Saturday, 16 January 2016

My first thrift shop adventure

A friend told me about the great finds she bought at a thrift shop a few weeks back and when i was passing one a couple of weeks ago i decided to go in and take a look. I have to admit to having a bit of a barrier about going into these places because while i like the idea of recycling and using things, i didn't think much of the quality a few years ago when i looked in a charity shop. The idea of getting rid of almost new quality things to a place that will sell them at a good price to others and make money for a good cause is great. I have supported this over many years dropping off bags of unwanted things, always finding it easier than simply throwing nice things away. Having found the quality wasn't great before i didn't bother to check out more. I have to also admit a bit of a snob in me associating these places with a feeling you must be desperate to shop there. This is more an association from school where there were always jokes about charity shops and poor people to put it nicely. But going, exploring and seeing the change in these shops was a wonderful surprise. Lovely quality items at a great price. You get a bargain and the shop gets money towards a great cause.

My favorite thing about this new experience is that i have the feeling of finding a creative treasure trove within which the artist in me comes forward. Since moving to the Netherlands i have missed some of the things that don't fit into the highly specific and stylized way of decorating houses, wearing clothes, making restaurant interiors and much more. Even the plants are designed, or this is my feeling anyway. While i love style i thing there should be space for an individual to add their own flair to the mix. For myself i love real wooden furniture, stylized pieces with a bit of wild thrown in.

This experience also made me realize that new isn't necessarily better particularly with this new fashion for fake wooden furniture and endlessly consumerist attitude with buying and getting rid of really great pretty much new things. I am also a culprit of this. With this new fashion of heightened consumerism the quality of things are going down while the price seems to be the same or higher.  have been going almost once a week to a local thrift store finding beautiful things to fuel my artistic license into playing. Not to mention the amazing piano which has given me no end of joy in these last weeks. Playing music by Ludovico Ienaudi and relearning Beethoven's Moonlight sonata late at night in my dance studio.

I strongly suggest the following people search a thrift store out (if you haven't already done so):
  • Vintage clothes lovers
  • Quality furniture searchers. Especially if you have some basic skills with sanding, varnish and painting.
  • Artist in search of... materials, paints, wool, canvas's, picture frames, odd suprise things you never thought to search for but are the finishing touch to a piece you have been searching for. 
  • Small business wanting to get basic furniture for offices and other business type setups. 
  • Interior designers and decorators who want to find interesting things to tweak a final look.
  • Book worms may get lost and come out arms full of books.
  • Mad hatters beware, find the right thrift store and there are hats galore, sorry for the rhyme couldn't resist.

With some love and care there are some beautiful additions to my home and wardrobe waiting out there, not to mention the endless amount of things to get creative with. I realised on my first visit that the quality is in many cases higher in a thrift shop than in some highstreet shops. Not to mention the beautiful things people have brought back from which ever they used to live in or visited on holiday. With a discerning eye you can cut through the things of no value and unique items you can't get anywhere else in hte place where you are living.

Just remember if you are thinking to search a thrift shop (charity shop) out, they are not all made the same. Many are great, some are not. Some have a huge choice in clothing whiles others specialize in office furniture.

Happy exploring!

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