I love to recycle. In fact, I recycle everything I can—cardboard boxes, newspapers, bottles, plastics, and cans. I guess it’s a good thing that the recycle container from my city holds sixty-five gallons of my empties. But I want to talk about a different kind of recycling—thrift store shopping.
To me this is the ultimate way to recycle. We spend all this time rinsing out cans and containers and hauling the recycle can to the curb each week, but there are other ways to repurpose and reuse.
Here are a few of my favorite things to shop for at thrift stores:
What a surprise right? But it’s amazing what you can find on these shelves. I have discovered many a new author as well as some old favorites. Most of the hardback classics on my keeper shelf came from the thrift store. As well as my vintage Harlequins. But for those books that I’ve read that don’t make it to my keeper shelf (I live in a small house, so I have to cull somewhere), I donate them to the women’s shelter and sometimes I even donate them back to the store where I bought them.
I love Pyrex—bowls, cake pans, and sauce pots. But my hands aren’t as strong as they used to be and sometimes I drop it. I hate to pay full price for something I can get for a fraction of that at the thrift store. I’ve found come great Pyrex bowls with lids, lids for my existing pans, and I also replaced my 9×9 brownie pan that I broke last year when I set it on the stove burner. I clean them up with a steel wool pad and they are like new.
Glasses and plates
My dishes are a bit eclectic. I’ve been building my set for a couple of years now, that sort of shabby chic mix of plates and bowls that somehow seems cool. I love my plates. Though none of them were bought in a set.
My glasses are the same way. I bought some beautiful stem wear in blue and green there with juice glasses that ‘match’.
My sister loves vintage Tupperware and I’m always on the lookout for it. It’s fun to collect it for her and send it to her. It doesn’t cost much to buy or sent. She cleans it up with bleach and everyone is happy.
I’m from the generation of faded and worn jeans. But why go buy full price (stiff) jeans when you can get a pair all broken in? Now, my confession is, I don’t wear jeans myself. And I don’t have a daughter (this may be different for girls). But my son loves his thrift store jeans. Since he wears a uniform to school, he outgrows his jeans before he can get the wear out of them. This is the perfect solution for us.
I love thrift store furniture. Not soft furniture, though the first couch my husband and I owned was from a fire sale. It was free and sat on concrete blocks because it had no legs. But we cleaned it with a steam cleaner (twice if my memory serves me) and it ended up being a great couch. But wooden furniture can be a great find at thrift stores. Check for things like the inside of drawers to see if it’s real wood or laminate. Wooden furniture can be refinished, repainted, or left as is for a shabby chic/cottage look that I love.
Things to keep in mind when you are thrift store shopping.
Know the store’s return policy
Most stores won’t let you bring merchandise back for a refund, but some do allow for store credit. Some have a strict no returns or exchanges policy, so be sure to find out before you buy.
Check over the merchandise thoroughly.
Look for stains and unwanted wear. Some stains will come out with a spot treatment and a good washing, sometimes not. Is it a chance worth taking?
Check clothes for wear and tear at the seams. Check glassware for chips and scratches. Check furniture for scratches in wood and tears in fabric.
Make sure you are getting a value for your money.
Used furniture can be a great bargain, but make sure you’re not playing too much. Ask a sales clerk if you can put something on hold for an hour and do some research. Maybe drive to another store or a consignment shop to price compare.
One last thrift store piece of advice: If you are in transition, a thrift store can be a great place to see you through. Maternity clothes can be a great purchase from a thrift store. You can save a bunch of money and the wear is usually less since they aren’t worn for more than a few months. If you are on a new eating plan and losing weight, you might need some new clothes, even though you aren’t at your goal yet. A thrift store can give you some “new” things that fit while you are still on your weight loss journey.
Do you have any favorite thrift store, consignment shop, or garage sale items? I know I do! I’d love to hear about yours. Feel free to leave a message and tell us about your favorite bargains.