I love the smell, feel, people, organization, deals, and everything of thrift stores.

I go to find things I need, hunt for treasures, and because sometimes ‘spacing out’ into a bin full of records or staring at chotchkies brings me peace.

The need for household items fuels about 20% of my visits. Like when we wanted a refrigerator for the garage, but didn’t want to pay full price. Before pulling the trigger and paying a larger figure, I went to the thrift shop. Ta-da, like magic they’d just gotten one in, albeit was moldy and reeking of the Captain D’s condiment packets that were used to decorate its walls, I saw potential. With a little, a lot, of bleach and elbow grease (hurrying so Robespierre wouldn’t see the unfinished product) we had a functioning cooler.

We find pots for plants, easels for art, and lamps to light the living room for late-laundry-folding nights, all at our local thrift shop.

Also, I’m a collector and I love a good “find”. Uncovering things that fascinate me and/or have a monetary value more than I paid is something that spins my wheels. Seeing the face of a favorite artist while flipping through countless Barry Manilow and Barbara Streisand albums drives me. And, when I find something that someone else values, so much so they’ll give me more that I paid for it, it makes it so I can continue to collect things that I’m passionate about.

Another, more collateral, consequence of combing thrift store aisles is that it teaches our girls: not all items are for one time use, finding things that you like, choose, and wait for out of thousands is better than having to opt for one of three at the box stores (not a judgment, we do that too), to share history and culture through old pictures, books, and toys, and to model the art of negotiation for products that you value.

So, I thought it’d be fun to show you my “Top 5 Thrift Store Finds”. I’ll share one today and post the other four Monday-Thursday of next week.

The “Top” are items that are still in our house and are usually worth more than I paid. I include the value because it’s pretty cool to like a $10 lamp, buy it, and then find out someone likes it as a $500 lamp. It also forces you to decide how much you like it, or how much more you may like something else.

1. My first find collides all worlds of my thrift store love – history, beauty, and big value.

I was searching for lamps to put in our bedroom. Robespierre gave me specific guidelines, but nothing was popping up. Blue Art Deco teardrop shaded lamps aren’t the easiest to find.

Then, I saw this beauty and decided, because I wanted the lamp, that Robespierre could get one that suits her personality for her side of the bed. When I brought it home it didn’t look right in our bedroom, so it found a home in the living room. Upon inspection I noticed handwritten numbers and the name Marbro on the stem. Google searches and my Mother-in-law turned out a history I was unaware of (click here to read) and that there is a comparable one on eBay for $445 – I paid $10.


It stays.