Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Nifty Thrifting Tips

'Thrifting' seems to be one of those buzz words at the moment, often surfacing in blogs and conversation. I for one am passionate about this trend that seems to be cropping up everywhere. To be thrifty means 'to be cautious and wise with money', according to my little Collins Gem dictionary. Now, my other half might disagree with me here, but I do try to apply this principle when it comes to the old purse strings. After all, I have discovered that the joy I experience from discovering a real find in the most unlikely of places is equal if not greater than just purchasing a new item off a high street shelf. There is also something special about choosing something that has already lived a life, however long it may have been, and to breathe new life into it.

Now, I don't claim to be an expert when it comes to the art of thrifting, but I thought I'd share some of my experiences with you, and hopefully this will inspire you to have a go at it if you haven't already. I can ramble on forever about this passion of mine, but I abide by a few simple rules and will start by sharing those with you.

Rule no. 1: Know the hot spots! The best places to bag a bargain are charity shops, bootsales, garage sales, estate sales, newspaper sales, and DO NOT underestimate the yellow skip on the side of the road. These often yield unexpected treasures. After all, one man's trash is another man's treasure! Swallow your pride and dig! (You might want to ask first if this would be okay! Politeness and a bit of charm goes a long way!)

Rule no. 2: Dress for the occasion. Going shopping in my books is always an occasion! However, when going thrifting you might want to consider something other than heels. Comfy flat shoes are best for doing all those miles in, and a nice shopper bag is a must. We all want to save on using all those plastic bags, right? I went thrifting this weekend, and this is what I wore.

Plimsolls are my favourite! I feel like I can run a marathon in them! The fabric shopper bag can fold up small in my handbag until such time as I find that 'I can't live without it' item. As for the rest, well it was comfy and practical! (Ooh, I also had to sport my new red lips and nails. The lipstick is from Boots, and I love it! At a mere £1.99 it's a snip! Part of the Natural Collection. The nail varnish was a gift from a friend, Rimmel 60 second, and yes, it does really dry in 60 seconds flat!)

Rule no 3: Have a game plan! Shop with a clear idea of what you're looking for. If you find it, great! If you don't, let it be. Do not feel obliged to make a purchase in fear of going home empty handed. Surely the shops will still be there next week! For example, I have been looking out for one or two little things for some time now, and often I've had to resign myself to the fact that one day I will stumble upon it. Good things come to those who wait, don't they? And today I found it!

I have been looking for a little deer since December, at a price that I was willing to pay. Today is the 22nd of May, and I've finally found one for a song. (No, I didn't really have to sing for it, but I think if I had to they would have paid ME to keep quiet, to take it and LEAVE! Hee-hee...)

Rule no. 4: Go early! This tip seems so obvious, but I can't stress it enough! If you have those extra few minutes tucked up in bed, you WILL lose out on the catch of the day! Quality items at bootsales get snatched up very quickly, so be quick. Early bird catches the worm!

Rule no. 5: Think outside the box. If you're too set in your ways you might lose out on that wonderful find that could be something lovely. If you see an item you like, and it's not quite perfect, think of ways to make it perfect for you. I found this picture in a charity shop and liked elements of it. The frame however was too bright for my liking (gold), and it looked too new. I prefer things that are a little rough around the edges. I painted the frame in a white distressed finish, and, wait for it...I took sandpaper to the canvas to rough it up a bit! Voila!

Talking about thinking outside of the box...I needed some new food storage containers for leftovers as mine always seem to go AWOL. (I have a feeling if I was to dig in my kidlet's sandpit, I might unearth at least a few, but I'm no geologist!) So, when I saw these in a thrift shop I was delighted, as they're a lot more fun than the bland clear plastics on offer in the supermarket, and they were as cheap as chips, and in mint condition!

Rule no. 6: If in doubt, walk away. This action of walking away from something you're not sure of, doesn't only apply to choosing a husband! Hee-hee...If you like something, but you're not entirely sure whether to cough up your hard-earned cash, walk away. This action will either prompt you to go back, because you really cannot imagine losing out on such a good find, or make you forget all about it! In this instance you really didn't need it, and saved yourself some pennies. Here is something I walked away from today, but went back for! A beautiful Wedgwood flower pot, perfect for housing the little fern a relative gave me last week.

Well, these are a few of the tips that seem to work for me. Thrifting is so much fun, and I'd love to hear from you if you have any handy hints, pearls of wisdom, or experiences you'd like to share. I'll leave you with a few images of my thrifty finds. Ta-ra for now!

Thrifted finds



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