Celebrating thrift

While George Washington or Abraham Lincoln might not find it appropriate, I’m sure Ben Franklin would approve of my annual President’s Day sojourn to a favorite thrift store for bargain hunting.

After all, it was Ben who suggested that “a penny saved is a penny earned.” When it comes to getting forty percent off already great prices, and 99 cent specials while also supporting an agency that provides job training — you can’t beat the Goodwill.

For some reason, even my relatives from the east coast rave about the local Seattle Goodwill store. There are branch stores all over the area, but for sheer volume of goods, this store is outstanding. They have designer looks at the front of the store, a jewelry and collectibles area and all the shelves are clearly marked, with sizes fairly well organized.

I always go with a mental list of what I’d like to find, and I’m often lucky. But the best bargains are those things you stumble upon that are such a good deal, you just can’t walk away. Brand new sweaters for $1.49, red suede boots for under fifteen dollars, (also brand new), or a set of wine glasses at a steal.

There are definitely folks who don’t understand this quest for good used stuff at cheap prices. I have friends who won’t buy anything used. They wouldn’t brake for garage sales, check the holiday schedule of thrift store sales or peruse Craig’s List. These are actually the folks I count on to pay full price for things and hopefully then grow tired of them and donate them to a good cause. Without them, there wouldn’t be anything decent to buy used.

Growing up in a family with a single mom and three daughters to clothe, we would refer to our new wardrobe purchases as, “new to me.” The strange thing is that even though many of our clothes came from the thrift store, we apparently knew how to wear them. People often asked me where I “got” something and the women in my family created a euphamism, “Sally’s” for that unique little boutique where we shopped. It was actually the Salvation Army store, one of the local thrift shops.

I enjoy the challenge of combining my thrift store bargains with a collection of vintage jewelry to create a unique look. I don’t want to look like the fashion magazines, because that’s a look everyone is copying. It’s pretty funny now that it isn’t called “thrifting” it’s called shopping vintage. Even if the vintage isn’t that old.

Whatever you call it, a morning making fashion decisions on the fly, sorting because your cart holds way too much and coming home to once again pore over your treasures is a great holiday traditon.

And the red boots were waiting were for me. I’m a sucker for red footwear. I swear they put the shoes and boots on the shelf when they see me coming!


Seattle Goodwill


8 responses to “Celebrating thrift

  1. I’m definitely from the camp of folks who don’t buy used nor brake for garage sales. I’m happy to donate my stuff though – so you’re right, it all works out!

  2. I was raised by a “fearless bargain hunter” like you! I used to do a lot of thrifting/garage saling when my sons were very young, but these days, I just don’t have time. Still, the bargain genes run deep – I never buy anything that isn’t on sale. Unless it’s a book, a piece of art or music…then all bets are off! 🙂

  3. We have stores here called Savers that are similar to the Goodwill, but usually better stocked. The first time I was in there, I found a beautiful green and gold French-style chair for $30. Of course, by the time we were able to get back there with a vehicle to cart it home in, it was gone. 😦

  4. I love shopping at thrift stores. I always find the coolest things!


  5. It’s the savvy thrift shopper who can spot those fabulous garments; there’s a certain radar that some of us have. You’ve got such style and you always look great, Deborah. It’s way more fun than shopping in the regular stores, where everything is the same and far too expensive. Next time I’m in your neck of the woods, we have to go thrifting together!

  6. I have a writer friend who supports himself by buying from the thrift stores and reselling it on Craigs List or Ebay. I take a lot of stuff down to the thrift stores but don’t buy as much as I should.


  7. I think the “hunt” is part of the fun. And I’m going to be visiting you and Charles someday, Mary Ann. Maybe even NEXT year, as we’re talking about a trip back East just for antique shopping.
    Wally – my son does some of that buying and selling. He’s made a nice profit on some stuff. KB – we could have a good time together!
    Ana, there was a beautiful white leather loveseat and chair that would have cleaned up beautifully. They were 40 percent off — I swear I could have remodeled a living room for under $100.00. But I don’t need any furniture.
    Eden, just keep buying, we need folks like you.

  8. Pingback: The Parent’s Quick Guide to Penny Pinching | Random Musings Of A Mad Mama!

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