Making Way for Beautiful: Shopping Consignment

Thursday, July 12, 2012

'Tis the season for "Summer Sale!" signs and yard sales down the street. If you are looking for a deal, and if you are brave enough to leave your air conditioned house, this could be the weekend for you. If I can score some child-free shopping hours, I may stop by some of my favorite consignment shops this weekend. Currently, I'm looking for new lamps, and I'm enjoying the hunt. 

Source: via Carolyn on Pinterest

Like many women, I discovered consignment stores after I had kids. I didn't realize that such a wonderful world of perfectly good clothes and toys, just waiting to be purchased at a discount price, existed. As I've been working towards a more beautiful home, this realization has extended into shopping for furniture and decor. In fact, I've discovered that shopping consignment fits my personality

Maybe you share some of these traits? 

~ It takes me a long time to make a decision. (I'm told this is a Libra thing.) It can take weeks to find something decent in a second-hand store. "The hunt" forces me to shop around, compare prices, and then, know what I want - and how much to pay for it - when I see it. 
It took me ages to find a table just that size. I love it, I didn't have to assemble it, and I will be able to use it in various parts of the house, forever. In fact, I've moved it three times since that photo was taken. Because it takes me a long time to make a decision.
~ I am sensitive. I love to look in upscale stores, but I hate how they make me feel pressured and intimidated. I don't like being up-sold or spoken to in a name-dropping designer speak that I just don't get. Perhaps I've had bad experiences, but the truth is that I feel more comfortable (and simply, appreciated) in a second hand store.
~ I am thrifty; some might say, cheap. I like to look at $6,000 sofas in magazines, but I scoff at them in real life. I like to find a bargain and I can often do that in a consignment store. Of course, quality counts. Paying $400 for a nasty old sofa still makes it a nasty old sofa. Being thrifty sometimes means knowing when to pay more, or buy new. 
~ I do not like clutter. Consignment shops are notoriously cluttered. It honestly makes me a bit anxious, and my brain starts to chant, "Too much stuff. Too much stuff." Some shoppers might end up buying things they don't need in such an environment, because they are inexpensive and seem harmless - I have the opposite reaction. I gawk at knick-knacks, candlesticks, vases and whatnots. I close my purse and think, "No, no. You're not coming home with me. I'm focused. I'm here on a mission." That's not to say that I don't occasionally impulse buy. Not long ago, I found a cozy throw, the perfect soft color for a difficult chair, which needs to be recovered. 
It works, and I'll still like it when the chair is not 1972 gold-green. Speaking of . . .
~ I want to be green. I care about the energy and resources used to constantly make new stuff. I often think about my grandparents, who fixed things when they broke. They didn't hop on Amazon and buy new. Shopping consignment makes me feel a certain sort of kinship with that generation. I love the idea of reusing a perfectly wonderful piece. It makes me feel like less of a Pac-Man gobbling consumer. 
Some more examples:
Throw pillows that help even this chair . . . 
and they are reversible!
Yard sale find - priceless.

Do you buy anything second-hand? Why or why not?

Shopping consignment is just one way that I'm making way for beautiful this summer. 
I've also been:
Selling the Furniture
Using the Nice Stuff
Inspiration awaits at The William Morris Project @ Pancakes and French Fries. I'm linking up there today and hope you will visit. 

On Friday, I'm linking with Frugal Friday @ Life as Mom.
And a new place - Share Your Haul @ Simple Design.

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17 Responses to “Making Way for Beautiful: Shopping Consignment”

  1. I love consigning and garage sales :) I totally agree with the green idea, it makes me feel good to be reusing something instead of throwing out or buying something new!!

  2. I have had great luck with Craig's List.  I don't even have to be looking for something to just enjoy thumbing through the the privacy of my own uncluttered home!  I have the same reaction to the cluttered shops that you describe.

  3. Rita@thissortaoldlifeJuly 12, 2012 at 11:34 AM

    I buy almost all of our household things from thrift stores, craigslist, etc.--for all the reasons you articulated here. Yes, seeing the rows and rows of "stuff" others have bought and discarded makes me very reluctant to add more to our home. It kills me how much we buy and throw away. I like that I'm contributing less to the production of stuff that gets thrown out.

  4. I feel like shopping retail makes me anxious at this point in life- I am so used to second hand prices that 'suggested retail prices' make me feel guilty and upset. I suppose there is a balance in there somewhere, just because you can, doesn't mean you should...{wisdom from Jurassic Park}

  5. I buy almost everything second-hand. I get my clothes at Goodwill. I check the "Free" section on Craigslist, keeping an eye out for various projects waiting on various supplies. If we're in a hurry to finish a project, we'll expand the search to the "For Sale" section of Craigslist, check garage sales, and visit thrift & antique stores. Habitat ReStore gets a lot of our business when we are renovating the house.

  6. Shopping no matter where it is but especially at used stores makes me anxious and usually a little sick. I have always wondered why this is. The only time I don't feel this as bad is if I am spending money that was given to me as a gift and I am looking for specific items so I can get them and go. I wish I could get better at shopping at used stores. I just tend not to shop.

  7. I buy second hand as long as it's clean.  And then I scrub whatever it is down at home.  I've found so many great deals this way.  Great tip!

  8. I love it, I didn't have to assemble it, and I will be able to use it in various parts of the house, forever. I love this sentence. I'm not as good as I could be in shopping consignment and thrift stores (I'm a craigslist girl), but you've inspired me to keep trying! My husband is great at shopping consignment/thrift stores. He found golf clubs for the boys for only a couple of dollars, and our family friends bought similar ones brand new for $100. It pays to thrift, and in more ways than the obvious!

  9. Aurie - Happy to know I'm in your good company!

  10. Interestingly enough, I've used Craig's List to sell something before, but I've never purchased anything through it before. Maybe I should brach out even farther.

  11. Rita - Exactly. I like that feeling too, and it motivates me to look a little harder when I "need" something for my home.

  12. Love Jurassic Park wisdom. And I know what you mean; I get sticker shock over "suggested retail prices" as well. My preference is to find something great that is used; but I'll still buy retail if used isn't available. It is that balance you mentioned. 

  13. Shaina - All great suggestions. I often find the best things at Goodwill!

  14. Megan - I've found that it has simply taken me time to get comfortable spending money. I've yo-yoed from one extreme to the other: overspending at one stage in my life, and then becoming rather frugal. I'm trying to find that happy medium, where I can comfortably save for a purchase, then enjoy the shopping/spending experience because it all feels responsible. The shopping (generally) feels most responsible to me when I buy second-hand. The spending is less anxiety inducing if I understand the value associated with what I'm buying. If something is going to last a long time, it is worth a higher price, etc. Then, I can feel good about the purchase.

  15. Me too. One time I found a plastic slide on the side of the road and my kids used it for years! My husband thought I'd lost my mind, but it was great :)

  16. Jules - It helps to have a husband who is on board. Sometimes mine raises his eyebrows at me, but just the other day I found him on craigslist looking for things - ha! He definitely appreciates the monetary savings. 

  17. I love secondhand stores. I'm couch shopping currently.