Shopping at a thrift store is about much more than just saving money. Granted, it’s a great way to cut costs when shopping, but it has many more benefits than just making your dollar stretch further.
One of the great aspects of thrift store shopping is that is gets the creative juices flowing. This is especially true when it comes to items of furniture. At a regular store, the item you want to buy is usually showcased in such a way that you rarely need to do any more than pay for it and arrange delivery. The store’s presentation of the item will have made it easy for you to know not only where it will go in your home, but how it will fit in with other items. Of course, some shoppers like this aspect of shopping in a regular store. But it can tend to have a stultifying effect on the imagination. When shopping in a thrift store, on the other hand, you don’t get this sort of assistance, and that’s when your imagination comes into play. Because while others may pass the tatty looking chest of drawers with its missing handles without so much as a backward glance, you’re already seeing it stripped back to its natural state, varnished, and adorned with lovely new pewter handles. Not only that, but it’s no longer a chest of drawers in which to house sweaters and socks, but a table-cum-set of storage drawers for your hallway. And you saw all that from its humble position on the thrift shop floor sandwiched between a bookcase and a 1950s recliner!
It’s not just furniture that can help the imagination race into gear, though. Clothes and soft furnishing can also induce the same effect. Again, when shopping for clothes at the mall, you’re presented with ways in which you can wear a pair of pants or halter top. While post people will consider what they already have in their wardrobe when making a purchase, they are sometimes swayed into buying an item by the long-limbed mannequins showing them how to put a look together. At a thrift store, there are no mannequins, so you need not only to mentally team up items with others you already own, but also imagine how several items in the store will look when worn together. And this is where you can really let your imagination take over. With no “rules” about what should and shouldn’t be worn together, you can pick out items and get to work creating a truly individual look. And if something isn’t the right length but is the perfect color, don’t discard it. Consider making the necessary alterations; it might just be worth it.
The same approach applies to soft furnishings. Little thought needs to be given when buying cushions and curtains from Ikea. The store display tells you where to place them, and how to hang them. However, sometimes a curtain’s not a curtain; sometimes it’s a table cloth, a table runner, a throw for your couch, or even a set of scarves. Likewise, the fabric of a large, attractive cushion can be used to make a decorative, embroidered wall hanging, or a tote bag.
Customizing items you find in thrift stores needn’t be time-consuming or expensive. Over the past few years, there’s been a resurgence of crafts such as needlework and knitting, so you should be able to find many resources to help you customize clothes or soft furnishings. Where furniture is concerned, don’t be nervous about attempting to change the look of an item. It can be great fun and gives you the opportunity to see what creative skills you possess. Start off with an easy project such as sanding and re-painting a table or chair and then progress from there.
While it’s satisfying to know that you’ve made considerable savings on thrift store purchases, for many people the real gratification comes from knowing that they own an item that’s truly original like a Fierce Hazel bag!). And however hard they look, your friends will never be able to find it anywhere in their local shopping mall!
Fierce Hazel has thrift store roots! The founder always loved shopping at thrift stores. When in her twenties, she found a pack of sewing tags that read “Specially Fashioned by Hazel” at the local Goodwill, and snatched it up. She loved the name Hazel, and it became her alter-ego when she sewed clothes for herself and for friends. She stitched those labels into everything she made.