Derek Johnson Muses

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House to Sort-of Home: Lessons in Thrift Spending & Garage Sailing

I used hit up thrift stores and garage sales every weekend, reveling in the thrill of a great find for seventy-five percent of the price. But such habitual shopping caused my closet and rooms to overflow. I cut back on it, but since I moved into my new place, I was at liberty to go shopping for furniture. I am fortunate that I moved when garage sales season was just starting up. My uncle advised me that high-end garage sales have great bargains, and in one trip into southwest Lincoln, I found two couches and a patio furniture. Not bad.

I always remind myself not to buy by something just because it costs a dollar. If it’s shoddy, after two weeks you will kick yourself if you see a similar product that’s basically new at another garage sale or thrift store. Yes, you can buy the nearly new thing, but you are going to spend time and money moving another thing (Side note: if there’s one thing I’ve noticed about marginally successful people is that they don’t understand that time is a commodity.) Hold out; this is America, and there’s always someone who bought something, only to find they didn’t need it ten minutes later and will put it on their garage sale.

Even if something is a little more expensive, it will be worth it if it’s something that I will use all the time. I found this out with my messenger bag I bought a couple of years ago completely new. Paid full price, but I use it every day and would be lost without it, as I carry essential electronics, books, snacks, tape, glue, meds, you name it. (Yes, it’s my purse). Same goes for the big couch I paid $80 for last week, but this is a rule that I have to work at not abusing. If not sure about something, I take time and think about it.

But I now have a living room full of furniture, with pictures hanging on the walls. My dining area is empty, and I should really move the table I eat at in there. I’m still looking for a breakfast nook-style table with high chairs for the kitchen, but that can wait. I still have to set up the office, but at least my house is presentable enough. Can’t wait until I start accumulating stuff and outgrowing the place.


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