I think Katie and I have touched briefly on our thrifting habits here. Turns out, they are more serious than we’ve let on. We have favored haunts in our hometowns, our friends', siblings’, parents’, grandparents', grandparent-in-laws'….we’re talking several states here. We come by this compulsion honestly, our parents are serious yard sale sharks in Pennsylvania, and spend most summer Saturday mornings cruising the Lehigh Valley. Our families’ all time undefeated champion thrift store is Re-Uz-It of Ephrata, Pennsylvania. If you are near Lancaster County, skip Dutch Wonderland Amusement Park and get on over. It’s a wonderland itself, with a great craft section.
I’m afraid I have the bug rather severely, but then there are much worse addictions. Having been introduced to this sport at a very early age from their cozy spot in a sling on their mama, my boys are champion shoppers. At 3 Eli understands “you never know what you are going to find at a thrift store”. What this means to him is that while occasionally you might walk in saying “I sure hope we find a passenger car for my Thomas the Train Engine to pull” and walk out shortly after clutching said prize, it is a rare occurrence. The Methodist Mountain Mission Opportunity Store in Irvine is our usual place to look for bargains because it is the closest to us. The MMM has a chain of shops across Eastern Kentucky, which distribute used clothes to us mountain folk. Their prices can’t be beat ($1.25 for a shirt, $0.50 for a hardback book) the staff are friendly and kind to my kids, and I regularly find vintage clothes,books and housewares.
(If you need an opportunity, this is your place...)
Our sister Abby is in a class by herself. She has outfitted herself and her sweet little apartment quite stylishly with mostly thrifted finds. (OK, and occasional jaunts to Anthropologie and Ikea, but even then, she is a budget minded shopper.) Abby drives a hard bargain too, she isn’t going to pay $0.35 for a roll of vintage contact paper if she thinks it should be $0.25, oh no.
Thrifting is such a creative pursuit, I’m surprised it has taken me until recently to think, “Hmmm this is an awful shirt, but boy this fabric would look great as a purse lining, sun hat or …..” Let me tell you this is a dangerous, slippery slope. I already have a sizeable fabric stash, and this trend is not helping. I think this method was an obvious next step from Katie’s habit of scouring the racks for wool sweaters to unravel and reuse the yarn. Reduce (the cash you spend on new materials), Reuse (cool fabric, yarn, trims), Recycle!
The other day Kate and I and all four of our boys went to the Berea Goodwill to look for a white or cream 100% silk shirt for a project I have in mind. While there was a minor breakdown in the toy isle (always a possibility when thrifting with kids); $3.00 later, I came away successful. It is always a good idea to look in the plus sizes if you are after fabric, because, well, there is more silk in a 1XL garment than a small any day.
Today, my silk shirt was dyed a lovely shade of brown with black walnut hulls and will soon be turned into something else entirely, I'll be sure to keep you posted.