thrift shopping around the world

Years ago, Michael and I spent a year and a half traveling around the world. We visited 13  countries and needed a variety of clothing – what to do when your carrying everything you need on your back? Keep things simple and visit thrift shops when possible (not every country has thrift shops of course).

We utilized thrift shops (charity shops) while traveling through Australia, New Zealand, England and Ireland. We picked up sheets (I cut and sewed) to use as curtains in our little car while driving around NZ, we also bought ceramic mugs and a few kitchen items for cooking while camping – we had camping cooking gear, but the luxury of having a car made it easier to have a few ‘nice’ things to eat and drink from – and then we left them in the last hostel where we stayed on our last night… I’m sure someone took advantage of them, if not the hostel itself, than another traveler. While in Australia I was in need of a wool sweater and I found a beautiful one. When we left, I re-donated it back to another charity shop. And in England I was in need of some fun party clothes, so off to the charity shop I went – when we left England I kept what I could (meaning what might come in handy later and fit in my backpack) and gave away the rest…

It’s a simple and cost effective way to add to your existing wardrobe while traveling. Particularly after a few months of wearing the same articles of clothing, day in and day out, it can get a bit dull…so why not utilize thrift shops, if the country your visiting has them? Plus, you may find things you wouldn’t normally at home – all the more fun!

Remember thrift shopping is not only for when your home, they are also fantastic resources to make use of, while abroad, as well…

Finn, Jess and I recently checked out the charity shop, here on Tortola, and this is what I picked up;

toy planehammer + sawpuddle bootscaprisAs serendipity would have it, Finn has been looking for a toy saw – and there it was, bonus wrench to go with it. Wooden toy plane, perfect, as Finn had just experienced his first plane ride. And then, oddly, it rained here (it’s not the season for rain), and Finn was missing his rain boots – voila, there they were…a little boy can never have too many rain boots, right?

And finally a pair of capri pants for me. I did need another pair while here as my summer weather wardrobe was lacking when I packed…

Total for all $2.50.

Charity shopping around the world – why not?

Enjoy.

transfer station treasures

Dump shopping is my favorite kind of shopping. To be factual, my town transfer station is my favorite shopping destination. A big part of the transfer station is the ‘freebie barn.’  It’s a trailer set aside to house free (but good) stuff that residents no longer want/need…Who doesn’t like a deal? And a free deal, is the best deal around, right? Added bonus, this stuff isn’t ending up in the landfill or worse…why don’t more towns and cities incorporate this into their budgets? It boggles my mind – if my little town can do it, surely others can too…it’s another form of freecycle – but centrally located versus driving all over – what’s not to love about that? Extra added bonus – the savings. Childrens books and toys add up (everything adds up doesn’t it?), money saved is money available for other things, or simply more time to do more things…money equals time, the less money you need, the more time you can have (sort of – everything has its trade-offs) to do what it is you want to do. We’ve chosen to live on a much tighter budget than most, though these past years spent raising my son are worth so much more than money could ever buy…and shopping is so much more fun this way.

Here’s a few recent finds…amazing huh? It’s nothing, yet so much, all at the same time…

glassware

I just love these little etched vintage glasses – a whole set of 12 – perfect for little man. Estimated savings, at least $20.

childrens booksMore books. We read a lot around here, so new books are always welcome – estimated savings, easily $40.

childrens illustrations

These are the first two illustrations of ‘Animal Stories’ seen above – they are beautiful in person and will look great framed. Free art – estimated savings, $40.

childs puzzle

Finn is getting into puzzles and he LOVES trains, so when I found this (new, still in box!) I had to pick it up. Estimated savings – $12.

kitchen tools

Finn is also really into cooking, so when I found a bunch of kitchen tools (some even kid sized!) I had to take them too! Here’s Finn enjoying his latest treasures. Bonus they were all metal or wood (spatula, spoons, pie server, tongs, ice cream scooper (vintage), whisk, honey spoon)! Even the little people joining him were found at the dump (of course!). Estimated savings – $25.

play barn yard

Yet another plastic toy saved from landfill – even the batteries still work as do the sounds and songs which are played when the doors open and close…little animals were free too. So much plastic in the world – it’s frightening…estimated savings – $35.

file sorter

File sorter. I can always use something like this, but I won’t buy this type because they are plastic, but I’ll use it and then recycle it when I’m done. And when I say recycle, I mean I’ll give them away to someone who wants them or return them to the ‘freebie barn.’ Estimated savings – $15.

sea shell book

And finally, this cool (vintage) book about shells. I love shells, I always have. I had to pick it up, the illustrations were too cool…estimated savings – $8.

Total estimated savings  – $195.

Savings to the planet, priceless.

Other ways to save money and resources -check out flea markets, freecycle, craigslist, consignment shops, stay out of the mall and big box stores, trade with friends, shop for big items during annual sales, check your local newspaper… you just never know what you may find.

Also, visit your local library. Books, music, newspapers, magazines, movies – are all available for you to use (and borrow) for free…ok, not ‘free’ the town has to pay for all those books, movies, newspapers, etc. and the library itself, but then, its’ citizens (including and most importantly, children) get to enjoy all those ‘free’ treasures…money and time well spent I’d say.

enjoy.

sample sales aren’t just for overpriced designer clothes…

I had never been to a sample sale before (I’m not a big ‘shopper’) and to be quite honest, I didn’t intentionally ‘go’ to this sample sale either – I just happened to be in the right place, at the right time. Finn and I went to our local farmers market this past Saturday, it’s indoor at the moment and takes place in an old renovated mill in Brunswick. It’s a fabulous space. It houses artist studios, offices, restaurants, a flea market, an antique market and a variety of other businesses and services…Acorn also has an office there and they were hosting a sample sale this past Saturday. I had no idea. I only became aware of the sale upon entering the Farmers Market (Acorn is adjacent to the market) – a sign read,  ‘Acorn Sample Sale – Today only’. Now, I’m not big into shoes, I’m more of a ‘boot girl’ – but I was in need of some fun new summer shoes, and being on a rather small budget at the moment,  I thought, ‘why not check it out – all shoes for $5, why not at least look?’,  I was so glad I did. I found two pairs of shoes for me and one pair for Finn! Nothing was in Michaels’ size…sorry Mikey…

sampl tag

side view orange acorn

blue shoes

finn's boots

Only $15 for three pairs of brand new, well made shoes – even a consignment shop or a thrift shop would have a hard time beating that price!

The thing about sample sales is not all sizes or styles are available and pieces may be slightly imperfect  – which is why items in sample sales are sold for such low prices. So do check everything out and do try on, sizes may be slightly off too…basically, you can find well made (but not perfect) pieces, for next to nothing. I only spent $15 for shoes which would have easily cost me $150 retail, what’s not beautiful about that?

Sample sales, add them to your list of budget friendly places to shop.

Check out these links for more information about what sample sales are and how to shop them.

Trunk Show Daily

5 Things to Know About Shopping Sample Sales

How to Shop A Sample Sale: 7 Tips For Survival