Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Second-Hand Addiction

I'm thinking about writing a regular feature on the treasures I find at second-hand shops.  Back in the day when I used to shop the sale rack at Nordstrom's wearing heels and hose, I thought my mom was nuts for patronizing resale shops.  I would begrdugingly accompany her to places with names like Bibles for Missions (resale shop whose proceeds go to buy bibles) and Once Upon a Child.

Watching my mom in action was quite the sight.  She would race over to the toy section to find used dolls and books for her granddaughters.  Then she would head to housewares for old linens.    My mom loves vintage tableclothes.  The lacier, the better.  I don't think I even own a tablecloth. 

Despite her enthusiasm, I remained skeptical and couldn't get over how dirty everything seemed.  My mom kept trying to assure me that items could easily be run through the dishwasher or washing machine and turn out beautifully.  But I continued steadfast in my refusual to touch anything from these stores. 

After years of being elbow deep in poop, it now takes a lot more than a dusty old cup to gross me out.  Every weekend after piano lessons, I stop by my mom's with the kids and we head off to Goodwill, Bibles for Missions, and Spree.  The boys know what we're on the hunt for:  Vintage Little People, Thomas Wooden Trains, Legos. 

We map out our strategy before we even get to the door:  divide and conquer...never let your cart out of your site (people are known for poaching items that have high value on Ebay)...if you're not sure, put it in your basket because if you wait, it'll be gone.

I've even been known to grab the occasional item not on my list simply because it makes me laugh:

Hands off, my Gentile-Jew households - this one's mine.
So once again, life has come full-circle.  Despite my vows to the contrary, I am now a second-generation second-hand junkie.  I feel a bit like Sanford & Son (theme song here), except instead of the old orange pick-up truck, I have a blue minivan with fold-down seating for extra storage.

Once again, mum's the word to Joe.  He thinks all I'm doing after lessons is buying toliet paper with my mom and her Costco card.


  1. I used to feel the same way about secondhand stores but now I realize how helpful and awesome they are! Thanks for sharing :)

  2. I can relate-I have to go to thrift shops all the time for a second income(ebay), but I still manage to find an oddball thing here or there that I can't part with, or keep to review on my blog.
    I just came by a sizable collection of vintage little people the other day-you can email me if there is anything in particular you are looking for-I would give you a killer blogger to blogger deal(promise!)
    I also am knee-deep in legos, but they aren't sorted yet for selling (or keeping, for that matter, as I am a closet lover of lego)
    I like your blog because I can consistently relate to your kid stories-

  3. Meagan - they say admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery. I still won't admit I have a problem. Thanks for reading!

    Greenbrick - Thanks! I've got a put an end to the Lego obsession. I'm on my second bin. I'm currently on the prowl for red teacher with glasses Little Person, Little People animals, and the little girl with glasses. You'd probably make more on Ebay as I scour non-common searches for Little People in order to weed out the big collectors and pay as little as possible. Yes, I'm nuts. And cheap. Thank you, though!

  4. We have an amazing amount of legos! What ya looking for?

  5. Erin - I love Duplos. I play with them when the kids go to school. I don't know how to stop.

  6. I have the same obsession! But mine is with rummage sales. I used to look down on my mom and her driving around every weekend looking through other people's junk and refusing to wear anything that did not come with a store price tag attached. Now, I have a routine every saturday morning where I leave both kids with the husband and have two hours of blissful peace, driving through the streets of the NorthShore of Milwaukee looking for kid toys and clothes and shoes for the next ten years of Xander's life (poor Nolan has to suffer from his brother's leftovers). My mom usually calls in the afternoon and we talk about the day's finds and where the best places were for stuff. My husband approves as I can usually find name brand kid clothes (Gap, Old Navy, Gymboree, Ralph Lauren(!), Armani (jk)) for about 50 cents a piece. And, if there are weekends that I can't make it (like the upcoming one), I feel like I am going to miss the jackbot of rummage sales! I need therapy!

  7. Rada - I wished you lived closer! We'd have a blast. My mom got a huge bag of Thomas Wooden Trains and tracks a couple of weeks ago. On ebay, the bag would re-sell for about $300. She spent $4.99. I haven't done much of clothes shopping as I usually can get great deals at Gymboree new, but now that the clothes aren't transferring as well down the line (with a husky, slim, and reglar kid), I may have to start checking out the clothes racks as well. My mom & I do the same thing - review our deals on the phone, comparing "treasures." I thought I was the only one! Thank you again for letting me know there are others out there like me. See you Sunday!