Alright! Here is my idea of a fun afternoon. An uncharted trove of hidden treasures, just waiting for me to go poking around and putting my creative imagination to work. Yes, I do love Thrift Stores! I love browsing through them. And I do love the treasures I find and bring home.
There are several factors that make thrift store shopping enjoyable. First of all, the prices. You can’t beat finding a ‘new’ winter pea coat in mint condition, and in your own size, for just a few dollars. I like to collect various things – coffee mugs, teddy bears, crockery/pottery – and I would find this to be an impossible hobby to support if I were buying new at full price. What a thrill to find a 50 cent coffee mug featuring your home state! The thrift store allows me to indulge in some fun purchases without upending the monthly budget.
Besides the price tags, variety is another reason I like shopping thrift stores. Somewhere out there, designers have decided that XYZ will be the style for this season. And since XYZ is ‘in style this season’, that is all you will find in the stores. But what if you are an odd duck like me, and you don’t like XYZ? You’re out of luck, Sweetheart! However, you can trot on over to the neighborhood thrift store and find all kinds of styles ranging from last season on back to the Roaring 20s. Still like dressing from the 80’s? You’ll find your wish on the racks of the thrift store!
Household items are another treasure to find hidden in the thrift stores. From silverware to furniture, there’s a bit of everything. Sometimes as I browse the kitchen ware, I wonder why I put so much effort and money into buying my set of good china (which isn’t really all that ‘good’), when there are so many sets of beautiful patterned china from times past. Beautiful, unique, and cheap! Glassware is another bountiful treasure to be found. Punch bowls, vases, glasses, baking dishes, crystal candlesticks, and more.
One day, several months past, I was browsing in a thrift store and found the aisle with blankets and quilts and afghans. Now I am into crocheting myself, so I was interested in looking at the various afghans. So many beautiful colors, intricate stitches and designs. All for just a few dollars. Then it hit me like a 2-ton weight. I spend a lot of time working on my crochet projects, I spend a lot of money on yarn, and most of my work is made with a lot of love for someone special. I imagine it was the same for the creators of the quilts and afghans I saw in the store. How sad it seemed, all the time, talent, and emotion invested into one of these afghans, a one time gift for someone special, and now it hangs here in a thrift store on sale for a pittance.
This revelation caused me to look at many of the other items for sale in the thrift store – that was Grandma’s favorite good china there on the shelf. The punch bowl was a wedding gift from Great Uncle Oliver. Mom blew the monthly grocery budget to buy that leather jacket for her child. That ornate crystal thingy was a commemorative gift in appreciation for 40 years of loyal service.
And now they all are here at the thrift store. The house had been cleaned out. Old, outgrown, unwanted, and not needed items were all packed up and sent to the thrift store. What about all the things I was buying? Someday would they all be old, outgrown, and unwanted? Would my children be packing up all my treasures and shipping them off to Goodwill? Probably. I tend to clean house myself and drop off loads at the thrift store. How easily we discard things.
I still enjoy shopping at thrift stores. I am always on the look out for a good bargain or a special treasure. I have a different attitude though about buying at the thrift store. I feel a sense of responsibility to seek out and rescue that once special treasure, and let it be loved again by someone new.