The Art of the Thrift

“There are those who are pleased when, at the death of an owner, his beloved possessions are scattered so that they may find others who love them as much, or almost, or even more, so that the objects may glow in the warmth of another person and, so to speak, become grafted into his life.”¬†

[ One day’s thrift finds – the universe was really showing off and providing for me! ūüôā ]

Thrift stores are the most magical of all stores.

Often you must wade through a lot of mass-market, cheaply-made and cheaply-bought cast-offs, but once you train you eye and your intuition to see the gems – a thrift store becomes a treasure-trove unlike any other discount store.

Thrift stores and similar venues are places where you can find beautiful things:

old tools, technologies, styles;
handmade art, often sourced from local amateur artists;
well-loved items that tell a story just by looking at them.

The beauty of the thrift store is that all this goodness exists outside of astronomical, speculative price walls (re: Antiques Roadshow); the tragedy is that they are at risk of being trashed or forgotten about forever.

I am driven to find and collect things of beauty so that I can share them and their story with others.

What I find to be beautiful is driven by my as-yet-un-verbalized aesthetic (which is to be examined in more depth as the blog continues and I grow as a person) and the beauty of such things is not measured by their dollar value, at present or prospected. Instead it is based on a feeling,

a resonance of love and warmth

I have between the item and myself, a wonder and awe at the story behind it. Even if I don’t know their story, old/used/found objects have passed through “life” and are imbued with a feeling unlike any object you buy at Fred Meyer or Target or Amazon. They carry a presence. It is hard to put into words what draws me to certain things, and as this is my second post, I feel it necessary to make this disclaimer:

there is a whole mess of words in my head that I am trying to funnel out into a concise philosophy and then manifest that philosophy through the medium of physical space, specifically my own home.

In so many words, I think this is the goal of every true “creator” – translating ideas and values into a shareable format.

It feels as though there are months of build-up in my brain space and now that I’m finally allowing myself free expression, it will take some time to get it all out clearly. But thank God, (literally Thank You/God and sorry for not starting sooner), I am doing it now. As I go, everything will get clearer.


[ This chair was only $5 – it is perfect for my office space! ]

Thrifting – which for me encompasses the act of shopping not only at thrift stores, but also the flea markets, estate sales, etc – is about slow consumption and intentional use of your money. In fact, I wish to redact my use of the word “shopping” in the previous statement and replace it with something like gathering or hunting. To shop, in most modern uses of the word, is to be in a state of mindless consumption, to spend money because the act of spending money is “fun” as is the accumulation of many cheap goods.¬†By limiting my consumption to places like thrift stores –

I am forced to slow down

¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬† ¬† hunt…
¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬† ¬†…¬†and slowly gather the items I “need.”

Slowing down also means many of those “needs” turn into “wants” and can be set aside and usually forgotten about.¬†It is so easy to be addicted to the reward of the SALE, the coupon, the discount (I still am and I must try to break the habit everyday). Those buzzwords caused me to spend money on things I didn’t need with money I didn’t have or could have used elsewhere.

Now I know that money is what I trade my life energy for
and I should only give away my life energy to things
that will truly make a positive impact on my existence.

[ I found these old lockers from Meany Middle School at a local salvage store. ]

For me in this moment, I wish to be surrounded by things that are handmade or homemade, with materials found, gathered, or sourced locally. I want to have things around me¬†that humans spent time creating – it inspires me to do the same – and things that have stories, even if I don’t immediately know them. Like thrifted art – it is not professional but it is full of love and, when there’s an inscription or message on the back, even better!

[ The current tableau of tableaux beside my bed. ]
[ Free “vintage” recycle bins on Craigslist ]
I am a hunter and gatherer of objects old and well-loved.

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