Tag Archives: thrifting

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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Real Quick: How To Re-purpose Old T-Shirts

Just wanted to check in and say THAT WE’RE STILL ALIVE! We’ve been pretty quiet the past couple of weeks out digging up treasures from my secret thrift spots and working on some really great upcoming posts. I came across this great post on re-purposing old t-shirts this morning and just had to share it with all you thrifters (how cute is she?!). Stay tuned!


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Why I Do It by Jess Burg

AS I PROMISED TO ALL YOU JACKALS. Here is second installment from Jess Burg. She spits some truth on why she thrifts and we reveal some of her most recent footwear (AND a kitty mug!) findings. Now that the holidays are almost over we can all take a big sigh of relief. Get out there and get diggin!

I’d say I began getting serious about thrifting in 2006. It’s never been a source of income. On the contrary, I’ve been known to drop up to $50 – $75 in a day. At best there have been instances where I buy shoes for $10, where them out once in six months, then sell them to Buffalo Exchange for $18. Even then I only get a percentage. I do it for two reasons:

Relaxation. It’s a Sunday afternoon and I have money to spare. So I throw some bones at the gas pump and head out on a thrift mission. I follow a mental treasure map of different suburban regions. Typically I only follow routes that have two or more promising thrift destinations. Somehow, this has become one of my favorite things to do. My quality alone time, my escape. I’ve begun needing it on a regular basis.

The thrill of finding shit. My forte’ is retro fashion, particularly boots and sneakers. But I’ll buy almost anything that is a true representation of its fashion era. I also do some of my own altering. Boys and girls, if you thrift hard and you don’t own a sewing machine, you’re missing out. It will open up your world. I don’t even know how to do anything too technical. Mostly making shirts smaller or transforming them into tank tops, or turning a pair of high-waisted Lees into skinny jeans. Simple things that with a little trial and error anyone can figure out. Cute jeans today, as we all know – come at a high price. I’d rather not pay for the cost of the label and just do it myself. In truth, they won’t last as long and may require some unexpected tune-ups, but that is something I can live with.

– Jess Burg

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SORT OF RELATED: That’s not Jess pictured above, but it’s a pic from a great fashion-inspiring site called Hel-Looks. It’s basically some people walking around the urban streets of Helsinki, Finland snapping pics of all the various fashion going on there. Check out the site. HEL-YEA.

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Thrifting for Michael Jackson by Jess Burg

Im excited to introduce you to our very first guest-blogger post by fellow thrift guru, Jess Burg. Jess is the real deal. I’ve seen her sport some of the wildest, most rare thrift threads out there folks. She will be contributing here all week and hopefully a lot more in the future. She brings a good female perspective on thrift culture and a great fashion mindset to Things I Found, (something that I feel this blog has been sorely lacking.) Here is her first inspiring piece about how Michael Jackson fuels her thirst and tastes when it comes to thrifting. Enjoy!

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I want to get closer to Michael Jackson in any way possible. Being that I feel robbed of my first idol and self-proclaimed God all too soon, thrifting makes for a good coping mechanism. In theory, I can always find something to remind me of him and the legacy he left.

It used to be, the one item that was easily found in any thrift store was an old beat up vinyl copy of Thriller. When Michael passed, mourning fans and others who tried to sell them on eBay seized every last copy. Still there are many MJ gems to be discovered. Common thrift item such as crazy leather jackets, shoulder padded blouses with pop-up collars, patent leather ankle boots or even the right glove. Once you stop and look, it’s undeniable; his stylistic influences are all over the thrift store. I call his style “sexy tough.”

Some of my favorite Michael inspired items include the following:

A glittery silver knitted blouse with padded shoulders I wore one New Years Eve. A black, hybrid combo of mesh and cotton t-shirt with gold embroidery separating the two textures. I like wearing it when I know serious dancing will ensue. A few studded black belts that resemble those he sported in the “Bad” video. Then, my pride is the high tops I found. The funny thing about the day I found them is I bought them not knowing what they were. For $20 I became the proud owner of a pair of limited edition, Michael Jackson LA Gear high top sneakers. They are so tough! The shoe is modeled similar to early 90s basketball high tops except I’ve never seen B-ball shoes covered in luminous silver studs. In typical LA Gear fashion, two kinds of laces, black and silver sparkle, weave in and out of the shoe. Black leather straps with silver tips and little silver buckles adorn the tops and outer side of the shoe. On the tongue, the sanctified insignia of the King of Pop, knees bent and on his toes, replicating the same move in Moonwalker. A perfect 7.5 fit, I believe that these sneakers chose me. I’ve maybe worn them out of the house twice. I will have them for the rest of my life and honor them as the holiest of all memorabilia. They will be passed down to my children’s children in hopes that his prophecies of “Take a look at your self and make that change,” will one day come true.

– Jess Burg

How I Paid My Rent For 6 Months By Thrifting

Let me first start by saying that having to make rent this way was in no way fun or recommended. Unless you’re retired or insanely dedicated to it. Paying my rent for 6 months via scraping by on reselling thrifted goods was a ton of work. I was able to utilize my in-depth knowledge of web selling platforms to more easily liquidate most of the items. I was able to achieve this feat mainly by selling just a few items each month that made up most of my then $800 a month rent. On a soapbox-rant side note: let me say that when congress or some rogue old senator (who you know doesn’t even use the web) dabbles with the idea of taxing people’s income from selling items on sites like eBay and Etsy, it makes me seriously cringe. Some folks do this for a living and it’s grueling. An extremely slim percentage of the web sellers are making good coin from doing it. Like I said above, reselling items for a living is not what I’d call fun.

HOW DID I DO IT? You have to have a keen eye for items that you know will sell. “Don’t sell what you don’t know.” A bus driver wouldn’t apply for a job as an Army helicopter pilot would he? You have to know what you’re looking at or you’ll waste a lot of money on stuff you can’t liquidate and end up  looking like a hoarder with a garage full of junk. My item of choice was art, because that’s what I’m comfortable in. Having a fine art and design background I was able to find rare prints that had probably been turned in by someone who didn’t know any better. I found real screen prints by David Weidman, hand-colored etchings by UK artist Jo Barry, and ORIGINAL impasto oil paintings by Italian artist P.G. Tiele (which still blows my mind!)  I also found art objects such as original McCoy pottery and vintage little sculptures and plant holders from various artists & eras that sold for amounts that still surprise me to this day. America is a nation of collectors and when they see an item they want or don’t have – you bet your ass they’ll pay for it. What happens is when someone passes, all of their stuff has to be dealt with by their spouse or relatives. Most of the time it’s in hasty fashion and a lot of the items get put in a box and donated to thrift stores – that’s just my guess. Whereby, I heroically pluck them from their dusty shelves and find a better venue for them to be noticed and subsequently sold. In some ways I’m helping keep these works of art from the trash or thrift store purgatory. In a way I’m helping to connect the items with someone who collects or genuinely cherishes that artists’ work.

WHERE DID I FIND THE TIME TO DO ALL OF THIS THRIFTING? I  had the time to pull this off because I was freelancing at in the evenings and would go out and thrift by day to avoid heavy crowds. Being a night owl, doing this by day made it exactly like having a 8-5 day job. I’d set my alarm and get up to go hit my spots 6 days a week. Through this experience I quickly learned how, when, and what time the newest goods were delivered to each location. I even started to notice (and feel) like some of those old creeps sitting in their cars for the stores or garage sales to open, just to be the first to get in there and peruse. QUICK TIP: using a phone with fast and strong internet can help you quick google search any artist or pot or item you think may have good value. I personally use an Apple iPhone  and will attribute it to helping me find and sort through a lot of the stuff I’ve scored over the past couple years, all while shopping in the store!

It’s now been well over a year since I was doing this and have found a real comfort in knowing that if I ever hit a rough patch again in my life, that I’ll be just fine due to my sheer resourcefulness. Anyone can do this if they really have to. It may take a little bit of studying and a keen eye but you can pull it off. The thrill of scoring something you know isn’t supposed to be in there for $2.99 is the best feeling in the world. It’s a rush and it’s frankly why I manifested it into this blog.

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Please stay tuned because my upcoming post will cover the best things to search for at a thrift store.

Noah Visits A Thrift Store (for the very first time)

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MORE FRESH VIDEO GOODNESS to warm you up. My pal Noah and I visit a thrift store, so what – right? The thing is Noah has NEVER EVEN BEEN IN A THRIFT STORE. I know right?! This hit me as really odd. But he’s a good guy, so I took him to one, and here’s his before and after reaction. Enjoy.

Junky Styling: How To Remix Your Wardrobe


Check out this spot in London called Junky Styling. It features “original one-of-a-kind clothes made from hacking together thrift-store finds, salvaged textiles, and whatever happens to be lying around.” Read more about it here. It’s nice to see some thrift stuff from across the pond. Good work you Limey bastards. This great link was sent in to me by my good pal @Rustle Troyer. Be sure and check out his photo blog (phlog?) of “Alleged UFO Photos” good stuff.