Once upon a time I was a gatherer.
I gathered future projects. Supplies. Things I liked. I gathered at thrift shops, Goodwill, garage sales, estate sales…anywhere I could find a treasure for deal.
Then kids started growing. Games took over my Saturday mornings. Life became really loud. All the time. LOUD even when no one is talking. My gathering stopped as I began purging and looking for quiet in the realm of less is more. There is an old table in the garage full of my ‘someday’ projects. Slowly I’ve been clearing out those items – sending them on to friends that will use them now. I still relish the chance to wander around a flea market or dig through piles in an antique store. I just tend to come home with far less.
A friend asked me how I decide to buy something or not and what I am looking for when I head wander around those places. Well, this weekend I got a little time away and I thought I would share my ‘thrifting’ process.
First – I give myself a few guidelines:
1. I don’t NEED anything. I might like it. I might really, really like it. I might super want it, but I don’t need it.
2. I only buy stuff that I can put to use right now. No more buying and hoping to use it in the future. It must have a purpose now.
3. I usually won’t spend more than $10 on anything. Typically, it is less than $5.00 though.
4. When I see something I think I want to buy, I pick my price in my head before looking at the actual price. I decide what I would pay first.
The last one is the most effective guideline for me. It has saved me a lot of money. I would say 6 out of 10 things I think I want to buy, I end up setting back down because the price ends up being more than I want to pay. If I say in my head I would spend $5 and the item ends up being $10, I walk away. If it is equal or less than $5.00, I have a little party in the aisle. I’ve walked away from so many things I really wanted. However, if you were to ask me to name one of things I couldn’t. Obviously, none of it has been something I couldn’t live without. That being said, if the item is something I really want I might still get it, having the price guideline helps me evaluate if I really want to spend the extra for it.
I thought I would share what I picked out and why.
- I’ve been collecting large metal containers for my kitchen. I find these all over for $20+, but I’ve decided to only buy the ones I can find for $7 or less. I use these as kitchen decor, but I also use them for party decorations and put plants in them on the front porch. Multiple uses.
- If I find a metal box in a great color for less than $3.00, I buy them to wrap gifts for friends in or I use them as storage containers for me.
- I am a sucker for old jars and labels. I told myself I would spend $2.00 on this jar. The price ended up being $2.50. I had planned on grabbing a coffee later, but decided to skip my coffee and get the jar. Yes, I could have gotten both (it was only $.50 more), but sometimes it is like a game for me. And it just good money sense to practice budgeting even in small amounts.
- Classic children’s books. We have SO MANY books. We got to the library weekly, but now that we homeschool I can’t keep up with all the reading that is going on around here. If I can find classics for a good price, in good condition I buy them. These books were $1.50 each and in like-new condition.
- Vintage landscape puzzles. I have a few of these and am hoping to fill a wall with them one day. This is a multi-purpose purchase too. My 7 year old is a huge puzzle fan. He gets to make the puzzle and I get to enjoy the final product. AND I get a cool canister to use for something else once the puzzle is complete.The next two were purchased with very specific purposes. We are finishing up our outdoor tables and I have wanted to cushion the wood benches. I’ve been keeping my eye open for thick quilts that I could fold over as cushions. The fabric on the right is a quilt top, but for $3.00 I figure I can add some filling to it and it will work perfect. The second is a very worn quilt (so it was cheap) and it is the perfect size for the bench.Things that I can use right now….Maybe when my kids are out of the house I will open a booth at a flea market. I could become a gatherer again!