My New Little Singer and Thrifting

You might remember that Kelli and I spent a Saturday talking at the NE Iowa Quilt Show in Decorah.  Well I made a couple purchases that day that I thought I would share with you.

First off let me say I am such a thrift store addict that it almost kills me to go to Decorah without stopping at the thrift stores in Decorah and in Calmar.  I knew I was suppose to be at the show at 9:30.  That meant if I was in town at 9:00 I could hit up the thrift store.  I was there at 8:55 and waiting when the doors opened.  I walked in and the first thing I saw was this…

Ah..what a cutie.


I opened the case and everything was there.


The tag said “works” $25.  Hmm…  It was a bit of a splurge but I bought it.  I’ve seen them in antique stores and the price has been higher and it didn’t seem to be in as good of shape.  I guess I’ve spent $25 on sillier things.

I ended up having a great day at the store.  I found a good name brand high chair that is red for Kalissa for $2.50.  It’s the kind that attaches to the table.  I also found that drawer cabinet that I showed you when I gave the tour of my sewing room.  If you missed the tour find it here.  See?


Typically at the thrift stores I spend somewhere between zero (yes, occasionally I leave with nothing) up to $20.    This day I spent a whopping $72.

With so many people in our family I’m always on the look out for things that the kids might want…

Kayla loves yarn and pyrex.  Check out her pyrex display.Pyrex

The picture is her collected pyrex.  I found some of the ones in the upper center for her.  She has enough pyrex that she changes it out with the seasons.  This is her new Fall look….cute right?!  Her cabinet is perfect for displaying her pieces.

I’ve recently gotten several emails for readers that live in my area and all are wanting to know about my thrift stores.  People want to know where they are and how I find the deals.

Here’s what I can say about thrifting.
1-Thrifting is VERY hit and miss.  I find lots of things because I am looking for everything from scrubs for Kelli, clothes for Carver, pyrex for Kayla, to axes for Buck…(YES I did find an ax for him one time!!)..of course fabric and sewing goodies for me.  I find pyrex about three times a year….I’ve only ever found an ax once.
2-I go to a thrift store EVERY time I go to town.
3-It takes lots of time.
4-There are stores in most every town that I got to.  There are good ones in Decorah, New Hampton, Calmar, Charles City and a whole bunch of other places.  Kayla is coming to my house she will likely stop in Hopkinton, Manchester, Independence or Oelwein.  They all have thrift stores and are located between my house and hers.  I plan my shopping trips in accordance with the opening and closing times of the stores.
5-Goodwill is the worst of the thrift stores I go to.  Independently operated ones have better prices, at least in my area…church ones that are run by volunteers have the best prices.

If you want to get the deals that I get you really have to know your stores and stalk them.  If you visit once and expect to find the things I do, it likely won’t happen.

I am so dedicated to thrifting that this is what happened that Saturday.
9 am I was at the thrift store.
9:35 at the quilt show and set up
11:00 presentation
12:35-1:15 off thrifting to another store
1:30 presentation
3:00 presentation

Kelli and I skipped lunch so we could thrift.  It paid off too.  It was bag day at one of the stores.  We found a treasure trove of awesome clothes for Kelli and Kalissa including scrubs for Kalissa.

I don’t know if dedicated is the right word or if obsessed is…or simply crazy for thrifting.  Whatever it is, I love it.  I am a die hard thrifter and even if I made quadruple the money I make now, I’d never give up thrifting.

16 thoughts on “My New Little Singer and Thrifting”

  1. I’ve been thrifting for about 60 years. You’re right: it takes time, and most days you won’t find anything. But it’s also recreation. You wonder “Why did somebody buy THAT ugly thing in the first place?” And then on another aisle, “Ooh, look at that! I need that!”

    Your little Sewhandy looks like fun!

  2. I thrift too. I work in the lab at a hospital and can wear street clothes. Darn if I want to spill bleach and such on a pair of $50 pants! I also cosplay (costume play) and have found stuff for costume, including $10 of velveteen drapes that I turned into Captain Hook’s coat for “Peter Pan” but I have NEVER found fabric for my quilting habit.

  3. Darn cute machine.

    I LOVE thrift stores. They are a win win win. The donor keeps items out of the landfill, the thrift store gets some money for charity and the purchaser not only saves money but gets such an amazing choice of items from decades. Some people may not realize that thrift stores want and need people without financial need to shop in them. I asked thrift stores in our area about three times if I should be shopping in them before I really felt comfortable that I was not keeping donations away from the needy. Thrift stores want you to shop at them. Tax laws do not allow thrift stores to advertise because then a non profit would be competing with stores paying taxes. But the stores need and want your money. Thrift stores in our area pull out items they know some of the needy can use and also give the needy free coupons to shop the stores with.

    1. This is so true!!
      I our area several of the stores benefit those with special needs. All the money goes to support them. Another gives grants out to the community. I love that I feel I am helping myself and helping them too.

  4. The sewing machine is a keeper but I think your wooden drawers are something I would of snapped up. Great bargains indeed. If you ever get to Osage, check out “Shop on State” thrift shop. Its lots of fun and there stuff changes all the time.

  5. I love to go to thrift stores as well, and have been it for many years. I would rather shop there than in a mall or big box stores. I don’t very often find any fabric like you do, but am lucky once in awhile. I just had to tell you I have that very same chicken candy dish that you have……and guess where I bought it??? Of course, at a thrift store! We have a few chickens that we raise for eggs for ourselves and we share with our friends. They are a lot of fun!!

  6. My 20 year old daughter has taken to thrifting. She enjoys the challenge of finding good deals, she especially looks for clothing. She is studying to be a Costume Designer for Theatre, they also shop for costumes at thrift stores. I go with her from time to time, and have enjoyed looking around. I think there are several items in my house that could go to the thrift store. Thrift stores can be hard to find when new to an area unless someone tells you about them.

    1. Margaret, does your daughter know anyone who collects ladies vintage hats for use in theatre shows? I have several boxes of them, and I’m trying to downsize. I will keep an eye on the comment section of this post just in case.

  7. Cheryl in Dallas

    It certainly does take dedication to shop at Thrift Stores!

    I shop at a huge store in my local area for 100 percent cotton sheets to use as backings for quilts. Shhh! Don’t tell anyone that! Many people are quilt backing snobs, and I wouldn’t want them to find out. On rare occasions I can also find 100 percent cotton scrubs that I cut up for my Scrap User’s System bins.

    I have NEVER found fabric at a thrift store.

  8. I thrift, and I definitely make enough money to always buy new. I agree that thrift stores want people of all economic levels to shop. They get MANY times more donations than they can sell. If people of means buy there, they have more stuff to put out, and more money for their programs. In my area, there are only Salvation Army and Goodwill. I go on the sale days (and you can bet that I know the schedule of what is on sale, when).

  9. Jo, You are amazing!! How you fit so much into a day never ceases to amaze me. I wish I had more time to shop thrift stores, my mom used to when she could drive. Her sisters used to harass her about buying something the poor might need. I told her the stuff was for sale to whoever wanted to spend their money to buy it. Thanks for reinforcing that for me, Jean.

  10. I have a sister who has a thrift shop “eye”. Not only does she find thrift stores that most of us seem to miss, bus she can walk in a store and in minutes come up with great finds! I am so jealous of her since I don’t have her “eye!”

  11. Any advice on how to find Thrift Stores? I live on the outskirts of town and the only place out here is Goodwill, unfortunately it is one of the (dreaded ones) that employees take home what they want 1st before it hits the floor (I have donated brand new items that after 2 weeks never seen the sale floor). I just need some help as to where to look for locations of Good Reputable Thrift Stores. I live in Corpus Christi, TX so anyone near me please help me help the Thrift Stores in my area even if I have to travel “into” town lol

  12. Pingback: Thrifty Finds and My Collection of Collections of “P” | Pins's Needles

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