Lately I’ve been reading Myquillyn Smith’s book and blog, and one of her recommendations for hitting gold at the thrift store is to actually go on a regular basis.

With the holidays approaching, I thought it might be good to see what low-cost treasures I could find, and since I’ve been working on decluttering my garage, I thought making a weekly trip to drop off a box (or five) of goods and then scour the store for some new ones might be a good experiment.

The ladies who work at the store have teased me for leaving with new stuff when I just dropped off a box or two of old stuff. And I admit: It might seem counter-intuitive to talk about thrift store shopping on a blog about minimalism—but even though there’s a lot of stuff I aim to get rid of, there are some things I want to acquire and replace too. And searching for those items in the thrift store is one of (at least I think) the most ethical ways to go about doing that.

Anyway, I’ve been really happy with some of the stuff I’ve found, including:

  • baskets for holiday gift baskets
  • cloth napkins (I’d been wanting more of these for months!)
  • bathroom scale (our old one broke, and this “new”—very old school—one doesn’t require batteries)
  • clothes for my ever-growing toddler
  • chalk (for our chalkboard fridge; we were mostly down to chalk nubs)
  • prenatal yoga DVD (I’d been considering taking a $20/session class, but then found this DVD for about $1—win!)
  • classical music CDs (something I’ve been wanting for YEARS)

Another good thing about going to the thrift store frequently is that you start to get a sense of what they carry. I’ve learned that there is no reason I should ever buy a brand new vase or woven basket again because the thrift store has an abundance of these items. I went to another thrift store near my house yesterday and discovered they even carry fabric remnants—cool! But I never would have guessed it.

What are some lucky, unexpected finds you’ve had while thrift store-shopping?

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