Oh, Atlanta (well, Decatur if you're local and know the difference). Our traffic may suck, our politics may be questionable, and culturally we are still playing catch-up to most other major cities but Y'ALL. I think we might be in a thrifters paradise. I have within a 5 mile radius of my home at least 15 thrift shops. They range from the crusty, disorganized messes to the well laid out, higher end shops. The junky ones have my heart. The thrill of the hunt is always just minutes from my home. My sister lived in Portland for years and would just flip out when we'd go thrifting on her visits. She would do a total wardrobe stock for her boys in 2 trips to the thrifts here. Apparently super hipster cities like Portland get totally picked over. Kudos to us for not being too cool for our own good.
The near entirety of my children's wardrobes are thrifted. Most of their toys and books. Most of my book purchases in the last few years. Accent tables. Lamps. Ceramics, Cookware (looking at you, 3 different Le Creuset pieces). Fabric. Sewing supplies. Yarn. Textiles. Art. If you look at any one corner of my house, I would guess at least 60% of it is secondhand.
More recently I'm starting to hit up some incredible estate sales. The route from our house to our girls' school winds past a big, ambling neighborhood filled with lovely 50's ranches and 60's split levels situated on large lots with tons of trees and lots of character. For whatever reason I think of it as kind of the more grown up version of our hood. As the original residents in the hood are aging out of their homes ESTATE SALE signs keep popping up on the edges of the neighborhood. So hard not to at least take a peek when I'm going right by ;)
I went to one such sale this week. The house itself was a time capsule from the 50's, original paneling, kitchen, mod fireplace, etc. These folks seemed to be so well read, cultured, and travelled. Awesome collections of books, music, art, textiles, leather goods, ceramics, baskets from all over the world. I was seriously in heaven. I had both Fiona and Julian with me (nutter) but still managed to find some things I will treasure forever. The hand cut and painted metal ornaments are so funky and fun and already on the tree. I will have to do a whole post gushing about the vintage textiles I found but here are a couple of images of the 2 Japanese indigo pieces I scored. One is kind of like a caftan and the other is the most beautiful kimono.
Giving it some thought, I am realizing this thrifting habit is a really huge part of our lifestyle. I just can't bring myself to buy new for the things I know are waiting for me at the thrift. A big part of it is obviously financial but I am also keenly aware of the larger implications of human consumption. Its daunting to look at the aisles and aisles of nearly new THINGS basically discarded and not think we've all kind of lost our sense. Beside all that this is in my blood; I come from a long line of collectors, crunchy folk, and spendthrifts.
So many of my favorite things, things I use nearly every day have come from these spots. My love for the vintage, the funky, the handcrafted is almost always satisfied within the jumbled shelves, the dusty corners, the cobwebbed closets. There is something so satisfying to me in the cyclical pattern created when we buy secondhand. What feels so fresh and relevant to me now was that way for someone else 60 years ago. Everything old is new again.
Are you a thrifter? Let me know if you live close by, I'll dish on some of my favorite spots. Just don't let me see you snagging the good stuff before I get there!