Thrifty Treasures

DSCN9214Thrift stores are the land of magical things. On any given day you can luck into such finds as an antique leather pouf from Turkey, sporting fringe and little bells and embroidered all over with camels, or vintage blue and white mixing bowls, or collectible porcelain. I even found a grotesque wallet once, made from the entire skin of a large bullfrog with a zipper in it’s stomach.

If you have good ideas or know where to find them, many treasures found at thrift can be repurposed for home decorating. Our tastes are eclectic and we have many such items in our home. A pair of art deco nightstands with tall wavy backs have been joined together and are now a bench in our mudroom. A metal wine rack holds rolled up guest towels in our bathroom. Many of my houseplants sit on stands that began life as cake plates, now painted gold. And my favorite item is a massive dresser from the 60s, over which our television is hung, that holds all our DVDs, games, and gaming accessories.

You can also find amazing deals on artwork. One evening I spied a very large print of a rowboat, drawn at an odd angle and painted strange colors. I was repelled and attracted at the same time, and eventually decided against purchasing it, because the store wanted an exhorbitant ten dollars for it. When I got home I looked up the artist online and found that a similiar print by the same artist had recently sold on ebay for seven hundred dollars! Of course I hotfooted it back to the thrift store the next day and snatched up the print right after the store opened. I even got it at half price. That five dollar print is now one of our prize possessions. It hangs proudly where it can be seen from the kitchen, dining room and living room. It looks great with my stuff and I get lots of compliments on it. I also have two gorgeous nudes, purchased at thrift, that hang side by side above my bed in place of a headboard. You can also hang your own artwork, whatever it may be, using custom frames with very expensive mats that you pick up for a song at thrift. Simply cut the back open, remove the thrift store artwork and install your own. Deep frames can be used to make shadow boxes.

Good money can be made with thrift store finds. I put my children through daycare for years with the proceeds from online book sales. I would travel four hours one way to visit with my sister and hit her Mission Store for books, load up the car with ten cent paperbacks, and return home to list them online. It was a hassle listing, wrapping and shipping them, but the very good profits allowed me to work from home instead of taking an additional part time job to keep us in groceries while my husband was in school. After hearing my success, a friend jumped on the bandwagon and made excellent money buying secondhand jeans and selling them overseas.

Thrift shopping for me has been fun and lucrative. Do you shop thrift stores? I’d love to hear stories about great finds or wonderful repurposing ideas.

Wendy Clyde

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4 Responses to “Thrifty Treasures”

  1. DabneyAAR says:

    My husband and I are art collectors and while we buy at galleries, most of our art comes from antique and thrift shops. Years ago, we bought a painting of a bucket at a jumble shop (as my mother calls them) in Asheville, NC. I think we paid a hundred dollars for it in the frame. It looks like a Wyeth and, the artist has gone on to become very well known. It’s hung over the fireplaces in our living rooms for over twenty years now and is still one of my favorite things we own.

  2. LeeB. says:

    What an amazing find in that painting Wendy!

    The thrift stores aren’t too close to where I live but while I was in London recently I hit up the Oxfam shops for UK chick lit/women’s fiction and bought at least 9 or 10 books for half price or less. I was pleased. Didn’t even think to look at anything else. ;)

  3. Donna says:

    I love thrift shops and antique markets. We went there Christmas shopping two weeks ago, because everything *I* want is vintage!! I have the most amazing collection of vintage bowls, but I have a rule; I won’t pay what an item is worth. I bought a Wedgwood pitcher recently for two dollars, and it’s worth twenty. I compiled a complete collection of Pyrex Primary Colors bowls one piece at a time for about twenty bucks, and the set is worth about eighty.

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