Tag Archives: thrift stores

It’s May show and tell time!

A number of nice, free or cheap things have come my way in the last month and I’d like to share them with you. I always loved show & tell in grade school and well, I still do. I figured I’d pack a bunch into one post.

I lucked into these Sloggers rain boots in my size at the small local church thrift store. Sloggers is a U.S. brand that makes oh-so-cute rain boots and garden shoes. I already had some I bought from Amazon. They have nice thick treads and since I don’t have a car and walk a lot  I wear them often. This particular pattern is one I’ve covetously eyed and knowing their usual price, I didn’t mind paying a modest $5 for a second hand pair, ones which are perfect for spring/summer in this beautiful pastel shade.



Last week I saw what I thought was trash in the street and I was going to get it out of the roadway (doing a good deed natch) but when I got closer I saw it was two Holmes window fan boxes with fans inside. I wasn’t optimistic that they’d work but I took one home to see and lo and behold it was a working fan so I fetched the other one. My best guess is they’d been left on the curbside but the grass cutters mowing a “common” area had knocked them into the street. It was odd there wasn’t a “FREE” sign on them; if I hadn’t picked them up they’d likely have gone to the landfill because who expects random roadside appliances to work?? Especially when they appear to be trashed boxes.

They were really dirty, especially one, so I had to take it apart, even breaking a small, unimportant piece in order to clean it but I looked online and these sell for $40 each at Target so not such a bad deal. Not only are they digital but they have a reversible “exhaust” feature.



I paid $2 at a community school yard sale for these Levis 314 “shaping straight” size 29 jeans. The people were nice enough to let me take them into a close-by building to try them first and they were perfect.


Someone tossed out a small set of drawers. The drawers were cheaply made and I didn’t want them but the solid metal drawer pulls were great so I only took them. This isn’t typically something I’d do particularly if I think it’ll render an item useless for the next potential grabber (I once didn’t take an IKEA bed frame because I only wanted it for the lumber and it seemed right to leave it for someone needing a bed, only to later learn from another person that a fellow came along after me and took it for the lumber!). However, drawer pulls are easy enough to procure so I didn’t feel too guilty.


I set them in the dish drain to take the picture to show you

I’m not sure what I’ll do with them; they could be drawer or door pulls or if I attached them to a board I could make a little rack for hanging things.

Someone advertised a large, free glass bowl on line along with other items. I was delighted to be the first person to request it. The bowl turned out to be good quality Anchor Hocking, perfect for making breads. It was great timing because I’ve been looking at large bowls online but thought they were too pricey. Here it is next to a measuring cup to show size.


I think this next is my favorite. I happened to see this IKEA Poang chair on the local Freecycle group (other than to give stuff away I rarely look at it because the group is very popular and nice items get plenty of replies). For whatever reason though, I saw this listing with a photo about an hour after it went online and somehow I knew this chair was mine. Sometimes I just get those feelings. I was right! The lister contacted me and I picked it up promptly. The cover needed a thorough washing (not dissing the owner; it had been used on a screened porch and abandoned by the previous home owner) and the arm rests needed sanding, both of which I did right away.

It happened that I found a tossed-out IKEA Pello chair several years ago (and after cleaning it and washing the cover of course) I put it in my room. It’s been fine but the white cover gets messy fast and it’s not my favorite shade. I thought I’d swap it for the new chair. However, a Poang chair is a bit larger than the Pello and it seemed too big for my little room. I had an idea: I swapped the covers! Even though each is made for its specific chair they still fit the other. So, here is the Pello chair I already had with the “new” Poang cover.


After having a plain white chair for years this in-your-face print is a big change but I love it! I put the Poang chair with the white Pello chair cover in the living room. Perfect!


Let me tell you about these two chairs. When I sit down in either I say, “Oooooohhhh“, close my eyes and promptly start yawning. Either I am too tired or these chairs are quite comfortable. I mean look at that chair above – it even appears to be leaning back & relaxing by itself!

And finally, I just got this ” glider” style bench curbside. You can make it move back and forth with your feet. Or you can just sit there sprawled on its unusual depth. It was kinda blackened when I found it but I scrubbed it up. I “willed” a new bench to come my way because another I’d found and had for many years finally had to get trashed; I’d made several repairs over the years but the wood had deteriorated too much. What’s cool about this one is I could remove the glider mechanism if I wanted and just have a bench. It appears from the bottom of the wood that it sat directly on the ground without protection so I may have to get rid of that part eventually. Benches like this are expensive and I love getting them as freebies.


think that’s everything – for now.

p.s. The day after I wrote this I found a beautiful 7′ umbrella thrown out for trash. I had to add it to this post!


Outfit for a warm Feb day (bargain style)

I haven’t shown you one of my bargain outfits in awhile. I wore this on an unusually mild late February day.



The 3/4 length Fragile brand jeans were a thrift store find. The length at half-calf is flattering and the cuff adds an interesting accent. The Heart & Hips brand  top I got last month at Ross for.99!


It may have started at higher than the listed $5.99 since there is another sticker below the first. However, my efforts to peel it back to see were unsuccessful



It has a subtle stripe

I’m going to break blog tradition here because the virtues of this great top can’t be appreciated without seeing it worn. I have always thought off-shoulder tops were very cute but I have none. Frankly, when you predominantly rely on thrift stores for your clothes, you can’t be very particular – and I can say I’ve never seen a top like this in one.


Chic no?


I got the Teva shoes for $3 in the Fall from a local church thrift store. To be honest, years ago I’d seen a friend in shoes like these and didn’t think they were very attractive. I’d never had shoes like them – in fact, my footwear in general was very limited till about 10 years ago when I started branching out and accumulating more shoes (in no small part because I had gotten rid of my car and now considered shoes the equivalent of tires).  Anyway, these shoes are outrageously comfortable. They feel like tennis shoes. I work them with black footie-type socks that don’t show.


I don’t know what color that is exactly but it’s a great match for the top




The quarter is for size reference (not what anything cost!)



How cool are these?!

A word on the accessories. I just treated myself to the cat’s eye sunglasses which I found on Amazon for $5, which is honestly the most I’ve ever paid! I made the earrings; they were initially just the triangular pieces and I added the other parts. I also just got the watch from Amazon for $6. The watch face is huge! I love it.  (I haven’t had a proper watch in years – instead I have a couple old watch faces, one of which I attached on a key ring to a zipper on my “everyday”purse).



Early Spring Outfit (bargain-style)


I put this together to go to a social event on a sunny, breezy, cool Spring day. I think the mix of black with strong, bright colors exemplifies the changing season. If I got too warm I could remove the jacket; the dress has half sleeves. I rolled up the jacket sleeves so the amount of skin I bared at my wrists matched the amount of leg I showed between the capris and boots.

I got the fabulous orange purse (one even men notice/compliment which is rare in my experience), the unstructured jacket, and the Frye boots that just needed spiffying up, for only a dollar apiece from thrift stores. I don’t buy leather goods as a rule but my thinking with second-hand leather is the cow is already dead and the profits are going to a thrift store, nonprofit, etcetera. My high ticket item, the $10 Mi Manchi dress, came several years ago from, appropriately, a Ross Dress Store, and I found the leggings for $4 on Amazon.

I wore an orange ring, red dangly earrings, a silver watch and silver bracelet.

A story of a new (bargain) shirt

I like clothes. Always have. I’m not high-end, mostly favoring thrift stores. I want the savings, yes, but I also feel this country is obscenely awash in clothes. I don’t want to add to the problem.

It wasn’t like this when I was growing up. Now, I can’t believe how swamped we are in clothes. Not only is there an abundance of new things, thrift stores, church sales, and private yard sales almost always feature piles & piles of clothes.
The value of clothes, save designer and other “desirable” labels, has plummeted. I know a lot of these clothes – perfectly decent things – must end up in the dump. At a point, even charities are saturated. I try to be mindful of this when shopping.

I want to show you a recent store-bought find.


Isn’t that beautiful? It’s just my type. Awesome colors, flattering, and the sleeves are long enough.

But look at this!

49 cents?!? I almost wondered why they didn’t just give it to me! Clearly they wanted it gone! Usually if something in a store starts at $16.99, and ends up at 49 cents, there are several stops along the way, a series of increasingly lower stickers stacked on top of one another; $14.99, $11.99, $6.99, and so on. This had no stack. Just one swift price cut. (Sometimes, this means a close examination of the garment at hand will reveal a big tear in the seam or a mystery stain, for examples, but I saw nothing wrong with this shirt).

My time in retail was brief and did not extend beyond my teenage years; I’ve no idea how these things work. And I’d imagine things have changed anyway. It makes me wonder, though, if this shirt hadn’t sold at this price, where would it go next? (They don’t have a “free” pile in the store – nor have I ever seen such a thing.) Out of curiosity I just googled “where do clothes that don’t sell go“. Oh this is nice. Destroyed so they can’t be worn and tossed into the garbage, at least in some instances. Why am I not surprised. Some unwanted clothes get sold en masse, i.e., by the pound, to Africa, which is also where a lot of donated second-hand clothes go, apparently.

I also learned why labels are often cut out of clothing that turns up in marked-down or thrift stores. The fancy label people don’t want their good name tarnished by having it worn by the likes of poor people who couldn’t afford it new! Hahaha! That’s good [sarcasm]. It’s like saying, “I’ll help you out, but you can’t tell anyone you know me.” Oh, I like that [more sarcasm]. What if you were a homeless person and got some designer hand-out with the label cut out, so you made a big cardboard sign with the designer‘s name crudely written on it and wore it around your neck while walking about your city? Now that, that would be good!

I am starting to feel better about my 49 cent shirt, given all this. A little anyway. Buying new clothes may be perpetuating a problem, yet on the other hand, I possibly saved this shirt from the garbage.

I want to show you the label that came with it.

Huh? What's this now?

Huh? What’s this now?

I’ve kept this label and read it several times. This is just the sort of thing that bothers and preoccupies me. What on earth does it mean?? Clearly, the brand went to a bit of trouble, maybe even hired a writer, to come up with this. But it doesn’t make any sense. How do “unique artworks” and “fond memories” come together with my “personal style?” How, I ask you, how?! Whose fond memories?? Mine? Theirs? I don’t know the people at Vintage Suzie. This is the first I’ve ever heard of the name, so their fond memories really aren’t of much interest.

And what about this albeit pretty shirt reflects “beautiful eras” and “exotic places?” Lord, they aren’t talking about the 60’s and 70’s are they? And the admonition that I “be beautiful, live differently, and dress Vintage Suzie?” If I was going to “live differently,” I doubt buying and wearing clothes would have much to do with it. Don’t people who “live differently” tend to do things like set up homesteading in the woods? Or start themselves a scary cult? Or insist on being called Sir Lancelot the Eighteenth, or some such? Buying fashions, cute, “vintage,” or not, aren’t usually high on the priorities.

Lest you think, as I initially did, that the copy was written by someone not overly familiar with English – and I am being unfair in mocking it – let me end by showing you this.

Yep, USA.

Yep, USA.