Friday, March 22, 2013

The Gift of Thrift: A Quarter's Worth

Having come home to Independence, Missouri, on a quick visit for my dad's birthday, my time was limited, but not so much so as not to experience a first: a visit to the Goodwill Outlet in Kansas City. I had no idea what to expect, other than the advise my sister gave me: go into it with an open mind.

Mind open and change burning a whole in my pocket, I was ready for an adventure. We started sifting through rows of blue bins,considering the array of odds and ends that were priced by the pound: aBilly Idol tape; a silly magnet; a Lego toy attachment.

We were just getting warmed up when an announcement came over the loud speaker alerting the crowd that rows 9 to 11 of the blue bins were about to be swapped out, and to stand out of the way as workers removed the old and hauled in the new. Container upon container glided into the room, and shoppers stood back just as they had been requested. Finally, all the merchandise was in its place, and a worker announced that the treasure hunt could proceed.

The frenzy resumed over the new bins as people grappled over pairs of shoes and cartons of china. I picked through a box of dishes that looked like it had been dropped off directly from a garage sale, as many of the objects still had masking tape price tags attached. I salvaged a mid-century candle holder and a vintage, glass juicer.

Our final stop was in the shop's corner, where just a few minutes earlier people were yanking out pieces of brass lighting from a fresh bin. We dug through a mountain of Christmas decorations and recovered a couple of rubber stamps. Then I saw what looked like a rusty can and turned it over, only to discover a sun-faded Ohio Art pail in which I promptly placed our collected objects and headed off to the scales where our damage would be revealed. Our grand total? $2.87

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous,

The Elegant Thrifter

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Frugal Fun: Picnic Crawlers

Window shopping is the most economical way of filling your imagination with all kinds of goodies and spending nothing at all. This display in the Marc by Marc Jacobs windows on Bleecker Street is infested with oversized ants gobbling up goodies at a fantasy picnic celebrating the arrival of springtime. It  appears that these rambunctious critters are about to haul this elegant, mannequin atop her blanket back to their communal ant hill. Talk about ants in your pants -- and in your dress, too!

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous,

The Elegant Thrifter

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Find: Desk Discoveries

A few weeks ago as I was walking near my apartment, I spotted this solid wooden teacher's desk in perfect condition sitting by the side of the street. I posted its image on Facebook with its location in hopes that someone would see it and come to its rescue.

I didn't, however, mean to alarm my friends who thought I had tossed out a desk that my father helped me refinish many years ago and that Kansas City photographer Bob Greenspan photographed, with me on it, for  The Find: The Housing Works Book of Decorating With Thrift Shop Treasures, Flea Market Objects, and Vintage Details. I think I paid $10 for the piece of furniture at Goodwill and then went home to ask my dad to help me haul it home.

When I got there, he couldn't imagine why I bought the desk, being that he was an elementary, wasn't very happy about my buying a piece of furniture that was so plentiful and easily accessible in his work place. "If I'd known you wanted a teacher's desk, I could have probably found one for free," I think he said.

Either way, he helped me re-finish it and I took it off to the University of Missouri where it was the sturdy surface for typing many a college paper or for laying out magazine design projects. When I moved to New York, space prohibited me from taking it along, so it continues to reside with my sister where it remains completely happy in her home office.

Photograph from The Find by Bob Greenspan

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous,

The Elegant Thrifter


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