Sunday, April 14, 2013

Variety Feature: A Thrift Store Diva

Over a year ago, a few of us were gathered at a friends home chatting about life and all things girl.  The conversation bounced from topic to topic, as it usually does with us ladies, however my interest peaked when the hostess starting telling us about her thrift store adventures. She pointed out furniture pieces that she had found for unbelievable prices. Tell me more! What stores? How far? Did she find good clothes?  All of us agreed that we would have to go sometime and check them out for ourselves, but life gets busy and I had forgotten about it. That is, until this year. So I hit her up and pestered her to take me along!

Meet Mandi...spunky, stylish, crafty and meets no stranger. Really.

Handcrafted Sign, Henredon Chairs ($20 thrift store find),
Bench Constructed with hubby...priceless

Let us begin our truthful tale...Our first store is in an old shopping center. When you walk in you are greeted by poor lighting, a musty, mixed with chemical smell and LOTs of stuff, most resembling junk.  Our first room had some broken lamps, computer parts and medical equipment. Hmmmmm. Mandi had let me know that thrifting was a hit or miss type of adventure.  This was beginning to look like a big miss.  Then she began to talk about ideas she had seen to take old lampstands and recreate them as candle sticks.  Ok, I could be more visionary.

Next up were the clothes...moo-moo's, tacky sweaters, and mom-jeans, oh my! Well, that was my first impression anyway. Then we hunkered down and set to work, sifting through all the racks.  As piece after garment piece was pushed aside, I began to see beyond the traditional stores at the mall that I frequent. What is my own personal style? What do I feel most comfortable with? And, what wardrobe staples am I lacking?

"Ouuu! Chrissy look at this skirt!!" And the fun began...

***Has this ever happened to you?***

"Ladies and gentlemen, the lights will go off for just a moment. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause."

I don't know why Mandi didn't buy the tiara?

Okay, that's happened to me before but when five minutes turned into ten I started to wonder.

Burly men, working in the back began to yell at each other at opposite ends of the store. "Hey Mitch!!" What happened back here?? "

"I don't know man. I didn't do it!" came the brusque reply.  No problem.  A little unsettling but I can ignore the racket and shop with minimal lighting. After all, I do have four boys at home.

Too see anything we had to lift each item off the rack and hold it up to the bends of daylight straining to come into the building.  My arm started to get tired...slide, lift, hold up to light and put down. Slide, lift, hold up to light and put down. And Repeat. You get the idea.

More yelling. "Who turned off that breaker again???" I trembled a little.

Finally the lights come back on and I'm ready to see if the clothes in my buggy fit. Well, sort of ready. The changing stalls had one frayed curtain separating me from the workers hollering nearby. Quickly I tried on my items, looking over my shoulder with paranoid glances.  Nope, that little curtain did not feel like enough between me and them. I trembled a bit more.  I'm sure they were harmless gentlemen, but still. Yet another reason why it's good to go with a friend. :)

******

Um, maybe not! 
Yes! GEN. Leather Skirt & Graphic T

We ended up spending over an hour in this store. However we both agreed, as we were laughing about our experiences and reveling in our finds, that it was time well spent. Hunger pangs directed our next stop...lunch break!


Mandi challenged me to try something new

We hit 2 more thrift stores and Goodwill that afternoon but my best finds were where my expectations were the lowest.  Goes to show, ya just never know.

Thrifty Finds...

1 Graphic T, 2 Pairs of Shoes, 1 Leather Pencil Skirt, 1 Basket...$21.15!!

Thrifty Tips:

For a serious day of thrifting try these tips from Mandi:

Check out Kudzu.com. They have people's reviews of different stores so it would help you decide if its a store you might want to go to depending on what you are looking for.

Definitely word of mouth...By asking people that you know that do it. Successfully.
Try new places. Jot down places when you hear about them. Then when you have free time go check them out. Then determine whether or not it's a place that would be on your "regulars" list.
Invite friends!!! Great girlfriend day! then you have somebody to bounce ideas off of and it may or may not be your "best" girlfriend. It might be somebody you just want to get to know better!;) (thanks for that one Mandi!)
Always have a great lunch! Or at least a great coffee!! The cherry on top...


Have you gone thrifting? What is one of your best finds?

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