Sunday, December 13, 2009

Our Lady of the Cape Thrift Shop

I haven't been to Our Lady of the Cape Thrift Shop in years and I was pleasantly surprised when I visited yesterday.  I was doing some quasi-Christmas shopping and decided to stop in to see what they had to offer.  They were advertising a Christmas Boutique, which runs through December 23rd, and I was curious as to what that entailed.  They had a plethora of Christmas decorations (as does every other thrift shop on Cape Cod), but they also had a table with brand new, gift-worthy garments on it.  One that caught my eye was a beautiful orange cardigan twinset by French Laundry.  Unfortunately it was a size Large and I couldn't think of anyone I could buy it for.  I continued on, perusing the racks for clothes that I could give as gifts.  I didn't find anything, but I was impressed with all the top name brands (GAP, H&M, XoXo).  Everything was in great, gently worn condition and the prices were very reasonable, as a savvy reader previously mentioned to me (prior post).

So I was unable to find any gifts, but I didn't walk out of the store empty handed.  I was browsing other thrift-related blogs the other day, and I came across Things I Found at the Thrift Store.  The most recent post mentioned that the author was able to score some cash buying ugly Christmas sweaters at thrift stores and then reselling them on ebay.  And lo and behold, he was right.  There is a huge market for them right now, and some sell for upwards of $60.  Apparently, some people have contests at their holiday parties for who can wear the tackiest garb, and most find their ensembles on ebay.  Anyway, I found this atrocious sweater and put it on, seeing how it would do.

So far, no luck.  But it only cost me $4, so I might hang onto it and try to sell it next year.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Orleans Community Exchange *SALE*

The Orleans Community Exchange Thrift Shop, located in Post Office Square, is having a 50% off sale today through Friday.  They are trying to reduce inventory as they will be closing on Saturday and reopening February 9th.  Hurry in for the best selection; I've always found great clothes here.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A New Addition to Saint Joan of Arc Thrift Shop

Let me start off by saying that I am a big fat liar. Just a few days ago I was telling you how I wouldn't be thrift shopping for a few more months. Well I guess just writing about shopping inspired me to go, because I felt the familiar gravitational pull attracting my car towards Saint Joan of Arc Thrift Shop today.

So, surprise of surprises, SJATS has added a boutique shop to their thrift store! And even better, they have really nice clothes in there! My jaw nearly dropped when the woman said it's been open since June...has it really been so long since I've visited? It's not a big space, but it's laid out well without being claustrophobic. I found a sexy wrap dress by Lily for $12 and a velvety crimson skirt by Silx (a division of the August Silk brand) for $6.

The Lily dress was brand new with tags and, with a little research on the internet, I discovered that the brand is sold at Nordstrom's. Not too shabby. And for those like myself who wander the earth without cash in hand, this little boutique will take a local check.

I then ventured next door to the thrift store, which has always been one of my favorites. They still had a great collection of clothes, which was reassuring to this savvy shopper. It would have been unfortunate if they jacked up the prices of all their clothes and stuck them in the boutique, leaving the thrift store with less than adequate fare. I bought a shirt and a necklace (gifts, which is why I am omitting the pictures) for $3 a piece and was also able to snag some holiday decorations:

The Christmas ornaments were all $0.50 each, which is a great deal. We brought up the Christmas decorations the other day to discover that they wreaked of mildew (due to a leaky basement at our previous dwelling). Needless to say, most of our ornaments went in the trash. I was especially ecstatic to find the mouse ornament because my mom has the exact same ornament and I always loved hanging it on the tree growing up.

The reindeer plates were another super find at $1/plate. I recognized them right away because they were in the 2009 Crate & Barrel holiday catalogue, and I remember ogling them. I found out from the woman who rang up my purchases that she had received them as a gift and, not knowing what to do with them, had brought them in that morning. Score!

And...the new 2009-2010 'Touring the Thrift Shops of Cape Cod' brochure is out; pick one up today!!  

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Quick update

I know I haven't posted in a few months, but it's only because I haven't been thrift shopping lately. Mostly, I have been busy preparing for the new baby but, more importantly, I am sick and tired of buying maternity clothes! I promise that I will be back on the hunt in a few months, scouting out the best thrift shops on Cape Cod. And from what I have heard, there are tons of newly opened shops that need to be reviewed; viva la recession!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Repeat After Me, Orleans

This is a great little boutique consignment store for any mom, expecting or otherwise.  There is a great selection of maternity wear, divided on two racks into tops and bottoms for easy browsing.  All of the clothes are in great, gently used condition and the prices are extremely reasonable (about $10 per item on average).  On my first visit, I bought a pair of Old Navy jeans for $10, an Old Navy floral print dress for $10 and an Old Navy short sleeve knit shirt for $7.50.  The owner does take debit/credit cards, so don't worry if you show up sans cash.  

On another visit, I bought a pair of Motherhood Maternity grey pin stripe dress slacks for $10.50, a Gap Maternity three quarter length knit shirt for $10, a Motherhood Maternity white cardigan for $10 and a gorgeous Babystyle blue plaid winter jacket for $35 (similar coats on ebay selling for $40-$45).             


The owner says she gets new items in weekly and she is more than happy to contact you if something comes in that you've been looking for.  That is a great service! 

In addition to the maternity wear, the two long walls of the store are lined with racks of baby and toddler clothes.  As with the maternity clothes, these clothes are also in great condition and reasonably priced.

The front of the store has a variety of toys and equipment (both new and used) for babies and toddlers.  The owner also had several nice strollers on display outside when I visited.

If you have children or are expecting them and live near Orleans, I highly recommend this store for all your shopping needs! 

Sunday, August 9, 2009

More Yard Sales Bargains

My tips for finding nice things at yard sales are as follows:

  1. Try to shop only at well kept homes in nice neighborhoods.  You are almost certainly guaranteed that the people who live there take nice care of their possessions;
  2. Stop at yard sales that have at least another buyer or two already browsing.  If there are no cars parked on the side of the road, it's probably because there's nothing worth stopping for; 
  3. Pick out yard sales by browsing through the Cape Cod Times or Craigslist.  People who take the time to place an ad show that they are serious about having a good yard sale and not just throwing their old crap out on the lawn; and
  4. Don't be afraid to haggle.  Some sellers aren't very good at pricing their wares, especially when they want to recoup some cash for an expensive prior purchase.  You don't sell high ticket items at yard sales for a reason; no one walks around with $200 cash in their pockets these days.

I find that I am more successful when I follow the above mentioned tips.  Here are some items on found on my most recent Saturday adventure:

Fanning Graphics print of a couple bathing together in a tub, $4

Kate Spade knockoff handbag, $4

Baby Einstein Volumes 1 and 2, $20 (reduced from $30).  
Retails for $50 EACH

5 assorted baby outfits from GAP and Carter's, $2/piece.  

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

More Treasures

Here are some of my more recent finds; the selection has been great lately!  

Motherhood Maternity flowered dress, Repeat After Me in Orleans

Flowered Tank, Thrift Store in Yarmouthport
Peach Button Up Cardigan, Goodwill Hyannis
White Skirt, Hand me down


Metallic Sandals, Goodwill Hyannis

Wet Seal Black Culottes, Goodwill Hyannis

Red and Blue Top, Goodwill Hyannis

Blazer, Goodwill Hyannis

Mimi Maternity Dress, Goodwill Hyannis

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Thrifter's Guide to Books

I love those houses with built in bookshelves; hundreds of books in all colors and sizes lining the walls. I feel at home in those types of homes, because I know that a fellow booklover lives there. I have no preference to what I read, from college textbooks to trashy romance novels. When it comes to topics, my only stipulation is that the writer engages me. Generally I will read the first page and a page in the middle of the book; some authors can take pages (or chapters) to catch my interest, so I like to read an excerpt from another part of the book to see if the author’s writing style suits me.

Based on my love of literature, I decided to compile The Thrifter’s Guide to Books. Essentially it’s a list of places where one can find free or very cheap reads.

  1. The Treasure Chest at the Harwich Dump (my Dad swears by this place; he goes once a week and there are always new books to rummage though);
  2. The foyers of most town libraries (look for racks or bookcases with a 'free' sign);
  3. The free section of any Craigslist (just do a search for books); and
  1. Thrift Stores (some, like the Corner Thrift Shop in Harwich Center, even sell very old, collectible books):
  2. Yard Sales (the books pictured in this post only cost $1 for all four!); and
I would love to hear from readers about other book stores they enjoy!

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Hunt for Cute Maternity Clothes

One phase of fashion that I have always feared, aside from mom jeans and spandex pants, is maternity garb. When I think of preggo-wear, images of floral frocks and elastic waistband pants dance in my head. Motherhood Maternity at the Cape Cod Mall does not do much to quell my fears. The first thing one sees as upon entering the store is jeans with massive elastic waistbands made to accommodate the pregnant lady’s growing midsection. I realize that you don’t see the waistband when you wear the pants (because your shirt should cover it), but for someone who enjoys zippers and buttons, the sight can be somewhat unnerving.

Even Old Navy, which is a tad more fashion conscious than the formerly mentioned store, does not offer an interesting array of maternity clothes. I had to laugh because all their tops were exactly the same as those in the women’s department, aside from the word ‘maternity’ on the label and the price tag. I’m pretty sure the amount of extra fabric used to make a ‘maternity’ shirt does not merit a FIVE DOLLAR increase in price over a normal shirt.

So where does a fashionable, budget conscious woman turn to when her local maternity stores have failed her? Why the thrift stores, of course! There is one shop that I know of that specializes in maternity clothes (as well as baby and children’s clothes): Repeat After Me in Orleans. I haven’t visited yet, but I am excited to meet the owner, Amber Dauphinais. Back in January she sent me a wonderful email, an excerpt of which read, "We had a meeting last night for a bunch of the consignment stores on the cape and your name came up while we were in Tots to Teens. I have to tell you we could not have said enough good things about you!!! We all appreciate your (VERY WELL WRITTEN) blogs and we would ALL like to say THANK-YOU. ” I had no idea I would be shopping at her store back then, but now I am excited to have the opportunity to stop by.

I wasn’t sure where to begin my maternity thrift shopping adventure, but I figured that the Goodwill Store in Hyannis would be a reasonable choice as they sell everything. One of my schemes for adapting to my new body is to forgo wearing pants and just wear skirts and dresses. Many trendy skirts have flattering elastic waistbands and empire-waist dresses are perfect for accommodating a growing belly. Accordingly, I began with the dress and skirt sections at the Goodwill. Skirt sizes are somewhat more difficult to gauge because you have to guesstimate where you will be carrying the baby. I try to buy skirts that sit low on the hips; we’ll see how that pans out. I bought one great beachy skirt for $4.49. It doesn’t have elastic in it, but it sits low enough to be comfortable.  

I tried on a slew of dresses and found one regular-sized, empire waist dress from Max Studio for $6.99 and one Motherhood Maternity dress, also $6.99.  

I found it very paradoxical that the good volunteers at Goodwill decided to create a section called, “Plus Size and Maternity Clothes.” I dare say that most pregnant women do not equate being pregnant with being plus-sized. As if they don’t have enough to endure with fatigue, flatulence, morning sickness and so on. But I digress…

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Yard Sales: Thrift Shopping for the Weekend Warrior

Saturday was the perfect day for yard sales, especially because I was up early (thank you, friendly neighborhood woodpecker). Husband and I picked up a newspaper from the cute little red haired boy hawking papers at the dump and I scanned the ads for interesting sales. Unfortunately, it was not to be an all day shopping extravaganza because Husband hates shopping. Case in point, after we left the first house, I turned to him with misty eyes and said, "In seven years, that is the first yard sale we have ever been to together." His reply: "You know how on TV the characters sometimes look directly at the camera when someone says something ridiculous? Well I am doing that right now." Oh well, you can't please them all.

My geographical hunting location was limited to Dennis and Yarmouth, so we stopped at two that we had seen earlier. We did a drive by with the first one, which is one of the great perks about shopping at yard sales. If nothing catches your eye, then there is no need to get out of your car! The second one claimed to be an estate sale, but it was really just a yard sale. I equate estate sales with selling the entire contents of ones home. The estate sales I have been to are akin to open houses, except that you can buy the wallpaper off the wall if you so desire. Anyway, I bought two shirts for my sister for $0.50 a pop. And they looked brand new, so I was very pleased.

We continued our adventure in Dennis, visiting 3 more sales. The first one we stopped at had committed one of the cardinal sins of yard sale etiquette, i.e. selling things at ridiculously high prices. For example, they had an attractive metal headboard and footboard for a queen bed with a price tag of $75. I don’t know anyone who goes to a yard sale with that kind of money in hand. If people want to charge such outrageous prices, they should try Craigslist or the Classifieds. Even ebayers are too cheap to pay that much for used bed frames. However, the item that really took the cake was the triangle sex pillow they were trying to sell. We nearly died laughing when we saw it. And the cost for such a pillow? Priceless!

I bought a wooden shoe at the next yard sale for $5. It was a rather steep price to pay, but I have always wanted to plant flowers in a wooden shoe. My mother in law gave me the idea, as she has a shoe on her porch with geraniums in it; it looks so nice! Below are the before and after pictures. All we had to do was drill holes in the bottom so that water can drain out properly.

The last yard sale was a nice surprise because it was akin to a flea market. There were at least half a dozen families selling various wares. One woman’s table was devoted entirely to shoes, albeit all black ones. I almost bought 2 camping chairs at $3/piece that were in great condition. You can never have too many camping chairs…

In summary, if you are looking for some cheap shopping thrills on the weekends then peruse the paper and find some yard sales in your neighborhood. You’re bound to find someone else’s trash to treasure!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Savvy Thrifter: Celebrity Status!

I interviewed with Eric Williams yesterday from the Cape Cod Times about thrift shopping on Cape Cod. The interview was splendid and it is available tomorrow for your viewing pleasure on the following websites:

The video will post at noon.  I will also post a link to the actual video once it is up and running.  Let me know what you think!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Cape Cod Times Interview

My Venus de Milo has been collecting dust and would probably continue to do so had I not received an email from the Cape Cod Times asking if I'd like to do an interview about my favorite thrift stores. How could any self-respecting Aquarian woman refuse such an offer!?! So of course I obliged. But in the meantime, I am feeling a little guilty about my lack of thrift blogging. As of late, I have been sucked in by the black vortex that is ebay and have developed a penchant for selling crap online. Couple that with more grad school classes and I don't have much time for thrifting or blogging. But the whining will cease there. 

I have done some thrift shopping over the winter, so now I will entertain you with some photos of my purchases. On another note, my sister and I had a day of thrifting a few Saturdays ago and I could not find a thing! My primary reasoning is that the recession has spurred a renewed interest in shopping at thrift stores, so I am now competing with the general population as opposed to the bygone days when my only challengers were purple haired old women who weren't interested in a size 6. Quel dommage!

Steve Madden shoes from the Hope Chest in Orleans. They were like new when I bought them (and I have since reneged by comments about buying used shoes).

T-shirt from Chatham thrift store, $1. Black straight leg Levi jeans from the Hope Chest.

White blouse from the Fishermen's House Thrift Shop in Yarmouth. Black and white shirt from the Hope Chest.

Black Express brand top and black/white flowered skirt from ebay. Under $3 a piece when purchased as part of a lot.

Uniqlo trench coat brand new with tags originally $99.50, bought for $28 at Orleans Community Exchange and Thrift.

Luggage with wheels by Smuggler for $8 at Joan of Arc Thrift in Orleans.