fossicking and finds

posted in: Grow Mama, Uncategorised

i spotted these gumboots in an Emmaus in France – 2 francs and still going strong.

i found this hat under a chicken in an abandoned barn in Central Virginia – i traded my hat for hers. Chicken was happy, i was happy.

Some of Jed’s treasures, a cool handwoven hat and his current favourite chair. (Upon seeing it, he marched up to the counter all excited and said ‘want buy chair’)

My stool. I have been looking for this for years. Yep, chipped rustic paintjob and all, it’s perfect. (and it was $3)

Humpty. Babies make a beeline for him.

This is our floor play quilt. $10 for someone’s love and devotion gone into making it. Love those crazy colours.

And, and and, it gets better. It has soft yummy paisley for its backing. Sigh!

You know, all this is my taste (however addled you may find it)…there are finds of every flavour out there waiting for YOU.

It all started when i was a young girl. We didn’t have much money and I realised that if i wanted to have control over what i wore (and i was a quietly feisty independent sort) i needed to buy my own clothes. A chance visit to a church opportunity shop bore the fruit of a yummy shirt and some fabric to make a skirt, all for 60 cents. Total! Oh happiness was mine. And i still feel that buzz when i schlep home the spoils of a good fossick through the joys of charity shop heaven.
There are so many reasons to buy secondhand:
+Environmental – sheesh, there is waaay too much STUFF (see the story of stuff) in the world already without me contributing more. I wont even start to go into the politics of excessive and unecessary packaging.
+There may be an element of guilt-free shopping therapy going on here (i’ll get back to you on that one). At the risk of sounding shallow, i am of the opinion that it’s good for the soul. Ahem, mine anyway.
+Financial – i just refuse to pay several hundred dollars for almost anything. Even if i had that kinda money –really! It would cost a small fortune to buy Jed’s clothes new, he grows so fast.
+I can’t think of anywhere else to shop with a toddler anyway. You don’t have to worry about exorbitant charges if they (or you!) break anything, they often have a box of kids stuff for them to explore and the best wooden and hand-made kids stuff i have found came through exploring with jed.
+You support good projects by your purchases (while saving money yourself, gotta love that)
+Unique and unusual finds to adorn your house, yourself and your kids
+And finally, it’s just so satisfying. Good for the soul and the earth. Really!

Some tips:
-Get some trawl tips from a friend who knows the best places to secondhand shop in your area. It’ll save you time working it out.
-Don’t bargain, these charity shops need the money and they don’t ask for much.
-Set aside some good leisurely fossicking time – that’s half the fun.
-If your child’s frustration levels overflow and you’re in a charity shop and give them a cuddle and allow them to express whats going on for them, i reckon it’s much more supportive atmosphere than in any mall. You may even get the back room and a cup of tea afterwards!
-Try not to look for anything too specific, i find that shuts down my abilities to be open to the other wondrous finds.
-If you ARE looking for something specific, don’t be afraid to ask if they’ve got it, these places often have many treasures lurking out the back or behind the counter.
-What i find secondhand shops especially good for: kids handknit jumpers and vests (gorgeous and mostly brand new like some nana has been slaving away only for them to go to the charity shop), tins for those biscuits and cakes, fabrics and craft stuff, babywear by the bucketful, quilts, childrens toys (wooden and handmade especially), clothing and shoes. Retro or rustic housewares. Almost anything really.
-Apart from charity shops, in NZ there’s local retro or recycle clothing stores. Pricier but still cheaper and fun. There’s carboot sales and church and garage sales, dumpsters, ebay and trademe online, markets and Savemart, although a chain, are still pretty cool places to rummage.

Jed has the eye i am proud to say. I mean, modesty aside, with all my years of practice, i am pretty darn good. But Jed can cover ground i have already cast my eye across and pick out a real beauty of a treasure that i had totally missed. Last week while i was up to my eyeballs in the fabric bin he dragged across a shirt saying, ‘mama, found sump for mama wear’ . Lo and behold, i love it.

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