Monday, January 23, 2012

Speed Thrifting

Being a single car family means that some days I spend most of my lunch break commuting my boyfriend to his job before hurrying back to my own.  I love those rare days when traffic and karma align to give me an extra 15 minutes of lunch break before I have to get back to work.  Usually I spend it napping in my car (not even a joke - I'm completely sleep deprived and can fall asleep at the drop of a hat), but the other day I decided to literally run into my local Salvation Army for some secondhand treasures.

For the serious, spend-all-day-Saturday-picking-out-shoes shopper, or even the serious thrift shopper, 15 minutes probably sounds ludicrous.  But I'm usually only looking for big stuff, namely furniture, not combing through racks of junk to discover the diamond in the rough.  Don't get me wrong - small stuff catches my eye all the time.  Most of the time, however, it only takes me a couple of minutes to check out the furniture section and see if I'm interested in anything.  What usually takes the most time is the back-and-forth inner dialogue I run between finding something I like and deciding whether or not to buy it - "Maybe.... if... It could work..."  With only 15 minutes to find/buy/pack up the car, I knew I would have to make some quick decisions - hopefully they'll pay off.

Five steps inside the door, in the section I mentally label "usually overpriced so not worth slowing down," I was brought to a sudden halt when I spotted a pretty white lamp.

"That couldn't be a Blanc de Chine lamp, right?"  (Luckily, inside your head you don't need to know the exact name for items - so "Blanc de Chine" was replaced with this picture, which I had seen the night before when reading old Little Green Notebook posts.)

I swooped over to check it out.  I noticed a chip right away, but it looked pretty good otherwise (except for the monstrous plastic-covered pleated shade. 

Jenny, because she's amazing, got her usually-crazy-expensive lamp for $1.  Surely mine wouldn't be $1, right?  Wait, where is the price tag?

After a puzzled search, I gave a little dejected huff because I assumed the lamp was sold already.  With a longing glance, I decided I should at least ask a salesperson.  That's when I spied my lamp's twin sitting with another display.

"WTF, is it a matched pair?"  Yes, it certainly was.  And this one had a price tag.  2 for $20.  My heart filled with glee as I realized my two-day-old dream of owning a Blanc de Chine lamp was about to come true.  Doubly true.  True twice-over.  However you say it.

But I still had about 13 minutes left, so I quickly sized up my competition (the other shoppers) to see if I needed to physically carry around this 3' tall lamp (including gigantic shade) while I perused the rest of the store.  No one seemed all that interested, but for good measure I threw out a "What a ripoff" and a snobbish head toss.  Because I've learned that if you're dumb enough to walk around a thrift store 1.) talking to yourself, and 2.) saying things like "Ooh, that's really a deal" while browsing, someone standing withing earshot will walk over and buy whatever it is you were looking at within thirty seconds of you walking away.  It doesn't matter if they weren't in the market for a new table/vase/jeans.  Everyone has seen Antique Roadshow by now and they all want in.

I zipped to the back and quickly spotted a long coffee table just begging to be made into a bench.

Lane furniture - wood bottom - horrible laminate top (but that would be covered up when you make it a bench.)  Despite being pressed for time, I found a salesman to haggle with and got him to knock the price down from $35 to $25.

Famous Domino Bedroom
I don't have a place for it, but I envision it as a bench at the foot of a bed.  Now I get to do one of my favorite things - fabric shopping!

I was able to pack the car and get to work on time (with 2 minutes to spare, boo-yah!).  It was about then that I started to wonder what my plans for the lamps were.  Right now I'm not sure if I'm going to keep them or not.  They definitely need to be re-wired for safety - this is one of the plugs:

I'm pretty sure the boyfriend could easily handle rewiring a lamp (it's supposed to be very straightforward and the man has done his fair share of electrical work through the years) - but this one has both a regular bulb and the one inside the lamp base, so I'm guessing that's a little more complicated.

They're cute, but not sure if they are my style.  If I keep them, I might try to DIY some black shades like this:

via More Ways to Waste Time

Or I might sell them on Craigslist.  They'll bring a decent profit, even with defects, since I only paid $10 a lamp.

What would you do?

1 comment:

  1. Great finds! Blanc de chine lamps are gorgeous!