A New Kind of Consignment

There’s a franchise that’s opened a new store in Abbotsford called “Plato’s Closet”. The store sells used clothing that it buys from people. Unlike a traditional consignment store, Plato’s Closet buys your clothing outright. I like this method.

In a traditional consignment model, you bring your clothing to a vendor, s/he goes through it and selects the clothing that s/he thinks will sell in the shop and then tags it and dates it. You are paid only if it sells and the amount you are paid depends entirely upon how quickly it sells. If it sells quickly, you make a higher percentage than if it doesn’t. What is left over after your due date either goes to thrift or comes back to you.

In the Plato’s Closet version, you bring your clothing to the store, they go through it and select what they think will sell and then pay you outright. You go home with money in your pocket right away and don’t have to wait and see if anything will sell.

In both cases, vendors are notoriously picky about what they’ll choose from your clothing – and rightly so. The vendor assumes all/most of the risk in trying to sell an item and if it’s outdated, not clean, an odd size or whatever it won’t sell and no one wins.

I have rarely been successful in terms of having my clothing sold through any kind of consignment, mostly because I already buy my clothing at thrift shops and it’s rarely the brand that vendors are looking for, nor is it recent enough. Plato’s Closet in particular would look at my closet and say, “seriously, old lady?” The nice thing with the franchise, though, is that their website gives very clear guidelines about what they’ll accept so if you go there first and judge your clothing by those guidelines you’ll save yourself some time.

As for shopping there, the store in Abbotsford is bright, clean, well-organized and the clothing is reasonably priced. I’ll definitely venture there again.

What has your consignment experience been like?

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Posted in clothing, consignment, thrift lifetstyle, Thrift Shopping, thrift shops | Tagged , , , , ,

The Laundry, The Laundry!

Anyone remember that great Charlotte Diamond song about the laundry?

 Watch the video, especially if you need a solution for overflowing laundry problems.

Watch the video, especially if you need a solution for overflowing laundry problems.

So fun. I actually don’t mind doing laundry all that much although if someone invented clothes that would put themselves away after they’ve been washed, that would be awesome.

does anyone have a laundry room with huge, deep laundry sinks anymore? i wish i had that.

does anyone have a laundry room with huge, deep laundry sinks anymore? i wish i had that.

I grew up living in an apartment where we shared laundry with two other tenants. We had a ringer washing machine, an outdoor clothesline and an indoor drying rack. It makes it sound like I was living like a pioneer in some backwoods place, doesn’t it? But nope, this was Vancouver in the 1970s. I learned how to do laundry on that contraption, terrified that I’d get my fingers stuck in the ringer. That never happened but I did flood the laundry room once when I forgot that I was filling it and the water did some fair damage to the make-our-own-wine supply place that was below us. Ah the good old days.

I also wore an apron and high heeled shoes. every time.

I also wore an apron and high heeled shoes. every time.

As time consuming as it was, doing laundry with a ringer washer and hanging it do dry was somewhat environmentally friendly –at least the drying part was. Ringer washers use a lot of water compared to high-efficiency washing machines that we use today.

This was taken in December but it could have been taken today. It's beautiful outside.

This was taken in December but it could have been taken today. It’s beautiful outside.

But I still have a clothesline, in fact, it was a selling feature of our house when we bought it 20 years ago. I love the way my laundry smells coming off the line, especially sheets and towels. It always baffles me why there are subdivisions where clotheslines are not allowed – it seems crazy to me that we prohibit the use of something that is so environmentally friendly just because we don’t want to look at our neighbour’s underwear. I think clotheslines tell a story – I knew that my neighbours behind me had had a baby when little onesies started showing up on their clothesline. I watched those turn into toddler clothes and pre-schooler clothes. I knew their boy had a love for Buzz Lightyear by his sheets. I knew that the neighbours next to them were South Asian because of the brilliantly coloured saris hanging on theirs. When a Mexican family  moved in next door with their 15 children (not a word of a lie) their TWO clotheslines were filled with clothing of all sizes!

you kinda want to eat them, don't you? would it be like washing your mouth out with soap?

you kinda want to eat them, don’t you? would it be like washing your mouth out with soap?

So while I love my clothes line and use it all the time, I’ve been exploring other ways to be more environmentally responsible in this area. I’ve discovered green washing detergents and non-chlorine bleach that I’m pretty happy with but I’ve also heard about these little guys: soap nuts. Has anyone out there tried these? I first learned about these via Queen of Green. They’re actually a tree fruit that you throw in with your dirty clothes and they act like soap and clean them. I’ve never tried these but am curious about them. You can learn more about them here and also see the Queen of Green’s recipe for her own liquid laundry soap.

What’s your green laundry tip?

Posted in environment, frugal living, laundry, simple living, thrift, thrift lifetstyle | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

A Fresh Start

I love how the snow makes everything look so fresh and clean.

I love how the snow makes everything look so fresh and clean.

I’ve been somewhat remiss in maintaining this blog and have been trying to figure out why. I think there’s a few reasons:

feet-walking

  • I do not thrift shop as often as I once did and I think that’s because my work schedule changed 3 years ago when I began a new job – I work more days than I used to. I also walk to work and don’t pass by any thrift shops on my way home, so the casual, drive-by thing I used to do, doesn’t happen anymore. So, less thrifting = less to blog about.
I don't want my house to start looking like Granny and Grumpas. Nor will my dear husband ever let it get to this!

I don’t want my house to start looking like Granny and Grumpas. Nor will my dear husband ever let it get to this!

  •  The older I get, the less stuff I need/want. Why does it take age to figure that out? Maybe it has to do with the realization that I’m getting to the point in my life where I may have to downsize and the thought of doing that is overwhelming already, nevermind if I add more stuff. So, I think my thrift habits have changed from acquirement-focused to replacement-focused.

 

inspiring

inspiring

  • Sad realities. I had a challenging autumn with people close to me going through some significant challenges in their lives and when that happens it always makes everything else seem irrelevant. Finding a great deal in a thrift shop is awesome but it is meaningless when someone’s child or parent dies or someone you love has serious health or mental health issues. And then there was the whole election south of the border… I despair at the meanness of it all. I don’t even want to talk about that. So, general malaise, maybe? But then I was so inspired by the Women’s Marches around the world, turning a negative into a positive. So no excuses!

t is for thrift faery. if i ever find this framed image or the book that this comes from, i will definitely blog about that!

One of the things I’ve always wanted to do with this blog is to encourage others, to inspire readers to consider the positive aspects of living a frugal, thrift-conscious, environmentally friendly lifestyle. So for this year, I want to re-focus on those things, explore them more deeply and hopefully in doing so re-inspire myself and hopefully you too! I’m hoping you’ll engage with me as I explore topics that might be important to you as well. If you have ideas for things you’d like me to tackle, I’m open to suggestions. And if I do find some great deals in thrift shops along the way, I’ll be sure to share those with you.

 

Look for a new blogpost later this week!

Posted in second hand, thrift, thrift lifetstyle, Thrift Shopping, thrift shops | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Misses Clause

the-misses-clause

You’ve certainly heard about Santa Claus but have you heard about Misses Clause? I learned about this from the folks over at WIN thrift shop in Victoria.

The Misses Clause states that: Any gift given in good will around the holidays can be re-gifted once more if it was a “miss” instead of a “hit”, providing it is gifted in good will to a more appropriate recipient.

I’ve always thought of this as “re-gifting” but I love “Misses Clause” so much better don’t you? So if you got 15 pairs of socks and only need 3, or you got a yet another holiday mug and there’s no more room in the cupboard or you’ve already read that book – you should not feel guilty about re-gifting these to someone who will truly appreciate them. OR you can also re-gift by donating these things to a thrift shop so that another person can enjoy them. Your gift goes to someone who will love it and you’ll support a charity with much needed funds.

All my gifts were hits this year, mostly because they were experiences: concerts, theatre performances, really great tea, chocolate and BOOKS. (I can ever have too many books.)

Have you ever enacted the Misses Clause?

Posted in christmas, gifts, regifting, second hand, simple living, thrift, thrift lifetstyle, Thrift Shopping | Tagged , , , , ,

Ugly Christmas Sweater Success

ah the good old days.

ah the good old days.

The Ugly Christmas Sweater has gone the way of so many other things associated with Christmas: death by commercialization. The original concept was so great: find a vintage sweater, that was once sold as a nice sweater but in today’s ethos is actually ugly and wear that OR turn your own sweater into an ugly one by making it so. But because the trend is so popular, finding an actual vintage sweater has become far more challenging than it used to and making your own? Well, why would you do that when you can just buy one? Nowadays, (wow, that made me sound like an old fart) you just hop to your local mall or find an uglychristmassweater.com store and drop your $$ and you have the appearance of having made an effort.

Well, not in my family.

Benita ugly christmas sweater

My sister, Benita and her talented daughter, Abigail did it the right way, using their talents and their thrifting sense to create this masterpiece.

I KNOW, RIGHT?

Isn’t awesome?

Between Michaels and (evil) Value Village, they got all they needed: $4 sweater,$3 scarf (from which Benita made the furry trim) yellow felt 59 cents and fabric glue $7. Abigail drew the image – that part was priceless.

But basically, they created a $15 sweater that’s unique, one-of-a-kind and hilarious!

What’s your ugly Christmas sweater story? Would love to see some photos of your actual vintage finds or your own creations!

 

Posted in christmas, ugly christmas sweaters | Tagged , ,

Spruce Collective

the-market

There’s a couple of great little shops in Abbotsford called Spruce Collective and The Market by Spruce Collective. The Spruce Collective is actually that: a collective of women who met as vendors at vintage markets and together opened up a brick and mortar store. They source vintage, stock made, and sustainable goods. The Spruce Market is a spin-off that focuses on vintage furniture and household wares. They also sell items on-line and rent items for events. From what I can tell, they are doing a roaring business.

There’s a lot I like about this little/big venture. I like that they support local artisans and crafters. I like that they focus on sustainability and community – they often hold workshops from calligraphy and make-your-own-incense (who knew?) to re-purposing furniture. They really do have a lot of unique items in their stores.

side-boardYesterday, a friend and I ventured into the Spruce Market and I found something I’ve been looking for, for well over a year: a vintage sideboard for my kitchen. We have a pretty small kitchen but when we moved from our teeny basement suite into this house over 20 years ago, I felt like I was moving into a palace and the kitchen was one of the reasons why. I had TONS of cupboard and drawer space compared to what I’d had for the 11 years we’d lived in our basement suite. (People still marvel that I don’t own a dishwasher. I never have. One of the reasons we didn’t put one in this kitchen is because I don’t want to part with the cupboard space.)

side-board-detailHaving said that, over time we started running out of space. I’ve done quite a bit of purging over the last couple of years, which has really helped but we still seemed to have stuff on the counters all the time. My biggest eyesore was a table we had against one wall that just became the hold-all: where the mail goes, where our toaster oven sits, the fruit basket, the blender – you know, stuff you want to use but never know where to put.

side-board-tea-cupboardI thought about buying another counter with cupboards and putting it there but while that would be practical, it’s boring. So I’ve been looking for the perfect vintage sideboard for this purpose and now it’s here! I love it. It love the detail in the wood, the graceful lines the curve up each side, the drawer pulls, the fact that it has an old skeleton key to lock the cupboards. I like that it sits on a frame so I can clean the floor underneath it. It’s deep enough to hold my toaster oven but not as deep as the table was so it make the kitchen feel bigger.

side-board-cupboardHere’s the kicker. It was expensive. At least it was for me – with taxes, it came to over $500. Part of me wonders if that’s because it had the “vintage” label attached to it. I think that if this piece had ended up in a thrift shop, it would have landed in the ‘silent auction’ section (which so many thrift shops have now) and it might have gone for as much or more. If I’d found it at a garage sale, I might have got it for $50. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter because, you know, I bought it! Merry Christmas/birthday/valentines/anniversary/mother’s day to me!

side-board-keyHave you ever paid vintage for something you might have found thrift?

Posted in furniture, second hand, thrift lifetstyle, Thrift Shopping, thrift shops, vintage | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Perfect Clothes Pin

a great clothes pin is a work of art.

a great clothes pin is a work of art.

Yes, there is such a thing.

I spent this week in one of my favourite thrifting places – Victoria, BC. There are tons of thrift shops in this city and many of them in the downtown core, within walking distance of the hotel that we always stay in when my sweetheart has to attend conferences. (I tag along to do important things like snuggle at night time, provide stimulating conversation at dinner and thrift shop. Not necessarily in that order. But I digress.)

clothes-pin-packOne of my happiest finds this time around was a bag of near perfect clothes pins. I was ELATED. If you are a clothesline user, you’ll know that all clothes pins are NOT created equal. Many are too small or the metal spring is wimpy and won’t hold up a pair of jeans. Some are made of rough wood which then snags your clothes when you remove them. And aside from all these things, they are nearly impossible to find.

in the UK, these are called clothes pegs

in the UK, these are called clothes pegs

Many of the clothes pins I have used for years were thrifted in the first place and have served me well but they’re starting to break or they’ve gotten lost in the garden when dropped from the deck while taking clothes off the line. I tried buying some new ones at Bed, Bath & Beyond but they were of the wimpy spring variety. I don’t want to buy plastic ones because, you know, plastic.

So when I found this sack-full for $1.50, I nearly jumped for joy right there in the aisle. (In fact I might have… that would explain the look of alarm on the faces of my fellow shoppers.) I picked these up at my favourite shop: the WIN Reuse Store on Pandora.

the metal spring needs to be strong if it's going to hold up jeans, sheets or towels - especially if it gets windy

the metal spring needs to be strong if it’s going to hold up jeans, sheets or towels – especially if it gets windy

I also discovered that there are several WIN shops in Victoria. I visited the one on Wilson, which is quite small and has a very boutique kinda feel to it. I also visited the first WIN shop on Cook St., which is also small but has a wonderful community vibe going on with regular customers coming in and chatted with volunteers. I think if you live near these two shops and frequented them, you’d probably find deals quite regularly. But as a destination thrift shop, the one on Pandora has never failed to provide with me all kinds of great stuff and that’s largely due to its size: it simply is able to offer more because it’s bigger.

So, are you a clothesline user? If so, what’s your favourite part about using a clothesline?

Posted in clothes pins, second hand, thrift, thrift lifetstyle, Thrift Shopping, thrift shops | Tagged , , , , , ,