Thursday, January 1, 2009

The 2009 Thrifting Gift Guide: A Resolution Revolution

Introducing a new genre of resolution for the New Year.

It does not require a daily battle of will. It does not require a load of upfront money like a gym membership. It is pain free.

This resolution is one of discovery and adventure in an unsuspecting, unassuming place, the charitable thrift store. This resolution activates new shopping tactics that are easy on the family budget and easy on the planet. It even directly serves a charitable cause.

What’s the resolution? Buy 2009 gifts from the thrift store. Reserve one spot in the home to store these items and, if really motivated, box them up as they come in.

To the top, left of this text is a slide show featuring about 90 items to spark ideas. Double click on it to enlarge the item and caption. It is arranged in 10 categories: Children’s Toys, Books, Cookware, Tabletop, Children’s Clothes, Women’s Clothes, Men’s Clothes, Jewelry, Odds & Ends, and Holiday Items. Apologies that all the children’s clothes and most of the toys are for are girls, but that is what I have, two young girls. Also, the toys are those designed for active, imaginative play. After watching my two daughters play for 11 years, I have come to learn that imaginative play is not bought in a chain toy store or at a discount retailer. Imaginative play comes from everyday items. My oldest daughter spent more time with tissues and tape than she ever spent with a Barbie. Parents, do not allow a video game take the place of you child's beautiful, unique brand of imagination!

Some of these items were thrifted BRAND NEW. Some are a century old. The thrift store is a place of many mysteries and surprises and reawakens our foraging skills. We develop more of a connection to treasures found. We take a glimpse at how wasteful we are to throw away so many valuable and unique items. We recalibrate our spending power and prices in new retail market become obscene. We become more creative and self-guided in that we don’t need to listen to television commercials or rush out to fight bargain raged crowds at sales. People are generally very nice in thrift stores. We become more thoughtful and appreciative as we spend a year searching for the perfect gift. Chances are the gift will be treasured in return. And, at the end of the year, we relax and spend our valued time with friends and family, not at an overcrowded mall and in horrific traffic jams.

There is no shame in giving a thrifted gift. If you shop eBay, there's a very high probability the item was found at the thrift store and you're paying the mark up. The same applies to funky boutiques that sell mixtures of new and old. As said many times, Americans need to get over this commercially planted idea that "If it's not new, it's EWW." Let's manage the products already assembled instead of turning to factories on the other side of the world and asking for more. "More" is out of style.
“How to Thrift”, the box below the slide show, offers several posts explaining just that, the zen of thrift. The Thrifty Chicks offer solid advice on how to establish a regular thrifting routine and the best possible thrift store tips on the Internet. I’ve read many tips and they just don’t measure up. Our tips will turn a novice into a master. They are insightful, not rote or obvious because they were written by someone who knows thrift, not a journalist assigned an quick article or a blogger who writes the tips as an aside.

Please know, when it comes to gifts, it’s not so much where you found it, it’s the sentiment, what you do with it, and how you present it. We’ll talk about presentation in another post. But it is essential in gift giving and most new products are presented in very ugly packaging. Oddly enough, most times when I give a new gift, I repackage it.

January is an excellent month to start thrifting. Many people make last minute donations in December for their 2008 tax write offs and they also donate the holiday gifts that failed to fit their personal taste.

Many of these items were picked to meet many tastes and all items are in excellent condition, if not new. If there are people who carefully peruse this slide show and cannot find three items that don’t outright shock them, I ask them to email me personally with comments. I don’t expect very many emails of this nature.

A special thanks to Mr. Golightly for burning the midnight oil to retouch the photographs he so carefully took.

Ms. Shopping Golightly


The Queen of Fifty Cents said...

Best wishes for a fun and thrifty new year!

Anonymous said...

What an inspiring post for the new Year! Happy New Year and happy thrifting in 2009!

Michelle, Goodwill of Northern New England

The Queen of Fifty Cents said...

Wow, there you are on MSN's SmartMoney blog, with 5 stars...way to go!

HomeMadeOriginals said...

I am so excited to find your blog. I am a thrift store fanatic from Idaho. I also have favoriate thift stores in Arizona.

Anonymous said...

Love the pics and the slideshow - lots of very very good gifts! We also picked up an identical Russian autoharp, with music sheets, for $2.99, I think. Just for your amusement, the writing is Cyrillic for "perestroika" (remember Gorbachev?).

Anonymous said...

I discovered your blog last Friday through MSN. The very next day, I packed up five 56-qt bins with clothing and other odds & ends and hauled them off to Goodwill--so I can check out their store! The sojourn was a total loss--or so I thought, until I found a Michel Harvey ceramic paper bag vase (#2) in perfect condition for $1.99 at the very end of my adventure. I'm off to a good start, but it's true that finding good stuff is very much influenced by geographic (and demographic) parameters. I don't expect a whole lot from my Goodwill, but I will be happy with the occasional treasure I find, such as this one.

Lori said...

"If there are people who carefully peruse this slide show and cannot find three items that don’t outright shock them, I ask them to email me personally with comments."

Well, nice finds, but what/where IS your e-mail?

Frances said...

A friend sent a link to your blog, knowing how I love to shop thrift stores. I will be watching to find out what wonderful treasures you find.

My outfit I wore to work today was from thrift stores, and I look pretty darn good!

Hubby thrifts and sells stuff on ebay. And lots of our furniture was from thrift stores. We love thrift stores! And are not bashful about it at all.

Ms. A said...

I like giving thrifted gifts to children -- because they aren't as judgemental, and because I can give them something that they wouldn't ordinarily receive.

I have gifted two little girls with thrifted cashmere sweaters. I printed up a small write up I found on line that explained what this wool was and how to care for it. Their mothers explained how expensive these sweaters are and why they must be well cared for.

Brand new cashmere is a horrible "investment." You pay all that money for a garment that is fragile and will get holes in it easily. I carefully mend these sweaters but don't feel horrible if one can't be saved since I probably only spent two dollars on it.

I've also done well buying skirts at thrifts which I then converted to aprons.

Anonymous said...

I read the article in the Denver Post about thrift stores. I always give donations to ARC, but haven't been a thrift store shopper in the past. After reading the article, especially about the store on Broadway-it sounds very nice, btw-I've decided that before I shop retail, I'm going to check out some of the bargains at these thrift stores. From the article, it sounds like they now have a lot wider appeal. Thanks for keeping the topic going through your blog!


Anonymous said...

My youngest child and I found your blog this morning, and we spent a good 20 minutes looking over your slideshow.

We have found similar items when thrifting. But ... our problem is that, if we have no immediate place for it, it turns into clutter.

That's my resolution: To find places for my thrifted treasures.

Thanks for a fun blog,

Susan Crotty said...

A Christmas candle is a lovely thing;
It makes no noise at all,
But softly gives itself away;
While quite unselfish, it grows small.Your text is really appreciable!