How Not To Be A Hoarder 3 Rules for Thrift Store Shopping

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Sometimes it's the little things that make it all worth getting out of bed; a warm spring day, (we're setting records here in Woodinville WA - sorry mid-west!), the way your dog greets you when you come through the door, or surrounding yourself with things that make you happy. For me, it's thrifting. When I score one of a kind finds, I get the same feeling you get when you find a twenty in the pocket of a seldom worn jacket! Bonus! Surprise!  It's this thrill that keeps me a familiar face around the local Goodwill. I really should have my own designated parking spot!!

When I lived in my old house, with its three car garage and storage above my husband's shop, my little, ahem, "obsession" wasn't an issue.  If I found a great deal, but didn't know exactly what I was going to do with said deal, at least I had a place to store it until I found it a more permanent home for it inside my home. Those days are gone and I have a much smaller patch of real estate. I love my not so large house, but my compulsion for finding cool one-of-a-kind pieces to add to my collections could have me starring on an episode of Hoarders.  My solution? Rather than giving up my thrift store forays, I have come up with a few rules to avoid being buried under a collection of chairs.

They are simple and easy to follow.

1. Do I REALLY need it?  It is especially hard as a designer to reign it in, I see so many beautiful interiors that I love, I could re-do every room in my house on a daily basis if my budget was unlimited.  But back to reality...

2. Is it BROKEN, or does it just need a little love?  Gorilla glue, paint, magic erasers, and good old fashioned elbow grease can, and have brought many a thrift store score back to life.

3. Where will I put it?  This one is the hardest for me to follow.  Since I have few pieces I am willing to replace and limited space for artwork, I need to make sure I have a place to put it.  Gone are the days of, I love it, I'll find some place for it.  

With these three rules in mind, I found myself at a local thrift store looking for things I didn't know I needed and one that I did, a lamp.  My husband had been complaining that his elbow kept hitting the lamp that sat on the end table next to the sofa in the great room.  I was on a mission to remedy that situation fast.

I was trying to be good, and walked straight back to the section of the store where the lamps were displayed.  It was the first one I saw; I liked the height and the simple square shape.  It was a little dirty, some of the faux shagreen was coming off, but I had plans for that...

Done and done.  I had found what I came for, I should just leave...I should just pay for my lovely lamp and walk out the door, or maybe, I should just have a quick little look around.

I found myself looking at artwork.  I had just finished my gallery wall in the living room, but I am always looking for cool artwork and sure would love to find a hidden Picasso or Matisse worth millions of dollars.  A girl can dream.

There among the Bob Ross wanna-be's and the painted signs telling me to "Live, Laugh and Love," was a very colorful, nicely framed poster, with a 60's-70's pop art vibe for, wait for it...$5.00!  That's less than my Starbucks habit. The internal conversation, ok, it wasn't all internal, sometimes I talk out loud to myself in these stressful situations...went something like this...

"Wow, that's cool."

"What is it?"

"Its big 26.5 x 38.5" (I always have my tape measure handy)

"Look at the frame!"

"$5.00!! Are you freaking kidding me?  The frame alone is worth that much."

"I love the colors."

"Where can I hang it? Remember the limited wall space?"

"It's too big."

"It's $5.00!!"

"What about the wall by my desk?  No, I like the mirror that's there. What about the hallway? I could redo the artwork in the eating nook."

"But it's big."

"The frame has a few scratches, I could paint it and it would be fine."

"$5.00!!!"

"I am in love!."

I can't tell you how long this went on, I was like a crazy person, walking away, walking back, I don't know why I was so indecisive. Yes, I do, because, well, Hoarders.

I bought it.  I broke two of my rules, I didn't really need it, and I didn't know what I was going to do with it, but I love it, and I suspected that it actually might be worth more that the five bucks I shelled out for it.

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Turns out it's a Polish circus art poster from the 1960's probably worth $150 at the bottom range and $475 at the top.  Score!!

Now I just needed to some where to hang it. The color and the whimsical subject matter told me it wanted to live in my kitchen nook.  But I already had pieces I loved there. I would have to do some re-arranging and some (gasp) editing.  Hammer, nails, command strips, done.

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With that problem solved, back to the original issue... the lamp.  A little clean-up with a magic eraser, a little glue to fix the  shagreen, some paint and a lampshade (I just happened to have this one in my  garage...cue the camera crew from Hoarders). 

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And new life for an old lamp.  Here's where it lives now.

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If you have artwork you love but aren't sure how to display it, drop me a line. I can help you find the perfect spot, or create your own gallery wall so you can enjoy it every day!

Live Colorfully,

Leigh