The Joy of Contentment

Lately, I’ve been feeling a sense of contentment like no other.

Have you felt this way before?

The feeling that all is well, life is good, there is no lack, all needs are met, and the world is a happy place?

It’s a good feeling, a fleeting feeling, but a feeling we should all embrace.

This feeling doesn’t happen for me very often, but so far in 2018 I’ve found myself living with the joy of pure contentment.

Have I been to thrift stores since the first of the year?

Yes.

Have I had luck finding really great stuff?

Yes.

(Oh those pewter Enzo wingtip brogues!)

Sigh.

Does the drive to treasure hunt consume my thoughts lately?

No.

And that’s okay.

I’ve discovered that it’s good to take a break from thrifting to enjoy the things I’ve already found and collected.

It’s good to not want anything more than what I already own.

In fact, this winter I’ve worn many of the items I found in thrift stores last year. Scarves, tops, shoes, bags…so many treasures line the walls of my closet.

I am content, and I am grateful.

Take a moment to reflect on those things you have in your life right now, both material and not.

I bet you’ll discover a treasure trove of your own.

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Books…at the thrift store?

Yes, and plenty of them!

Are you an avid reader who enjoys finding and reading obscure books? Books that were written years ago and quickly forgotten?

If so, then thrift stores are for you!

old books

Nearly every thrift store I’ve visited across the country has a book section. Some are large, others small, but all are crammed with tons of titles. There are paperback novels, huge hardcover textbooks and everything in between.

Next time you’re thinking about book shopping, why not locate and visit your local thrifts? You might be surprised at what you find.

I personally collect Signet Classics paperbacks. Nearly every time I’ve had the itch to read a classic novel, I have gone to the thrift store first and found a perfect copy of the title I wanted to read. Instead of shelling out $10 or more at a big box bookstore, I have spent anywhere from $0.25 to $2.00 for the book.

So, go visit your thrift stores. And while you’re at it, take a look around at all the other treasures waiting to be discovered. Who knows what you might find?

A new jacket? New dishes for your kitchen? A funky vintage lamp? A nearly-new pair of shoes?

You never know, so keep your eyes open and make a treasure hunt out of your visit.

Happy reading and happy hunting!

The Skinny White Tie

Dean has been looking for a vintage 80’s skinny white tie. Every time we go into a thrift store, he runs to the tie rack hoping to find this elusive thing. He has scoured places like Poshmark and eBay yet struck out each time he looked.

Today, by a stroke of luck, he found one.

We had just dropped off a carload of miscellaneous items at our local Goodwill and then decided to go in and see what we could find. I went to shoes and purses, as usual, and he went to the tie rack.

I was sidetracked by women’s shirts and was browsing the many racks of tops and blouses when he approached me with a shocked look on his face…a skinny white tie in his hand.

The tie was perfect. No marks, no dirt. Just as white as snow and perfect as could be. It looked like it had never been worn.

There is nothing nicer than seeing someone you love with a heart full of happiness at finding something so truly desired.

What is the takeaway message in this short post? Never give up if you are searching for a particular item. If an Internet search doesn’t produce it, look in your local thrift stores…and shop often. 

Like the moment I found that Betsey Johnson watch, you never know what you’re going to stumble upon.

And when you do happen to find the item of your dreams, thank the thrift gods and donate something back to the thrift store for someone else to find and enjoy. 

Let’s keep the cycle going, giving and receiving, for it benefits us all!

Treasure Hunts, or, Why I Thrift

It’s a bit complicated to explain, this craving I have for “The Hunt.” I call it “The Hunt” because for me, it is just that. The hunt.

It is the hunt for a hidden treasure.

hang-second-hand-la-gi-3

My parents introduced my family to thrifting way back when I was a teenager. I grew up in East Atlanta and frequented the Value Village down at the Moreland Avenue Shopping Center. It became a family event. We all got excited to pile into the car and go to the thrift store.

At Value Village, my sister and I would head over to the women’s accessories department to grab up as many white dress gloves as we could find. And we found a lot. Since this was the 80s, there was a lot of groovy vintage 50s and 60s merchandise on hand. No matter when we visited, I never failed to find cool stuff.

I even scored a 1950 Webster Chicago record player that still worked at the time. I could play my grandmother’s 78rpm records on that thing. Even though I still own it, it quit working ages ago.

One particular day, at this same particular thrift store, I found a very old snakeskin cross-body bag. It was labeled Davison’s, which back in the day was one of Atlanta’s largest and most important department stores, second only to Rich’s. Burgundy in color and beat-the-heck-up, err, broken in, this bag was a true find.

For a long time I believed it was alligator. Funny how your mind can take you places until you figure out what’s what.

I have held onto that thing after 8 changes of address over the years and plan to use it this fall.

Anyway, back to the topic of this post, I have a very long history when it comes to thrift shopping. There is a part of me that gravitates toward the used and previously-owned.

That part of me is one part economical and another part environmental.

I’ll start with the economical piece first.

Shopping second hand is a very healthy way to add to your belongings without spending a fortune at a regular retailer. Thrift stores carry a wide selection of items from furniture to clothing to books and music. It’s like a world of discarded things waiting to be picked through. In every pile there is a gem to be found. It just takes a bit of time to find it. I will share my tips and tricks to thrifting in a later post.

It would be a lie if I told you that it’s easy to find those diamonds-in-the-rough. You have to work for it, but it’s work that can be fun at the same time. Hence the idea of making thrift store shopping something of a treasure hunt.

The environmental piece is this…each time you buy a used item, you are not only keeping that item from ending up in a landfill but you are giving an item a second chance at life.

Most things people discard are still quite usable. This is most especially true when it comes to clothing.

Purchasing used clothes keeps your dollars out of the fast fashion industry and supplies your closet at a fraction of the cost you would pay at a mainline retail store. Not only that, but if you find a well-cared-for vintage item, you will more than likely discover that it is of better quality than anything you can find at a department store.

I’m serious.

Depending on the thrift store you visit, the dollars you spend go to job creation, charity, or simply back into the local economy.

Needless to say, thrifting is a win-win for everyone.

For you, it means stumbling across something that might become an heirloom, or at the least, a really awesome piece of furniture for your living room.

Treasure hunting is a pleasant hobby as well. Just getting out and visiting a thrift store or two at leisure is calming, especially to me. I have a method to my madness when thrifting and will write a blog about, too, that later on. For now, it’s an exciting notion,  knowing that whenever I step foot into a thrift there is a world of possibility laid out before me in racks, on shelves and in cases by the register.

And the coolest thing of all?  Most of what one can find in a thrift store is one of a kind.

One of my most exciting finds this summer was a sparkly (yes, sparkly!) cobalt blue sweater dress. It was labeled with the wrong size, stuffed into a rack of women’s shirts, and yelled at me when I walked by.

I turned around, picked it up, looked it over, and now it resides in my closet anxiously awaiting cooler weather when it can drape itself over my body.

Did I mention it was COBALT BLUE???

I’m about to hyperventilate.

Do you enjoy thrifting? Are there any good stores near where you live? What are some of your most favorite thrift store treasures?

Please check back often for more posts about thrifting. Trust me, I have plenty to share.

~Francie