Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Clarification on Why Thrifting Has Changed My Life

I sometimes wonder if people who know me don't approve of what I do. I think they view this business as stealing from the poor and selling to the rich because I always buy the top brands at thrift shops or new with tag items. Some people might view it as they donate to these charities to help people in need, but then I buy it. 

I had a little bit of an "aha" moment last week when I walked into a booth at the monthly storage swap meet and saw a bag of curtain rods for $5. Those exact rods were at the salvation army not long ago for $2. I'm sure of it. I remember noticing them because Tina at My Secret Ebay Diary has talked about shower curtain rods before, but they weren't in great condition so I put them back. Now I know who bought them. And is reselling them. For a split second, I thought it was tacky. Buying and then reselling at a garage sale type swap meet. But I soon realized it's no different from the business model I've been using all along. And there's nothing wrong with that.

I started thinking more about what I do and I realized that thrifting for me is so much more than buying and selling. Its become a part of who I am as a person. I used to spend a lot of my lunch hours scouring the racks at Macys, spending a lot of money on clothing that I no longer wear. I used to shop a lot. I still do infact. Shopping has always been my vice...an outlet for stress release...a way to pass the time. I do some of my best thinking while shopping. Thrifting has given me the outlet to shop, without spending an exorbitant amount of money to do it, and in return I can pay for things for my family and treat myself once in a while.

And since none of you have ever been to my home, I can assure that most of our furnishings come from thrifting. The only furniture that's new in our home is our couch and beds. Most large items were hand me downs from my parents and others were found at moving sales, garage sales, thrift shops, etc. It really gives the house character knowing that most of my decor has been thrifted. My large Samsung LCD tv was...yup you guessed it...purchased at a moving sale. One of my favorite stories is about the time my mom and I spent two hours taking down curtain rods and fixtures ourselves at a moving sale. I think about it every time I look out the window into the beautiful valley across us and my curtains are pulled back.

Anyway, for those of you who know me personally and are starting to learn what I do, please don't think I'm trying to rip off people with my business. Not everything I buy is for resale. In fact, here's a few things I bought recently that I absolutely love and kept all for my greedy little self:

I see so many possibilities with these letters. Find a matching Mrs and mount these over our bed? We have his and hers closets, how cute would they be mounted over our closet space? Anyway, I love these little letters that cost me barely anything.

I'm going to be redecorating the guest bedroom, aka ebay room and I'm collecting frames to spray paint and create a gallery wall. This frame will look amazing sprayed lime green.

These owl salt and pepper shakers are just too cute to give up. 

I'm still not sure about keeping this one. It's sooooooo cool...but there are none on ebay or amazon and I think it could be worth ALOT of cash. But seriously, who wouldn't want a football crockpot all to themselves?

This teapot, cup and saucer is too cute for words. I'm bringing it to work tomorrow so I can have hot tea sitting at my desk all day long.


We are: clamco said...

I actually saw a vendor at a local flea market selling a plate she had just purchased at my garage sale a week earlier! She got a little flustered when I pointed it out, but it didn't bother me. I was happy to have finally sold it. It's all part of what we do and we have to accept that. I think about it this way; I spend a LOT of time AND gas going to flea markets, garage sales, etc., looking for hard to find items. The Ebay buyer is paying not only for the item but for my efforts. As far as Goodwill goes, I have purchased items in lots on their website and resold those items individually at a profit. It's a win-win for everyone. They get their price, we get our price and the buyer gets their hard to find widget. Everyone wins! We are also recycling things that might otherwise be sent to a landfill. We're paying our bills and staying out of debt. I see no negatives in what we do.

mr.phx said...

Well said. I could go as far as saying that I emulate many of the things you said. For as long as I can remember, I have bought low, sold higher. Bought, and sold for a little less (but got a great deal of use out of it before it left). And a few times I bought but shouldn't have.

A long while ago, a girlfriend wanted to have a yardsale, knowing my expertise would come in handy. When it came down to a color television with a greenish hue to the screen. Luckily we were on the weekend and commanded the TeeVee be put on a golf game. All day Saturday it had lookers and few people actually touching it. Sunday rolled around and it sat again. My theory is there is someone to buy almost anything you have. Along came a large group of people in a single car. I nudged the girl. She had already wanted to donate or at least lower to a ridiculous price (so not to lug another inch). They stayed around quite awhile. They touched, commented, viewed front, side, back panels and even tipped it back. When it was all done and said, they heard the price then climbed back into the car, each and everyone of them. They took off slowly down the street. She, who was a non believer started giving me the stink eye and scoffing. I told her "wait a minute, wait a minute"... don't give up so easily. By the time the car got 3/4's down the block, the brake lights lit up and slowly grinded to a halt. The reverse lights brightened and the car began to ease back slowly backwards all the way up the street. They all got out and told it was a pretty good deal afterall and they would take it for full price. She... was astonished. But I wasn't!

DJ in Sunny PHX

Margaret said...

Interesting perspective. I've never felt this way. I have always shopped at Goodwill. And it was while doing and passing up so many awesome items that were either not in my size or wouldn't work well in my home...that I thought...wow, maybe someone else would like this. Since I'm spending the time thrifting for myself, why not pick up some things that I might be able to resell that will basically pay for my thrift shopping. That's how I started.

I feel more like a personal shopper, buying and selling unique items, clothing and toys for special collectors. I never feel bad about. If I found something that I thought was of great value at a garage sale or something, I would want to be fair. But people having garage sales just want to get rid of the stuff they no longer want or use.

Great post!

I hope to see you post more! Thanks!

Margaret @ Live Like No One Else