Confession of a Thrift Store Junkie

I’m not sure when I got hooked. It might have been the day I found a 3 foot plastic Millennium Falcon for almost nothing. (Our boys were huge Star Wars fans and that thing retailed for more than $100.) Or maybe it was when I came across an old tin globe. It was painted in bright colors and had the signs of the Zodiac on the base. I had absolutely no use for it. So I bought it. I couldn’t help myself. Suddenly, every time I saw an old globe in a thrift store, I had to buy that, too. Soon I realized I was regularly trolling every second-hand store in town in search of globes or other cool old junk.

When I started, I swear, I was just trying to save money. We had a pretty tight budget (imagine if the lower middle class had a basement), and I could get cheap clothes, books, and furniture. This was years ago, before our youngest was in school, and a trip to the thrift store became entertainment, especially on those winter days when it was too cold or snowy to go outside for long. It gave us a way to get out of the house without spending a lot of money. (We could only go to the library so often.) There was a Goodwill nearby that always had a huge bin of little 50 cent toys next to the bookshelves. We usually got out of there with reading material for me and a double fistful of little toys for the little guy, and I rarely spent more than $3 or$4.

Then the globe happened. Suddenly, thrift shopping was less a budgeting strategy or winter entertainment and more a strange addiction. The youngest got older and went off to kindergarten, and I kept thrift shopping. My habit escalated and I added flea markets and garage sales. I bought buckets of toys for the boys, cookware and books for my partner, doodads for the house – all kinds of things we really didn’t need but they were all such a bargain!

And I began collecting “vintage” things: typewriters, old suitcases, science fiction novels from the 40s and 50s with the cool freaky cover art. And more globes. At one point, I had accumulated 15, I think. Most of them had to live in the basement because at the time, there were five of us living in a house with less than 1200 square feet. My partner and oldest son staged an intervention.

That was years ago, and I’m much better now. These days I try (usually successfully) to limit myself to one store once a week, and sometimes I don’t buy anything at all. But sometimes I find something really cool. So once a week, I’m going to post my “Thrift Pick of the Week” just for you other thrifters and treasure-hunters out there. This week, my globes. Next week, look for science salvage.

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7 Comments

  1. jonesingafter40

     /  January 17, 2012

    Hello thrift store junkie! Fellow junkie here. One of my best days last year was when I walked into our local thrift store on 75% off day. Left with 2 garbage bags of clothes, a box of books and albums for $17. I found an antique copy of The Good Earth for 25 cents. What a day!

    Reply
  2. Good for you! I have a real penchant for old copies of good books too. I like to imagine all the people who may have read it before it found its way to me. Thanks for stopping by!

    Reply
  3. i really like the globes! i just bought one at goodwill for a few dollars and it’s fun to have in the house

    Reply
    • They’re hard to resist, aren’t they? I like the old ones best because they help me imagine what the world was like when they were new.

      Reply
  4. Sherrie stringer

     /  January 20, 2012

    Thrift stores are great – haven’t been in awhile and you have inspired me to go. I love globes too, the black ones are my face. I still have the globe you gave me not long after your addiction began.

    Reply
  5. Can I have the Millennium Falcon?

    Reply
    • Heh heh. I’m afraid my boys won’t give it up. They’re older now and don’t play with it anymore but apparently, it’s still too cool to get rid of.

      Reply

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