Playfulness. Inspiration. Community. When these things combine, they make a powerful combination, a triple threat of goodness. If I can find them all in one place, you can bet I’ll try to get there. And so explains my hankering for thrift stores. Maybe you share the same infatuation. (Is yours enduring, too? Oh thrift stores, I’ll always love you.) Or maybe you just need a break from whatever stress is on your mind.
Either way, welcome to my new series: Thrift-Shop Hop. When I’m in a different city or exploring my own, I’ll seek out second-hand stores. I’ll invite you along as I discover stories they have to tell. I’ll find items that may spark an upcycling project or two. Or else the treks will simply be amusing, which is just as good, I say.
The shop from my first installment, Top Drawer Thrift of Austin, Texas, was exceptional. It inspired me to define what makes a thrift shop great. Let’s see how the checklist stacks up as I visit one closer to my home: Minneapolis’ own Junket: Tossed and Found. (Spoiler alert: Thumbs way up.)
Five Signs You’re in the Presence of Thrift-Shop Greatness
Sign #1: Displays are Artfully Prepared
When I stepped into Junket, I could tell it was set up by somebody who cares. It was just a feeling I got, but evidence quickly followed. Arrangements featured handmade signs, many which suggested ideas for DIY types like me. Thread arranged by color made me want to reach out and grab spools by the rowful.
Before long one of the displays taught me a new word, a move that earned Junket some bonus points. (How, may I ask, have all of you been describing those protective ornamental plates in your life? Excuse me for a movement while I arrange my collection of escutcheons.)
Sign #2: Wandering Brings Out Your Playfulness
As I ambled through Junket, playfulness surrounded me. Sure, anyone can toss a bunch of beads in a cabinet, but those wily Junket arrangers knew better. You’ll have to ask my man to know for sure, but it’s entirely possible I laughed out loud when I saw the drawer labeled, “Holy beads, Batman!”
Dont get me started on the medley of snarky teacups. You’ll have to visit Junket yourself to see them in all their spiteful glory–yes, coffee mugs are included, too–but I’ve provided my favorite here. I’m snickering even as I type about it.
Sign #3: The Shop Supports the Community
Okay, y’all, let’s just put it out there: Junket’s a community-supporting superstar. First of all, free coffee and donuts greeted me at the door. This made sense given its pedestrian-friendly, local-business-championing neighborhood, but still. This show of openness was a nice touch.
On this particular Saturday afternoon, I was impressed by the sizable stream of customers, many who clearly seemed to know the place. Mugs at the door were available for use, as well as for purchase. (I had to venture deeper inside to get to the irreverent ones.)
Another example of local support was the mosaic artist positioned by the door. (I was too shy to take pictures.) Working on one of his creations, he chatted with those who stopped by. A few of his pieces appeared in the store. Though I didn’t realize it at the time, there’s an empty wall in my craft room that really should have this beauty hanging on it. Oh, man. I wonder if it’s still there.
I was also delighted to discover some books designated for Little Free Libraries. Do you have these in your neighborhood? (I’m pretty sure the movement began in Wisconsin, and these cute boxes are definitely a thing in the Twin Cities.)
The official site describes them as boxes “full of books where anyone may stop by and pick up a book (or two) and bring back another” to share. Each is a standard size, but all are different and reflect the style of whoever put it up. I’ve seen them in residences and at businesses.
Sign #4: You Find an Affordable Discovery You Can’t Live Without
Of course I grabbed a basket of my own. For months I’ve had a project in mind that requires transforming Altoid tins, so I snapped up a couple. Four projects on my list will likely come first, but I’ll get to it. Really, I will! If I can achieve what’s in my head, those tins’ll give me a good way to encourage friends going through a tough time.
Sign #5: The Shop Inspires A New Project
Those of us who sew are notorious for having stashes of fabric. I’m no exception, though I make a strong effort to buy fabric only for each project at hand. That said, when I came across a basket of remnant bundles, I saw a silky scrap that caught my eye.
It featured diamonds of sage and mustard, two of my must-have colors. It would make the perfect lining for a hat or bag. (Within the month, I’d already found a use for it: Making a decorative accent to the pocket on my bottomless bag made from men’s suits.)
So. . . what treasures are you finding at thrift stores? Leave a comment and let me know.