Thrifting For The First Time

by MARIA on August 13, 2012

I am not a thrift store regular – I’ve never been in one. I don’t go to garage sales (except once, years ago) and the only used thing I”ve ever bought is a car, and we regretted it about a week later. I

However, I enjoy reading posts from a couple of great bloggers who are regular thrifters and come away with some great finds, so I thought I would give it a shot. For kicks.

So, I headed to the local Bibles For Missions Thrift Store today (I think that’s what it’s called) and stuck to the kitchenwares section. I looked for Pyrex and milk glass because I actually like the look of both, and came up empty handed.

Turns out, thrifting is not that easy.

First off, I know NOTHING about what old things are actually treasures and hold some value. Also, I have enough self-diagnosed (yes I am a doctor) anxieties, that I worry more about bugs and why am I suddenly itchy to really spend a good amount of time looking for the good stuff, or anything that won’t go in a dishwasher. Finally, going with the two hyenas who are chronically bored unless something electronic is permanently fused to their hands – BIG mistake. It was a painful experience.

However, since I was there, I refused to leave without something.

I bought these because I thought they were cute:

Turns out, these are actually “Sierra Casual Ironstone by Max Schonfeld” coupe soup bowls.

What does this mean? I have no idea but they’re cute and after a few rides in the dishwasher to wash away the dirt and my paranoia, I shall enjoy them.


Are you a thrifter?? Do you thrift for specific things, and should I try again? I would love your thrifting advice on when to go, where to go, and how to find the good stuff.

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 nicole August 13, 2012 at 5:41 pm

I’ve never taken much time to do it. Mainly for the same reasons. I think you really have to have time to browse through the crap to find the treasures, and I don’t have that kind of time.


2 MARIA August 13, 2012 at 9:37 pm

I agree Nicole – plus, you have to be dedicated to doing it often and either alone or with kids that are patient. Mine are the exact opposite of patient at the moment.


3 WaterlilyTO August 13, 2012 at 5:52 pm

I just recently started to do this after buying a cottage and have found some great pieces of furniture; a little sanding and paint and a solid wood dresser made in Quebec is brand new. My advice is go often, and go to thrift stores near affluent neighbourhoods; you would not believe the stuff the rich throw away :)


4 MARIA August 13, 2012 at 9:38 pm

I think I need to try thrifting in a bigger city like Toronto that has more options than our two – maybe I’ll make you take me next time I’m in Toronto? :)


5 Rebecca August 14, 2012 at 1:10 am

But, you see, all the places in Toronto get so picked over by vintage store owners and arty hipster types that it’s actually harder to find good stuff. I bet you have more stuff in Kingston. Now I suddenly want to go thrifting in Kingston!


6 MARIA August 14, 2012 at 1:41 pm

You are welcome anytime Rebecca!! I would love that!!


7 Kat August 13, 2012 at 6:15 pm

Snorted when I read your itchy comment because that’s me too. I try though because I love all things with a history, so I will scratch away as I scour old markets. I draw the line at the smell of mothballs though.


8 MARIA August 13, 2012 at 9:39 pm

My mom gave me these antique doile things that I took more because I didn’t want to hurt her feelings – I’ve washed them a million times with everything you can possibly imagine and the mothball smell will not die.


9 Vikki August 14, 2012 at 8:37 pm

I am a horrible thrifter and can never find the nice stuff that people buy. Some of the outfits people put together amaze me because I just see used old sweaters on a rack.

But I am an awesome Once Upon a Child shopper!!!!


10 Parent Club August 15, 2012 at 3:06 pm

I shop for kids’ gear at consignment shops…I figure might as well get it 2nd hand and give kid stuff a 2nd life.


11 Toni Snearly September 17, 2012 at 8:02 am

I am not an avid thrifter, but I do love digging through thrift stores. I used to visit often, back in the day when I was losing weight quickly. I would try and find a few skirts or something to get me to the next size. It’s not all stinky old sweaters and 1980′s team sweatshirts…you have to be in the mood to dig…hard. The key is going alone and having the time (and will) to not be rushed. A lot of times, I’ll start by looking for basics I need around the house that I really don’t want to buy new. For instance, my son recently needed a plain jane bedskirt for his new bed. Or, if you are looking for window sheers or simple curtains…that kind of stuff. I definitely can’t pull together cute outfits. Maybe if I was like, a size 6 where I could just start pulling things off the rack. But no. Though, I have found brand name, brand new items by flipping through the mountains of clothes. At our last stop at Goodwill, my husband found three Pierre Cardin suit jackets, perfect condition, in his size. It was half price day, so he got them for $2.50 each. They went straight to the cleaners – and saved us about $500. :D Good luck!


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