I miss thrifting. Anyone else?
Seems strange, I know … with everything locked down during this pandemic, there’s so much to miss. Restaurants, pubs, movies, gyms, places to take the kids, pedicures, haircuts …
And I miss all of those things too (okay, except the gym). But I have one more for the list: thrift shops. I must have been a rat in a previous life, because I just love sifting through junk. Even when I don’t leave with something, it’s the thrill of the hunt that gets me excited. It’s part treasure hunt, part fodder for a good story. And my little treasures, when I do find them, make me happy every time I look at them.
Today I’m a little stir-crazy (because, #lockdown), so I’m rearranging stuff around the house. As I do, I’m noticing themes to the things I’ve thrifted over time. Here’s what I look for – and if you’re a thrifter, I’d love to hear about your favourite things too!
Whether it’s a crock, platter, basket or bowl, we’re always in need of a “bucket” to round stuff up. Might as well pick one that’s interesting! Here are a few sprinkled around our place:
Thrifted treasures, clockwise: a small china platter holds napkins; a vintage Pyrex casserole collects odds & ends in the kitchen; this pretty scalloped glass dish is the perfect size for cookies and treats; a lacy basket is just right for baguettes; my favourite crock holds rags in the laundry room.
Pieces That Add Soul
Don’t get me wrong, new stuff is great. In fact, some things (face cloths! underwear!) are absolutely best new. But for character and charm, nothing beats a little patina. Brass, stone, silver and other “living” finishes all change with time and lend a warmth and soul that no big box store can replicate.
Patinated treasures, clockwise: my brass candlesticks are always out, even with no dinner party in sight; I thrifted this cream and sugar set for the patina long before I met my husband and my last name started with “G” – maybe the monogram was a lucky omen?; I can’t seem to resist a pretty scalloped bowl; glorious patina on this copper casserole holder; the weathering on this stone urn makes it even more beautiful.
Then there are the things that just make me smile. Vintage artwork bought for a song, original oil paintings, a handmade sculpture and a vintage champagne bucket that adds a bit of quirk to the kitchen:
The pretty things, clockwise: I couldn’t resist this vintage print for my daughter’s ensuite (her nickname is Petit Oiseau); this handmade sculpture is probably my favourite thrifted find of all time; a typical Paris scene is actually an original oil; eBay tells me this vintage ice bucket may be plated in 24k gold; I dug this amateur painting out of a barn and my kids named her Meredith.
In Defence of Cheap Thrills
So if you’re my husband, and I’ve convinced you to stop at a thrift / junk / antique shop, inevitably the question regarding any amazing find becomes “but where are you going to put it?” To which I say this:
Remember in Field of Dreams, when Kevin Costner’s character says “If you build it, they will come”? My thrifting philosophy is along those lines too: I believe that if you love it, you’ll find a spot for it.
That said, here’s my GIANT caveat: You can’t love everything. You just can’t, unless you have an unlimited bank account / infinite space / a hoarding issue / a good divorce attorney. It’s SO easy to convince yourself that something small will be “easy to store out of season” or that something is so inexpensive that “it doesn’t really matter” if it gets used or not. Trust me, I know. But here’s the thing: filling a home with items you don’t really love pushes you further from actually making your house a home. After awhile, it just becomes a house filled with stuff. Not stuff that makes you smile. Not stuff you actually use. Just … stuff. And isn’t that the opposite of what we’re trying to accomplish here??!?
(Also, take it from a girl who has moved approximately 13,476 times over the past 20 years — when/if you ever need to pack, it’s the boxes of junk that feel the heaviest ;)).
Look at me, using the stuff I’ve bought … a vintage sugar bowl holds bath salts and dried lavender, a thrifted urn becomes a vase, my favourite scalloped bowl holds our daily stash of fresh fruit.
Whatever treasure you’re after, I wish you all the joy of the hunt! And if you’re a fellow thrifter, I’d love to hear what you look for and what you’ve found. Please share your favourite find in the comments below 🙂
To cheap thrills!