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Archive for the ‘thrift shop’ Category

In the last post i wrote about guilt, guilt tripping and feeling guilty and i said i don’t have anything to feel guilty for. Which is true, i don’t. But there is though a little thing that i actually call a guilty pleasure namely thrift stores. People close to me know that and i’m always teased about it. But that’s life, we all have some guilty pleasures and mine is just this.

Do i sometimes feel guilty about my purchases? Yes i do because i do not always need them in the sense that my purchase would be a top need. But sometimes i find so good things that is just hard to let them go. And when you want to keep yourself to a minimalist lifestyle and save money, this is hard. Because one can spend lots of money in thrift shops also. But how do i manage and what do i do about this?

Well, in my case, i have a very easy solution: i have to move once or two years due to my job nature (i work project-based) and i know very well what big pain in the ass extra stuff can cause from packing to moving, it takes time and it costs money. So why would i buy extra stuff with time from my life that would basically cost further another time from my life to pack, unpack and move? So, when i go to thrift-store i try to stay focused by going after some simple rules.

  1. Do i really need this? I have to think very well about my personal needs and the implication of that item into my life. For example, i saw just today a very nice muffin maker. But i already have a tray for muffins and i really don’t make muffins all the time so why would i need a muffin maker? If it breaks down then it means more electronic trash, the tray that i have is more durable and more spacious.
  2. Is this good quality? Is the quality-price fair? Does the product look good, is the condition good or satisfactory? Is it priced accordingly? If it’s not you should just let it go because it’s not worth it. For example is the product is obviously used and the price is way to high. If you really need a new item and you know that it is in high use, i do advise you to buy a new one. For example, i am very careful with second hand electronics because unfortunately sellers are not always honest with you and you might get a faulty product. For example, i bought for the first time in my life a professional camera and i did buy a new one because i know it will be in quite heavy use and i don’t want any surprises if i decided to buy a used one. Usually i am very careful with electronics especially computers, cameras, phones and such. Those could very have have small defects that could go unnoticed at first and if you use them everyday, it could become an inconvenience. If you can and your needs require buy a new one.
  3. Is the price fair? It is well-known that in self-service thrift shops and some thrift fairs where people sell their own items, some will try to sell them over the normal price for profit. And most of the items are not worth the price, maybe besides collector’s stuff. Otherwise if you kind of know the real price of the item as new, you will not be fooled so easily. It happened to me this summer at a local thrift fair to notice a nice dress that costed 15 euros. That dress costed as new about 20 euros so i just left it there because it was really not worth the price. Maybe if it was 10, i would have thought about it but the seller didn’t want to discuss the price.
  4. Make a monthly budget. If you visit thrift shops on a weekly basis you might find it helpful to have a budget. For example, this month you can spend only 30 euros in thrift shops. If you happen to go over it for whatever reason (you found something you really like or need), it might be a good idea not to visit thrift shops for next month, for example. Thrift shopping can indeed go out of control and you might find yourself spending hundreds of euros on things you might find useless later.
  5. Don’t go to thrift-shops. It always works because then you are 100% sure you won’t buy anything. Or at least try not to go that often, for example you can go once a month or once at few weeks. The longest i managed to stay away from thrift shops was about three months and during that time i didn’t buy anything from other shops also (besides food). It really helps if you wish, for example, to save for a trip or for a bigger purchase that you really need.
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When i was 19 i moved away from home to start my university studies. I left with just one suitcase, luckily, the apartment i rented had almost everything from furniture to kitchen stuff. I was never into shopping meaning that the times i’m going shopping is then when i really need something. Most of the stuff i find in thrift-shops as i visit them quite a lot and inevitably find things but otherwise i was not and i’m not a fan of shopping at all.

After the moment i left my parents’ home, i found myself moving from one place to another as after finishing my university studies, i moved out of the country. The moving didn’t stop then because i started studying again and during studies i also started working. And because it’s quite difficult to get a permanent job in my field i am very well aware that i have to move around all the time.

One of the first things to think about when moving around all the time is the stuff you get with you. And that’s why besides avoiding shopping just for the sake of it, i always think very well before purchasing something or even before receiving it from somebody. Do i really need it? Is it good quality? What value does this bring to my life? For me it is very easy not to buy new things but it is quite a challenge with thrift-shops because there one can find almost anything and most of the times for a very good price.

There is though one undeniable fact: as much as you don’t want to gather things, they somehow pile up one way or another. Everytime i moved, i donated or sold some of my stuff that i really didn’t need, for example when i moved from my last place (i changed the cities) i donated and sold about five bags with different stuff.

Moving around makes you think a lot of your purchases and your real needs because at one point i had to face that i was going to move out and tried to limit the amount of stuff i owned. And indeed compared to most of people, i do own less stuff just because of moving around and also because i realized, due to my lifestyle, i get along with much less than i thought.

I found out about minimalism quite late but it confirmed that i followed many of the current’s ideas without knowing that it even existed. Now that i found out minimalism has a huge community, it is even more useful because i get new ideas and new perspectives when prioritizing things in my life. And i do appreciate more experiences over material things.

Another thing that contributed to my minimalism was of course money. Being a student and working part-time or low income jobs didn’t offer me extra so i had to think very well how i would spend my money after paying bills and buying food. That was very difficult because i had no extra for almost anything and getting sick, for example, could ruin me. Although i was entitled to student healthcare, dentist still costed and getting a cold could cost me up to 50 euros which was a big sum. Adding to that, the medicine for my disease (which i didn’t know i had back then) was not deductible (still isn’t) and which consisted mostly of painkillers, was kind of pricey. So, i had no choice than learning to live with less which proved to be very useful in the long run and it taught me a lot about my real needs.

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A while ago I joined different online groups where people sell, exchange or give away all kind of stuff. I did use these groups few times to buy mostly books and linen but I also used them to sell some of the stuff I don’t use anymore. In general, the groups are very easy to use and never had any problems when I purchased goods but I did have issues with selling things. Here I compiled a list with few of the things I found very annoying while selling stuff online.

  1. If you are interested in a product, PM me. Some people commented under the photo of a product saying “I’m reserving it” and after that I never got a message from them. If you reserve something, send me a private message. I did try to contact them but they never replied. This is very disrespectful and you are basically wasting my time.
  2. Sending a message about a possible meeting to pick up a certain product. The person mentions that anytime is good for them but when I try (several times) to suggest a time, they are never happy with it. Why do you say that anytime is good and then when I suggest a date, you don’t like it? It would save both of us the headache if you said what time is good for you because “anytime” obviously doesn’t work.
  3. The person books a certain product, we arrange a day to meet so they can purchase the product then on that certain day (usually few hours before), they say something has intervened. We establish another day but the same thing happens. This has happened to me when the respective person changed the date around 4 times and the fifth time I tried to contact them in order to establish a new day but they never replied back. Look, if you don’t want to purchase something anymore, say it but don’t waste my time.

Sometimes there are other people who wait in order to purchase a certain product and the type of people mentioned above make it difficult for them as well as for me. If you don’t plan on buying something, don’t reserve it for an unlimited period of time and after one week of trying to establish a pick up time, you decide that you don’t want it anymore or worse, stop replying. Of course, it is the person’s right to change their minds but please, do it faster because in most of the cases I want to get rid of the stuff I’m selling quite fast. For example, if I move somewhere else.

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Lately, I have been checking out the thrift shops in my region and made some findings. Some of these things i wanted to buy for a while but the price in normal shops was quite high and i really don’t have any extra to spend right now as there is a trip coming up and have been trying to save for it.

I did find though a candle support made from salt stone with 2 euros from Red Cross. They did have other 2, mostly same size. They are quite heavy, i think at least 1 kilo has this one.

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Then, i looked in the DVD department and i found my one of my favourite bands DVD (Iron Maiden) along with a movie (Chernobyl Diaries) i wanted to see for quite a while but never had the chance. One of my friends though said that the movie is quite disrespectful at the address of Chernobyl victims and i do agree with her. I’m just curious about it as i’m very fascinated with Chernobyl for few years now.

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And because witnter is coming and my Angry Birds warm slippers seemed to be quite useless – i received them as a present as they started to disintegrate after the first months of use – i found these funny monster “feet”. Hope they will last longer as i have cold feet almost all year round.

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One of the many things i like about Finland are the thrift shops. I was accustomed with them in Romania but the thrift shop culture there is nowhere near as strong as here. There is still the mentality that is a shame to buy from second-hand stores. Actually this mentality is brought by the fact that people want to show off and not leave the impression that they are poor. Which is a bit exaggerated in my opinion because here buying from thrift shops is not necessarily a sign of poverty.

For me is more about recycling and the fact that i don’t like going shopping. Thrift shops are more about popping in and checking out the stuff. I don’t usually go there with something in mind. I just go to relax and see stuff. If there is something i like or i need, then i’ll give it a go. Besides buying, i also give/sell stuff at thrift shops…usually useless things or clothes that are too small for me.

There are many types of thrift shops here and they are quite popular, depending also on the location and the products. There are the self-service thrift shops where one can rent a small space for a period of time and sell their own things. They are usually in closed spaces but during the summer outside thrift-shops are organized in the cities, in front of libraries, parking lots or squares. Then there are the charity thrift shops where one can donate the clothes and other people are buying them. The money usually goes for charity. Some places like that are the Red Cross or Salvation Army. Some others are just recycling centers.

Then there are also the online thrift shops where people are putting their stuff online for others to check and buy or even take. There are special sites for that or thrift shop groups on Facebook. Some of them are organized according to items sold, region or price. The bad thing is that some people do not put photos or in the case of clothes or shoes, you don’t know if they fit. Especially if you buy them from somebody who lives far away. People can also organize their own yard sale and if you happen to be around, you can pop in. Just yesterday, i saw a girl in front of an apartment complex selling all kinds of stuff.

I tried all types of thrift shops and i’m very happy about the services i’ve got, in real life and online. The only thing to complain about is that if a certain thrift shop is really good, then it might be kind of difficult to roam there in peace when there are lots of people and corridors between shelves quite small. Also if the things are in a mess and it’s not possible to see them quite well, it’s quite discouraging. At least i don’t have the patience to look if i see a huge messy pile of clothes.

From the online world, i didn’t buy that many things. What i bought were mostly books, stuff for home, sports DVD’s and gear, computer games, few clothing, jewelery and cosmetic items and most of my budgies. Some sites are allowed to sell pets, also.

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Lamp fan

I wrote a while ago about two of my thrift shop purchases: two lava lamps, one red and one blue. I didn’t pay any attention earlier to them until i saw one on, i don’t remember exactly where. It was fascinating and hypnotizing and relaxing at the same time. So i decided to get one for myself. I didn’t really saw them in shops around here but i found them in thrift shops. Lately, wherever thrift shop i’m in, i bump into lava lamps accidentally. That’s why i bought two. I was told that they were quite in fashion some years ago but i never saw them as a fashion object to be honest. I think they are cool and peaceful. And cheerful, and cosy. Of course, they are not practical for reading and they have exclusively a decorative style.

I also saw that there are the lava lamps with glitter. I actually bought a similar one from a recycling center with 3 euros.

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There was another red one and a double one, with lava and glitter, kind like this one from Amazon. Unfortunately the other half didn’t work an i wasn’t so sure if it could be repaired.

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http://www.amazon.com/Creative-Motion-Yellow-Liquid-Glitter/dp/B006JONMXI

Other lamps that caught my attention are the aquarium lamps:

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http://www.amazon.com/Aquarium-Lamp-Fish-Revolving-Aquatic/dp/B003WKJJHK

And mist lamps which are quite pricey and almost impossible to find around here. They look like fountains and work as humidifiers:

Mist Lamp

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I also have a salt stone lamp which is said to be beneficial for health, for example, cleaning the air. I didn’t know about that until i did some online research but i really like its soft and calm light.

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More on the benefits of salt lamps

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Board games

I haven’t been in a while through trift shops but i still have left some photos with what i bought a while ago. I used to play board games a lot as a kid and later on i discovered this pleasure again with friends and colleagues from university. I don’t have many board games at home just a 5-in-1 pack with chess and other games based on wood pieces. I can’t play chess but i would love to learn at least at amateur level. This winter i found this interesting game in SPR thrift shop with 3,50€. I bought it but to my shame i didn’t get to play it. Maybe i should especially during long winter evenings.

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