Tag Archives: thrift store

A most excellent dress for summer day at Farmers Market (bargain style)

I have several great summer dresses that haven’t gotten much play in recent years. I was determined to wear them this summer – and not “wait” for the perfect event. I wore this to the local weekly Farmers Market one hot July day. I found this dress, a Ronni Nicole, at Ross two years ago marked down to a shocking $3.49! I’d have been attracted to this print any time but the price and the fact it¬†fit¬†me clinched it. It’s polyester/spandex but better, it has a long zipper in the back (shift style dresses are notoriously hard to get into – and out of – and a zipper is awesome). The dress is short but not¬†too¬†short for comfort.


I found this great hat on Amazon last March for $4. They key to finding Amazon bargains is taking advantage of the price range option. Supposing I want a hat, I might start with looking at all hats $5 and under. If I don’t see much or nothing I like, I might then bump my range to $6 and under. (A side benefit is that you’re less likely to get/feel overwhelmed by options.)


The rule of thumb when wearing a loud print like this is not to lay on a lot of accessories; basically to let the print, in this case dress, “do the talking.” I wore a few complementary pieces. I found the watch on Amazon last year for $6, the cuff bracelet, a ringer for the green in the dress, was a rummage sale find, and I made the earrings.


Most of my shoes are flats and since I was going to be walking around flats made sense. These sandals, which I found at a thrift store for a couple bucks, are¬†Active Air,¬†a brand I never heard of; I googled the name now and found only¬†Clarks Active Air sandals. Hot diggity! Clarks, which aren’t cheap, have a good rep. No wonder I like them so much.


Since the day I wore this look, I found¬†Crocs sandals on Amazon for $13 which, honestly, is about the most I’ve ever paid for shoes! I’ve never had any Crocs but I like these a lot. They also make me about an inch taller while still having all the virtues of flats. They’d also work well with the dress.



This outfit was easy to pull together and I loved the whole look.

Creating clothes & accessories storage in my (small) bedroom

Last March (man, that sounds LONG ago now for some reason) I did a post about¬†making my bedroom a cheerful sanctuary. I’ve been steadily improving the space over many years and it keeps getting better. It’s a small room and that forces me to get creative about decorating and storage, without feeling cramped. I want it to be cheerful and organized.

People’s closets are rather personal spaces and there’s several euphemisms to illustrate as much (“skeletons in the closet”, “coming out of the closet” and so on come to mind) and maybe I wasn’t quite ready to “show you my closet” before this but I must be feeling frisky now, friends.

My closet is 5′ long and 2′ wide. I hang most of my clothes on the over-worked rod, which is especially packed now because 1) in between seasons calls for both warm and cool weather clothes to be on-hand and 2) I bought a bunch of beautiful new-to-me tops this summer when the local church thrift store marked down their summer clothes to $1 apiece, and further marked them down to $3 and then $1 a bag. When things were a $1 I found many tops I liked (somewhere down the line I’d like to share them here on the blog) and now the rod is stuffed.¬†


Curtain covers closet

I am unorthodox I expect in that I keep boots on two shelves above the clothes but that has worked best. The closet initially had just one shelf but I’d often peer up into the ceiling area eyeing all that excess space up there just doing nuthin’. With trial and error, I figured that the upper shelf I put in needed to be more shallow than the lower or a) I couldn’t see what the hell was on it and b) I couldn’t get whatever that stuff was down.


Shoes go on a rack below. It’s pretty packed now too because of the changing season (I’m still wearing “fashion sneakers” but have also begun to wear short boots). You’ll notice the absence of “dress shoes”. My footwear has grown increasingly lower heeled/casual but I am making moves to bring in dressy, low-heeled shoes that aren’t boots (I just bought saddle shoes! Sure to be seen in an future post).


I make use of two multi-hangers to make more space in the closet.



I like short black skirts what can I say

I put two large green Dollar Tree fabric bins on a shelf over the closet (that you can see in the first picture above). They hold “overflow”, in this case athletic and warm winter socks in one and my purses in the other. I move things in or out depending on the season.



I’d like my closet to be prettier¬†inside but I need to figure out how to best do that (wallpaper on the back wall behind the clothes? A runner rug on the floor?)¬† but at least it’s going the right direction. I did put in a prettier shelf with a nice scalloped edge as well as a new closet rod. I moved/attached that rod up a little higher than normal because I’m tall enough to see it and it gave me more room for the shoes below.

I’ve posted about these tall IKEA cabinets I found early in 2016 and how I use one for clothes storage like socks, jeans, leggings, and scarves. Here’s the one in my room with a couple close-ups. (I took ALL the shelves from both units to use in just this one so I have tons of adjustable shelves.)



I fold my socks in half to store them.




Thinner dress scarves


Thicker dress scarves


Fabric bin for pajamas and “cozy footies”

Last week I found a terrific deal on Amazon for a set of 4 5-drawer small Sterlite plastic drawers. I already had a 3-drawer unit that I keep make-up in (I don’t have a lot of makeup so 3 tiny drawers are fine). There was a crack in one of the new drawers so I got it marked down. Until I saw these 20 drawers, I hadn’t known that was what I wanted but it gave me an idea! I’d put everything small in tiny drawers. Hoo baby, there was no stopping me now!


I found/painted this shelf unit a few years back. With the shelves removed the Sterlite drawers fit perfectly.





Thin dress socks


I got the tiny plastic containers (a 10 pack) from Dollar Tree



I’m delighted with all these little drawers for storage – I have to SEE what I own or the things cease to exist; that’s something I’ve figured out about myself. It all needs to be visible and accessible.


NOTE: still having internet issues and may not respond to any comments right away but I still like them!

“New” bag

I wrote about finding¬†¬†the carryall bag of my cheap dreams¬†several months ago. I was so pleased to snag an inexpensive bag that could hold a lot of stuff ¬†(purse, library books, an umbrella, etc) and still look stylish. Before finding that bag I was relying on cumbersome backpacks a lot. As is often the case with things I want, I’d had the idea of such a bag¬†in my head a long time before I found it at a price I liked. Since then I use that Leeds bag all the time.

My luck continued in late 2016 when I happened on this brown bag at a local church thrift store. It had been $2 but was on a rack that said half-price. I think the reason it was marked so cheap was because the polka dots looked dingy when I found it. But I was able to scrub them with soap and a toothbrush (my go-to small cleaning instrument) and then the dots popped. This bag isn’t quite so large as the black one but still big enough to hold several items, including my purse. It has a large pocket on the opposite side too. The brand is¬†Jack!e (Jacqueline Savage McFee). I never heard of it before but just found that she has a website, blog, and Facebook page, all of which seem to emphasize fabrics, i.e. not cute accessories like this.

Between the two colored bags – black and brown – I now have carryalls that go with everything.¬†I can’t tell you how organized and pulled together this has made me feel – like a grownup lady person!



It even has a detachable shoulder strap

I should probably stop reading random stuff. It hurts my brains.

A few things caught my attention recently so I’m cobbling them into one post (with a tilt of my thrift-store hat to my WordPress buddy¬†Tim¬†who also sometimes writes posts along these lines).

I recently treated myself to a 2 pound bag of shrimp. Seafood is generally not in my price range moreover I’ve noticed that icky chemicals are often added now “to retain moisture and color” and other nonsense, which critics say can be used to disguise festering, old fish products. Nice! Dear lord, I’ve even seen¬†carbon monoxide as an additive – seriously, Sea Best Tilapia has it. You can pay MORE to buy their “natural” version which doesn’t.¬†Nice!¬†Anyway, I happened upon this lone package of frozen, raw shrimp at the small, local grocery store at an appealing $5 a pound. It didn’t say anything about weird preservatives but it did say this:


Born, raised, harvested, US. This reads like the shrimp’s autobiography. ¬†Born, raised, attended Shellfish Academy, interned at ¬†Pollock, Lobster & Calamari Ltd, met a fine catch, reared 600 shrimplets, worked at Avoiding the Net United….

What Christmas would be complete without a heartwarming discussion of toilet paper packaging? I can’t help myself – I read everything. For some time I’ve noticed the increasingly bizarre¬†improved¬†toilet paper claims. (Give me the company which says only¬†“Be glad we’re not newspaper”¬† and I would buy that stuff up.) So here’s what this one reads:


You know what I said aloud to myself on reading this?¬†What the hell does that mean??¬†Flexible and strong for a comfortable clean you can count on?? Who writes this stuff? Count on your toilet paper?? Because it so often lets you down? I don’t think I even want to know what this means. ¬†Cleanstretch¬ģ?!? The brand is PROUD enough of their ridiculous new word that they¬†trademarked¬†it. Good thinking!

Speaking of thrift store hats (and yes, yes I actually was, back in the first paragraph), I just got this fine little hat for a $1. I wash everything I buy secondhand and this was not exempted. Afterward, when it was air-drying, I took a look at the label.


Very standard looking label right? Nothing odd or atypical. I draw your attention to the words at the very top, “SEE REVERSE FOR CARE.” Totally standard. Let’s look at the “reverse” then.


Now there’s a gut-buster! DO NOT WASH?!? Whaddayamean do not wash?? This is like a sign that reads “Please use other door” but there IS no other door! Why couldn’t they have simply written “unwashable” on the front side?? Even a “dry clean only” for kicks?! Or how ’bout “Throw out when dirty”? As it stands it reads like a weird koan to ponder forevermore. Which I plan to do while wearing my cute hat!


Thrift store gold (oh ok, actually wood)

I like thrift stores and second-hand shops. And things from the past that have character. I don’t mean broken, lead-paint ridden, cracked, grungy, splintery, rusty, moth-ball scented stuff. Like when you go into a place that’s supposedly decorated with antiques and everything smells weird and you wouldn’t dream of sitting on the uncomfortable, festering furniture or walking on the decaying carpets that probably haven’t been cleaned in 60 years, and the bureau drawers can’t be pulled out by mere mortals, and the mirrors are so discolored they can only reflect suggestions of images and dust. No. Not what I had in mind.

I walked into a local thrift store and saw this.

It’s small, under 8″ high. Not only is it very cute with the whimsical painted touches, but it still functions as a stepping stool. It easily takes my weight (I don’t hear any bad crunching sounds when I step onto it). The construction is sound and this stool has obviously seen years of good use. (How long do you suppose those plastic stepping stools sold now last?) When not in use, it can stay in a corner where I see it unlike an ugly, pedestrian step stool that is best stowed out of sight.

But here’s the part that sold me.

I have no idea who Bethany Lynn was or is. Considering the spacing, there may have been an initial lost to a sticker between Bethany and Lynn. I love that somebody, likely a parent, either bought or made this stool for their little girl and then stenciled on her name. If I had a little step stool with my name on it when I was a kid, I would have been delighted. I think most kids – even today’s kids – would. (After all, no matter how many toys or other privileges they have, children are still out of luck if they can’t reach stuff. Like the sink.)

There are faded clues to its history on the underside of the stool. One looks like a typed label with possibly an address. A store name? Can’t make it out. The other is better. Handwritten in pencil by an adult: December something, and what looks like “1959.” The “195” is clear. So the stepping stool is certainly at least 55 years old. I don’t know where you are or what’s become of you, Bethany Lynn, but thanks. I’ll take good care of your bunny stepping stool.