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I got it from my Mama

January 3, 2012 — 14 Comments

So often, I’m greeted with looks of shock and awe when I tell people just how many items in my house and closet are thrifted goods. They commend me, and say “I could never do that – I have no idea where to begin!” as if I’m practicing some advanced level of witchcraft of which they are ignorant. People, I appreciate the flattery, but it’s quite honestly undeserved! Thrifting is easy, if you do it right. And you know who taught me to do it right? My mom. The lady is a thrift machine! Her trick? Go early, go often.

Thrifting, whether it be for clothing or housewares, is best done in an open and relaxed state of mine. Don’t go in a hurry, frantically looking for a particular item. Rather, go when you have at least an hour, with an open mind. This is the way I shop for clothing – collecting items that make an outfit over  time, and the same goes for interior decorating – buy little bits and pieces all the time, until, voila! A vingette comes together.

I spent time at my parents’ over the holidays, and while I was there I snapped a few pics of this theory in practice – little pieces, thrifted from many different stores, coming together in a lovely, stylish way.

Those lamps and mugs? Salvation Army. The paintings and mirrors? The Humane Society Thrift Store. The hutch they sit on? Waste Wise. And you get the idea. Mom has amassed such a collection of thrifted artwork and mirrors, every month she can shift them around, put them on a new wall, pair them with a new item, and create a brand-new space. It’s just like remixing accessories & clothing to make a new outfit.

Look at the little touches in her kitchen: those chairs came from Salvation Army, and Mom waited for the right fabric to recover them. How awesome is the retro bread box? It sits next to a framed coffee ad from a 60s Life magazine. It’s about the little things!

In the kitchen, there was this awkward space between the pantry and the heating radiator for months after my parents moved in. When the above little sofa came up at one of her usual spots, she stuck in it in the car and took it home. Fits perfectly. Observe the wall of frames – she didn’t buy those all at once from Ikea. She collected them over time, and they all spent time in different parts of the house, only now they make one elegant statement.

Another sweet find by Mom is the vintage wallpaper above the bed in my parents’ room. While my husband would have a heart attack if I put something this bold in our room (or anywhere – he’s allergic to wallpaper), my Dad is pretty chill about the whole thing. And the end result is pretty darn stylin’.

So, there you have it: Mom’s rules to get your house looking beautiful on a budget: Thrift everywhere, thrift often, with eyes always open to the little things.

I recently attempted my own mini-room makeover, compiling items from Bibles for Missions, Salvation Army, and the church garage sale. Look for it on the blog later this week. In the mean time, try to find it in your heart to forgive me for using a terrible Will.I.Am song in my title. I’d promise it won’t happen again, but I’d be lying. Titles are hard.