Our best thrifting tip ever

We hesitate to share this thrifting tip.

Because, you know, if we tell others this secret they might score the amazing stuff we’d like to score before we can get to it. And we don’t really want to stop stumbling into amazing finds like this:

This (sorta) Old Life:  family room chairs

We found this guy on Friday night, for $3.25. For less than some people spend on a cup of coffee, we got a retro, industrial rolling chair that is going to look (and work) great in our new family room desk space.

This (sorta) Old Life:  family room

How could we not scoop up an orange chair to go in our revamped family room with its orange fireplace?

We’ve been thinking of this kind of chair for a while, but we gave up on it because we struck out on finding inexpensive ones. Two years ago we could find them easily at City Liquidators (in Portland), a salvage office supply place with three floors of glorious junk.

This (sorta) Old Life:  City Liquidators chairs

Sure, lots of these are pretty junky, but some are sweet. (We were especially fond of the two we’ve marked with arrows.) And, a year and a half ago, most of these were $20-30. This summer, we couldn’t find anything for much less than $60.

This (sorta) Old Life:  City Liquidators chairs

Look at this orange lovely! For $20! Kicking myself for not getting it back then–but we really try not to buy things if we don’t have an immediate use for them. If we bought every beautiful bargain we run across, our house would be overflowing.

This (sorta) Old Life:  City Liquidators chairs

For the truly hardcore thrifters, there is this space on the 3rd floor. We call it the chair morgue. (Again, this was taken in April 2012. Don’t expect to find these kinds of prices today.)

We love City Liquidators. The storage case that’s now holding games and sewing/craft supplies in the family room came from there, and we spent only $50.oo on it.

This (sorta) Old Life: family room storage

But we struck out on getting affordable chairs there this summer. After months of hoping to find a bargain, we settled for these chairs I found at a neighborhood garage sale:

This (sorta) Old Life:  family room chairs

They are OK. The cushioned seats are comfortable and we like the looks of them. But they scrape against the concrete floor and they are a little hard to get in and out of (because they don’t slide smoothly away from the desk).

When Cane saw the rolling chair on Friday night, and then told me the price, I knew we had to get it. Even though there was only one and we have two work spaces at the desk.

When the thrifting gods extend a gift, you have to take it, knowing that more will come again another day.

This (sorta) Old Life:  family room chairs

She’s in such great shape–fabric is clean, bright, and free from tears.

It was as we pondered our best instances of good thrifting fortune that we saw a thrifting truth we just haven’t seen talked about–the truth we are calling our best, secret thrifting tip ever.

And even though we don’t want to create a stampede of others who might elbow us out of the great bargains we want to find for ourselves, we believe there’s more than enough for all of us. We believe the best way to keep the thifting gods smiling upon us is to share the wealth.

So, here it is, the truth we’ve seen and want to share:

If you want a good thrifting deal on retro goods, shop the suburbs.

Retro stuff is hot in Portland, and it’s hard to find a good deal on any of it in the Portland thrift stores we frequent. But we don’t live in Portland. We live in a suburb that’s known (even among suburbs) for it’s lack of cool.

But it’s been in our local thrift stores that we’ve found some of our favorite stuff:

This (sorta) Old Life: footstool on wool rug

Both this footstool and the wool rug came from a local thrift store. Don’t remember the price on the stool, but the large rug was only $75.

This (sorta) Old Life:  Enamelware pot

Sadly, this enamelware pot got ruined this summer–and, of course, I haven’t been able to find anything else like it.

This (sorta) Old Life: Cowboy thrift store painting

This is probably our favorite thrift store painting, and it came from the same place we found the rug, footstool, and pot.

It helps that we like things from the 70s–those aren’t super-popular yet (but we’ve sure seen a shift toward the 70s aesthetic in the past few years). And–not to be too morbid or sound like a vulture–but lots of suburban estates right now are full of things from that decade, and estate-sale leftovers often end up in thrift shops.

Out here where we live, that kind of thing just isn’t very popular. Our local thrift stores seem to price accordingly, which is great for us.

And–we’d like to think–great for those things, too. All things should end up with people who love them, don’t you think?

This (sorta) Old Life: family room chairs

We’re planning to love this guy for a good long time. And he was so inexpensive, we now feel justified in splurging a little if we find a perfect second chair that’s a good match but not a great price.

How about you?

Got any great thrifting tips? Score any sweet deals lately? We’d love to hear about them! And hey, maybe we can all create some collective good thrifting karma that will bring that next awesome find to each of us. :-)