Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Ms Golightly’s Top Five Finds from 2008

I love butter. Can anything else caramelize onions to sweet bliss? Sauté asparagus or fresh garlic? So imagine my joy to spy a butter crème sofa sleeper in the window of the Broadway and Archer Goodwill. I’ve been fortunate to receive only one traffic violation in my life. But had Denver’s finest been behind me that day, I would have been rightfully slammed a ticket on the spot for swerving at the last minute to unexpectedly park the car. Inside the store was a like new if not new Pottery Barn Michael Gold sofa sleeper with not a mark on it for $250. The cushions were perfectly square and solid. The upholstery was flawless. It didn’t creak. The bed looked like it had never been slept on.

I had a personal rule of not purchasing upholstered items at thrift stores. But this was too good to pass up. To help me feel better, once home I unfolded the sleeper and tossed our three cats onto the bed. If there were any funky business on that mattress the cats would sniff it out. Cats have a nose for funky business. All three cats were completely disinterested in the mattress. Safe! But then I thought myself a bit foolish. How many hotel beds have I slept on? How about those fleabag motels on long road trips?

Now this sofa sleeper is something I’d been wanting for a long time but with prices at $2,500 to $4,500 I had to save and wait. I like to think this was one of those experiences where my thrifting spirit was guiding me like in the Tiny Thrifted Miracles post. In turn our old sofa, which was modern and in good condition went to the window of that store and it didn’t sit there long.

An aside, in lower right of the photo is a plant resting on a small folding chair. I have a set of those. Made in Yugoslavia, I thrifted them and they are in my top 10 for 2008. My children sit on them when we play games on the coffee table.

Let’s go back to butter. I thrifted a butter slicer for $0.49 and it gave life in my kitchen a pleasant boost. Here's a fine example of learning to appreciate something small. Do you have a butter slicer? It’s wonderful. Run the slicer over every new stick and BAM! instant pats of butter to grab when sautéing items and you are short on hands, unless you’re like Julia Child. She must have had a dozen secret hands and would have given Vishnu a run for the money in the kitchen. It’s amazing how happy a little pocket change made me. Had I seen this at an upscale kitchen store, I would have passed it over and never known what I was missing. They retail for $10.99. $11 to slice butter? Get out!

For ten years, my daughters shared a room. Mr. Golightly and I thought this a valuable lesson. The girls enjoyed it and it made them closer as they lie in bed and talk about their day before falling asleep. One morning we found them sleeping in the same bed.

But time marches on and my older daughter wanted that word all parents dread, privacy. We live in an old home with funky rooms. My older daughter asked for a small room that we used as an office for the girls. We agreed she could have that this last summer.

Aside from the mattress and the bedding, it was outfitted in thrift. Note, some thrift stores sell new mattresses but it can be hit or miss on the size they have in stock. For $50 I found a solid wood bed frame and a matching dresser and nightstand. A quick coat of ivory paint matched them all up beautifully. I also took that ivory paint to a lamp, a mirrored tray that I hung on the wall and a thrifted tissue box cover (they retail around 30 ridiculous dollars). The photo of her room reveals a secret that I’ve held for years, take old enameled pans and make hanging planters out of them. They look really cool. The room is pleasant and cozy and fits my daughter’s style and she now has her privacy and I do my best to control my fears of where that privacy will lead. But hey, the girl has the right to grow up.

I like a high desk and for years I’ve been sitting at a backless stool and never made one complaint about it. But, I had only one stool so when my daughters and I surfed the web for school one of us was left standing. It was uncomfortable but not so that we were going to go out and spend close to $200 or more to remedy the situation with chairs that I thought okay, not great. Then came the day when I found my two new office chairs for $15. They are vintage and I love them.

Cleo, our thrifted Maine Coone, likes to hang out with me when I write. She’s in the background of this photo. The shelter told us she was a six-week Tabby when we adopted her. I guess she felt a Tabby cat was too small for her soul because she is one big cat with a tail that’s so big and fluffy I could wash the kitchen floor with it. Yes, shop at a shelter and you’re thrifting pets. Cleo and Lily were in my top five thrifted items from 2007.

My last favorite find in 08 is a poncho picked up for $3 at ARC. Though it has no label, I believe its cashmere. We keep the thermostat low in the winter. Having a soft wrap around me sure is a comfort. It’s almost like wearing a blanket but more comfortable. And, it’s pretty darn stylish too. I’m quite attached to it, like my adult security object. However, I can take it out in the world and not look insecure. I look stylish, not childish.

As I end this post I must reflect back to that Goodwill at Broadway and Archer. It’s still fairly new and easily considered Denver Goodwill’s flagship store. The light hardwood floors have a slight tilt and shopping carts tend to roll away from you. But I love that little nuance. For those of you who think thrift stores are stinky, I have a funny anecdote. This very store used to be a fine leather furniture store. When my oldest daughter was three, we went in to check out the store. It had a stale smell to it, something I couldn’t name. Then my daughter candidly whispered in my ear, “Mommy, this store smells like bottoms.” She was right. She has a knack for words. The smell of bottoms is long gone from that store and now it has the sweet smell of redemption.

If you've been thrifting in 2008, please comment and share your favorite finds. We all love a story of found treasure.

If you're new to The Thrifty Chicks, I urge you to read the previous post from January 1st and view the accompanying slide show so that you can learn how to thrift too. Come January, 2010 you can reflect on your top five finds from this new year.

As always, Godspeed,
Ms Shopping Golightly


The Queen of Fifty Cents said...

I love putting the mattress to the kitty sniff test! LOL! I had an air bed once that got a pinhole leak, and it took my cat Mrs. Wilberforce about half a second to home in on the spot so I could repair it. Hmmm, just realized that a leak that tiny could well have been caused by a kitty claw...

Those are great finds. Hope 2009 will be as exciting, but hey, for people who get excited over a butter slicer, you know it will be! ;o)

Elizabeth said...

Great thrifting of 2008?

My son and I found one of those Russian (Ukrainian) stringed instruments you have a close up of on the side panel! Great minds think alike! We love it and were trying to play it with gales of giggles last night.

I got a cashmere sweater for $4. I just love it and live in fear of staining it!

I got a set of adjustable Reebox handweights for $2 that I use a lot.

Brand new J Jill jeans for $2.

Two pairs of Dansko clogs for $5 each pair.

I love antiques! So, I got quite a few treasures this year. I especially love the handpainted plates and sugar bowl that I found.

I'm a huge fan of Craig's List and Twin Cities Free Market and get a lot of things that way too.

Great post. I now have couch envy!

Anonymous said...

Found your blog today ... it's right up my alley. So much so that I bookmarked it ON MY BOOKMARK bar on 2 computers!

Not many sites get onto my bookmark bar.


Shopping Golightly said...


As a novice blogger, I am sincerely honored to be twice bookmarked in your life.

Ms Shopping Golightly

bzkdz said...

I have 2 "thrifted" cats, plus another one who just appeared in the yard! lol

I got 15 sets of teacups/saucers (all different patterns) for my daughter's 14th birthday. She had a tea party and each girl got to choose a teacup and then take it home. It took me about 5 different thrift stores to find enough, especially without repeating patterns. But I didn't pay more than $3 for each set!

Karla said...

Ah the euphoria of thrifting something great (which that sofa is!). I think my best find of '08 was a black dress coat. It wasn't my best DEAL - at $18.75 it cost a thrift store fortune.... But I wear it every single day, it fits perfectly, and the green lining makes me oh so happy!

Your fab furnishings make me yearn for more space!

Christine W said...

Can I just say....?? that this is the fist time I went to this blog, and on the opening picture of you sitting on the sofa I thought: Wow, what a nicely decorated home, she must shop at the pottery barn.

And then to learn you got this at a Goodwill? Wow. Totally worth a parking ticket, maybe even a day in jail and a court appearance.

I'm so jealous.

Gerene said...

My numero uno thrift store find of 2008 or any year:

Santa Ana CA Goodwill, a newer, slightly nicer than most thrift store, quite large and well lit. One day I go in to just look around and I come out with the following

1 Cashmere Sweater - $3 (no brand name)

1 Jones New York 100% wool blazer - $8

1 pair of Cole Haan Ladies loafers, unworn and brand spanking new - $5

BTW - the loafers were still on the CH website that day - retail price = $325! for a box?

Even my husband tells people the Cole Haan loafers story. Most of my work clothes come from thrift stores, since I can rarely afford to shop at the stores these clothes originally came from LOL

Anonymous said...

My wife's best find of 2008... Practically new Mephisto shoes for $3.75 (half off $7.50) - they retail for around $300.

I have picked up several sweaters (Bill Blass, and Italian-made, and others that are very nice!) for a total of about $40. Each one would easily retail over $100 apiece.

Oh, and I have ThriftyChicks bookmarked as well!

Anonymous said...

My two most exciting finds ever happened this year. I picked up a little gold heart necklace on a chain for $1 at a little thrift store two towns over. When I looked closely something seemed unusual about it. I showed it to the jeweler replacing my watch battery and he appraised it at about $1000 retail due to the solid gold weight. I thought it was costume when I bought it! I also got one of those gigantic jewelry box thingies in mahogany at Goodwill for $10. They retail in our area for about $150 to $175.

Frugal Fanny said...

Great blog! I have already passed the link along to my frugal friends. I will be watching for more of your great finds!!

Today, I scored a pair of 7 For All Mankind Jeans for $6. I found the exact pair on Macy's web site for $155.00 new.


Lori said...

The paint looks great on the mirror tray. It went from stuffy and frou-frou to elegant and sweet! Reading this, I realize that I hardly store-thrifted at all 2008! I had a baby and two moves, so I sure donated a lot though! I just got some kids' clothes, a couple baby supplies and coffee cups (they were pretty fabulous though). For me that's desert thrifting.

Mandy said...

I just found this blog, and am thrilled to read the articles...nearly all of my favorite houshold posessions are from various thrift stores.

Would you be willing to teach us how to make your beautiful pan plant hangers? What a great idea!

Men's Suit said...

I think that was a great accomplishment for her!