Tuesday, August 17, 2010

National Thrift Shop Day!!!!!

I had to include a tribute to the place where my love of books really took off as a child. Nothing breeds a book glutton like being able to indulge, and second-hand stores are the only way a person of reasonable means - or their child - can afford to indulge like that. I wallowed in books as a child, happy only with a pile of reading material. It's still the way I prefer to read - several at a time, drifting between books whose spines are cracked mercilessly, page numbers committed to memory.

My most recent thrift shop purchase was on Sunday, at a charity thrift shop in a typically New Jersey location - by the side of an industrial highway flanked on one side by the outskirts of a ragged little city and on the other by horse farms. I walked in, spotted a slew of horse magazines and spent the next hour groveling happily in the shelves. I emerged with a stack of The Blood-Horse from 2009, a few Practical Horsemen from 2001, and Hemi: A Mule by Barbara Brenner (1973), which I'd never heard of and which is adorable.

It's funny, but even though thrift shops are the ultimate recycling method, outside of vintage clothing, shopping at them has never quite caught on even with the more crunchy people; thrift shops are still mostly for and about new immigrants and poor people. But what's better than people rehoming used but useful objects, saving money and landfill space?

Extraneous vintage comment

I grew up wearing hand-me-downs, and I really prefer new clothes, no matter how cute vintage is. I do appreciate a nice book about vintage, though, and recently came across a memoir Alligators, Old Mink & New Money which is very enjoyable. And I did find a flawless silk skirt for $6 at a Goodwill last month. Used or no, silk has a home with me.

Find a local thrift shop
Goodwill Industries
Habitat For Humanity ReStores
Saint Vincent de Paul Society
Salvation Army Thrift Shops

Also, hospitals, children's homes and churches often have thrift shops attached.


Jane Badger said...

I love silk too. In the UK we have charity shops, which I think are the same as your thrift shops (though maybe not - charity shops are run by charities, and stock donated goods. Profits go to the charities). Whatever, I love them. I like the idea of some being situated amongst horse farms. Ours are all generally in towns!

Sarah said...

That sounds about right - thrift shops here are generally run by charities and their goods are generally donations. There are a few for-profit enterprises, but mostly they benefit either a large national charity or a local charity like a hospital. Near me, they're usually located in the sort of stretch of highway where their closest neighbors are a low-rent strip mall and a cheap motel. The rule seems to be, the nicer the surroundings the less likely you are to find anything.

Though you obviously have a better chance of finding the after-effects of discarded expensive hobbies like, say, horseback riding, at a nicer thrift shop. I saw a nice pair of tall boots on sale at cute and shiny thrift shop staffed by volunteers who all seem to have English accents (which in the US, is generally a sign you've stumbled into an establishment with a certain, ah, presence) - sadly, the gorgeous boots did not fit my big feet.