Monday, June 17, 2013

(good)will hunting.

perty, ain't it?
This post brought to you by the fabulous (parent)thetically speaking. 

About a week and a half ago, I totally scored at Goodwill. The kids and I had stopped in to do a quick lap (I say quick because I've learned approximately how much time I have once I enter a store before the kids' "timers" start to go off and I turn into a pumpkin...and it ain't much). As I walked past the furniture section (where I don't usually stop) I saw this couch. It was coral colored and velvet, and for some reason, I was drawn to it. I took some pictures and texted them to some of my "design consultants" and then left. I found myself obsessing over this couch (and when I think about something constantly it's usually a sign that I'll end up buying it, who's with me?). So after nap time, I schlepped lovingly took my children back (and timers are...on) and did some quick measurements and gave it a good once-or-twice-over for stains/musty smells. Having passed those tests, I grabbed the purchase ticket and bam! we had a new couch. And it gets better - its Ethan Allen (!) and it was $50. We had just begun to look for a new couch and prices seemed to be starting at $600 - so yeah, score.

This caps off a bit of a streak I've been on, starting with a classic Brooks Brothers tie for $5 and a cross-body leather Coach purse for $20. And pardon me while I just drop this - an authentic 1980's HERMES scarf. HERMES, as in the wardrobe-piece-of-a-lifetime for...$1.97 (I saved the tag). Its selling for $400 on eBay. I'm telling anyone who will listen (or read) about my scarf.

My strategy for good Goodwill hunting comes from a childhood spent finely honing my thrifting skillz with my mommy. Here's what you need to know in order to emerge from a thrift shop victorious (and not with a bunch of stuff that you keep in a box for 5 years and end up donating to...a thrift shop - it happens).

* you have to decide where to draw the line. (personal preference here) Goodwill is not the place I look for towels, sheets, dinnerware, intimates, bathing suits, toys or stuffed animals (I'm probably forgetting some, it's just habit to avoid certain sections)
* think about the departments in the store where you want to go first, and then come back to others. It can feel like a casino - time slips away and you get that feeling like if you walk away too soon, you'll miss the jackpot - but stay focused on one area at a time. I always head for home goods, then purses, then dresses.
* don't go in thinking you will find a specific item. you may end up disappointed
* don't buy something just because its inexpensive, it will be tempting, but try not to cave
* do look for shapes or silhouettes that you like, at least in home goods, because a can of spray paint can work wonders on lamps, candlesticks, picture frames, etc. be realistic, though, with the scope of a re-purposing project you're willing to undertake (see above about items that sit in boxes for 5 years...)
* as you scan the clothing racks (if you decide that you're comfortable purchasing second-hand) scan for patterns and colors, even fabrics, that catch your eye. the ability to spot name-brand clothing simply by the fabric, or pattern, or dye is my greatest thrifting achievement, and is the key to integrating thrift shop scores into a cultivated wardrobe (this is serious bidness, folks)

Arm yourself with some of my strategies, or someone else's, or your own and go ahead and pop some tags from that thrift shop down the road...

For previous posts from (parent)thetically speaking, click HERE.

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