Maybe it's just a Baby Boomer thing, but I love the thrill of finding a bargain and a piece of history, or art, at the same time. I am able to do this by shopping at consignment shops. Okay, so maybe it is not recycling at its best, but it is recycling at its most enjoyable.
Some might think that the economic downturn is the reason why many turn to consignment shops, but my love for consignment shopping began long ago. In fact, I still have my first purchase. It is the Delft container in the center of this photo:
My parents came over from the Netherlands (Holland), and Delftware was a way to tie in my love of the color blue with my ethnic background. (Delftware is a type of ceramic ware made in the town of Delft, better known for its blue and white floral motifs.) My collection grew from there:
I've visited Goodwill shops, too. I have two daughters. When they were younger, finding clothes for them was a task that required more funds than I was willing to spend. I allowed my children to play in whatever clothing they had on at the time, and stains didn't discriminate between their play clothes and their better clothes. With hand-me-downs from friends and Goodwill purchases, I didn't have to worry that they were dirtying an expensive outfit. Parenting is stressful enough without worrying about children getting dirty. Let's be real. Childhood is a dirty job! (I wonder if Mike Rowe, from Dirty Jobs, would consider trying this one out for his television show.)
Today, I give as good as I get. I always donate at least 10-20 bags a year to Goodwill. I set up accounts at my favorite consignment shops and several times a year, I drop off 5-25 items. Once a month, I collect a check and then purchase more bargains! These shops charge 30%, 40% and 50% commissions, but my savings on my purchases tend to exceed the value of the items I have traded in. How does this happen, you ask? Well, all consignment shops drop their prices after a certain period of time. The trick is to look for the dates on the items you are interested in, and keep your purchases to only items that have been further reduced. Here are some examples of what I have been able to find: A batik butterfly framed print - $5; bentwood chair - $18; painted gourd - $1.50; rafia wall hanging - $8; framed painting of San Francisco Bay - $60; and my favorite... my daughter's wedding gown - $250
The most interesting item I've discovered, however, has to be this item called, a Cap Off. It is a device that removes the caps from soda or beer bottles.
If you try to find this by Google search, you will only find a new version. I have the original "Cap Off" :-)
New Hampshire To Do will be featuring some of my favorite consignment shops in an upcoming issue of their magazine. In the meantime, try some of them out by checking out the links below:
The Etcetera Shoppe in Meredith, New Hampshire: something for everyone!
Pat's This and That for antiques in Tilton, New Hampshire 603-286-2442
Project 4 Consignments for clothes in Tilton, New Hampshire 603-286-4206
Consignment Gallery in Amherst and Bedford, New Hampshire 603-673-4114 and 668-4114
Feel free to add some of your own favorites. Look for the Ebay Bedroom in my next article.
Frances Sanderson, Franklin, NH REALTOR®, Certified EcoBroker®