Thrifter for Life

When I started blogging I wrote quite a lot about knitting – and then thrifting, as I was discovering its many benefits as an adult at that time. Thrifting – as it’s called in the US when you get excited over stuff that used to belong to someone else…

Cute or ugly who can tell
So very many “lost friends” at the thrift store… I want to adopt them all!

Thrifting – it’s the art of buying things second hand, shopping at flea markets or garage sales or thrift stores. I started sharing things that I bought second hand on my blog, as a way of documenting it. These days I’ve fallen out of the habit of sharing all of it, but I still try to snap a photo of everything I buy. And more recently: things I did not buy!

It’s a habit, a way of documenting as well as my way of living I guess. I was thinking I should start sharing some of it, again. There are so many pretty things that exists in the world, and all of them have their own story, their own background, and now, as I’m incorporating my thrifted finds into my own life, a new place to exist. I love that!

German wine in Sweden - Thrifter for life - looking at items that I did not buy photo by Hanna Andersson 2022
Wine, perhaps?

I’ve been a fan of thrifting for as long as I can remember, and I doubt I will ever stop loving “the hunt” of it all. These days it’s great for the consciousness as well (something we never considered when I was a kid) since it does helps “save the environment” when we buy second hand instead of new when we need something (need is key). But for me it’s a lifestyle. I love walking slowly, slowly though the isles in my nearest thrift shop and taking a good look at everything.

Porcelain figurines, jars, cups, odd mugs and glasses, trinkets, someone’s old plastic jars and piles of cutlery and linen, fabric, clothes and bags. Piles of DVD:s watched (maybe) once then donated and re-sold for a tenth of the retail price (if it was bought on sale), and so on. I mean, there is such variety. There is so much to look at. Things you don’t need at all, but still pick up to investigate. Things you really like the look of, but won’t buy because of what ever reason; price, space, or just how you’re feeling that day. So many unnecessary items that you don’t even understand why they exist in the world.

Clumsy, bold mirror frames that would take over the wall if hung, ugly as hell ceramic figures that actually will make someone super happy before you’ve even left the building.

Thrifter for life - looking at items that I did not buy photo by Hanna Andersson 2022
Question: ugly, cute or simply ugly-cute?

Clothes from all walks of life (although seldom the most expensive brands, I suspect that rich people trash their clothes rather than donate them to “the poor”), 1960s dresses hanging next to last weeks t-shirts and washed out jumpers from the 80s! Over-sized clothes that you could never wear or clothes in XXS that should be hanging at the children’s part of the store (if you ask me). Shirts that should’ve been made into cleaning rags a long time ago (what where they thinking hanging them up for sale again, even at the lowest of prices) and fancy ballgowns with all the lace and gems intact.

I love especially to look through the super tiny shelf of office supplies, where I once found a vintage index card box full of yellowed index cards. There I admire the old style, heavy paper whole punches, kid’s rulers with Disney figures and loads of the those photo albums (in all sizes and shapes) with plastic pockets that we used in the 1990s to showcase printed photos (!) in (although I never liked the plastic sheen they covered the photos with). It’s rarely a place for discovering treasures, at least not here in Sweden, but sometimes I will get lucky and find something to use in my collage art or for book binding. There are the discarded ring binders no one wants anymore, the address book nobody uses anymore and the paper boxes that smells funny inside. I feel lucky when I find an album filled with scrap die cut images, especially roses, or a big pad of papers that I can use for painting, for example. Or a table cloth or piece of fabric, with a pattern that makes my heart sing. Or a cute toy, that fits into my collection (or don’t fit at all, but still begs to come home with me).

Yes, it’s a life-long love for sure, sifting, thrifting and taking care of items that others have discarded.

Thrifter for life - looking at items that I did not buy photo by Hanna Andersson 2022
So many good things to be found – but I didn’t bring any of these home…

Wishing for a better future

I wish everyone would teach their kids to first look for second-hand clothes, and not scare them about germs or dirt that is easy to wash out. I wish everyone would understand that every time you buy something new, factory made, that you don’t absolutely need (which is, let’s be honest, most items we buy except food) you’re hurting the environment. Our globe. Using up resources. Spending money you could use on experiences, art materials or saving.

Books sorted in color order at my local thrift shop
Books sorted in color order at my local thrift shop

I wish everyone would donate to charity shops instead of ever throwing away clothes they tire of, bookshelves they no longer have room for, or pots and pans that are no longer “trendy enough”. If you absolutely have to renew, change, re-decorate, again, then make sure you are sending your unloved stuff to charity (or give it away to people in need). At least give your stuff a chance to continue to exist in someone else’s home, instead of sending to become landfill!

But best of all of course, only get what you really need and keep it as long as you can.

I’m glad that thrifting is a growing trend, now let’s make sure that “shopping new stuff” as a way of becoming happy (also known as retail therapy) is a dying trend, not taught to any children as a way of life. It’s the old way, right?

I was just thinking about this subject again, and wanted to share my thoughts.

More ponderings here.

6 Responses

  1. Hiya Hanna
    I to love op shopping, as we call it. I really enjoyed your photos, would absolutely love to op shop in Sweden but as that is not going to happen, I will settle for your pictures and words. xxx

  2. This is a post after my own heart for sure! I happen to live in a town with a huge number of thrift stores for its size. Yesterday I went to a couple to look for some accessories for my new air fryer and also a particular style of curtain.
    Found what I needed, and the air fryer items were part of a 1/2 off kitchenware sale too. Also got some craft supplies – I save a lot by buying what supplies I can at thrift stores.

    And as you pointed out, by shopping at thrift stores, we’re engaging in a form of recycling; thus, less items in the landfills. I did donate a box of items I no longer needed at one of the thrift stores I visited.

  3. I love thrifting! You have found some beautiful things, Hanna, especially the adorable animals. The book section of your thrift store is amazing! I would thoroughly enjoy browsing there. I hope that anyone who usually throws their used goods into the trash will read your blog and donate to charity instead. Great advice!

  4. I love thrifting. And “curbside shopping,” where you take something people have put out for the trash. (I have a lamp that I rescued from someone’s trash—a good scrub and a new lampshade was all it needed). And passing on treasures is important, too. I just donated 6 mismatched wooden chairs. I hope someone finds them and does something with them and uses them for a long time. We are so wasteful in the US.

  5. Before the pandemic, I used to love thrift shopping. I would score some great deals! Unfortunately, the thrift store I used to shop in has shut down. What a bummer!

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