Many of my friends and family members would be surprised (and maybe even a little nonplussed) by how much time and how much little money (yes, lots of not-so-much money) I spend at places like Goodwill, Salvation Army, and various Thrift and Consignment stores in Marin County, San Francisco and the larger Bay Area. At a recent Thanksgiving celebration, my sister admired the pomegranate colored cashmere sweater I was wearing, to which my then boyfriend quipped, “When exactly did your sister become a dumpster diver?” I actually paid five dollars for it (I always look for cashmere sweaters at consignment and thrift stores). And all of this second hand shopping I do not only keeps more new stuff from being produced on my account, but it also benefits the various non-profits that run the stores I browse.
Take this score: Scanning shelves at Salvation Army in San Rafael one afternoon, looking for plastic containers to use in my professional organizing business, I came upon this elegant cat with a tiny chip off the ear. My mom collected crystal figurines made by Baccarat of France, and while I didn’t have my reading glasses with me, the simplicity of design and the weight of this piece struck me as most likely Baccarat. I paid the $4.95 and confirmed once in the car that the tiny mark on the base said Baccarat. Mom passed away in 2005 and I’m not even sure exactly where her collection is now, but I have a small treasure that reminds me of her, chip and all.
I am also a bit of a kooky repurposer, so I look for kitchen utensils and use them to organize my jewelry.
When drawers are getting cluttered, I use take-out containers and small packaging boxes to corral office supplies, kitchen gadgets, makeup.
Silverware divider trays are great for wall organizers on the Family Command Center wall, in the garage or craft zone, and in the office.
Want to contain stuff elegantly in glass, not plastic? Pay a little extra for jelly/jams and you have a lovely container for small items.
I don’t store many hats, but when I do, I use candle sticks that I pick up for a few bucks.
And here are a few other Thrift Store treasures.
As much as I love The Container Store, I’d rather reuse something, especially if it is made of plastic, and save money and the world at the same time. What have you repurposed lately? I’d love to hear from you!