Your Thoughts on Thrifting-itis

There’s gold in yesterday’s comments.  Thank you all so much for pouring your heart out, sharing your tips, talking honestly about the lure of the good deal. Here are a few of my favorite comments.  And if you don’t have time to read them all, please scroll down to the very end.  There’s a link there that you cannot miss.

And the ever present voice of wisdom::

Curses, Tracey, do you have any idea that I’ve been contemplating a No Spend Month over here?  I went over to Small Notebook today to get the link and I think that Rachel wrote yesterday’s post just for me.  For us. Here’s a little of what she wrote::

I try to not be Mrs. Bossypants here but today, I am telling you.  I am insisting that you go read Loosen the Grip of “More Stuff” right this minute, written by a woman who knows how to not let stuff get in the way of her dreams {Rachel and her family just moved to Italy}.

What is your deeper than stuff dream?  Mine is to build a little house in the country, with lots of big trees around.  And I don’t want crappy, meaningless stuff to get in the way.


  1. Wow! Nester, you touched upon something that many are dealing with lately! I am old, so I can tell you all that the best way to cure this disease, is to stay out of the stores. Period. And when you see a garage sale, keep on drivin! If you are feeling overcome by this obsession, make yourself a deal to not partake for at least one month, then another and soon you will realize that you didn’t really need to go in the first place! Trust me. I know, it’s hard…every once in a while I get this uncontrollable urge to go peek in the local flea market and still have to talk myself out of it. I am trying to scale back on spending on non needs, and IT IS HARD! There are a million ways to justify thrifting, but I am also trying to save for other things, and know that I’ll never make it, if I keep on spending on pretties that I don’t really need1 Re-arrange what you have! Just say NO!

    • I know that Mary Beth! Stay of the stores will cure you for sure. Well, detour you anyway.
      This month I have been dropping the kids off, and driving my little white van straight back home. Great advice!

  2. I look at my craft area and realize how much money I’ve spent on this or that project. I have started telling myself that if I don’t finish this or that project, NOTHING gets brought into the house.

    I love the ideas of having a list of stuff to save for/look for. I have too many times come home from GW or SA with “good deals,” only to wish I could give it back. Now, don’t get me wrong…I have bought a lot of stuff that I LOVE, but that I USE and that makes me happy. The rest is about to be sold at a yard sale. : )

    Thanks for the links!

  3. Rebecca Fox says

    As the child of a mother with thrift-store-itis, I thank you for bringing yours to a halt now. I love my Mama…and her creativity…but the fact that something is a good deal alone is NOT a great reason to buy it. About seven years ago we moved into a different house and needed a bit of a furniture revamp. I fell in love with a $50 leather ottoman from Target. I expressed this to my mother. I got a $10 sofa table, a $10 quilt, and three other $10 items from my mother…none of which I kept. $50 worth of “good deals” that I didn’t want instead of the one $50 I did want. Even now I have trouble explaining to my Mama that I would rather WAIT for months, if necessary, to find what I want at the price I want to pay rather than buy and live with a “good deal” that doesn’t sing to me. Her home is full of good deals. She spends so much time getting the good deals, going to garage sales and thrift stores, moving the stuff around in her house, fixing and revamping the stuff she buys…that we don’t see her as often as I would like. Was it Thoreau who said he didn’t want to own so much as a stone, because it would own him, as he would have to dust it?

  4. I have read through all these posts, well timed, for sure, and so genuine in spirit. I’m in the camp of “trying to be intentional in purchases,” and try not to buy, just because it’s on sale but I don’t like to buy unless something is on sale. We have downsized, all 3 children are now raised and having families of their own; we moved from a 4 level house to a one level and we sold or gave away so much “stuff.” I don’t have space for accumulating and it is liberating. At the same time, buying intentionally feels way better than buying because I like something or it’s on sale, etc.

    A case in point: I need a focal point in the guest bedroom, for two years now, and a wood sunburst mirror at Pier 1 came on sale, from $149 to 129 (might be the same one “The Nester” has in her master bedroom!) but it had nicks on it so I asked the clerk if she could recheck the price, she said it had been reduced to $60 and she would take another 15% off of it and also repair the nicks. I decided to go for it as it’s an organic piece (definitely not perfect!), creates a focal point and complements the room’s decor, etc. And when I tire of it, spray paint to the rescue! I like sunburst mirrors but will not pay big bucks for one and this large mirror will keep the need for other knick-knacks and decor items in check. We don’t need more to fill the room. We need breathing room and serene space.

    Your thoughts in today’s post and yesterday’s “inspire” me — that was creating a loved space is all about — lifting the spirits.

  5. My deeper than stuff dream?
    To get rid of enough that I don’t NEED to “get organized”.

    Am I there yet?
    Is there a “there”?

    I can see i am no the only one that wonders.
    Insightful post, Mrs. Nester.

    Thank you.

  6. You have so many comments, there is just no room for me… lol
    If you were to walk into my townhouse.. you would not find much
    that I bought NEW… except for my new Ikea Sofa and it was only
    $351.00…. every thing, I mean everything (well not my bed) has
    come from thrifting.. dumpster diving and yard sales.. I so love
    other peoples stuff and I also firmly believe in reusing all that we
    humans toss… This was a great post and I’ve read every single

  7. Way ahead of you. Small Notebook is another one of my favorites.

    Stuff will not make us happy. It’s just filler. Like she said, I don’t think it’s any of our goals to have a home filled with “stuff”. I’d rather have a life with purpose.

  8. For the longest time my dream was to stop working full time, get back to the part of my job I love and at the same time be home more to raise my little girl. In September this exact thing happened. We moved to a new city and I got the opportunity I have been waiting for and it is wonderful! But now that I read your post and question you put out to all of us I realize I dont have a new dream. Is that bad…good…something to worry about!?!? I just dont know. I am so wrapped up in where I am now that I am not sure where I want to be next.

  9. Very thought-provoking! I’m inspired to reflect on my own life and the choices I’ve made and will make in the future.

  10. Wow, thank you for posting those comments! And the link to “Loosen the Grip” was so amazing. I am going to be going over all these thoughts in my head for a while I think. I needed this. Thanks, Rosa

  11. I just love getting a good deal and a lot of times not getting the best deal will keep me from buying. I do silly stuff like; when shopping for printer paper last week I noticed that the shelf was empty next to the tag that said $2.84 however the shelf was full with paper that cost $3.24 a package. I left the store without any printer paper. I really should have just bought the paper! I also can not shop in a store that I know generally has lots of coupon sales if I don’t have a coupon.

  12. Thanks for your post yesterday and today. I actually read Rachel’s post from small notebook earlier today and printed it out so I can remind myself of what’s important. I’m hooked on Peter Walsh’s show “It’s all Too Much” on the OWN network. He really helps people create the vision and space they need and take a hard look at all the “stuff” they have. Sometimes that “stuff” is a barrier to meaningful relationships with family and friends.
    I have to laugh though about today’s post. I get your blog through my email. I read every comment and got to the end and this is what is posted at the bottom:
    “Yippie! It’s a new Blessings Unlimited Catalog. Go ahead and click, you know you want to check out the new cute loot.” ……..
    An advertisement for More “cute loot”…..just what I need.

  13. DO IT!! Do the No Spend Month. You will be surprised at how fun/freeing it is.

    I miss your tree.

  14. Wow. I used to buy more…because my mom did. Ha! Really. I love to shop, but lately I’ve been pretty good at window shopping if I want to see pretty stuff. There are five of us living in an 1100 sq foot bungalow with no basement, no garage and only a little shed. Simplify is a word that went around on country decorating signs a few years ago. But I take it to heart. There’s no room for extra stuff here. We have one set of everyday dishes, one set of cutlery, a couple of sets of sheets for each bed. And I only buy decor stuff that I have space for. A good friend and I sort of went through a simplify phase a while ago…and I’m happy to say it stuck. Deal or not. Thanks, Nester. Excellent post!

  15. I am a recovering compulisve shopper/compulsive debtor. google it. it’s real. It’s a daily struggle…alcoholics can choose never to enter a bar again. As women who do most of the shopping, it’s hard to never enter a target or kroger again. Thrift stores and spending/charging was my stress relief, my high, my crack-pipe. It is a daily struggle. Shopping is still my stress relief, but I have found some ways to manage it. (and believe me I still have relapses :) But here are a couple of tips.

    1-I try to hit the goodwill when I am in a 15-20 minute time crunch. Less time to browse and think about things. But just enough time to smell the smell, and touch things.

    2-DON’T GET A BASKET!!! When you go to goodwill, or just a random trip to Target–don’t get a basket. If you can’t carry it all, then you don’t need it. I will find myself carrying around a load of things, but it slows me down enough for me to think it through and realize I don’t need it!

  16. First time on your blog, I read the piece about yard saling and nearly died of gut wrenching laughter.. I read it aloud to my husband, you were describing me to a “t”! Excited to read more from you!

  17. crappy meaningless stuff. Well said, Nester!

    I read Rachel’s post yesterday, and wow! God recently taught us the same lesson when my husband lost his job in July. We had 4 No Spend Months. I cannot tell you how freeing it was… I realized how many things I spent money on that 1. I don’t miss a bit, 2. we could have been wiser about, and 3. I was only doing out of guilt {Christmas cards anyone?? we sent ours via email this year. free}.

    Ultimately, we realized that we were a slave to immediate gratification, instead of employing self-control and then reaping a greater reward. We “made” more money, and had more peace of mind, during those jobless months than we had had in years.

    {and in case you were wondering, my husband was freed from a yucky job, and God has blessed him with the most amazing job, chock full of friends, joy and laughter. that is the best part; seeing my husband’s joy return. life is so short…}


  18. I’m so glad you asked us what our dream was and to write it out. I read this post and yesterday’s thinking, “oh yeah, that’s how I’ve been thinking lately and have already begun getting rid of stuff.” But what about all of those flower pots I couldn’t get rid of the other day? I need to focus on my dream. I’ll admit, I haven’t really put a lot of thought into it until this very second so my off the top of my head dream is this, to enjoy my child (and hopefully future children) while they are small and as they grow, not letting the time it takes to care for my stuff get in the way of this. Have a great day, Nester! Kelly

  19. As you purge your lovely home and become more refined in your design choices, I find myself gravitating to the Nesting Place on a daily basis. I noticed a profound shift in your decorating style after your visit to the Cabin in NC. I live west of Asheville in a 100 year old mountain farmhouse. Because this house was not built for a 21st century family, we have learned to be more utilitarian in our lifestyle and consumer habits. Less is More rules the day. Too much stuff would overpower our farmhouse (& us) and there is nowhere to stash it.

    Keep doing what you’re doing. It’s as if you’ve opened a window in every room of your house and a wonderful freshness has filled your entire home!

  20. I have to admit that I stopped reading a whole bunch of blogs about two years ago (forgive me, but Nesting Place is one of them) because there was so much consumption of “stuff” going on. I live in a small home. I found that reading blogs about tag sales, antiquing, and turning trash into treasure brought out two emotions in me: envy and disdain.

    When the projects were cool and fun, I was envious. I don’t have room for a craft room or an office! I live in a 784 square foot, city condo and I’m in academia…there’s little time for the projects I can manage! I’d love to have a stockpile of paper goods and craft supplies, but there’s just no room. I’d love to find something, shine it up, and sell it for a small profit. Alas, there isn’t time or space for that.

    At times, when I’m feeling good about my space (many of my decisions are “safe” so I can sell my place in the next year or two, so this isn’t necessarily common), I laugh at the idea of people digging through junk every weekend to find some random, shabby item that they can work on for a few hours and made usable. I’m not proud of the moments when I feel that way, I assure you!

    I hope you’ve started a new trend with your followers. Maybe I’ll be adding a few new blogs to my reader as a result!

    Thanks for articulating all of this.

    • I hope no one thinks I’m saying thrifting is a waste of time~it’s a personal decision and personally, I enjoy it and find value in it. But, I’m in a season of life where I want to be more intentional with what I purchase so I don’t put myself in a position to have yard sales all the time.

      Not every blog is for every person, and that’s what makes a niche blog so special, I so appreciate your openness in your comment and I agree that we should only read blogs/books, whatever media that leaves us feeling encouraged and not discouraged.

    • “I have to admit that I stopped reading a whole bunch of blogs about two years ago because there was so much consumption of “stuff” going on.”


  21. “{Rachel and her family just moved to Italy}.”

    I love Rachel’s blog, but I call planning to spend less than three months somewhere a “vacation.”

  22. When I started my blog a couple years ago, I was seriously into thrifting, like a couple times a week. Sure, I bought stuff I didn’t need, and yes, some of it never got used. Now I’m not going nearly as much…maybe a couple times a month, and I’m better about passing on “deals” I’m not sure what I’d do with. But it’s not because I was influenced by the blogs to declutter and organize (that’s been a constant in my 18 years of marriage, and we’re always working on it, and I doubt we’ll ever be “done”). It was more because I just didn’t feel the desire to do it anymore.

    Stuff is a part of life; multiply it by the number of people that live in your house. There’s always going to be stuff. I have a one-in-one-out rule with the kids to keep it in check, but they still have things. I have one china cabinet full of the decorating things that I like (mostly got thrifting), and I change out the items on display from time to time, because I enjoy it.

    I don’t know, I guess I’m saying nobody should be swayed by the blogs to do one thing or another…sure, copy a project you see and really like; if you find a cheap apothecary jar and you’ve liked the look on the blogs, buy it…and use it and enjoy it. Don’t buy it if you think they are ugly, but “everybody has them”.

    The commenter who said she got into reading blogs only recently and bought all the chalkboards and cheese domes and now everybody is getting rid of everything before she could even finish her projects…I’m thinking so what? (in a nice way). If she likes it, keep on making those projects!! If she didn’t like it in the first place, but just did it because it was “in”, then she can be happy she got the wake-up call now.

    Here’s my message in a nutshell: don’t accumulate OR toss just because that’s the blog trend. What do YOU like in YOUR house?

    Sorry about the novel! :)

  23. Thanks for your post yesterday and for sharing all the comments you did today! We’ve been reducing our monthly budget a little at a time, but between major sinus issues for the hubby (means he drinks lots of soda we usually wouldn’t buy) and morning (all day) sickness for me so I have to eat what sounds good in order to keep it down, it’s been harder lately. BUT, I have mostly stopped browsing at thrift stores, etc. I have a very short list of things the kids need and household things that would be worth it, but am buying no “projects” or cute fabric just because. Also, I’m in major nesting mode (31 weeks) and just want to toss everything in all the closets! It’s probably a good thing I don’t have the energy to climb the stairs enough times to actually do that because we do need some things like the kids’ summer clothing! But the five old lamps I don’t love or use filling one closet? Those should go!

  24. First time visitor and WOW what a great topic! (I didn’t read all comments) It seems the blogging community has taken on this DIY theme with several weekly linky parties needing you to show your creation in order to participate. After 5 moves in 8 years I have cleared out to the bare necessities and it feels great!

    I am done with spending endless hours looking on Craigslist, Goodwill and re-sale stores to save 50% BUT then have to fix it and paint it when I can just buy it new in perfect condition.

    I also think there’s a new acceptance to shop thrift stores instead of dept stores in today’s economy. It’s more justified. We women need oxytocin – the ‘happy hormone’ and we get it from shopping. But there are other ways by eating healthy, etc…

  25. I think the current state of the economy is encouraging a trend to simplify and purge. Keeping a written list of “needs/wants” when thrifting, antiquing, etc is a must and a great suggestion for everyone.

  26. wow…Wow…WOW! I just love ALL of the responses because this is my new resolution! Not only to declutter, but to break the ‘ buying’ habit – ‘good deal’ or not! I’m getting there, but I have to admit I’ve slipped up a few times *sheepish grins* Nonetheless, I’m on the right path.

    Thank you to ALL for your wise comments {heart}

  27. I have been on this journey since moving about 5 years ago. I wonder, though, if instead of thinking of this as a disease “thrifting-itis” if it needs to be thought of as a gift to be used on behalf of someone else. For instance, at my church we have a thriving ministry to refugees. We have several “shoppers’ who hit the thrift stores and garage sales. They often have a list from us of “key needs” for our ministry. Using their own money, they regularly keep us stocked with the pots, pans, drapes, etc that we so desperately need. From the point of view of someone helping run this piece of the ministry…TALK to the person in charge and make sure you are getting what they need. THere is nothing worse than folks dropping off stuff they “think we could use” (i.e. a convenient way to clean out deceased Aunt Mabel’s closet) and I just have to make a huge trip to Goodwill to drop it off…It seems to me that homes for pregnant teens, etc could always use this sort of help. You get the buzz of a good deal, they get the help they need.

  28. Somehow, despite all the thrifting blogs I read, I’ve never caught the bug. I still go to a thrift store, see mostly junk and maybe a thing I like, decide I could buy the thing new for only a few more dollars than they’re charging for an old, junky one, and leave the store. I don’t have the patience to dig, so I’ve probably passed up many deals. And my house is cluttered anyway! Guess it’s probably for the best I don’t enjoy it. :)

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