recently thrifted

Just popping in after a long day to share a few functional finds from the past couple weeks!

My old mat had worn out its welcome, so I scooped up this beauty at the Goodwill on Nicollet Avenue. Originally priced at $9.99, I got it for half of that because it was a green tag sale day. I LOVE when that happens!

welcome mat // goodwill Another Nicollet Goodwill find = this woven basket-turned-plant-holder. It’s in perfect shape, and only set me back $1.99!

plant hanger I leave a trail of jewelry around my house, and it’s such a horrible habit! This old ashtray makes the perfect bracelet-catcher, and the souvenir Minnesota dish holds my rings beautifully. Both were found for a song at the Salvation Army in Norfolk, Nebraska.

ashtrays I’ve been on the hunt for an affordable set of Christmas glasses and I found ’em in Norfolk! These aren’t super old (mid-’80s, I’m guessing) but they are in great shape, and cost 14-and-a-half cents a piece, meaning the set of eight cost just over a dollar!

xmas glasses In the clothes department, Norfolk’s Salvation Army was refreshingly not picked over. I found tons of beautiful ’50s, ’60s and ’70s items, but settled on two ’60s-era shifts (one store-bought, the other homemade), a white ’90s maxi and a classic plaid Western snap front. (Sorry for the horrifically lazy photo!)

clothesBeen out to the thrifts lately? If so, I’d love to hear what you’ve found!

Wishing you a restful eve!!

xo,

Meghan

memorial day weekend sale circuit: may 23-26

tumblr_m4as1nCK2b1rsoo94o1_r1_500Memorial Day weekend is here, which means summer has officially arrived and sales galore will be happening Monday at area thrifts. As the clock winds down to the weekend (not that I’m counting, LOL), I’m here to share the sales that belong on your radar.

Salvation Army Family Stores: Head to any Salvation Army Family Store on Monday and enjoy half-off savings on all clothing, in addition to in-store specials. All locations will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

ARC’s Value Village Thrift Stores: Enjoy 50% discounts across the board Monday during ARC’s store-wide sale. (Exclusions include sale items and merchandise with white and orange tags.) Bonus: Village Rewards Members get to shop the sale starting Sunday. If you’re not already a member, don’t worry, you can join the day of! Stores will be both Sunday and Monday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Goodwill: Take a break from the barbecue Monday and pop into any Goodwill location for 50%-off savings on all apparel with blue, green and yellow tags. Stores will be open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Hidden Treasures Thrift Store: With 30% off savings today and 40% discounts tomorrow, there’s plenty of incentive to shop this recently expanded strip-mall gem. (The store will be closed Sunday and Memorial Day.)

Family Pathways Thrift Stores: If you find yourself traveling on the northern portion of I-35 Monday, stop in at any of the Family Pathways Thrift Stores and save 20-60% off everything in-store including clothing, home decor, accessories, furniture, antiques and collectibles. Store hours vary by location—find out which location’s open when, here.

Savers Thrift Stores: Bask in 50% savings on all clothes, shoes, accessories and bed and bath amenities on Monday. (Offer excludes new merchandise, books, jewelry,  items tagged housewares or furniture and is not valid with any other coupon or discount.) Stores will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Unique Thrift Stores: Take 50% off everything (except red-tagged new merchandise) at all Unique locations on Monday. Sale also applies at the Valu Thrift in St. Paul. Stores open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Second Début: Shop and save 25% on all secondhand designer fashions at both locations of this Goodwill offshoot.

Hope Chest for Breast Cancer: Today through Sunday, save 30% off your entire purchase at both the Orono and St. Paul locations. (Note that both stores will be closed  Memorial Day.)

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!

xoxo,

Meghan

Photo c/o: Fillips Hideaway.

a beginner’s guide to power-hour thrifting

high plains thrifter // power hour thrifting

If I had a dollar for every time someone said to me “But I don’t have time to thrift!”, I’d be RICH. Hitting a thrift when you’re super-tight on time isn’t only doable, it can be downright fun (if you do it right). Whether you’re thrifting over your lunch break, as I commonly do, killing time before an appointment or sneaking away for an hour while the kids are at practice, here are my tried-and-true tips for maximizing your next thrift-store pop-in.

Preparation is everything.

When Roman statesman and philosopher Lucius Annaeus Seneca noted “Luck is a matter of preparation meeting opportunity,” I doubt if he was talking about thrifting, and yet, his words ring so totally true. If you want to get lucky on your next thrift-store power-hour, you’ve gotta have your ducks in a row.

Know where you’re going.

high plains thrifter // screen grab

If you’re visiting a new-to-you thrift, make sure you map out directions and so you don’t spend your thrifting time driving around in circles. (Been there, done that!) Most thrift-store websites, Goodwill included, should be able to link you directly to Google Maps. And for goodness sakes, check to make sure the store will be open too!

Bring a list.

high plains thrifter // power-hour thrifting

Just like grocery shopping without a list can turn into a train wreck, if you don’t know what you’re looking for at the thrift, it’s practically impossible to be in-and-out in under an hour. It’s simply too overwhelming! To avoid aimless aisle wandering, I review my running list of wants before I head out. (I keep my list on my phone, since I know I’ll always have it with me, but a small notebook does the trick too.)

I’ll also scan my Crafts, Projects & Plans Pinterest board so I can see what I’ve pinned recently and might need supplies for. Finally, I try to peek at my calendar to see if there are any events or holidays I should be planning or stocking up for. Having a detailed list in hand helps me stay focused, even at at big, busy stores.

Get to it.

high plains thrifter // power-hour thrifting

List in hand, get down to business! Since I wear dresses and skirts 99.9% of the time, that’s the section where I always start. Shopping stores that are organized like Goodwill, where clothing is sorted by size, makes it so much easier to be quick and efficient!

Be realistic.

high plains thrifter // power-hour thrifting

A thrift-store power-hour is not the time to:
-try clothes on
-check to see if electronics work
-dig through bargain bins
-read book jackets
-flip through piles of vinyl
-bid on silent auction items
-buy furniture (unless the store policy allows them to hold it for you so you can haul it home)

Go with your gut.

high plains thrifter // power-hour thrifting

Sometimes an item will present itself to you that you simply have to have. For example, a wicker serving tray wasn’t on my wish list, but when I saw this one, a fun makeover idea for it sprung to mind, and so I snapped it up. To avoid (impulse) buyer’s remorse, set a dollar-amount cap for spontaneous purchases. (Mine’s $10, for what it’s worth.) You can always come back tomorrow, you know?

It’s OK if you don’t find anything.

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Leaving a store empty-handed does not make your trip a failure! Being “lucky” in thrifting requires persistence and patience, and sometimes, it’s just not in the cards. Do not waste your money buying something just for the sake of “making your trip worthwhile.” You know it’ll just wind up adding clutter to your home, closet or bookshelf!

Armed with these tips, I hope you feel more ready to hit the thrifts, even if all the time you have is just one hour. If you have any go-to tips for thrift-store shopping on a tight timeline, please share ’em in the comments section so we can learn from each other’s wisdom!

xoxo,

Meghan

P.S. A version of this post first appeared on the Goodwill/Easter Seals of Minnesota blog.

Photos c/o: Julia McMahon, LB Jeffries Photography

how to: make reed diffusers using thrifted vases

Come mid-winter, I straight-up yearn for open-window weather. I love the sounds of my neighborhood, but more than anything, I crave fresh air. Since we have at least a couple months to go before it’s warm enough to crack the windows, I’ve been keeping things fresh at home with these easy-to-make reed diffusers. Crafted out of with Goodwill vases and few ingredients—including a few you probably already have on hand!—this project comes together in about 15 minutes, and costs a mere fraction of store-bought air fresheners.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

  • 2 thrifted vases — I looked for vases with narrow necks that were no more than five inches tall
  • Mineral oil — available at your local pharmacy and/or hardware store
  • Vodka
  • Carrier oil — sweet almond, jojoba and safflower oils will all work great
  • Essential oils — single-note oils or blends are both great options
  • Wooden reeds — I found mine at Michael’s

HOW TO MAKE

1. Start by gathering up your supplies.
diffusers step 1
2. Measure ½ cup of mineral oil into a glass measuring spout.
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3. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of vodka. It’s naturally going to separate, so give it a good whisk to ensure it’s emulsified.
diffusers step 3
4. Now it’s time to mix up your scents. To keep it simple, I used two of my favorite essential oil blends: Veriditas Botanicals’ Good Samaritan blend and Aura Cacia’s Creative Juice. The sky’s the limit when it comes to essential oil combos, so feel free to play around! As long as you’re stay around 20-30 drops per ¼-cup carrier oil, you should be in good shape.
diffusers step 4
5. Using a small funnel, pour the carrier-oil blend into a vase, followed by half the mineral oil-vodka mixture. Repeat with your second vase.
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6. Insert a handful of the reeds into each vase, stirring the oil around. After a few hours pass, flip the sticks over, so the end that hasn’t been dipped gets a turn in the oil. For the most fragrant results, flip your sticks every few days. Depending on the size of your vases, these diffusers should stay fragrant for at least a month or two.
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Are you a fan of homemade air fresheners? If you have a good method or recipe up your sleeve, please do let me know!
xo,
Meghan
A version of this post first appeared on the Goodwill / Easter Seals Minnesota blog.

how to: make an air plant display

high plains thrifter // diy air plant display  Got a minute? If so, pop on over to the Goodwill/Easter Seals blog to learn how to make a display for air plants using thrifted picture frames. An ideal DIY for folks with short attention spans (like me!), this easy-peasy craft takes all of 10 minutes to complete. But don’t take my word for it, check out the full how-to here!

xoxo,

Meghan

christmas gift wrapping with goodwill goods

Gift-Wrapping with Goodwill // high plains thrifter

They say presentation is everything, and when it comes to Christmas gift wrapping, that old adage rings especially true. Instead of looking at wrapping presents as a chore, I like to think of it as an extension of the gift-giving ritual…an opportunity to put even a little more love into the gift, in addition to flexing a little creative muscle.

When the holidays start creeping on the horizon, I make a point to look for wrapping supplies during each and every trip to the thrift-store. There’s always an abundance of fun stuff to play with (in both the craft section and holiday aisles), and by shopping second-hand, I know that I’m not only saving money, but that my gift-giving presentations are going to be one-of-a-kind. To bulk up your wrapping stash on a dime, keep your eyes open for…

BASICS

Wrapping paper: I have a soft spot for vintage paper, but most thrift stores will also have brand new rolls in stock. (Also keep on the lookout for old maps or mags, both of which make for great wrapping paper!)

Boxes: Craft-paper, plain or blinged-out, decorative gift boxes, you’ll find it all.

Gift bags: Good to have on hand, always. I like to my eyes open for wine bags, as I’m frequently toting bottles to dinner parties and it feels more special when presented in a bag.

Jars: Perfect for edible treats, reusable jars are a staple in my gift-wrapping routine.

Ribbon: Fabric, metallic, raffia, paper, yarn, vintage…pick up a few different kinds so you can mix, match and layer.

Fabric: My go-to for wrapping odd-sized presents.

EXTRAS

Ornaments: Fabulous present-toppers and can also be a memorable part of the present.

Jingle bells: Cute to look at, easy to attach and oh-so-very festive!

Tinsel garlands: A glittery stand-in for ribbon.

Bows: Big or small, bows add a sweet finishing touch. I look for multi-packs of the twist-tie velvet bows, as they attach to gifts quickly and easily.

Doilies: Any size and any color!

Pom-poms

Gift tags

Rubber stamps

In need of a some visual inspiration? Here are a few ideas for presentations that’ll make your packages stand out under the tree, using materials thrifted at area Goodwill stores!

From cocoa to cookie mix, who can resist a tasty treat packaged up in an adorable jar? The addition of jingle bells, tied on with twine, takes this patterned canning jar from everyday ho-hum to stocking-ready in mere minutes.

Gift-Wrapping with Goodwill // high plains thrifter

Layered gifts, like this mix for oatmeal-chocolate chip cookies, look lovely in tall jars. A Christmas-light ornament, homemade pom-pom and candy-cane colored washi-tape tagged card add a home-y touch.

Gift-Wrapping with Goodwill // high plains thrifter

Goodwill is stocked with many holiday themed jars and tins too. All this baby needed was a curlicued ribbon to make it pop.

Gift-Wrapping with Goodwill // high plains thrifter

Brown craft-paper boxes are blank slates when it comes to packaging. I used craft glue to affix red, green and white pom-poms (another craft section find) to the small box on the right, while the larger one got topped with vintage ribbon and a bottle-brush tree, clipped in place with a glittery mini clothespin. So easy!

Gift-Wrapping with Goodwill // high plains thrifter

Hate wrapping paper? Switch things up and wrap a few presents in fabric this year! I used a vintage scarf and tinsel garland to doll up the package on the left. (Recipients can choose to wear or display the scarf, depending on their style.) On the right, a bit of scrap fabric, edged with pinking shears, tied shut with vintage ribbon (and more ornaments!) secures this package.

Gift-Wrapping with Goodwill // high plains thrifter

When I found some plain, white, flat-packed gift boxes, I knew they had big potential. I embellished the box on the right with gold star stickers, and then followed this tutorial from Mineco for the wrapping, using tinsel-trimmings and yellow gold cellophane, for a suspended confetti kind of look. Fun right?

Gift-Wrapping with Goodwill // high plains thrifter

Bells and whistles aside, sometimes a roll or two of festive wrapping paper is all you need to get the job done. I was so charmed by the vintage cookie and Santa papers, I snatched them up in October! The brown packages are grocery bags turned inside out, finished off with a paper doily, velvet bow and vintage ribbon. Affordable, easy and oh-so-pretty!

Photos by Julia McMahon // LB Jeffries

Photos by: Julia McMahon // LB Jeffries Photography

Have you hit the thrift for wrapping supplies? If you haven’t before, I hope you’re feeling inspired to give it a try now! For more pretty gift-wrapping inspiration, head on over to my Pretty Packaging pin-board, where I save my favorite ideas for Christmas and beyond.

xoxo,

Meghan

A version of this post first appeared on the Goodwill / Easter Seals Minnesota blog.

first impression: goodwill in st. louis park

Goodwill St. Louis ParkIt seems that lately, not a month goes by without a Goodwill grand opening happening somewhere in the Twin Cities metro. From Fridley to Roseville, Champlin to Lakeville, new stores are cropping up everywhere, with the most recent addition being a 17,600-square-foot location in St. Louis Park. Opening in mid-November, it didn’t take me long to find a reason to pop over there to take a look around.

Like all the freshly built Goodwill stores, the St. Louis Park location is big, bright and oh-so-very clean, with well-marked, neatly organized sections for men’s, women’s and children’s clothing, housewares and the like.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetThough my budget for spending was slim, I spent a good hour or so poking around. The selection at this store definitely skews to the high-end side, with lots of nice labels on the racks (Ann Taylor, Adrienne Vittadini, Ralph Lauren, etc.) and quality books by the boatload. While it was a little lighter on the housewares, accessories and shoes than I expected, more than a few things that caught my eye during my visit. Here are a few of them!

A sparkling, glam ’60s maxi dress (unfortunately sized 10 sizes to small), a mint-condition Donna Hay (the Australian Martha Stewart) cookbook, a sweet-faced ceramic Mary and baby Jesus…

goodwillslp-2Lots and lots of Mara Mi for Target party goodies including garlands (pictured), printable invites, cupcake liners and toppers, photo-booth props, etc. all brand-new in the box, decent-sized sets of both Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys mysteries, a half-set of Johnson Brothers china in a floral pattern (I think it was Floral Bouquet, but I’m not certain)…

goodwillslpcollageLots of games and toys, some disposable mini loaf pans (perfect for holiday gifting!) and one of my favorite vintage Bisquick cookbooks.

goodwillslp4Besides being well-stocked and nicely organized, I can’t wrap up this post without commenting on the incredibly kind and patient customer service I both witnessed and experienced at this shop. It staggers me how some shoppers (regulars, no less!) can be so incredibly rude, brusque and unkind to thrift-store employees. During my visit, I saw two instances of not-so-nice behavior on the part of shoppers, and in both occurrences, the employee on the receiving end maintained a helpful, positive and oh-so-very patient attitude. I can’t speak for all of the store’s 30 employees (many of them participants in career training programs), but Torrance, if your boss ever reads this, I hope she or he gives you a big pat on the back (and maybe even a raise).

The St. Louis Park Goodwill is located at 3575 State Highway 100…in layman’s terms, that’s directly behind the SLP Target off of Highway 100, right next to the LA Fitness. The store’s orientation is a little wacky, but this map may help you out. Like all area Goodwill stores, they are open seven days a week: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

To be the first to know about future Goodwill store openings, sign up for their weekly email newsletter!

xo,

Meghan