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The Year of Living Thriftorously

First the tour is up. Am I coming to a town near you? Are you coming to the town near you to see me?

If I am NOT coming to a town near you? Well. Now you know. And you can take steps to get the signed, personalized copy of SELS you need to be happy and fulfilled as human being.

Meanwhile, I need a whole new wardrobe. I have almost no clothes that fit me. Literally. I have four outfits I can wear that aren’t yoga pants, but I don’t want to sell a kidney.

After a botched attempt at TJ MAXXinist-ing and an even Botcheder attempt to figure out what season I am, I have realized that I am too cheap and too fashionably clueless to get a whole new wardrobe via traditional means. SO! I decided I am not going to buy new clothes, and yet I will over the course of this year BUILD a four season wardrobe out of NO new clothes. (EXCEPTIONS: Socks, Shoes, underwear, and bathing suits. Because, ew.)

I am thrifting LIKE A BOSS, ya’ll.

THRIFT SHOP (G rated Radio Edit Clean version) – MACKLEMORE & RYAN LEWIS FEAT. WANZ from Garrett Wesley Gibbons on Vimeo.

href=”http://vimeo.com/garrettgibbons”>Garrett Wesley Gibbons on Vimeo.

WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT, you ask. I’ll tell ya.

1) I am a cold *ss honky. Obviously.

2) I miss 5 Full Plates. It was a group blog that did self-improvement projects for about a year. I NEED A SELF-IMPROVEMENT PROJECT. The only thing I love more than having an improvement project is having a project with a deadline and clearly defined parameters for victory. I LOVE victory the best.

3) Five full Plates happened when I was SICK, and I failed all the projects. Yes, all. Dismally and abjectly. SUPER FAILED. I want to WIN one. I can win this.

4) I am naturally VERY CHEAP. I love to get things for a small amount of money. I got a skirt at Finders Keepers off the sale rack for 3 dollars and I wore it to church yesterday and got compliments and I was all, “THANKS IT WAS THREE DOLLARS!!!!” and that made me feel pretty AND frugal.

5) When I get things I HAVE to buy (food, clothing shelter) I have more money to spend on things that I WANT to buy (books, small batch bourbon, play tickets) and to support causes that are very dear to me (literacy, women’s shelters, clean water for the world).

6) Because the thrift stores I’ve decided to frequent are local businesses and I am helping the EARTH by keeping things out of landfills for longer.

7) Because when I thrift ALL my clothes I can get to say smug things about supporting local business and helping earth (see 6) and giving to charity (see 5) which makes me look virtuous, but since secretly I do not give a farty fig leaf for fashion, I can brag about doing what is good and right with BARELY ANY PERSONAL SACRIFICE.

8 ) Oh, oops, number 7 was accidentally terrible to say out loud. Sorry. But it is truthful. I do not care about clothes. I DO care about bourbon and literacy. Why should I buy clothes I don’t like to impress people who don’t love me? Those who love me do not do so because of my fashion sense, any more than they might love me for my even temper and my mental wellness. You can’t love me for qualities I do not possess. SO. I can do what is good and right EASILY. I am all about easy virtue. (I will work on my need to TELL THE WORLD I am being virtuous. I still clearly have the need to impress people, just with my shiny white goodnesses instead of my pants. As a pragmatist, I am pleased the goodness is happening, even if I do also make sure I get a yummy li’l ego boost out of it. *sigh*)

9) Every thrift store IN THE WORLD right now has at least 9 V-neck black knit tops in the sale bin and Black V Neck Knit Tops are mostly created equal. I need black V neck knit shirts and jeans and skirts because this is all I wear. When I buy clothes that are made out of colors or fashion, they just sit. I buy them to impress those imaginary people who do not love me, and there ends the relationship. They hang in my closet, looking spanking new and fashionable and upsettingly colorful. Meanwhile, I stuff my body into jeans or a skirt paired with a black v neck knit top. So why nto get the 5 buck version?

10) Because I am Irish, and Macklemore SAID to, and he is the only living proof that the Irish can rap. Wut wut wut wut?

Want to play? Are you a thrifter? Or is it gross to you? Do you ever spend money on things you do not actually care about to impress people who do not love you, or is that just me? What would you rather spend that money on? YOU CAN PLAY TOO and go full on PLATESY with me.

Also, know any good Atlanta consignment hot spots I may have missed, OR, oh WAIT!!! Know ANY IN THE TOWNS WHERE AM TOURING? I would love an exotic V neck Knit Black yankee top from, say, Lansing.

52 comments to The Year of Living Thriftorously

  • Kacie

    May not be too helpful, but Ann Arbor has a great kids thrift store called Once Upon a Child (located on Washtenaw Ave). You could easily find an exotic V neck black knit top for Maisy or Sam.

  • Thrifting and I aren’t good friends. I’m too fat for thrifting as most thrift stores I’ve ever had the misfortune to frequent don’t sell clothes larger than a 12 or 14. While I’m not too self-consious of my fatness on a regular basis, going into thrift stores to be eyed with distaste is humiliating.

    Also, I’m not patient enough for thrifting. It requires a certain kind of patience to riffle through bins of clothes that may or may not be organized by size or sexual orientation. I. Just. Can’t. Do. It. Now there are some really great kids clothing consignment shops that I like quite a bit, but they tend to be very organized and the really good ones are color coordinated and displayed in an aesthetically appealing fashion. Perfect for thoroughly-impatient-with-clothes-shopping me.

    I only find second hand gross if it is underwear or bathing suits. Or socks. Or shoes. I have a friend who insists on handing all of that down to my kids and I’m like, “Would YOU wear second hand underwear? Well, WOULD you? Right. My kids won’t either.”

    I like to spend my money on yarn and fabric so that I can dream of the things I will make until I go back to the store and buy more yarn or fabric. I do make things, but my eyes and ideas are always much bigger than anything I actually get done. Oh and shoes. I like shoes.

  • Huh. Seeing a lack of Northeast appearances, I have no recommendations to make for thrifting. Now if you were coming to Maine, I could help….

  • Ashley

    I’m so glad you’re coming to Raleigh! Also, I have “Thrift Shop” stuck in my head now. My coworkers are less than pleased.

  • Martha

    I love thrift stores. Flat sheets make awesome quilt backs. Also, I have found some thrift stores to be spotless and some.. well… smelly.

    I donate to Goodwill but don’t shop there too often because I find that a lot of stuff is OVERPRICED. How is that for cheap? I can often find sale new clothes cheaper than Goodwill used clothes. We have some good places near me (Chicago subs) but I don’t believe you are headed this way.

    The best thing about buying clothes at thrift stores is feeling virtuous and earth friendly. And then, to RE-donate the items you purchased when you are done with them? Saintly. And brag worthy. Go on with your frugal self, girl.

  • Oh, Joshilyn, you are a woman after my heart. I went thrifting this morning (found: black v-neck shirt I needed and a mouthwatering teal cashmere sweater I didn’t because I live in FLORIDA and wear sweater like two days a year but it was just so pretty). My last blog post was actually about my thrifting addiction—errr—sharing my thrifting wisdom to the masses.

    Just noticed the sweater I don’t need is the same color as your new book cover (the beautiful arc is calling to me from my shelf). Coincidence? I think not.

  • Traci

    If you get South of ATL, go to Tyrone, GA and there is a great consignment store called Red Door. Also, in Newnan, there is a consignment store called Castaways (on the PTC side of newnan).
    Both are great and I moved to TX and I really miss the good consignment and thrifting in the PTC/Newnan/Sharpsburg area!

  • I actually AM going to the Chicago Suburbs and some other unexpected places. You should check and be sure and COME IF YOU CAN!!!!

  • Martha

    You will be in my neighborhood! I am now in the process of recruiting my BFF’s to come and see you in Naperville! I pre-ordered my SEL – can I bring it for you to sign if it arrives before you do?

  • Berni

    Alas! You are not coming anywhere near Oklahoma City! I did pull my husband over to the computer to the virtual tour link and said, “This is what I want for my birthday. This book comes out right before my birthday, so you can order it now and you’ll be all squared away for my birthday!” And I love consignment and thrift stores.

  • Marla

    99.999% of my wardrobe is from thrift stores! Love it. LOVE IT. I’m actually looking forward to an all-day thriftapalooza this Friday with a friend. I fully support this endeavor.

  • Leslie McCraney

    I heart thrifting!!! I do it for many of the same reasons that you do. One of my fave shops is Hertha’s, in Fairhope, which is one of your stops!!

  • I don’t thrift, but not because I think it is gross. It’s just I’m too lazy and have no clue. While suffering this morning under the whip of Andre, my workout partners and I had this very discussion. We suck at accessorizing, layering and building a flexible, flattering and stylish wardrobe. I’d pay money for someone to help me. What I do now is just wear the same damned black pants, Chico’s shell, and some jacketety thing if I have to dress up. It is pathetic.

  • Catherine

    What!!!! No Pensacola visit! I’ll try to drive to Fairhope, but you always come to Pensacola!!!!

  • Yvonne

    Oh, this is exactly how I feel about fashion and thrift shops! Now that I think about it, I think I went with you on my first thrift store visit – some seedy Salvation Army in Palafox or some such.

  • Amy

    Someday I will read your books because this: ” Sorry. But it is truthful. I do not care about clothes. I DO care about bourbon and literacy.” Truth, bourbon and literacy are things I also love (well, I’m in Oregon so it’s truth, beer and literacy, but close enough).

  • This is my new mantra: “I do not give a farty fig leaf for fashion.”

    The St. Vincent de Paul Thrift store in Chamblee is awesome. I saw the Nearly New Thrift Store on Howell Mill Road recently. I haven’t been there, but it is on my list. I figure all those Junior League types have TONS of perfectly good clothes they have never worn. (Mother was a Jr. Leaguer, I am not hating on them–just recognizing that they feel differently about fashion than I do.)

    Also, as a fan of the black v-neck knit shirt, one of the Best Tricks Ever is to buy a box (or bottle) of RIT dye and use it in the washer when the blacks start to turn off-gray. I have saved many a black clothing item with this method.

  • Kim

    I love thrift stores. When I need new-to-me stuff, I head there first. 🙂 They appeal to my thrift bone, and give me the thrill of the hunt. I’m also not immune to the charms of sharing how cheap my clothes are…lol. In other words, all of my co-workers know that last year’s awesome winter coat was a thrift find at only $7 ~ tags on! 🙂

    I love black V-necks, black jackets, black pants, and black skirts. Buy some (thrifty) black RIT dye and a container of salt (for the rinse water) and re-dye your black clothing in the washer once a year. I swear, it freshens everything up and makes it look new again. 🙂 Then you get to crow about your $2 black skirt for MORE THAN ONE SEASON! OMG! It’s an entire life full of WIN. heheh

    I don’t see any Texas stops on your book tour. Good thing I already ordered it through the VBT. 🙂

  • “farty fig leaf”

  • Oh, and I meant to say I’m in! I also failed at All the Plates. So, yay!

  • Totally not helpful but a fun and relevant fact i learned today: from the 13th to the 17th centuries, second-hand garment sellers in England were part of an organization called the Fripperers’ Guild.

  • Linda J

    I didn’t thrift when I was a young mom on my own. I wanted everything to be fresh and new. My mom had a friend who was 40 something and I heard her say that she had just bought her first brand new piece for furniture. I didn’t want to be her. Later I realized that all my new furniture was mangled after raising 3 restless boys. Why shouldn’t I buy used? I still have dogs.

    There is a thrift store that rocks that I all to often frequent. Sunday is the day for the die hard thrift addicts. It is their quarter day. Thats right I said QUARTER day. One color tag is a quarter. Another is half off and a third is 25 percent off. My stepson bought a COUCH for a QUARTER after his wife left him and took all the furniture. My best quarter deal is an old fashioned shake machine.

    PS WEST of the Mississippi is a good place for book tour visits too.

  • TC

    Dude. I’m wearing my VERY PRETTY new-to-me-but-really-off-the-even-more-discounted-rack-at-Goodwill dress RIGHT THIS MINUTE. So, yeah. I’m witcha.

  • Beth Still

    I am so cheap that I shop at thrift stores only on half-price days. I mean, why pay full price when I can pay half ($2)? I AM THE CUT-RATE QUEEN.

  • Jeanette in Peculiar

    I knew there was a reason I feel so “friendly” towards someone I have never met! I hate fashion almost as much as I hate shopping. I take a slightly different approach, however. Instead of searching out only black shirts, I search out a good fitting V-neck or crew neck (but none of that low-cut boob revealing stuff) and when I find one I like I buy it in every color–except those that remind me of diaper filling. My closet is FULL of solid color shirts in only a few different styles…..and by “styles” I mean the only difference is the neckline! Winter wardrobe: jeans (no blingy pocketed things, either) and a tshirt, tennis shoes to match the shirt. Summer wardrobe: jean shorts and a tshirt, flip flops to match the shirt. OK, I will confess that I do secretly like shoe shopping, but it’s got to be super duper bargain shoes.

    My wardrobe is highly embarrassing to my teen-age daughter. BONUS!!

    And I am the queen of cheap, too. Why? Because it’s not the amount of money in your life, it’s the amount of life you can eeek out of your money. AND also because if I were to do something insane like pay $45 dollars for a shirt then I would have to cook at home more. If I buy a $10 shirt, I can have a lunch date with a friend, Taco Bell for the whole family AND still have money to pay my library fines. Library fines are a form of charitable contribution, right???

    I am the only person I have ever know who pays more $$$$ in library fines each year that I do credit card interest.

    Also guilty of having to brag about the magnificent bargain I got on something when I receive a compliment. I have yet to learn how to just say “Thank you”. I am so cheap that I don’t feel like I’ve gotten to the lowest possible price on a car until the salesman is almost crying. FYI: If you have been in the sales office less than 6 hours, you are paying too much!

  • MeganR

    I only buy things from the thrift shop and consignment shops for environmental and financial reasons, but I really got on here to say oh my goodness gracious House of Pain proved the Irish could rap LONG before Macklemore came along.

  • JulieB

    You are coming to Anderson’s _In_December?_ Bless your heart! I will be there if the weather permits.

    As for the list – #7 for the win! And, I hate shopping, so I agree with #8 too. I’m actually trying to pare things down to a bare minimum so I don’t have to think about what to wear. I find the less I have, the less I worry.

  • I thrift. I go in, peek at the clothes for a second, then I smell books. They are always there, hanging out on the back wall next to the broken toddler toys from the 80’s. I shuffle a few shirts. Those aren’t my size. I shuffle closer to the books. My size is always near the books.

    See ya in Oxford, and I promise to buy SELS brand new. 🙂

  • I love thrift stores, and if you had been coming to Seattle, I could take you to some great thrift stores.

    Since you’re not — and at least we’re getting signed copies, but it’s not the same, naturally — I shall wait until you do come here again, and then we’ll go thrifting together!

  • Leigh

    You will be here on the 25th!!!!! Christmas coming early. Will we get to see before reading at all? I’ll put in for day off if you will be in in time. There are awesome thrift stores around here so we can go pop some tags. I love going. It’s like questing! Can. Not. Wait. To see you oh keeper of the pink socks. Pinky swears.

  • Elizabeth

    Dang asthma acts up when I go in the Goodwill. I’m too worried about what people will think to wear a mask in a thrift store. Doc says it should improve after pregnancy…

    Also, we now live in an area with a large refugee population, and sometimes I wonder if I should leave the fantastic bargains for them. Do you have thoughts on this?

  • dramamama

    Carmichael’s Bookstore in Louisville, voted no. 1 on Christian Science Monitor’s best bookstores in America, would be a great place to add to your itinerary….and it’s within spitting distance of three really great “clothing recyclers,” including the ever-popular “Urban Kitty.”

  • Michelle

    Yippee! You’re coming to Lansing! I can finally come see you. What a wonderful early Christmas gift to me.

  • A. YES! You’re coming to Oxford in December. I will see you there.

    B. Amen to the thrifting. I have lost 25 pounds this year and my new wardrobe is made up of thrifted items and items given to me. I am cheap. I need that money to feed these bottomless pits I call children.


  • DebR

    I’m cheap and I hate shopping (well, most kinds of shopping anyway, most definitely including clothes shopping) so I SHOULD, in theory, be really into thrift stores, but in practice I don’t shop there much. Partly it’s the area I live in – most of the ones around here aren’t so good and the merchandise all seems to have that SMELL (anyone who has been in lower-end thrift stores knows exactly what I mean!) and that bothers me a lot. Partly it’s a lack of patience on my part – exactly like Tenessa mentioned in her comment. Most of the thrift stores I’ve ever been to were not well organized and I felt like I had to look through Every. Darn. ITEM. in the store in order to MAYBE find one or two things that might work for me and that’s just WAY more shopping than I want to do! I tend to have better luck saving money by going to regular dept. stores and shopping the deep-discount, end-of-season clearance racks. I should probably learn to be better at the thrifting thing though, as I genuinely admire those who make it work for them!

  • Corey

    I already adore you for writing and sharing ALL of you books. Now it’s exponential adoration for #1 and #10 on the list above!!! {Going to search for my a$$, because surely, I just laughed it clear off of my body!}

  • Chelsey

    I’m losing weight (-60lbs now!), my wedding is in 4 weeks, and we may be moving to GA, hell yes I thrift!

    My new wardrobe is mostly items I’ve thrifted or my “former fat kid” friends (we have a support group) have donated to me. Is it sad that I found a brand new mop at Goodwill for $1 and was so excited I danced around the store? Yeah, that’s probably sad.
    It was hard for me when I was a size 22 to find second hand clothes that fit, but I called around my area to thrift shops to see what sizes they carried. I managed to find a nice Goodwill with constant 50% off sales that, get this, had sizes up to 26 AND most of those clothes were gently used Lane Bryant and Fashion Bug stuff!

    I do still buy some new things, shoes mostly, but I usually wait for sales and coupons.

  • Why does your publisher hate the west coast? I was SO hoping you’d be coming to Powell’s and then I could make a trip to Portland and meet you in person. Boo. And IF you were coming to Portland, or to Seattle, we could thrift like BOSSES at Value Village, from whence cometh a significant portion of my wardrobe, including both the shirt and jeans I am wearing this moment.

    Seriously, though, is there a chance they’ll add more dates? Please tell me this is just the first LEG of the tour.

  • Beth

    I love the thrifts SO MUCH. I go weekly to the Goodwill in Roswell and it is pretty great, though John’s Creek, Perimeter, and Buckhead are amazing too. Why would I pay stupid $100 for BLACK PANTS? I can find them at the Goodwill if I wait long enough.

    My children have played that song so much that I’m ALMOST sick of it. But not quite.

  • Kristin

    Thrift store shopping was absolutely essential when my husband was in graduate school and we had two small children. Believe it or not, I actually found a nightgown with my daughter’s name embroidered on it, (Amelia) around 1998. Now it is just more of an adventure and appreciation of good deals. With the aforementioned kid now in college, it’s still important to save money! Also I do donate back as much as possible. I have to hurry up and take things to the local clothing closet this afternoon–they give things away to anyone who needs it.  I agree with the no used underwear/socks that other people have mentioned!

    Now this might make me sound slightly crazy, but my elderly neighbor who is definitely a little crazy sometimes throws out perfectly good clothes and blankets. Since she sometimes puts the overflow in our trash can, I take out the bags of anything obviously fabric and drop it off at animal shelters or thrift stores!

    I will probably drive 1 1/2 hours to come to Malaprops in Asheville, and hopefully visit the Goodwill OUTLET there. They sell clothes/books/etc by the pound! 1616 Patton Avenue Asheville, NC 28806

  • I agree with your commenter up there about Goodwill being overpriced. I’m thinking $4.95 for a thrift-store t-shirt is too much!

    We have a Boys & Girls thrift store that is the best. The people are SO nice and they have a huge, fun selection. My famous Big Red Chair (shown here occupied by the dog http://www.flickr.com/photos/suebobdavis/8374614922/in/set-72157632507284672) was acquired there for $137.50 delivered – and it was almost new!

    The only thing I don’t like is that some kinds of perfume are practically impossible to get out of clothing. I hate that old perfume smell.

  • Karen

    Love this idea! I get most of my clothes from sale racks in consignment shops and thrift stores. I like not wearing the same thing as everyone else, and I always get compliments on the stuff (like your skirt). I have a LOT of black tees and khaki shorts — all brand names.
    (And I agree with Martha: Flat sheets make great quilt backs, even though quilt snobs snub them.)
    And I wish you were coming to the Baltimore or DC area.

  • Jill

    I know the thrift stores and consignment shops in Birmingham – I can let you know when you come here for the signing – yippee!

  • Ruth

    In my town, the ladies who lunch have a thrift shop around the corner from me, so I get their fashionable cast-offs super-cheap, and they give the money from the shop to their charities, which are things like braces and school uniforms for kids in poor families.

    Cute clothes for cheap and charity, all in walking distance, so I have the added virtue of keeping my carbon footprint down. Color me smug!

  • Janise

    I don’t want to be Debbie Downer but I started looking into Goodwill about a year ago. They bought a HUGE building here in Little Rock. I was amazed they could spend that kind of money. They’ve located a donation center in a an area of town that could be considered prime. So I started digging. Not saying don’t shop there. Just take a minute to google “Truth Goodwill.” Judge for yourself. Personally, I love ReStore, the donation center’s proceeds go to Habitat for Humanity. Lots of new stuff gets donated by businesses, too. Clothing is a newer item for them to carry. They’ve got a ways to go there. But you just wouldn’t believe the stuff they have. You could practically build and decorate a home using only their bargains. I love thrifting and I’m not above checking Goodwill from time to time. But if I am going to donate, it will be to ReStore, Salvation Army, or local mission.

  • Jessica (the celt)

    I love you for #8. I don’t give a farty fig leaf about fashion either, and I love thrifting. Unfortunately for me, however, most of the thrift shops in my area don’t really carry many good clothes, except the “high-end” thrift shops, which then cost more than I pay for thrifted clothes. (A lot of the time, it actually costs more than I regularly pay for new clothes, too.) I really miss living in my old area that had awesome thrift shops and awesome second-hand clothes in those thrift shops. I don’t need musty furniture. I need awesome shoes and shirts and pants!

    Also, I’m sure it’s just an oversight, but did you know that Minnesota is not on your list for the book tour? I’m sure they just forgot to list it, though. 😉

  • Les in az

    Savers, goodwill and others are the ONLY place I shop. I love the frugal factor and the fact that I can shop when I decided “I ate my jeans” with minimal guilt. I will say that the any Savers in Las Vegas are GREAT. High end clothes, cheap prices makes me happy!

  • Les in az

    That’s HATE my pants…lol autocorrect likes me sometimes! 🙂

  • Oh Joshilyn! You ARE a cold a&* honky my dear!! Hear I was looking through your tour dates and found you were coming to my little city of Lansing!! Whoop whoop!! I am a Lansing thriftanista and would be happy to show you all around our thrift store circuit. I LOVE me some thrifty clothes but conversely I do love fashion. And I don’t think thrifting and loving fashion are mutually exclusive. I think it just takes me a hell of a lot longer to go through the store looking for ‘fashion’ than it would to look through the black tops. We can find you some incredibly lovely black v-neck tops in Capitol City Michigan!!

  • Also…please forgive me for my horrible spelling in that comment. I’ve had a couple glasses of wine and entirely too much internet time tonight!

  • Laurie

    I just had to comment because you said “Lansing” and “exotic” in the same sentence, which made me laugh…and I live there! Well, near there anyway, and I will be at your book signing! Anyway, I don’t have any good thrift stores to tell you about because I don’t have enough fashion sense to make cute outfits up on my own. Instead, I have to go to places like White House Black Market and have them dress me like a Barbie, and then spend lots of $$ for one outfit, which I then wear all the time. I might even have it on for your book signing. 🙂

  • Michelle-who-is-Shelley

    Well, if I had read this FTK post first, before the most recent one, then I would have known that you were coming to Lansing. I live in Grand Rapids, about an hour from Lansing and many people I know shop at “New To You” which is a secondhand shop owned and run by the Grand Rapids Christian Schools as a fundraiser for the school system. Many people both donate AND shop there b/c it makes them feel good to help the schools. Maybe there is something similar in Lansing?

    Personally, I don’t shop thrift stores, but I do shop Old Navy. I have my basics (denim and black like you) and then I buy inexpensive add-ons. One of those buttonless cardigans, a pretty scarf, a cute belt, silver bangles, a see through blouse over a black tank. I almost never pay more than $10 for an item there because of all the sales.

    Laurie, I will be in Lansing too — see you there! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-5w_ISkn1M *fave happy dance*