how to: remove grease pencil markings

Hey sweethearts, happy Monday!

Today’s how-to is easy peasy, but it’s also super handy, as many, many, many thrifts use grease pencil (aka wax pencil) to mark prices on items, ranging from from shoes to dishes and pretty much everything in between. Fortunately, removing these marks is a super-simple two-step process!

You’ll need: A bottle of 100-percent acetone (found with nail polish remover) and cotton pads or a soft, clean rag.

Step one: Dab some acetone on your cotton or rag.

Step two: Give the markings a little rub and watch them vanish!

Annnnd, you’re done! So easy right? This little trick works for taking grease-pencil prices off the soles of thrifted shoes, glassware, you name it. USE CAUTION, however, when using acetone on painted surfaces, as it can also remove the paint, along with the wax. Test in an inconspicuous location or try another method. Under NO circumstances should you ever use acetone on finished wood.

Wishing you a wonderful, albeit snowy, evening!

xo,

Meghan

recently thrifted (kinda)

Hey guys, we’ve made it half-way through the week! As someone who spent the greater part of yesterday thinking it was Thursday, I say HECK YES to that. As promised, here are a few finds from my thrifting adventures in Mora.

I couldn’t resist this set of Dorothy Parker wannabes, considering $3 bought me both the pitcher and set of eight glasses at One More Time. They’re fakes, but they’re MINT CONDITION FAKES so who cares? (The shot glass on the left I picked up for the cabin, and set me back a cool 25 cents.)

high plains thrifter / dorothy draper knock-offs Two vintage loaf pans (50 cents a piece), a souvenir tile for a most beloved state (25 cents), an optimistic mug (25 cents) I’m saving to give as a gift and the sweet crate that holds it all ($3), are all from One More Time.

DSC_4223 I have a soft spot for stationery sets of all kinds, invitations included, so picking up these sets for 50 cents a pop seemed like a great idea…until I got home and realized I could pretty much have a party a week now ’til forver and STILL have snail-mail invites left. #oops The bridal-party top hat ($1) was intended for Meggie’s bridal dinner, but of course, when her party rolled around, I completely forgot to bring it. #oopsagain Last but not least, how about this cut-crystal cake plate and matching dome ($2.50)? I cannot wait to break it out this winter! (All of these goodies came from Good Works Thrift Store.)

high plains thrifter // hat, cake carrier, invitesHave you hit the thrifts this recently? Tell me I’m not the only one who makes an #oops purchase every now and again!

xo,

Meghan

Photos c/o: LB Jeffries Photography.

thrifting trip: mora

Processed with VSCOcam with s1 presetWhen it comes to thrifting trips, I don’t really need much of an excuse to hit the road. So this past summer, when I got an email from Michelle, inviting me to check out the new Good Works Thrift Store up in Mora, I didn’t hesitate. Enlisting the company of my dear friend Meggie, who was at the time waist-deep in a whirlwind of wedding planning, we hit the road one sunny Friday afternoon, Mora-bound.

Situated an hour and 15 minutes north of Minneapolis, at the junction of Highways 23 and 65, Mora boasts three thrift stores (and a bonus flea market!), all within mere minutes of each other. Our first stop was Good Works Thrift Store, an extension of Industries, Inc., a local nonprofit that provides job opportunities for people with disabilities and other challenges, allowing them to to become as independent in their communities as possible. (No small feat in a community as small as Mora.)

high plains thrifter // good works thrift store, mora, mn Greeting us at the store was a trio of lovely, passionate and proud employees, including Rhonda, the store’s manager (right) and, of course, Michelle, director of sales and marketing (left).

high plains thrifter // good works thrift store, mora, mnI was immediately struck by the quality of the merchandise; this is NOT one of those junky thrift stores you can find up in the country. Good Works store is large and in charge,  naturally lit with big windows up front. I was really impressed by the assortment of home goods, glassware, craft supplies, lamps, side tables and books. Meggie, hunting for the cake carriers, jam jars, vases, plates and Pyrex that would bedeck her wedding tables, had TONS of luck, loading up an entire cart.

high plains thrifter // good works thrift store, mora, mnPrices were fair overall, and the curation of items was totally sensible, with books organized by genre and finer dishes stages on tables to give a sense of how they’d look at home. Based on the overall sense of organization, it’s clear that a lot of hard work, thought and elbow grease went into getting this store up and running. (Stay tuned for a full store review on Good Works in coming months!) Thanks for inviting me up, Michelle!Processed with VSCOcam with s1 presetUpon Michelle’s recommendation, we headed towards Mora’s “downtown,” to hit One More Time Thrift Store, a charitable thrift run by 7-County Senior Federation, which lies about two minutes away from Good Works.

Processed with VSCOcam with s2 presetWhile smaller in square-footage than Good Works, One More Time’s bargain-basement prices make it well worth a stop.

Processed with VSCOcam with s1 presetAs one would expect from a thrift-store run by seniors from north-central Minnesota, the goods are pristine, exactly the type of stuff you’d find if you cleaned out a grandparent’s basement. (There’s a second location of One More Time in Isle. As if I needed another excuse for a road trip!)

Processed with VSCOcam with s2 presetThird time’s a charm did not turn out to be the case for our third thrift-store destination—The Queen’s Closet, located directly across the parking lot from One More Time.

Processed with VSCOcam with s1 preset Set in a kind of squat building, both Meggie and I were underwhelmed by the random, sparse, disorganized assortment of merchandise in this two-room store. This couch was really cute though!

high plains thrifter / mora, mnOur last shopping stop on the way out of town was the Brunswick Flea Market, a sprawling year-round barn-market that boasts a lot of vendors, a huge assortment of merchandise and pretty high prices. To get the deals, you’ll need to dig (Meggie scored an amazing ’70s cake carrier for $2!), so definitely don’t stop in unless you have some time to browse. And be sure to bring cash, as they don’t accept cards!

brunswick flea marketAll this shopping had left us feeling famished, so we wound up pit-stopping at the Brass Rail in Grandy, right on Highway 65. A small-town bar turned chicken joint, it took all of one bite of their broasted chicken for us to understand why it’s what they’re known for!

Processed with VSCOcam with s2 presetIf you’d like to pay a visit to Mora’s thrift-store scene, here’s a handy map to help guide you on your way!

If you head up there, I’d love to hear what you thought and better yet, what you found! (Speaking of finds, I’ll be back tomorrow, sharing a few things I took home from our trip to Mora!) And be sure to check out my guide to thrifting along 35-W, in case you’d like to make a big loop, or my guide to thrifting in Cambridge, which is also on the way to/from Mora!

xoxo,

Meghan

heads up: big changes in store at the downtown Salvation Army

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 presetFor whatever weird reason, the downtown Salvation Army store has always felt like home to me. There was something about the size, the grit or the smell that could, without fail, transport me back to my hometown Salvation Army store, while at the same time making me feel so rooted and at home in Minneapolis. It’s been an institution to me for so many years. One that I never imagined changing…and yet, it’s about to.

Over the weekend, I got word that the top floor of the downtown location will be turned into a buy-the-pound store permanently, with a grand opening set for Saturday, June 7 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Not surprisingly, I have mixed feelings about this bit of news. One one hand, the prices sound awesome! All clothing and accessories will be $1.49 per pound, housewares will be $1.29 a pound, books will range from 25-49 cents a piece and all electronics will be a flat $3.49. And fans of the Target basement fans don’t need to fret—the lower level will remain the same, i.e. chock-full of cast-off new Target merchandise. But even with the low prices, change-hating ol’ me isn’t exactly sure what to think. Is the quality of the merchandise going to keep taking a total nose-dive? Are they still going to sell furniture? What does this all mean?

I have a note out my PR contact at Salvation Army North regarding some of these questions, including what implications the change in format will have on shopping there over the next month. (I’ll update the post when I hear back.) In the meantime, what do you think? Can you see this being a good or a bad thing? I’m already wistful for the old days and the store hasn’t even changed yet!

xoxo,

Meghan

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.

DSC_7513

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

recently thrifted

Late Friday afternoon, I scooped my Mama up from the airport and made a beeline for her favorite thrift-store in the Twin Cities—ARC’s Value Village in Richfield. For nearly eight years, my brother lived a scant mile from this store, and let me tell you, it didn’t take long for a trip to “that nice thrift store down the road” to become an essential part of my Mom’s itinerary whenever she came to town. Now that he’s moved a little further north, I knew she’d appreciate a quick pop-in to her beloved old haunt. We spent less than an hour making the rounds of the bustling store, but I still managed to do quite a bit of damage. Here are a few of my favorite finds!

high plains thrifter // jello molds

high plains thrifter // mold

I blame this Southern Living piece for my new obsession with Jello molds. Mom also pointed out that the shiny silver one would serve wonderfully as an ice mold in a bowl of punch. Great point, Momma!

high plains thrifter / tin bowls I picked up these aluminum bowls to serve as props for work, but that didn’t stop me from serving afternoon snacks out of them today.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset high plains thrifter // sandals My love for granny sandals knows no bounds. Both of these pairs are the epitome of comfortable with ultra-cushy soles and sensible strap situations.

high plains thrifter // cocktail napkinshigh plains thrifter / cocktail napkins How could I pass up this bundle of cocktail napkins? I’m easily smitten with cheery ditzy prints and bright colors.

high plains thrifter // purse This Italian-made leather satchel is the bag I’ve been looking for. The style reminded me instantly of this J.W. Hulme Legacy bag I’ve coveted for eons, but could never justify buying. I also picked up this striped tank during our trip to Value Village, and I can already tell it’s going to be a staple this summer. I love the lace straps and stretchy material.

high plains thrifter // cowyboy boots Last but not least, can we talk about these boots? I spotted them from afar, and when I got closer, could not believe my eyes when I saw they were in the eight-and-a-half section. I picked them up, partly skeptical, partly overjoyed, and was like, “no way these are going to fit,” considering how cowboy boots can often look deceptively small. Lo and behold, they fit like a glove, making me the world’s happiest cowgirl.

Also found, but not pictured, a cream deadstock silk blouse from Carson Piere Scott. It has the most delicate pearl beading and details—so perfect for work. I also brought home a tan, long-sleeved Levi’s button-down to layer over dresses and tanks. (My Mom, no surprise, was content to look and not buy, given her jam-packed suitcase situation. She also remarked how much the prices had gone up since her last visit, an opinion I can’t disagree with.)

If you’ve been out thrifting lately, I hope you’ve had just as much luck AND fun as I had Friday.

xoxo,

Meghan

heads up: one-day dress sale at Savers + Unique Thrift Stores

tumblr_msh9i3GjjE1qaujg4o1_500I don’t know about y’all, but I am beyond stoked that sundress season is back. And though I’m in no way in need of any new (old) dresses, that doesn’t make me any less  tempted by the 40%-off dress sale happening at Savers, Unique and Valu Thrift Stores today. The event, running at all area stores from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., includes dresses for both grown-up and little ladies alike (but excludes frocks with red tags). You must have an I M Unique Club Card or Super Savers Club Card in your possession to partake in the savings. (Do NOT try registering for a card today, they won’t allow it on sale days!)

xoxo,

Meghan

Photo c/o: Ghost Vintage Clothing.