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Posts Tagged ‘thrift store’

The “Do One Thing” series chronicles my yearlong effort to tackle one project every day to organize my life and home.

Day 45: Rescued a florist’s vase from the garage. Normally, this sort of thing would end up in the thrift store box, but I like its minimalism. I cleaned it up and filled it with colored glass pebbles that I bought for a tiling project. (We were going to intersperse the pebbles in a pattern among the tiles, but it turns out that both my husband and I HATE tiling and there was no way we were going to work any more complications into the project than we had to.)

Anyway, I’m sort of not digging the whole colored pebbles in a vase thing, so it may end up at the thrift store anyway, but at least the garage is a little neater.

Previously:

Day 44: Dropped two magazines from our subscription list. Both are guilty of misguided attempts to blend their print and online operations, attempting to increase subscription prices while publishing all stories on the Internet for free. This is not a survivable online strategy. Besides, my husband cashed in a bunch of airline miles a couple of weeks ago for still more magazine subscriptions, so we’re still in the dead tree business.

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The “Do One Thing” series chronicles my yearlong effort to tackle one project every day to organize my life and home.

Day 18: Put a blazer into the thrift store box. It’s a well-made wool blazer, but its cut is simply out of style and I don’t know when it’ll come back in style. I’m no fashionista, but in addition to being outdated, it’s also a little big for me.

Day 19: Manhandled my office bifold closet door to obtain the big Rubbermaid box filled with more photographs that I need to send to ScanCafe. Spent another 10 minutes trying to figure out how to repair the bifold closet doors so they both actually open and close. I hate those closet doors.

Day 20: Shredded documents like an Enron accountant, only with less desperation.

Day 21: Really started to dig into the photo box retrieved on Day 19. Remembered why every time I start to sort through this box, I quickly put the top back on and put it back in the closet. It contains everything from old photographs of family members I don’t remember to vacation photos from the late 1990s.

Day 22: I actually made headway on the box of photos, sorting out duplicates and choosing the best copies to send off for scanning.

Day 23: Finally bought the faucet, toilet paper holder and towel ring to go in the remodeled downstairs bathroom. This is why people buy new houses.

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Meet Franz. I bought him for $2 at an estate sale I attended just so I could get a look at the interior of some townhomes in my neighborhood. He looked lonely and in danger of being shipped off to a thrift store with the rest of the unsellables. Franz was hand-sketched in charcoal. He deserved better.

Plus, let’s just admit it, I decorate like a lunatic.

Franz hangs by my desk at home, though he’s not so much inspiration as he is entertainment. I just like him, even though I’m really not sure what sort of animal he is. I’m not even sure how I decided he was German.

I thought of Franz today as I was dropping off a few things at a thrift store, items that were cute and in good shape, but items that I just could not bring myself to love.

I decided a few years ago that open space was my decorating style, and I’ve been decluttering my way to that goal ever since. Gone are the knickknacks that someone else chose for me, the extra set of everyday dishes from my grandmother’s house, the candleholder collection that accumulated after a few people saw me burning candles at a couple of parties.

The things that stay are the things I use and/or simply love. The best part about bringing the rest to a thrift store isn’t the empty space left behind in a closet or on a shelf, but the idea that someone else WILL love these things.

Every item that I give away may become somebody’s Franz. How awesome is that?

My favorite thrift store, by the way, is A New Leash on Life Marketplace at 707 Andrew Jackson Way in Huntsville. It’s a cute little store, filled with a nicer selection than you find in larger thrift stores, and there’s sometimes a couple of adoptable animals there for a visit. A New Leash on Life is a non-profit animal rescue group that houses adoptable animals in approved foster homes.

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Buying cookware is the final stage of entry to adulthood, right?

I am SO there.

I’ve been using the cookware pictured here for about 16 years. Liberated from the home of my dearly departed paternal grandmother, it’s likely older than I am. Wear and tear wasn’t really a problem, however, since she hardly ever cooked much more than a can of chicken noodle soup.

It was some kind of enamelware, with hints of an Australian origin. I was always sort of vaguely aware that I should buy something “real,” since who knows what that stuff was coated with.

One of the larger pots developed a small dark spot on the bottom in the late ’90s. While boiling water one day, I watched the spot rise to the surface, followed by a powdery, brownish red cloud. It seemed to have rusted through from the inside out.

Other than that incident, it was incredibly durable. The only reason I had to get rid of it was because of another very grownup purchase my husband and I made recently: a new stove.

It’s a stainless steel model with a ceramic cooktop that, in theory, will make the kitchen sleek and sporty once we’ve replaced everything else that makes the kitchen non-sleek and frumpy.

The only caveat: The safest way to use the ceramic cooktop is not to use it at all.

It is the drama queen of cooking surfaces. No enamel. No cast iron. No aluminum. Only the flattest of flat-bottomed cookware will do. No hint of moisture on the outside of the vessel. If you spill anything with sugar in it on the cooktop, immediately turn the stove off, call a priest and get him to pray that you can remove the spill before it makes a pit on the surface.

I kid. Sort of. It’s actually a really reliable cooktop, once you get used to it, and the oven is the most accurate model I’ve ever used. And it does make one end of the kitchen look very sporty.

I think I’m even burning extra calories, because cooking without the fear of instantaneously destroying your cooktop doesn’t produce any adrenaline at all.

It might all be hype. Several people have told me that they use anything and everything on their ceramic cooktops. But older enamelware seems to be a consistent no-no – the surface coating has every possibility of actually melting onto the cooktop.

So we bought a set of stainless steel, the only “sure thing” to use. I was pleasantly surprised by the price; my husband found a five-piece set of Tramontina, recommended by Cook’s Illustrated, for around $150 at Wal-Mart, a real bargain compared to most of the luxury brands.

I’ve got no complaints about it. Best of all, some lucky thrift-store scavenger is going to get a few more years of use out of my grandmotherly enamelware. Just beware the small dark spot on the bottom.

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