Beware of energy zappers that suck the life out of your rooms . . . and lives. Commit to addressing those pesky problem areas that cause undue stress and fatigue.
- Clutter and disorganization heighten anxiety.
- Oversized furniture or too much furniture that is haphazardly shoved into small places infringe on your personal space.
- We often ‘make do’ with pieces of furniture that we don’t like, don’t fit or no longer resonate with our creative senses. Get rid of it. Sell unloved items at your next garage sale, on Craigslist or give them away to charity. Bring items that you love into your space and make sure they fit the size of your room. (Check out your local Thrift Stores and Consignment Shops for great buys.)
- Poor furniture placement is as unsightly as it is annoying.
- Too many people live around their furnishings rather than with them. Furniture placement should be pleasing to the eye and offer uncomplicated traffic patterns. For example, people shouldn’t have to walk around a couch to get to a door wall or move the bar stools to access the kitchen.
- Too little room between furnishings or accessories assaults our visual senses and reduces our feeling of space.
- The energizing power of Chi, or life-force, needs the opportunity to flow in and around objects.
- Fake plants are, well . . . fake.
- Bring energy, harmony and soothing life forces back into your rooms with vibrant, healthy plants.
- Damaged furniture is a real downer.
- Battered, scarred or worn and torn furnishings are bothersome reminders that we need to repair, refinish or restore those ancient relics. Commit to your renovation projects or . . . you got it . . . get rid of them.
- Hard or sharp furnishings can be cold and unforgiving.
- Soften harsh lines or hard surfaces with comforting fabrics and rounded objects or edges.
I just made the best buy of the day… a Aurora Library. I was actually looking at all their $1 books because they are closing for good. I found a free bookcase and had just taken it to my car when I walked back in to find that they had just pushed out a love seat from the back room.– FREE, courtesy of
I was the first to look at it and another lady started pushing it around and inspecting it. Since I had already made my decision to buy it, the sales people let me have it. Can you believe that?
This is a big ole’present to myself. I can’t even tell you how great my family room feels to me – it’s feeling more like my home every time I add something.
Oh, and I got a fabulous lamp Goodwill $24 with my Senior Citizen’s discount! Ha, ha! My family room is so cozy and the lighting is great now. I love it.
I can’t believe that I’m so looking forward to garage sale season! I would have never thought I would be such an ardent convert!
Q. Why do you refer to yourself as a Diva?
A. I struggled to come up with a title for myself . . . a name that would reflect my journey to the top of the proverbial pile so to speak. When considering strong, self-actualizing words for women, the English language provides few choices.
Was I going to call myself a Princess? Well, we’ve all pounded that word into the ground. And, I really didn’t want to defend my title against all the little, fluffy, cutesy dogs named Princess.
Perhaps calling myself a master of my trade would work. Naw, that term was obviously reserved for men.
Okay, so how about mistress of my trade? Well, that one is sure to make the tabloids, and not an image I wanted to portray. Plus, the word no longer carries (if it ever did) the element of accomplishment that typified someone who has walked the bumpy road to success.
A Queen? Now, there is a moniker that negates the thought of achievement brought about by hard, creative work. The term typically refers to a birthright not accomplishment.
Alas, there remained . . . the Diva. Strong, accomplished, talented. That could work. Of course, I knew that there would be those that would scoff at such a self-proclaiming title, but I would ask. What word has this culture cultivated to capture the strength, the magic, of talented, smart, resilient women?
Thus, another Diva was born . . . The Thrift Diva
Q. What exactly is Thrift?
A. Thrift or thrifting, as it is often called, is the act of purchasing secondhand items at a fraction of their original cost.
Check out my FAB 99 cent 60′s swing coat . . .
Q. Don’t most people regard the act of thrifting as a rather seedy, back-alley type of activity?
A. They used to, but times are changing. With the downturn of the economy thrift has stepped out of the closet . . . so to speak. Many people furnish their entire homes in fabulous but frugal secondhand finds. I have. I just talked to a fellow thriftier that furnished her 3,800 square foot home with used bargains . . . for $8,000 . . . and it looks fabulous.
Others build their wardrobes from posh designer fashions they rescue from thrift stores, garage sales and auctions.
Q. I find the phrase Thrift Diva to be somewhat of an oxymoron. Isn’t thrift the polar opposite of being a Diva?
A. That is actually one of the reasons I began calling myself The Thrift Talk Diva. My mission is to take thrift out of the gutter. To show people how to decorate or dress using recycled products. Think of it. No packaging, no shipping costs, no advertising. Not only is thrift socially responsible, but we can all live in wonderfully appointed environments at little to no cost.
And . . . The Thrift Diva can show them how to do it.
Q. Why are you the expert on thrift?
A. I have been shopping America’s thrifty by-ways and high-ways for 30 years, I have outfitted my home and myself in fashionable thrift bargains, and I have taught countless Divettes how to create fabulous interiors for little to no cost.
Q. Am I right to assume that thrift shopping is becoming more in vogue with the downturn of the economy?
A. Although the art of thrifting has been around for years, it is definitely in vogue . . . it is the new black.
Q. Why does it matter?
A. There are several factors that make this frugal trend a hot topic:
- The economy is in the dumper but people do not want to give up their lifestyles . . . and they don’t need to. What they need to discover is a cheaper means to accomplish their goals, whether it is outfitting their families or decorating their homes.
- Women are hard-wired to nest, to create richly appointed, comfortable homes. Fashioning a home is the primer creative outlet for most women. It started when hides, caves and timbers were crudely fashioned into habitats. These abodes were adorned with drawings, beads, animal relics and other adornments.
- It is fun. The thrill of the hunt is as alluring in the halls of thrift as it is in the fields of prey.
Q. Do you consider the Art of Thrifting to be a business or hobby?
A. My fascination with garage sales, flea markets, antique and consignments shops started out as a hobby. I was a single mom on a tight budget and was thrilled at the thought of decorating my home at little to no cost. It wasn’t until years later and the change in perception that I actually turned my passion into a coaching and speaking business with the launch of my book Tossed and Found.
Q. Was thrift hunting an accepted activity 30 year ago?
A. Absolutely not. As a matter of fact I write about going to garage sales, incognito. I used to carry a pair of sunglasses and a scrunchy hat in my car to use whenever I stopped at a yard sale or thrift shop. At the time I was a fashion model and I was doing a lot of radio and television appearances. Back then my Divaness had not yet fully blossomed and I would have sooner died than been spotted with my head in a dumpster or in the back of some grubby barn searching for my holy grail.
Q. What is the best find you ever found?
A. I will share my most cherished possession because I feel that worth is not measured by the actual price that is paid, but the value that it holds for the huntress.
In the infancy of my thrifting addiction, I stopped by a fairly seedy sale hesitating as to whether to even go in. I did a quick scope of the interior of the garage and made the decision to leave when I spotted a dust covered picture propped behind some old boxes. Its back was facing me and I could only see the old and tattered frame. Turning it around and wiping the dust off the glass I was enchanted by the yellowed but fetching picture.
A turn of the century Diva peered out through her mask at a costume ball. I knew that I had to have her. Hesitantly I asked the proprietress of this fine establishment how much she wanted. Her tired reply asked for a mere $5.00. I knew that day, as I walked my treasure to the car, that I was hooked. I am a thrift-a-holic.
Q. When and why did you begin writing?
A. I have actually written for years, but I never brought any of my projects to fruition. It wasn’t until I lost my corporate position several years ago that I had the unfettered opportunity to follow my dreams. One day in had a serious talk with myself and threw the question out to the universe, “What course should I follow now?” The answer came back like a bolt of lightning…”Write a book about your passion.” Hence, the birth of Tossed and Found.
Q. Is there a bigger message beneath the clutter (so to speak) of Tossed and Found?
A. Definitely. I want to reach women and deliver this message: No matter how humble your dreams, no matter what your circumstances, you can reach that goal. You are powerful…own it. You are creative…embrace it. You are a Diva.
Q. Are experiences based on the events in your own life?
A. Absolutely. I talk about the experiences I have had on the road, on television and radio, on the runway and in business. I relate some of the amazing adventures I have had like having a gun pulled on us during a garage sale, finding true treasures for pennies, and decorating my home in thrift . . . at no cost.
Q. Can you share a little of your current work with us?
A. Yes. I am writing my second book entitled Tossed and Turned. Whereas Tossed and Found is about finding and buying secondhand treasures, Tossed and Turned is about decorating with frugal finds. It shows, step by step how to turn a ‘noplace’ into a ‘showplace’ at little to no cost.
The emerging Diva
Most people get lured into the thrift craze by accident. Maybe they got hooked by simply stopping by a sale that enticed them into their tattered halls with the promise of tempting treasures. And some, like me, found a lifelong passion hidden in the dark reassesses of someone else’s garage.
Whatever first drew us into that initial sale the memory has probably faded into the distant haze of thrift mania. The fact remains that once we have been bitten by the frugal bug, we join the ever-growing ranks of America’s thrift aficionados.
And, as we take ownership of our parsimonious passion it makes sense to organize our forays as we approach our coveted weekends of bargains and haggling.
How To Locate Estate Sales
When I am deep in the throes of garage sale season I attend as many estate sales as possible and I always ask to be put on their mailing lists. That way I am always informed of their upcoming events.
I also search the internet and find many great sales by logging on to www.EstateSales.net. This site affords an easy way to find estate sales, tag sales, and auctions in local areas across the country. I click the desired state on the map of the United States and I am directed to estate sales in whatever part of the country I am in.
How to Find a Consignment Shop
Locally owned and run consignment shops can be found scattered throughout the towns and burgs across America. There are several online sites that list consignment shops by state:
Craigslist is one of my favorite sites. Not only do I scour it regularly to find sales but I post my own garage and yard sales as well as my famous Living Estate Sales.
The list was started in 1995 by Craig Newmark in the San Francisco Bay area. By 2007, Craigslist had established itself in approximately 450 cities in 50 countries. Here’s the kicker…its sole source of revenue is the sale of their job ads. This site gets a whopping nine billion page views a month. The good news for us thrift seekers is that the garage sale, estate sale, and yard sale ad portion is free!
I have never sold much on EBay, specifically because I have focused and enjoyed the hands-on, belly-to-belly repartee that garage sales, flea markets and estate sales offer. However, that doesn’t mean that a tidy profit can’t be had. The key to making money, I would venture to say, lies in what an item is purchased for versus what it is sold for. A good guide for buying the right things to sell on EBay is The eBay Seller’s Guide to Finding Profitable Hidden Bargains at Garage Sales. http://www.auctionebook.com/?hop=dscoombes
- http://www.yardsalers.net/ - This site offers some great tips on garage sales and estate sales. And it leans toward reselling things on eBay.
Auctionszip.com is a great resource for those who want to explore the auction world. Go to the site and enter a zip code, select the distance that you desire to travel, and a calendar with all of the auctions will appear. Voila!
- http://www.AuctionBytes.com - This site is several things; an independent trade publication for about ecommerce and the online auction industry, and a do-it-yourself place to make your own Garage Sale signs that are large and colorful. There is a charge, but if you enter the coupon code “queen”, you get a $1 off.
Locating and Mapping on the Internet
This site is hands down my favorite place for locating and mapping garage sales, yard sales, and estate sales throughout the country.
Although this is a great resource for finding local thrift stores and links to other thrift-related sites, it also contains thrifting tips and frugal shopping maneuvers.
Simply enter the city, then the venue (thrift stores, antique or consignment shops)and presto, the establishments in the area line up.
This website lets a shopper or seller find a sale, post a sale, blog, print coupons, find consignment shops and flea markets, and get tips under their FAQs section.
This location offers the opportunity to advertise yard or garage sales, sell online, and search to find garage sales, estate sales, or yard sales in a variety of states. There are also thrift tips and a guide for online buying and selling.
- http://www.yardsaleAD.com - You will find this fairly easy to use. List your yard and tag sales, map them out, and even save your finds in their portfolio section. Also search using; Categories, Dates, Times, Description, and Radius from your home.
- http://www.garagesaletime.com/ – Look for a garage sale near you, or post your FREE garage sale copy.
- http://www.WeekendTreasure.com - this site is free for those looking to find sales, but charges a fee for posting you own sale.
Christmas is over and I am still trying to recover from it. Trying to put things away and well, what do I do with gifts I don’t want that weren’t quite right? Can I, should I, could I, re-gift them? Doesn’t sound very “Diva” like. But I really hate waste. Some things I can return or exchange but some things could go to other people. I think I will put them in my “gift box” for later.
The “gift box” idea came from my mom. My whole life she had a box or a drawer with “gifts” for last minute occasions. Some things were new and some were not, but there was always something for that last minute birthday or anniversary or stocking stuffer. Even the guest who came for Christmas Eve dinner and stayed all night (but that is another story and he was from another country where they stay up for fireworks and food at midnight). That gift box saved the day many times and some things nestled in there were items my mom had been given but never used because they really didn’t fit her style.
If you are thinking about “re-gifting” you might want to entertain these suggestions to avoid offense.
-Don’t give something back to the person who originally gave you the gift (or anyone who they might visit) because that will end up as a “oh how lovely, I gave a vase just like that to my niece Jane.” Followed by, “Oh, that’s funny; Jane gave me this lovely vase.” That will get you written out of the will, trust me!
- If you have something not right for you, but perfect for someone else, set it aside for their birthday or some other occasion and re-wrap it and make sure they know it made you think of them when you give it. (Honestly, my favorite gift this year came from a co-worker and it was definitely several different items (thrift or garage sale) inside this really cute cardboard house! I took the gifts out and put one of those battery operated candles in it, and used the house as centerpiece on a table.
-Sometimes a gift exchange is a good place to re-gift an item, especially if it is a white elephant gift exchange. Or maybe you want to have some good friends over for libations and fun and bring gifts that didn’t work out and trade….you could end up with something really wonderful!
-If the gift is truly terrible, give it to the Goodwill or some other charitable organization. Your trash is someone else’s treasure. (Be sure to REMOVE any personal notes or identification.) Great Aunt Martha may shop the Goodwill and find that lovely floral house coat you donated especially if it has “To Jane from Aunt Martha” still on it.
-Last but not least, if you can’t part with the gift for fear of hurting the feelings of someone you love, hold on to it, display it proudly or wear it to their house and then after a respectful amount of time put it away in your own “gift box” for some later gift emergency.
For some of us, our insatiable Diva curiosities find us scrambling to get a peek at the gowns worn by celebrities during the awards season.
So, check this out. You can rent one for a night or even own a designer gown that was worn by a star on the red carpet.
Although those gorgeous frocks are usually rented by the stars and are extremely expensive, the designers often auction them off after they have been returned.
So if you’ve spied a dress you simply must have, like Taylor Swift’s 2009 Grammy Gown, then keep checking auction sites such as www.clothesoffourback.org, www.donatemydress.org or www.celebrity2nds.com. You may just be able to own that gown . . . albeit at a high price. The good news is that all of your costs go to charity.
But as a frugal Diva I must issue a word of caution. The auction prices are hefty and you may watch your favorite gown propel beyond your reach for ever more.
However, if the starting bid price of that coveted Vera Wang gown, which you would almost kill for, is off the charts, don’t lose heart. That dress can be yours for an evening in a price range more favorable to your pocketbook. Visit sites such as One Night Affair, Light in the Box, and My Celebrity Dress to find your favorite gown, stun your friends with your Diva fashion sense, and smile radiantly because you can still afford groceries the week after the party.
Below is an email that I received from a very excited client. We are working to transform her somewhat worn home into a chic and stylish habitat.
Just last garage sale season, Jo learned how to shop using a newly frugal but creative eye. She quickly learned to spot the potential treasures beneath the tarnish.
After holding a garage sale of her own, we spent a few fun and productive weekends looking for bargain furnishings to replace the items we literally hauled out of her house and sold on the spot. Remember the old addage; One woman’s junk is another woman’s treasure? (Okay, so it is close enough.)
Jo was very hesitant at the beginning of our project. She was skeptical of finding quality items at local thrift venues. Now, she is an ardent believer and often ventures out on her own to find her bargains. She has learned that imagination and resourcefulness are key factors in finding the right deals.
I just made the best buy of the day… a– FREE, courtesy of Aurora Library. I was actually looking at all their $1 books because the library is closing for good.
I found a free bookcase and had just taken it to my car when I walked back in to find that they had just pull a love seat from the back room and pushed it onto the sale floor.
I was the first to look at it, then another lady started pushing it around and inspecting it. Since I had already made my decision to buy it, the sales person let me have it. Can you believe that?
I felt like I just gave myself a big ole’present. I can’t even tell you how great my family room feels to me – it’s beginning to feel more like home every time I add something.
Oh, and I picked up a fabulous lamp Goodwill for $24 with my Senior Citizen’s discount! Ha, ha! My family room is so cozy and the lighting is great now. I love it.
I can’t believe that I’m so looking forward to next garage sale season! I would have never thought I would be such an ardent convert! This is fun and it is not costing me any more money because I am using the funds that I made when we held my garage sale.
Thank you so much . . . and, Happy New Year!
To your success,
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