We’ve Moved!

YEAH, YOU HEARD IT RIGHT. We’ve moved to our own hosting setup and left the warm embrace of the WordPress servers. So if your bookmarks are set to have the “.wordpress” in the url you’ll only be seeing (this) our old format site. We announced this format switch about a month ago and it’s finally here. Big bear hugs to my web guru Jonathon for all the awesome work on the switchover. So, once again, be sure to update your links and bookmarks to  http://www.thingsifoundatthethriftstore.com for all the latest posts, thrift finds, swear words and usual banter!



Shunning the (Dusty) Digital Shelf.

We’re pumped to announce the second of two major announcements coming to the THINGS I FOUND brand.

We’ve started our own online store.

Do you like any particular object that we’ve ever posted? It’s probably for sale or going to be for sale right here. We’ll be adding more and more things all this week and as we come across them. Amazing vintage treasures at fair prices. We’ll also be adding in some THINGS I FOUND and thrift store themed schwag in the future as well.

The reason for this is because, we feel that although eBay and Etsy are necessary evils in a re-seller’s repertoire, we wanted a more focused place to showcase the types of handmade and vintage finds we feel deserve attention. Also, because I routinely get asked “what the heck do you do with all that stuff you buy/find?” Well, now you know the answer. Get shopping!

Thinking Spring? Wrong.

SPRING IS HERE in the upper Midwest (or so we’re told)…

So if you’re a reseller like me, you know that Spring means pushing things like t-shirts, snarky beer cozies and frisbees, shorts, vintage sunglasses, my personal favorite sight-see of the summer: sundresses. But there’s an even more important aspect to all of this – the stuff you’re buying, a.k.a your inventory. The world of selling operates seasonally, and at its most elementary, on a bi-yearly, 6 month cycle. Winter and Summer, cool and warm, lighter colors and then darker colors.

OBVIOUSLY! SO WHAT? This would mean that starting now. You should be actively seeking and buying your inventory for next Fall & Winter. Nothing conveys the theory of “buy low & sell high” better than second-hand reselling. Any thrift picker worth their weight in wool, knows that the cheapest items to yank right now would be winter and cool weather goods. Also, since the vintage industry isn’t propelled by nor does it operate solely within the confines of “what’s next”, worrying about 2011/2012 trends is pointless. The stuff you should be picking is is timeless anyways – but you already knew that.  This makes Spring time a very exciting time of year. Thrift stores are practically giving their winter weather stuff away to make way for people’s continual Spring cleaning purges that they’ll be bombarded with for the next couple of months.

So when it’s getting warm and sunny outside, resist temptation to buy high and now. You have to start thinking cool.

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Things I Wish I Knew More About

We can’t be good at everything, but we can sure try. There’s money to be made in every niche of a thrift store. I’m not advocating becoming an expert on a ton of stuff, but knowing the basics of each category can go a long way when your sifting through those cluttered aisles. Below is a list of stuff that I wish I had time to learn more about.

– Wooden, Hand-carved, African stuff (masks, instruments)
– Dolls
– Vintage Jewelry
– Monkeywood stuff
– Vintage Footwear (cowboy boots, Nike)
– Old Books and First editions
– Handbags and Luggage
– Pottery + Glassware (other than McCoy and Pyrex)
– Fabric, Textiles + Patterns

Reader Submitted Topics (Thanks guys!)
Fishing Lures
– Holly Hobbie

What woud you consider yourself an expert in? What would you like to know more about? Anyone want to trade some knowledge?

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Design Inspiration II

More delicious visual nuggets I’ve spotted in my thrift outings the past couple months. So bold , so bright. For all of my fellow design & advertising homies out there. Enjoy.

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Heirloom Leather

Some tooled leather belts & wallets I’ve picked up in the past couple months. Most are genuine American leather. True beauties. These things last generations and only build character with age. I especially like the ones that are hand-detailed with paint or have trim wrap detail on them. I also threw in that vintage ashtray/bowl. Sexy looking with nickel, wood, and leather detailing on it. Enjoy.

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New Format Ahead

I’m proud to announce the first of two major announcements coming to the THINGS I FOUND brand.

We’re tweaking our format.

Now, don’t worry, the blog will still be the blog. It will showcase all of the thrift finds, articles, and snarky opinions. However, the frequency in which I post will be amped-the-eff-up. The issue was, that it’s incredibly hard to seek > find > accrue > shoot pics > crop+edit > and post so many items in big clusters, let alone write about each item and tell the price I got it for, etc. It was causing me some intense blogging anxiety, blogxiety, if you will. From now on, it’ll be so much easier to just post the items as I acquire them. This will help keep the blog more visually focused, as was the original intent. Simply put: If I find 2 items that day – I’m going to post 2 items that day. If I find 25 things that day, I’ll (try) to post those 25 things that day. Get it? Rapid-fire visual documentation, in (sort of) real-time, ‘cuz I love you guys. This will also translate into videos and interviews as well.

With that said, there’s a major bottleneck of treasures that I’ve acquired that I’ll be posting in clumps the next couple of weeks to get caught up. Get ready and stay tuned for the second big announcement coming real soon.

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The Early Bird vs. If It’s Meant To Be…

After hitting my usual thrift spots this weekend I was driving home and I wondered which old standby was a more pertinent quote – in regards to thrifting.

A) Does the early bird truly get the worm?
B) If you’re meant to find something, does it find you?

Will it be sitting on that shelf waiting for you? Some weekends I wake up at 8am and I’m usually prowling the stores as they’re opening the doors. Other weekends, I sleep until noon and am haunting the stores until they’re giving me the eye and locking up for the night. I pondered this because, I’ve found no discernable correlation between the times I go thrifting and the times I find the good stuff. I’ve stumbled across great finds at all hours of the day. Frankly, a more true statement would be that every thrifter has had outings where they’re junk skunked.

Sure, you can seek insider information about each store. You can fine tune your outings to possibly increase the chances of finding some treasures. Because with that information you’d know when a store stocks their shelves, and at what hours of the day, or what days of the week. But even i’m not that crazy. That’s a lot of diligent work and data to process and retain, just in hope of finding something.

After finding some really great stuff this weekend at all hours of the day, I’m more inclined to go with the latter quote; “If it’s meant to be, it’ll happen.” The item will find you. So don’t worry about your hunting process in terms of when. Because if you do, the junk hunting anxiety will get the best of you. Not to mention (as I’ve said before) you’ll probably end up on Hoarders. Instead, it’s better to focus your energy on things like current trends, growing trends, knowledge of an item genre you’re unfamiliar with, or just going in with your eyes open, more relaxed, able to lock in that creative mindset that helps you see value and beauty in an object that someone else, clearly did not.

Featured image by Tom Stack. See more of his awesome work here.

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How To Clean Your Thrift Finds

I’ve been working on this post for quite some time now. I’ll probably be adding to it in the future when other item quandaries come about. It’s a helpful aggregation of insider tips and hints about how to clean and care for the items you pick up on your thrifting adventures – Cheers!

You Just Bought: Used CD, DVD, Glass Frame, etc.

Problem: Residual sticker goo from price tags. It’s unsightly, annoying, and the OCD in me needs to get it off of there.

Solution: Goo Gone or (my personal favorite) Lift Off Tape Remover. Both items are pretty nasty chemical-wise, but these two definitely work the best and the fastest. A little bottle goes a long way. Spray a bit onto the gooey area and let it sit for a couple of minutes then with some gentle rubbing it should swipe perfectly clean.

You Just Bought: DUSTY Antiques (Hard wood Furniture, Silverware, Collectibles).

Problem: You want the dust & dirt off. You want the original glory of the item to show through.

Solution: To restore & clean an antique is to get it back as close to original as feasible. Back in the day, there was no such thing as polyurethane, so antique restoration can’t include coating an antique with plastic and have it be the same as original.

RULE OF THUMB: If you don’t need to clean it, then don’t. Most old collectibles are sought FOR the tarnished and beat up look. These items ooze with character and tell a visual story. I personally just use a barely moist cotton cloth to gently clean and dry the items I find, 99% of the time.

– When cleaning old wood furniture, use mild cleaners such as Murphy’s Oil Soap or Prelude.

– When cleaning old toys or antique signage use a clean rag, warm water with a tiny bit of natural or plant-based soap and be sure to dry it thoroughly to prevent further oxidation or corrosion.

– When cleaning antique silverware it’s a step by step process best shown here.

TIP: If there is soil or stains that can not be cleaned by a gentle washing, consult an antique expert before using any type of metal cleaner on your antique. Further cleaning may be possible once the type of metal and value of the item has been determined.

You Just Bought: Old clothing / vintage garments.

Problem: Someone wore them or used them before you. They’re lovely and delicate. But you want them clean.

Solution: If the item is cotton-based such as an old t-shirt or jeans, I just toss them in with a like color and use a gentle natural detergent and put it on the gentle cycle. For a more in-depth look at how to clean some trickier fabrics such as vintage lace, linens, and fabrics, this article here is great.

You Just Bought: Wool Scarf, Blanket or Jacket.

Problem: It’s old but cool, kind of itchy, smells vaguely like an animal shelter.

Solution: If it’s a jacket or cardigan, I usually take it to my local (eco-friendly) dry cleaners. They can get almost anything looking (and smelling) brand new for relatively cheap, less than $10 a garment. “If you can’t beat ’em, re-post ’em.” So here’s a more thorough article on how to care and store various wool garments.

You Just Bought: USED Vinyl Records

Problem: Vinyl is near and dear to audiophiles and collectors like myself. Whenever I move, my collection has been personally moved by myself and rode in the car with me, as if they were my own children. Some vinyl records can be 50 (or more) years old  by now. That means decades of dust, dirt, weather and stacked pile compression have most likely pressed grit into your beloved grooves.

Solution: After I thrift or buy any used vinyl, I take them home and GENTLY give them a once-over with a barely wet cloth, warm water and dry them. One commonly used item that I own is a record brush. Just static alone can attract a lot of dust and icky stuff to your records. I give each record a pass with it before it hits the player and after when it’s about to return to it’s casing. Another way to protect your records are to store them all in the clear vinyl sleeves and to replace the inner paper sleeves. These help keep them fresh, protected and looks pretty nice too. I purchase all my vinyl supplies bulk online here.

You Just Bought: A USED Turntable

Problem: It’s dusty, it’s mod, all the knobs and components are intact  – but does it still work?

Solution: Having recently taken a gamble on a really neat turntable, which I chronicled in a recent post here, I learned that as long as you can get the turntable for a good price, that the most important components on a turntable are replaceable and are fairly cheap to have installed. The two main things you want to have replaced on any turntable is the needle/cartridge (every 2-5 years minimum) depending on the frequency of use. Cartridges can range anywhere from $15 up to thousands. The other component to replace and have professionally calibrated is the belt. This is the heart and drivetrain of any turntable. These wear out and dry out just like the belts on your car or a common rubber band might. Turntable belts range from anywhere from $15 up to hundreds.

You Just Bought: A Used Couch, Sofa, Chair, etc.

Problem: It’s perfect, it’s beautiful, but it’s been someone else’s.

Solution: Personally, I usually just vacuum and Febreze the hell out of used soft furniture items when I acquire them. But I’ve recently found a greener option. A DIY way to make a safer (and cheaper) version of Febreze here.

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More Design Inspiration

Another quick post about some more design inpired snapshots I’ve peeped while out and about. Maybe it’s just my personal preference, but I love that no-frills, bold-as-heck packaging from the 60’s & 70’s. Those fonts, that script, the illustrations. How cute is that little holiday elf guy logo? The only things I actually bought in this set are the flashcards and the blank place cards. I bought them thinking that I’m always talking to thrift store managers and resellers, yet I never have a business card to give them. So, logically I figured “Why don’t I find something in a thift store to print or letterpress them on, DIY-style, to give out as my business card.” Flashcards and invitations make perfect stock for them. So there you have it. Stay tuned.

LIKE THIS BLOG? Become a fan and add us on our Facebook fan page. Get updates and follow on Twitter! (@thingsifound). Oh, and here’s my personal Twitter handle as well: @JPeddycoart