Friday, November 20, 2009

Thrift-store Finds

Happy Thanksgiving to all the people who are celebrating next week. We like smoked turkey here at The Homestead, but I hope that whatever holiday meal you prefer is nice and tasty!

I’ve been dealing with schoolwork, laundry, and other mundane things all day. I got up late because I went to bed late, so I’m off schedule in a bad way today. That’s all right, though, because I work best at night: my circadian rhythms just aren’t designed for the morning-person stuff.

Anyway: Some of you probably know by now that I have a tough time driving past a thrift store, especially when I have a few bucks in my pocket and something specific on my mind. Thrift stores are fantastic places to find all sorts of neat things, most of them in decent (or even new) condition. If you have enough knowledge about what you’re trying to find, you can come out of these stores with great stuff for little to nothing compared to the retail price.

Earlier this week, I visited the huge thrift store by my campus and came home with an old, Dell keyboard. That’s a big deal to me because I really like the old, sturdy keyboards: they’re more comfortable to use; don’t wear out nearly as quickly as the new, cheap crap does; and aren’t very expensive. The Dell that I snagged cost me all of four bucks and, after I get my ten-dollar signal converter from Amazon in order to connect the device to my computer, I’ll be ready to go. For fourteen bucks, I could get a keyboard from Walmart that’ll fall apart in six months or so…or I could get something that doesn’t suck. Yeah, that’s not a hard decision.

Of course, your local thrift store is a fantastic source for all kinds of other things, from clothes and cookware to books and electronics. The inventory is unpredictable, of course, so it’s a good idea to stop in on a regular basis. Making friends with some of the employees also helps, because one might be willing to put aside something that he or she thinks you’ll like.

I’ve found all sorts of great clothes, including jeans and tee shirts. I’ve come home with a keyboard for Mom’s computer as well as some shirts that I knew she’d like. I’ve found books and CDs, too, for just a few bucks each (if that much).

There’s also some survival-related stuff at thrift stores. I’ve seen all kinds of backpacks, for example, which make great bug-out or get-home bags. You sometimes find different types of cookstoves, such as Coleman models, for decent prices. Hurricane lamps, hand-powered kitchen gadgets, and rain gear are also on the shelves or in the bins.

So, if you’re worried about not being able to afford the gear that you need, make a list of what you’re trying to find and start haunting thrift stores. Garage sales are good, too, by the way.

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“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”
-George OrwellAnimal Farm