17 Apr, 2008
A new kind of shopping challenge
It’s SPRING. And it’s garbage day. As I walked the girls to school I couldn’t help seeing what people were all throwing out. It seems a lot of us get the spring cleanout bug. I have caught it myself. I brought a stuffed garbage bag, a smaller bag and a box full of family castoffs to the Salvation Army store yesterday. It felt GREAT. We have way too much stuff around here, and no place to put it. I am trying to pare it all down. And it’s hard.
Conversely, I was recently commiserating with a neighbour recently about our shared craving to shop. This might seem odd, coming from me (especially given the terms of the recent shopping embargo and my urge to purge) but it’s totally true. Spring is in the air and I’m totally lusting for stuff. Is it the sun, the promise of warm weather, what? Regardless of the reason, something has shifted and it’s been tough to withstand. I bought a new cap awhile back. And Mark bought a new bike a couple of weeks ago. I’ve bought some new clothes… But I’m going to try to put an end to the spree and try to satisfy that craving with a trip to the thrift store instead. And by THRIFT I mean second-hand.
Care to join me?
Shopping at a second-hand store is a challenge. You don’t just saunter in, pick something up and leave. Oh no. That’s for wimps. Here you have to dig (sometimes literally), you search, you sort, and sometimes - if you are very very lucky - you find something good, but most of the time you don’t.
Some folks wouldn’t be caught dead in a place like this because they think (a) the clothes have been stripped off bodies at the city morgue or (b) they’re going to catch cooties or something or (c) they’re caving to the stigma that second-hand shops are domain of the poor and no one else is allowed to shop there. Sadly, there are a lot of people who can’t afford to shop anywhere else, that’s true, but I look at it this way: I give tons of stuff away to second-hand shops to resell so my conscience is clear. Besides, this is the kind of shopping that’s actually good for the environment. By not buying new I’ve saved some cash AND saved something from going into the landfill. Most of the things I’ve bought in the past have been totally cool and rare and fun, things that I wouldn’t find new even if I tried:
i.e. plates, wooden spoons, Mr. Mugs memorabilia, vintage coffee/teapot, vintage party noisemakers,
Children’s books, Finger puppets, Wooden checkers, playing cards (and these ones), records, a bowling pin, (from a yard sale: a wooden doll), more stuff, S& P shakers, games …
(Although the list above might seem like a lot, I will say that I am trying to be careful about what we accumulate around here because our living space is so limited.)
There are a lot of smart, nay, SKILLED second-hand shoppers out there who are great at unearthing wonderful one-of-a kind finds (*this is me, batting my eyes over in Marla’s direction*) and I was wondering if anyone wanted to make a challenge out of it.
This is your opportunity to brag about your amazing find and help me show the non-believers that there are good things to be found.
Here’s the what’s what:
Venture forth to your favourite second-hand or consignment store(s). If you find something truly awesome, post it to your blog, come back and let us know in the comments section of this post. Or if you’re blogless you can just describe your item in the comments of this post. Don’t forget to tell us the price you paid and where you bought it. You don’t have to live in Ottawa to play along BUT your item has to be a new (by new I meant recent) purchase of something in a second-hand store, not a link to something you bought previously.
There’s no prize. Um, let’s just say you’re shopping for your own prize and perhaps we can all then take a vote and talk about who’s find was the best. There’s no specific category of ‘thing’ you need to be looking for but it has to be wonderful and useful and beautiful to you, whether it’s a a wall-hanging, some vintage wallpaper, a pair of jeans, a toy … whatever.
The goal here is to open more people to the idea of shopping second-hand, to showcase what kind of stuff is out there, but also remind people to donate their goods instead of pitching them in the garbage.
How about everyone who participates come back here by May 3rd for a little show and tell?
So who’s in?