Goodwill Gooddeals

Thrifting is one of the many things that are still new to me. My first time inside a NYC thrift store was sometime last year, during my first semester at Pratt. Walking into the Williamsburg thrift store with a typical warehouse layout, I knew immediately that along with the half-dozen schoolmates that I accompanied on this trip and the dozens of thrifters already in the store, I was way out of my league. I shuffled slowly through clothes while moving out of the way of true thrifters that stormed past me at 80 mph, seemingly not even looking at the clothes, but stopping once in a while to perform a routine: pick out something, scan it for its price and any obvious faults before deciding to shove the shirt back onto the rack with its brothers and sisters, or into the bundle of thrifted goods already accumulated under their arms.

30 minutes later, I was standing by the entrance, my hands empty, watching people go by. 45 minutes later, I was walking down the street outside the thrift store to find a place for a drink because I was bored of thrifting. As someone who never really had to wear someone else’s clothes in my life, never having an older brother (I do have four female cousins, three older, one younger that are very close to me, and recently, a young half-sister and an even younger half-brother that I’m not biologically related to – another story for later), faced financial difficulties that would force me to wear second-hand clothes, or had hipster tendencies, you might be able to understand why thrifting did not appeal to me.

But times do change. A month ago, when school ended, instead of moving back into my parents’ place like I expected, I ended up subletting an apartment with two female schoolmates. Which meant two things: I have to make money, and I have to save money. A couple of days went by, and one day, I wandered into the Goodwill store a block away from my apartment. And I’m so glad that I did. Because I discovered two things there: my interest in collecting glasses/handmade items, and my ability to find cheap components for new Do-it-Yourself projects.

I was never really interested in collecting glasses, because good glasses are usually just out of my ‘this-is-the-most-I’m-willing-to-pay-for-something-that-is-meant-to-be-broken-someday’ price range. But at Goodwill, pretty much everything (besides a mounted Ansel Adams print that I saw a few days ago, but then again, it’s Ansel bloody Adams) by definition is affordable. So here are a few of my more recent thrifting finds.

Grand Cosmo Shaker - $1.99

I’ve always wanted to buy a shaker, but it’s difficult, because shakers usually come with bartending sets, and they aren’t exactly cheap. But this one was. And now I can make my own dirty martinis.

Handmade Cards (48 Count) in Handmade Box - $0.99

You can see the uniquely frayed edges of the linen cards.

Beautiful handmade linen cards in a handmade box. I’m torn between buying a stamp and using them as my first batch of real business cards, or actually writing on them, numbering them and give them out as a limited edition of business cards. Either way, they’re the perfect size and have the perfect substantiality for business cards.

Glenmorangie Whiskey Glass - $1.99

Hennessy Whiskey Glass - $1.99

Chivas Regal Whiskey Glass - $1.99

You might notice a trend with the whiskey glasses, I think the main reason they appeal to me is their substantiality. With their heavy bottoms and elegantly rounded sides, they are just…classy.

Glass - $1.99, Decanter - $1.99, Scavenged Whiskey - Priceless.

Handmade Jug - $1.99

One of my proudest thrift finds to-date. This mug is gorgeously made, and the little side-pocket for your hand instead of a handle is pretty unique (sorry, righties only!). I love it.

Another view of the gorgeous mug.

Hand-carved shell, side A. - $0.99

Hand-carved shell, side B.

Nothing of real use, but it’s something pretty for my shelf.

Wooden Bracelets - $0.25 ea.

Plain wooden bracelets, I bought a dozen so I could paint/decorate them, make them nice and unique, and give them out to friends as presents (or keep them/sell them, haha).

There are of course, some more practical finds, like cutting boards and a knife sharpening stone, but you don’t really need to see that, do you? Do you thrift? Have you ever found something that made you want to stand on the top of a mountain and shout to the world, “I found this! And it didn’t cost me an arm and a leg!”? Comment here or send a picture & description to erfuwang@gmail.com, because I would love to know!

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