by!

Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality said...

Great deals, Carrie! You know I love a good bargain. You'll have to join my Thrifty Monday party sometime.

Connie said...

You are too cute! I wish I had your love of the hunt and creativity but love reading about your bit of fun. I was just in Denver for the first time last weekend to visit my son and my grandbabies who just moved to the Denver area last month. WHat a nice time we had and loved the weather and the beautiful blue skies!

He and his wife shop the goodwills in the area so if you see a tall skinny guy with dark eyebrows with a shorter blonde gal and two cute children-one a red head and the other with dark piercing eyes. Tell them you know their mom from blogging...Dallas would die!!! ANyway..what are the chances...but you never know!

Love catching up with you and thrifting thru you! COnnie

Dawn said...

Wow! Great finds! I can't believe you got that leather ottoman for $5!!!

There haven't been many garage sales around here lately. Bummer! I'm gonna have to pay a little visit to the thrift stores!

jewelryandgiftsbyrebecca said...

Hi, my first time here. One of my best friends lurks here all the time and told me about you. That fan is such a cool find (no pun intended) but why did you get a clothing rack...er...um...I mean elliptical machine????

Susan@The Cozy Chickadee said...

Carrie,
My favorite Goodwill is in Aurora of of Iliff and Chambers. It's big and has tons of knicknack to go through. I always find cool stuff. I've never been to the one in HR, but it's only about 15 minutes via E-470 for me. Maybe we'll run into each other sometime!
Susan

Sit A Spell said...

I never find cool deals at garage sales. My best friend said the same thing...she goes to tons of sales and leaves empty handed. However, she finds tons of awesome stuff too.

I used to live kinda near County Line and Broadway...memories.

paige said...

yes i'd love pg 37 in pottery barn too!!
but i've been trying to change my shopping habits considerably over the last couple years....i think now i'm a jewelry freak instead of a knickknack find a place for it shopper! ha!
great finds!!

Life with Kaishon said...

I love your finds Carrie : ). You are always such an inspiration to me! I hope you are having a wonderful Memorial Day weekend with the family!

Sara said...

the ottoman is fabulous and i am totally envious of your fan! i'm still sticking my head in the freezer :) :) Great finds!!!

John & Jennifer Savage said...

Hi Queen Bee!
I just found your blog and was reading some of your past posts and wanted to ask what the color was that you painted your front room (the one with the cute houndstooth chair). It looks like a bit of a goldeny yellow. I love your blog and the vintage finds! jthesavage (at)gmail.com

Mrs.Dixon said...

I know this feeling exactly! Just yesterday I passed on a vintage sewing table that I was in love with, but when I started thinking about it I knew I didn't have room for it at the moment so I passed on it. My husband even said to me that I should get it and store it for now until we can make some room! But, I knew that even though I loved it, it might be foreve before I could make room and fix it the way I wanted to. It was hard to walk away but I'm glad that I was able to control myself because I really dont have the room or time for it so its one less thing on my mental to-do list.

Tasha said...

Amazing! I am so impressed. You definatly got some steals. I think I need to start doing some garage and "vintage" shopping. As we get into this new house of ours I definatly have some things I want to "redo" myself. I totally agree with you on creating something or fixing something up. Definate gratification. It just makes you feel good!!

Lisa & Gerald said...

That's great.. you always find great things..

Miss(es) Canadian Pie said...

"Stick my head in the freezer." I got a good chuckle out of that one.

Funny thing...yesterday I was just saying to myself...after a long hard job of sanding some secondhand stools...that I would much rather just buy the stuff new. That I hate the process of sanding and painting and tweaking it to make it just so. I'd much rather buy a piece brand new in the color I want. But, at the end of the day, I can't stop yard saling. I get urges to go to the thrift store. And I can't keep my mouse off of Kijiji (Canada's answer to craigslist). So, despite it all...I do love finding that piece that works for a song. But still...I too wish I could swipe my card for page 73 of the PB catalog.

Southern Fried Gal said...

Love, love, love! Love your finds. Love your advice! And love the wreaths in following posts, too!

Lighting said...

I love garage sales. My husbands hates when I go. Becuase it usually means I have a new project for him.

Aubrey said...

I am ALWAYS at the GW on Leetsdale! It is a little over 5 mins away from where I live and right around the corner from the office I occasionally work at! I will have to check out the other one though! I LOVE me a good GW find!

Richella said...

You are RIGHT. It really is more fun to collect things, work on them, make them your own. I have some things that I've bought the other way, and I'm grateful for them. . . but they're just not as satisfying.

Keep ranting!!