I love garage sales. I really do. I can't resist rummaging around in boxes heaped with old books and magazines, sifting through much loved linens or Christmas decorations and listening to the stories that accompany the objects that catch my eye.
People always want to know what it is that I'm looking for when I am out thrifting, and the answer always causes me to stumble. For unless I'm shopping for a particular person or working on a project that calls for thrifty touches, I couldn't really say how I want to spend my dimes and quarters. I do know, however, that an object that comes with a heartwarming story or provokes a fond flicker from the past is one that will cause me to pause.
Take, for instance, these little goodies procured from a garage sale in Independence, Missouri, that set me back a whopping $2.95.
The retro napkin holder was marked down from $2 to $1 and will happily complement the mid-century dining table my sister bought me at a garage sale just down the street from my parents' house.
The 1970s paper snowman, at 25 cents and in perfect condition, also found his way into my heart. He reminded me of how my sister and I were always so eager to decorate the house for Christmas as soon as the Thanksgiving dinner table was cleared.
The birthday candles from the 1950s were marked 5 cents. What are birthday cakes without birthday candles? No birthday in my history has ever been celebrated without some type of cake set aglow (more glowing in recent years!) with rows of candles just waiting to be blown out with a puff and a wish.
The Ryman Auditorium refrigerator magnet for 15 cents brought back such memories of family vacations. One of our favorite places to go was Nashville, Tennessee. We'd load up the old Chevrolet Impala or Caprice Classic and head down south, where we would spend a day at the Opryland USA amusement park, take in the Grand Ole Opry and tour sites around town, some of which no longer exist: The Country Music Wax Museum, The Minnie Pearl Museum and The Country Music Walk of Fame. I added it to my other finds.
After I made my initial purchase, I did another quick sweep and spied the Cake Breaker still in its original box and priced at $1.50. I asked the couple selling it about the serving utensil, and the wife told me how it was a wedding gift 60 years ago. "I think I used it three times," she said. "But a knife was easier."
I couldn't resist, and counted out six more quarters.
All these things are just things, you might say. And you're right. I realize that these objects have no real monetary value., but for me, they are priceless. These little treasures help me hold on to lovely memories of the past, especially of the people I love and of those who love me. And the next time I slice a cake, I'll think of this sweet, summertime garage sale. Always Frugal, Always Fabulous, The Elegant Thrifter
Get your very own copy of The Find: The Housing Works Book of Decorating with Thrift Shop Treasures, Flea Market Objects, and Vintage Details by visiting Amazon .
SPECIAL OFFER UPDATE
If you already own The Find, email me your mailing address and I will send you a personalized plate that you can put in your copy. Just tell me what name or names you would like inside, if it's for a special occasion, or any other information you think I should know, and I'll dash you off one in the mail!
If you didn't see the piece in USA Weekend where I talk about buying and selling your second-hand goods, here it is.
I am so honored to see The Find reviewed by the fabulous Design*Sponge. Read it here.
Apartment Therapy Boston names The Find best design book of 2009. Read ithere.
Wondering how to deal with a drunk at your holiday party or a good excuse for declining an invite?Los Angeles Times hit my funny bone when they asked me for some advice. Read ithere.
1st Dibs wrote an amazing review of The Find. Read ithere.
The June 18 issue of the Independence, Mo., Examiner features me and The Find on its cover. See the storyhere.
TheBaltimore Sun covered the fabulous and frugal cocktail party in Los Angeles in their June 5 issues. Re-visit the fun affair in The Baltimore Sun, here.
Los Angeles Timeswent cocktail nuts for The Find and The Elegant Thrifter on May 23. My pal Ruth Handel and I threw a cocktail party back in February, andhere are the results. Be sure to click in the box with the forks to read the sidebar!
Vanessa De Vargas gave The Find a glowing review and interviewed me in Apartment Therapy,here.
Aaron Krach, House Beautiful'sfeatures editor, said in his blog that after reading The Find, he was inspired to go thrift shopping! Read about it,here.
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