... you begin to wonder whether you will ever again feel comfortable paying full retail price for a piece of furniture. This nearly perfect vintage side table cost me only eight dollars, making me wonder whether I will ever want to pay $100 or more for a side table again.
... you get excited that one of your favorite thrift haunts now has a mailing list for "preferred clients." Ah, yes, I'm embarrassed to say I actually felt a small ripple of excitement when I saw last week that my local Salvation Army now has a mailing list for people who want to know about sales and upcoming events. I nearly hugged the manager. OK, maybe I exaggerate. A little.
Now, I know this painting that I bought at that local Salvation Army store a few months ago may not be everyone's cup of tea. Still, I think its $15 price tag was a bargain I got due to my "connections" at the thrift store, or rather the fact that I often stop to chat with the store manager who then gives me little discounts. In this case, she brought the price down from $20.
Look closely and you will definitely see its imperfect state, with scratches and missing bits of paint. I know these blemishes diminish its monetary value, but to me those imperfections only add to its appeal and makes me wonder where the painting hung or didn't hang that it acquired these scratches.
... you begin scouring thrift stores for items most people would go out and buy new, like crafting and art supplies. You know how it goes. You go to Michael's crafting store to buy a couple things and next thing you know you have an armload of stuff and the clerk asks you to cough up $80!
I've found that frequent visits to the thrift stores will net major bargains from people who didn't finish crafting projects. My favorite finds have been entire boxes filled with all sorts of goodies for less than five dollars. The photo above shows a make-up case that I lined with Hello Kitty shelf liner (both found at the thrift store), had my daughter decorate with favorite stickers, then filled with Target dollar finds and other everyday art supplies (some found at thrift stores) for my daughter's "art box."
... you start scouting for things you think others you know might like to buy. You know you've gotten bit badly by the thrifting bug when you find yourself looking for items you know relatives and friends might like. This painting of a golf course was something I thought a friend might like so I took a photo of it to show her.
... relatives and friends begin thinking you ONLY shop at thrift stores. This is a tricky one. On the one hand, I take pride in having a good eye for good-looking and worthy thrift items I find for cheap, so I appreciate the compliments on my thriftiness that come my way. On the other hand, there can be a fine line between being thrifty and being a cheapskate.
One of my favorite books is "The Find: The Housing Works Book of Decorating with Thrift Shop Treasures, Flea Market Objects, and Vintage Details." I highly recommend it to those who love the eclectic yet elegant look that comes with knowing how to artfully mix thrift and vintage items into one's decor.
... you head straight to the section of framed artwork at the thrift store and are disappointed to come up empty-handed. It still amazes me that I can find a great piece of original artwork in this section for the same amount I used to pay for a mass print. I shudder when I think of the hundreds of dollars I've spent on custom frames in the past. Now, I imagine that I could find artwork for my entire home if I was patient enough to wait for the bargains that I eventually find.
I found the painting below for less than $20, which makes it one of my more expensive thrift store purchases ever, but the colors and the subject seemed perfect for my home. Now, the artwork section is one that I am always excited to peruse at thrift stores. Often, I need to change or paint the frame for a more modern look, but the result is often amazing.
... you find yourself gravitating toward the thrift stores even when you're traveling far from home. I took the photo below while shopping in a vintage thrift store in Puerto Rico last year. (You can see a tour of this wonderful vintage shop in a post I wrote here. ) I was actually more excited to be in this store than any of the other touristy shops because I thought I might find treasures I might not find elsewhere, which I did.
... you begin to see possibilities in so many things that you come home with enough items for several rooms. The photo below is of a collection of items I found during one thrift shopping expedition for a combined $15. The items eventually made it to several rooms throughout my house.
... you begin to take photos of things you know will never come home with you. Huh? Yeah, this one makes absolutely no sense to me either but, as a blogger, I take my camera with me almost everywhere. What I'm finding is that the best way for me to deal with many of my infatuations with thrift store items is simply to take a photo and move on. Whatever lust I had for the item usually dissipates by the time I get home and look at the photos on my computer screen.
I thought this was a terrific vintage (?) graphic that would look great in a kid's room or family room with appropriate decor, perhaps one with vintage touches throughout (not a Disneyland or a Mickey Mouse theme!), but I knew this just wasn't the right fit for my home.
These handmade dolls were definitely of the kitschy variety, but man, I just couldn't stop thinking of all the care and love that someone put into each and every doll. I didn't count, but there were about 50 of these altogether and it made me a little sad to think the "family" would be separated.
So there you have it, folks, I'm certifiably a thrift-store addict, but at least I know it. Isn't that the first step toward recovery?