Sunday, March 27, 2011

Clothing & Stuff Swaps

I'm a huge advocate for 'stuff swaps'. A number of years back, I was introduced to "Spring Cleaning", an event put on by a group of friends I met through my now hubby. These gals are truly trailblazers. God knows how many years they've been doing this (9 years to be exact) -- and it only gets better with time. Everyone who attends brings their unwanted stuff (well at least, that's how it's supposed to work), and we break it out into two sections ... the presentation section (for cooler items) and the free-for-all display section (for smaller or less story worthy items). Each person takes their turn, presenting their items and onlookers get to place dips as we go. No set in stone rules ... but there is an unspoken balance encouraged. At the end of the presentations, each person draws a number, which represents the order in which you get to check out the display section and pick a few treasures. So much fun.

"Stuff" can range from clothing to household items to books to shoes to toys. The items that don't get claimed are then taken to a local thrift shop -- usually St. Vincent's or Value Village.

It's a great afternoon of swapping, gabbing, snacking, and a few glasses of wine. We love it so much that we have Spring Cleaning and Fall Cleaning. Not only is it an exciting, chic, and personalized free garage sale in your living room -- but it's a great way to keep your hoarding in check. And how gorgeous is the invite (courtesy of a very talent graphic artist in attendance) above?! So fabulous.

I think there should be more venues for swaps. Spread the word.

Spins and Needles held a really cool one a number of years back. In perfect Spins and Needles fashion, there was swapping, crafting, DIYing, food, and a great DJ. I hope they do this again. Until they do, I am a loyal patron, and plan to attend the upcoming Bricolage Brunch on Sunday, April 3.

Most recently, MILK, a boutique in the Market is doing a swap for discounts on their new merchandise. Basically, you bring in gently used clothing items in exchange for 20% off your purchase. Not quite the free "swap" concept... as I'm not sure there is actually swapping of the used items going on ... but cool nonetheless! I won't be able to make it, as I'm hosting CRAFT DAY here at my place ... but major props to MILK. Let's hope this feeds the trend.

Know of any swaps going on?

To swapping and crafting ... and thrifting of course.


My Spring Thrifting Mission

Spring is in the air ... which means it is garage sale and thrift season!! I cannot express how much I long to drive again. The mobility. The freedom. This city is just too darn disperse. The countdown (must) be on.

In preparation for this fine day, here is my Spring Thrifting HitList (in progress and in no particular order ... yet):

Thrift & Consignment Stops

1. GoodWill - 150 Robertson Road, Nepean

2. Salvation Army Thrift Store - 1010 Belfast Road, 333 Montreal Road, 1322 Carling Avenue, 1490 Richmond Road, 310 Moodie Drive, 2339 Ogilve Road, 4025 Innes Road, 2659 Alta Vista, 22 Carling Street

3. Value Village - 1824 Bank Street, 1375 Clyde Avenue, 1221 Cyrville Road, 4220 Innes Road

4. Maycourt Bargain Box - 228 Laurier Ave East (I have yet to find this one!)

5. St. Vincent de Paul - 1273 Wellington Street

6. Bibles for Missions Thrift Store - 1545 Merivale Road

7. Comptoir St. Vincents - 56 rue Principale (Aylmer), 102 rue Eddy (Hull), 751 boul. Saint-Joseph (Hull), 30 rue St-Onge (Hull), 165 ave Gatineau, 1291 rue Saint-Louis

8. Nearly New Shop - 36 Rosemount Ave

9. Village des Valeurs - 361 Maloney Blvd W, Gatineau

10. Generations (Waterloo, New Hamburg) - Incredible spot ... hope to hit it up when I'm home visiting the fam.

Consignment Shops

1. Heather's Designers Consignments - 401 Richmond Road

2. The Cats Meow - 1 Hobin Road, Stittsville

3. La-Tee-Dah Consignment Boutique - 1541 Stittsville Main

4. Three Bags Full - 501 Hazeldean Road, Kanata

5. Confignment Shops - 2034 St. Joseph Blvd, Orleans

6. Nickety Knack - 1979 St. Joseph Blvd, Orleans

7. Snazzy Seconds Decor - 2449 St. Joseph Blvd, Orleans

8. Echoes of Times Past - 25 Tapiola Crescent

9. Consignment World - 1500 Bank Street

10. Total Home Consignment - 1860 Bank Street

11. Ottawa Neighbourhood Services - 250 City Centre Ave

12. Treasures Anew - 747 Richmond Road


1. The Ottawa Flea Market - 260 McArthur Road, Vanier Columbus Club

2. Bentley's Flea Market - 7 Cleopatra (Merivale and Huntclub)

3. Carp Road Flea Market - 2079 Carp Road, Stittsville

4. Antrim Flea Market - 3636 Highway 17, Constance Bay

5. Rideau Carleton Raceway Flea Market - Albion and Mitch Owens

6. Hoffman's Gore St. Flea Market - 147 Gore Street E, Perth

7. Smiths Falls Flea Market - 65 Cornelia St E

8. Lampliter Flea Market - 30 Victoria Ave, Smiths Falls

Garage Sales, etc.

1. Great Glebe Garage Sale - May 28, 2011

2. New Edinburgh Garage Sale - Mid September (was on the 18th in 2010)

3. Elgin Street/Golden Triangle Garage Sale (Minto Park, between Gilmour and Lewis) - mid June

4. Lansdowne Garage Sale - Mid to Late April

5. Hintonburg Garage Sale - usually every June

6. The Wild Wild Westboro Garage Sale - first weekend in June

7. Estate Sales (Kijijii) - TBD

7. Union Street Sales (Estate)

8. Other Garage Sales (Kijijii) - TBD

Online Avenues

1. Kijijii

2. Craig's List

3. Used Ottawa

4. How Bazaar

5. Freecycle

Saturday, March 26, 2011

'Goodwill' Hunting

Nate Berkus is quickly becoming a member of my unofficial ThriftKitty club through his regular focus on how we can combine inspired thrifting with beautiful interior design. Amazing. And he's bringing this sense of permission and creative inspiration to such a wide audience!!

This week he brought "Mr. Goodwill Hunting" himself onto the show via the "House Proud" segment and introduced me to an incredible NY thrifter. He has great style, a brilliant treasure hunt spirit, dedication (aka patience) and some wicked good luck in his finds. Check out his blog.


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Martha Stewart -- You're M-Azing!

Despite my ThriftKitty absenteeism issues, I have to share this little tidbit with you. Stumbled across it as I was cleaning up my much neglected gmail account.

Those who know me, know I'm a bit of a Martha Stewart fan. I stuck by her through thick and thin. Jail time and all. We all have our flaws - thank goodness ours are not out in the public eye for all to judge - but this lady has got some serious talent. One heck of a resilient lady to boot.

In a recent Martha Stewart Living Newsletter, she brings us a piece entitled "Treasure Hunt". Here, Martha and her team share secrets on Shopping Flea Markets and yard sales, tips on how to organize your own yard sale, and how to transform your treasures into chic home accessories! All this is [of course] layered with the most important tip of all -- never leave your manners at home. This is a key element in the etiquette of negotiating.

I am certainly on the market for tips on how to incorporate amazing finds into existing/budding home decor, as I have successfully cluttered most rooms in the house. Now what?!

Martha, what can you teach me today ...

ThriftKitty wants her groove back ...

During peek thrift season -- summer -- you'd think ThriftKitty would be in her prime! Clearly she would be staking out the garage sales at the wee hours of the morning and exploring new flea markets and antique stores stumbled upon during summer travels.

But clearly, if this were happening, she would also be blogumenting her journey here for fellow thrifters (heehee) to enjoy. Wouldn't she?

Yes, but clearly, this is not happening.

To be clear, it's the blogumentation that isn't happening. Case in point - refer to the date of my last entry. Meeeerow. Is taking too much time to smell the flowers a fair excuse? Probably not, but soooo enjoyable.

To be fair, what is happening are many a thrift travel and triumph. Never as many as I would like -- as there are simply too many fun activities and weekend getaways on Saturday mornings -- but some super exciting tales.

So, where are the posts? And when will I stop rambling about nonsense?

Good questions! ...

I'm awaiting inspiration. It's coming.


Friday, March 6, 2009

Pyrex: Stands the test of time!

... one more little post before heading to bed. Yes, I've spent my entire Friday night online. Oops.

An Internet shopping guru friend of mine (heehee), and member of Sunday Shopping Church introduced me to this amazing site detailing Vintage Pyrex patterns. They are so beautiful that I had to share. Pyrex!!? Yes, I know. They not only stand the test of time ... but far surpass the Pyrex of today. Man have we become boring these days or what?!

The butter dish I bought last weekend at Bentley's Flea Market was the "bluebird" pattern -- how fun it is to be able to identify the historical significance or at least appreciate the historical beauty of these treasured finds.

Okay ... off to bed.
Sweet thrifting dreams to all.
What's in store for this weekend ... only time will tell.

Let the thrifting begin.


National Thrift Store Month ... Canada

That country attached to our bottom half -- you know, the United States of America -- they sure have some amazingly Thriftacular blogs ... as well as a petition for National Thrift Store Month. Without even a blink, I am confident they are on to something.

This initiative ... and Facebook group ... is being led by the Thrifty Chicks very own Shopping Golightly. This thrft diva is seeking out the recognition, ap-pre-ci-a-tion, and attention that non-profit thrift stores, vintage shops, consignment stores, flea markets, and garage sales alike deserve!
It's all about the value and importance that these establishments serve in American (and Canadian) culture. Although the petition and backend efforts are focused on the US, we, as Canadians can build on this effort. Geez, any ideas? I've got my homework cut out for me.

I'm not a thrift fashion guru (yet) -- but I am THE number one fan of thrift stores for just about everything else. As I've ranted before, there are countless reasons why we cannot continue to mindlessly buy and discard. One of my goals is to do some research, reading, and collection of factoids on our consumption issues and overflowing landfills. Stay tuned. But just as important, is the fact that many of these stores donate a signifcant amount of their revenue to charity. VV for example, donates both on donations and purchases. Win-win.

I absolutely support and applaud recognizing December as National Thrift Store Month. Want to learn more? Intersted in supporting this movement ... join the Facebook petition!

What is your best thrift store find?? Oh goodness .... let me count the ways. ;)

Your homework?

Add something new to YOUR weekly schedule ... a trip to your local thrift store! It will add a new dimension to your life that can't be compared to anything else. Do it for green reasons, charitable reasons, frugal reasons, or kitchy reasons. Go with a goal. Start small. Shop for you. Shop for others. Determine your budget ahead of time. Make time for more than one round of the store -- some things don't jump out the first time.

Psssst .... Pass it on.