Wednesday, June 20, 2012

We Love Thrift Stores!

I'm pretty sure that the 5 people who read this blog know us personally. I'm also pretty sure that you know that we're not millionaires! When you have a finite amount of money with which to furnish your house (like most people) you may need to get creative. There are lots of ways to find great buys- the key is being patient. We went back and forth on the patient part, trust me.

1)  Garage Sales
          Best in the summer. Your local paper should have listings or you can also hop online. I found a website: that lists them but there are several out there. The problem here for us is that they are usually Fridays and Saturdays, which I have been working. My favorite thing about garage sales is that usually everything is laid out. If you're looking for furniture you can drive by slowly and if you don't see it, chances are, they don't have it. Otherwise, you can just hop out of the car, do a quick look and hop back in. If you're willing to get up early on the weekend you can find great deals at garage sales. Sometimes people may be new to them and price their things too high but you can always ask if they are willing to negotiate. Just be respectful and be willing to say no. Remember, they got up even earlier than you did :)

2)  Craigslist
          This can be tricky but also very rewarding. I've found that people on Craigslist are often moving and want to get rid of their stuff quickly. Or, they have bought new furniture and need to get rid of the old furniture. They will usually negotiate on the price if you need to. Here are the tricky parts: personal safety for the buyer and seller, cleanliness of the item, and location. A lot has been made recently of the personal safety aspect. Bottom line- be smart. Don't agree to meet by yourself at midnight wearing a negligee. Got it? If possible, meet in a public place. Obviously, if you're looking at their couch, that may be difficult. If you need to go to their house, have someone go with you or at the very least let someone know the person's name and the address where you were going. Remember, the seller doesn't know you either. Now, the cleanliness of the item. You can't tell just by a quick glance whether something has bugs in or on it. This is the part that kind of creeps me out. I found a great website with recommendations for preventing bed bugs, which can be on other things than beds: .I think it would help the general cleanliness and other bugs as well. Lastly, location. When you email or call the person, you may want to ask where they're located. They could be on the 4th floor of an apartment building. If you're getting an awesome couch for $50 you may not care but, remember, you still have to haul the couch down those stairs so you should at least take it into consideration! We found our coffee table from an ad on Craigslist that turned out to be for a store called Vintage Connection in Vancouver. They are closed until further notice because of rain damage to roof but were open by appointment for us to look at the coffee table.

3)  Thrift/Vintage Stores
          Portland has oodles of thrift stores. Even just searching "vintage" on Yelp will get you 82 entries. That's not even "thrift". These are certainly hit or miss. Be prepared to look around. And look. And look. Do your research online beforehand. We found out by looking on Yelp which thrift stores in the area have loads of furniture and which mostly specialize in clothes. If you're looking for furniture like we were, then you don't want to go to Vintage By the Pound, which you can find out on Yelp is a 50s clothes horse's haven! Unfortunately, not what we needed. We have been to several now.

Our favorite by far is Lounge Lizard. We got a light for my craft room, a chair for our living room, antique ice trays, T's desk, and some decorative antique lock back plates. Right next door is Really Good Stuff, which is just...odd. It is crammed with stuff- some treasures and some junk and it kind of stinks sometimes. We've been twice and will go back. It's the kind of place that I would bet you could find something totally awesome but you would have to look. We haven't gotten anything there yet. House of Vintage on Hawthorne had our living room side tables and a great vase (but they weren't there the first time). For decorations, we found some glass vases at Red Fox Vintage, though their furniture pickin's were slim. We also checked out Reviva but didn't find anything interesting that day. It's close to our house so we may go back at some point. We looked at Goodwill but surprisingly, it was really pricy. While there we also found our bedside tables. They may be posting some more stuff on Craigslist but will reopen at some point in Portland. Lastly, we really liked ReRun but haven't found anything there yet. They have a great selection of furniture but just nothing that fit out needs at the time.

Well, we're going to go do some yard work. Hope everyone is doing well. Miss you all!

old, hated Ikea coffee table
moving around the vase
Yay! Bedside tables!

Penny fits perfectly

Looking crazy

Old timey ice trays

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