Sunday, December 14, 2008

Gently Used's Top 5 Finds of '08

I've been scanning my home for the last few days, looking for my top five finds of 2008. Winners were judged for usefulness, value, and beauty. I deliberately ruled out books, because they are such a huge focus of my thrifting that I think I'll have to do another post devoted soley to my top five book finds of 2008.

So, without further delay, the winners, in no particular order, are:

1. An almost perfect green bowl. I have a collection of vases, bowls, and planters, green ones and white ones, that grew out of an art deco vase left to me by my grandmother (which is really neither green nor white, but a rather lovely shade of blue). The collection spiked in the months before my wedding, when I trolled EBay for additions to use for flowers. I rarely find nice ones at Goodwill (probably because vendors snap them up to resell on EBay)! But last week I made a quick stop at the Stephens Goodwill after dropping my car off at the shop and found this bowl: it has no filligree or decoration at all, just smooth green glaze. One tiny chip makes it less than perfect, but I love it. $4.99 -- more than I'd normally spend but it grabbed my heart.
2. The blue parka from LL Bean I found last summer has made its bones over the last two days as the temperature in Portland has dropped to a very uncharacteristically low level (thus displacing a mirror I had planned to include on my top 5). It's practically new, marred only by the Sharpied name "Alyssa Auresey" inside, and fits me like a glove. I need only two thin layers underneath to stay quite toasty in the 20 degree weather (I know that's nothing in Vermont or Colorado, but it's not supposed to get that cold in Portland!). It even has a hood, which really makes a difference. $12.99.
3. A soft white cashmere cardigan, Ralph Lauren, $7.99 at the Burnside Goodwill. I found this during a heat wave last August and knew I'd hit the jackpot, even if I wasn't keen to try it on at the time. I felt the adrenaline rush that comes when you know can't believe no one found it before you, desperately want it to fit and not be stained -- and, of course, to be under $10, which it was. It did have a few small holes; good thing I know how to darn. I wore it for the first time last weekend to many compliments.
4. A threadbare but funky rug from a neighbor's yard sale, $40. It has the most fabulous bit of bright pink thread in it. Perfect in my newly appointed guest/craft room.
5. Nylon pants from North Face. Also from Burnside Goodwill, ringing in at around $6.99. These win on pure points: they fit perfectly and I have worn them constantly since finding them last winter.
That's my top 5. Stay tuned for books.


Shopping Golightly said...

No kidding on price consideration. I rarely spend more than $4.99 for an item. Spending $10 to me is probably the equivalent to a retail shopper spending $200.

I was at Goodwill and bought a set of 4 plates and 2 bowls of Noritake ironstone off the $0.49 shelves; so that’s three bucks for six items in perfect condition. On my way home, I stopped at Target for few groceries, and thought I’d see if I could find two more bowls to match. I found something that matched, it was stoneware, 2 bowls for $8.99. That was a hard purchase when compared to what I’d just picked up at Goodwill. Not only was the Goodwill find pennies on the dollar to Target’s but it was better quality!

I was in Goodwill on Friday night in need of the classic black turtleneck. Bingo! Calvin Klein perfectly style washable wool for $3.99.

I’m thinking about my top favorites from 2008. That’s a hard decision considering that I rarely buy new items for my family of four with two growing girls. I’m stumped. Really stumped.

Shopping Golightly said...

As for your grandmother's art deco vase that inspired a collection, my great, great grandmother's blown glass blue and green vase set the colors of our kitchen. Funny how one small object can grow into something bigger than itself or it's original purpose.

Liz said...

I am new to this site, but not to thrifting!I've been thrifting over 20 years and it has served me and my family so well. We are stylish, have a beautifully furnished home and MONEY IN THE BANK! I do want to ask if anyone else feels Goodwill often over-charges? I have felt for a long time that they were not the deal that Savers and Salvation Army are. Anyone? Thanks & love the site!

Donna Freedman said...

I also have an almost perfect green bowl with a tiny, nealry imperceptible chip in it. It sits on my countertop and holds either fruit or notes to myself. I got it from the "free" box at a yard sale, but I could just as easily have gotten it from a thrift store because I love those places.
I wrote an essay about thrift stores (and also essays about yard sales and free boxes) for the MSN Smart Spending blog. Whenever possible I remind people to check thrift stores for gifts, clothing and housewares. Thrift stores are like treasure hunts. Who couldn't use a little more treasure?

Anonymous said...

I recently counseled a friend who is having a hard time with her diet & also trying to save money, that a nice little reward every week for going to the gym and saving, was a trip to the local thrift store. Finding a $6 cashmere sweater is the perfect pick-me-up!