12 May 2010

guest post: abby from tales&trials

Today we have a special treat. My friend Abby, from tales and trials, is here to give us some thrifting tips! I'm so excited, because I'm off tomorrow on my first big thrifting hunt since seeing all of Abby's amazing finds. She has definitely inspired me, and I bet she'll inspire you, too. 


Hello. My name is Abby and I am so thrilled to be guest blogging here at one of my favorite blogs, make*happy!  You can find me at talesandtrials.com where I blog about the things I am passionate about: my family, my faith, DIY projects, crafts, cooking, and thrifting.

Last year out of the blue I started shopping at thrift stores.  At first I felt a little out of place but soon I got over that and started to have some fun.  Often I come up empty handed but it's all worth it for that occasional trip when I come home with some amazing finds.  I love the thrill of thrift store shopping and also the fact that I often save our family some serious money too.  For example I have started finding some great name brand clothing for the boys in excellent condition at our local thrift stores for less than two or three dollars per item.  You can't beat that!



 I am by no means a thrifting expert but I have learned a few things over time {often the hard way}.  Today I am going to share a few simple guidelines and tips for you to keep in mind the next time you visit your local thrift store.  These tips can also come in handy for shopping at yard sales too!!


::If you are looking for a particular item be patient.  I am the worlds worst at being patient so I have to really try hard to enforce this one for myself.  Sometimes there is something particular I am searching for at thrift stores. I really wanted a new lamp for our bedroom but I didn't want to spend $40 on a brand new one.  I decided to look for one at the thrift store and it literally took me A YEAR!!  There were several times I almost bought a lamp because it was "ok" and I already had been looking for months.   I held out though and eventually I found a lamp that I really liked.  I brought it home and gave it a new look with some silver leaf. 

If you are looking for a specific piece of furniture for a space in your house it might be wise to know the exact dimensions of the piece you want.  That way if you find a dresser that you love you don't have to try and eye ball wether it will fit in your room or not.  You can measure it {if you keep a trusty tape measure in your purse or car} and know right then and there if it will work in your house before you load it up and take it home.

::If you have extra storage space you might consider buying items you don't necessarily need now but could use down the line.  Sometimes I come across something at a thrift store that I don't need right at that exact moment but know that I could maybe use in the near future{within a year or less}.  If the item is a good deal, on the small side, and easy for me to store then I will usually go ahead and buy it.


A while back I found a set of four plate hangers for $1.51.  If you have ever bought these at your local craft store then you know that just one of these alone would cost more than what I paid for all four.  I would like to hang some plates and platters on one of our walls someday soon so I bought these plate hangers to save for that particular decorating project.
::Use your imagination!!  As you can probably imagine, you are going to run across a lot of outdated and ugly stuff at thrift stores.  Most of the time you may find something you like but maybe it's not the right color or finish.  Now everyone repeat after me, "Spray paint can transform ANYTHING!! "


I found the bunny on the left at a thrift store but didn't love the purple flowers.  Of course this was nothing that a few coats of spray paint couldn't change.
When I first started thrifting it was hard to look beyond the uglyness and old school factor of everything in the store.  Then being inspired by thrift store makeovers on other blogs I slowly was able to use my imagination more and more to see the potential in thrift store "treasures".


I found the topiary on the left at my local GoodWill for 99 cents and with a little imagination turned it into the topiary you see on the right!

::Don't buy an item just because it's inexpensive.  There have been many times that I kind of liked something at the thrift store so I went ahead and bought it because it didn't cost very much.  Most of the items that I did this with are now sitting in my closet untouched.  Make sure the items you buy are things you really like or that you can makeover easily.  Sometimes it seems silly to leave something behind at Goodwill because it only would have cost me 99 cents.  But seriously that is a dollar you could have spent on something else and you may not realize it but it's all those little purchases that we make that really add up!

::If you love something you come across and it won't break your budget then by all means buy it all ready!!  If you spot an item from an aisle away and your heart starts going pitter patter from the excitement of finding something amazing then snatch that item up and run directly to the cash register.  There have been a few times where I was really in love with something but I didn't buy it for one reason or another.  Sometimes I don't know where I would put an item in my house so I talk myself out of buying it.  That's OK and all but I have kicked myself for doing this when I was really in love with something.  I've actually gone back to the store a day later to find an item again because I had decided I really couldn't live without.  And I'm sure you can guess where this is going. The item I loved wasn't there anymore.  Thrift store merchandise generally moves fast so you can't guarantee the same stuff will be there the next day.



 Recently I purchased this white bird/nest dish at a city wide thrift sale and the milk glass planter at an estate sale.  I loved them both right away but I sat there and debated about getting them because I felt they didn't go with my existing home decor.  Then I decided it was silly I was hemming and hawing over something that cost a dollar and that I really liked!  Whenever I walk buy one of these two items in my house they make me smile and I am so glad I didn't pass them up.
:: Ask for a discount and pay attention to the specials that your thrift stores have.  Our local Goodwill has a deal every week where a certain colored tag is 50% off all week long.  Of course every item I want has the wrong colored tag.  Another local thrift store always has yellow tags at 70% off, green tags at 50% off, etc.  Also, don't be afraid to ask the cashier for a discount, especially if an item is slightly damaged. It never hurts to ask!

Well there you have it.  Some simple things to remember and think about the next time you go thrifting or find yourself at a yard sale!  These tips weren't meant to overwhelm you so keep them in mind but don't stress over them.  Just have fun and of course enjoy the thrill the of the hunt!!
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Thanks, Abby! You know, that topiary is the first thing that drew me to Abby's blog. And the silver leafing on that lamp? I've always wanted to try silver leaf, and that lamp has given me the push I need to just buy some and do it! And at the top of my list for shopping tomorrow? Milk glass. Definitely.

1 comments:

Sherrie Pruitt said...

Abby, I love your article! I love "yard-selling" and thrift shopping, but I'm not sure I have the vision to see the extreme makeover before it happens!

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