I recently had an amazing day searching for vintage sheets and wanted to share my secrets. (But do not use these secrets within 200 miles of me. Thank you for respecting my territorial rights. I am creative and would possibly find evil and humorous ways to retaliate against anyone who encroaches on my personal thrift stores.)
1. Find a Thrifting Partner. This is tricky. The partner must not mind lingering in the store while you dig and search. (This rules out husbands. At least all of them that I know.) In addition, the Thrifting Partner must NOT be a VS lover for very obvious reasons. No one wants to get kicked out of a Salvation Army. Or worse yet, get a costly ticket for Disturbing the Peace or Cat Fighting in a Thrift Store. For most of us, this still leaves a decent assortment of friends or relatives. I chose my sister who collects Pyrex. We can appreciate each others finds, but do not fight like cheerleaders over any particular item.
2. Acquire a Tom Tom or other GPS device. Rich people often have these built right into their cars. I am not rich, therefore I borrowed one. Borrow=free. Free= very good.
3. Get yourself a phone book for your target city. These are often free. (Once again, free is significantly better than cheap.) If legal means fail, theft is possible but not recommended. Some places to “borrow” a phone book include: restaurants, motels, gas stations and public phone booths. Wait, you say, what is a public phone booth? HA! That was a trick to see if you were paying attention. Public phone booths are basically the predecessors to our current cell phones. They are antiques which are very seldom seen, even in thrift stores.
4. Look in the Yellow Pages under “Thrift Store”. An alternative is to Google “thrift store” and the name of the city in which you desire to scrounge.
5. Enter every thrift store with its address as a favorite in your GPS device. Pay special attention when naming. I did not and ended up with quite a few “Goodwill”s and had a hard time telling them apart. Maybe name them “Goodwill South” or “Goodwill Pine Street”. After a few trips you can name them “Really Good Goodwill” or “Crappy Overpriced Goodwill”.
6. Plan a route, making sure to include any doughnut shops or coffee houses that you may desire. These can also be Googled and entered just as thrift stores can be. Same concept. Keep in mind that any time spent eating is time spent not thrifting.
7. Clean your car/van/truck and make sure there is room for the occasional dresser or hutch. These are incidental purchases, often bought on a whim, so you have to be ready at any time. You never know what you might find. A girl can never have too much huge old junk. I mean antique furniture. You know, treasures.*
8. I find it helps to offer up a small sacrifice to please the Gods of Thrifting. This can be as simple as accidentally cutting through two layers of a sheet instead of one or as complicated as washing an entire load of vintage sheets with a red sock. The resulting tears seem to be nectar to the Thrifting God's ears.
9. Fill gas tank. While you are near an ATM, make sure you have enough cash. Cash is King!
10. Stock up on Coke/Diet Coke. (NOT Pepsi. Real thrifters do not drink Pepsi.)
11. Start your GPS, making sure to choose a voice that makes you and your Thrifting Partner giggle. Now get shopping!
12. Be careful not to get too caught up and buy sheets that are too thin or unusable. I have brought a few home thinking they weren’t TOO thin or I would just use the edges, and they ended up as drop cloths. Pretty drop cloths, but wasted money. And space. And Husband Tolerance Level. Husband Tolerance Level is a completely different topic- worthy of its own post. Suffice it to say, you don’t want to waste it.
13. Bring home all your finds, fold into pretty stacks, photograph and post said pictures on Flickr or your blog to make fellow VS lovers jealous! I mean… inspired… yeah, that’s it! Inspired.
So there you go! Follow these easy steps and you should find yourself with some awesome new sheets by the end of the day!
*My husband refers to this as “crap”. Don’t worry; that is just parlance. Different word, same stuff.