The Shift to Thrift.

Thrifty Shopping and Living by the motto Never pay full price for anything!

One person’s rubbish is another person’s treasure.

There is no doubt that for most people, in western society at least, our lives are over thinged. It is said over and over that things don’t make a person happy yet still we strive for bigger and better things. It is true, to negotiate life we do need some things but they do not need to be the biggest or the best. The sweetest pleasures are those simple things which speak our life story; the story of the places we have been, the people we have met and loved, of our heartaches, tragedies and triumphs.

These little bread and butter plates were purchased for 10c each. I bought 30 and they have been used over and over and over again. If one is broken it causes no grief. I am asked to take them to group morning teas for use when other wise paper plates would be used. So much nicer to have a pretty little china plate when playing ladies.

Garage sales and thrift shops have some wonderful finds; I have been an op shop / thrift shopper / garage sale purchaser for over 40 years but about 18 months ago I made the decision that I was not going to buy any new clothes. I could create, up cycle, recycle or buy good quality garments at thrift shops. This has been so successful and easy to do that I have extended this strategy to include almost everything. So before I make a new purchase, I will scout around to see if I can pick one up at a thrift shop. This has many advantages; supporting needy people in the community, not contributing to the pollution, the resource drain or the exploitation of workers in the manufacturing industry and saving some stuff from going to ever increasing, land fill rubbish sites.

Now, here is a story. When my husband’s mother married her first husband they were given a 6 piece dinner set of the above. Sadly, they were married for only a few weeks and the young man was killed in a military aircraft accident. Hubby’s mum became Queensland’s 1st WW2 war widow. Several years later she remarried and my hubby was the son of that marriage. After both of hubby’s parents had passed away we were going through the house and found this dinner set, basically unused and packed away in a box. Just a few weeks after that we spied in the window of an op shop a full 6 piece service of the same pattern for $30. There is now a full 12 piece dinner service, complete with soup tureen, serving platter, coffee set and entree plates. And we use them!

It is not only clothing that can be purchased at a fraction of the cost of new clothing, household items, linen, soft furnishings, new fabrics, accessories, jewellery, books, DVDs, records, garden equipment, furniture, and the list goes on, are also available.

Above and below. A couple of garage sale bargains. The glass juicer was 50c at a garage sale. A little while later I saw an identical juicer in an antique shop for $35. The red enamel colander was 20c.

There are some rules for successful thrift shopping.

#1) Be price savvy. Some thrift shops are almost boutique style and ask substantial prices for their goods. Don’t be tricked. I have seen goods in thrift stores priced more than those same items would be if purchased new in stores.

#2) Shop at thrift stores when they have sales.

#3) Don’t feel you have to buy something just because you are out browsing. Have an idea of what you are looking for, be very selective and have a use for your purchase.

It is not thrifty if:

#1) It doesn’t fit; it’s broken; it is poor quality.

#2) You have no use for the item; the item serves no purpose; you don’t need it or you don’t love it.

3#) Don’t buy junk or items that are broken unless you know you will restore them. There is no point in taking someone else’s junk home to become junk at your home.

Still, real gems are to be found tucked away in thrift stores. Armed with knowledge about the true value of items, go thrift shopping and nab a true treasure. I promise – it’s a great buzz!

So I have kept the best till last. These lovely little hand painted dishes were 50c each; but the knives were an amazing find. For quite some time I had wanted at least one good knife so I was simply over the moon to find these knives, brand new, Wiltshire brand, in a timber block with a self sharpener for; wait for it! $5!

I hope I have encouraged you to take a look at thrift shopping. The benefits can be amazing. There are only two rules; be price savvy and love what you buy.

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