By Charles Taker
I am new to thrifting. Until a year ago, I had never considered shopping at a charity shop. In my mind, second-hand shops sold gently used goods at a reasonable price to help out people who were down in their luck. My first foray into thrifting was anything but what I expected it would be. Most people I encountered were either hipsters trying on vintage clothing or pickers looking at labels in search of that rare treasure. No longer is it necessary to have a good eye, with Google lens, everybody can be an expert.
I approach antiquing and thrifting in very different ways. When I am antiquing, I seek out objects for their aesthetic value. When thrifting, since I am not a reseller, my goal is purely practical. Often, I pick up bakeware. I also routinely collect quality crystal vases and cake plates to leave with the host when I bring someone a cake or flowers. Earlier this autumn, I found a huge canning pot which came in handy when I was doing my pickling and just last week, I found a replacement for the creamer from my everyday crockery which had gotten broken last year. But the last couple of months, I have been on the hunt for extra pudding basins to steam the Christmas puddings I give away each year as gifts. These puddings typically have two steamings; the first when they are made and the second, when they are served. So, when I give a pudding as a gift, I also give it with the steaming basin so that the person can steam it again on Christmas. Over the past year, I have also found collectable plates, silver, linen, art, and even some wonderfully tailored clothing. I have become a convert. As these places are always receiving goods, the stock turns over quite quickly. Since things are mostly one-offs, if you don’t get an item when you see it, it is likely to be gone when you change your mind. If you decide to take up thrifting, be warned: it can be highly addictive.