Thrifting is anthropological, curatable, functional, fanciful, and recalibrating. I can study an area based on what the average citizen donates. I collect many things. I occasionally need things and some things are just curious enough to own. Most important for me, if I’m stressed out, feeling anxious, or otherwise “not so self-assured,” walking through thrift stores reminds me to take it easy for a bit. There is no hurry exploring materialistic gardens of fascinating junk.
Anthropological: Luigi Toy
There’s a vibrant retro videogame community in Seattle. I was surprised to find this between dozens of videogame stores, including one just 1.2 miles south, and nostalgic collectors that might re-sell this quaint 90s toy for over $5 at nearby conventions. While this thrift store is located in a seemingly rundown area, its high turnover of quality goods reveals that the surrounding population is probably well off. Who donates things they can sell? Not many. Thrift shops in poorer parts rarely have anything worthwhile.
Curatable: Kamakawiwoʻole CD
I enjoy owning a large collection of CDs. I like their specific physicality, packaging, the smells, and function. I started listening to music with CDs, whereas MP3 players or burned CDs just feel too temporary for me. Most thrift stores have a flat price for CDs, sometimes more expensive than bargain bins at music stores. This was a cool find because I haven’t found any other cheap “Iz” Kamakawiwoʻole CDs. Most are closer to that $18.99 price tag in the upper right corner.
Functional: 11mm Wrench
It’s easy discrediting thrift stores as merely places full of junk. After compiling lists of anything that I might need from the grocery store (with average prices), things I might want yet don’t need, or helpful things, I’ve been finding things to help improve my workflow. My weekly maintenance of my rowing machine is easier now with dedicated tools. I don’t have to hunt down the tools out of my larger toolkit, I know they’re going to work, and they’re always nearby.
Fanciful: Sewing Bag
In my first Better Zombie article, written August 2016, I wrote about getting this bag and not knowing what to do with it. It’s become my main sewing bag in my sewing kit. What’s nice about having something just a little too ornate for an ordinary set of tools is that it’s less likely to get lost in the shuffle. The bag stands out. When I need to mend a loose thread, the bag gives the otherwise plain set more weight and whimsy.
Recalibrating: TMNT Scumbug
Decompressing from the stresses of reality is important for me. Too much stress over a short period of time causes me to anger easily and over longer periods of time the negative symptoms get substantially worse. I’ve been trying to actively schedule decompression time in my life. I may explore new areas, find new hobbies to explore, rekindle old hobbies, or thrift. Finding things, like this TMNT Scumbug and everything above, at thrift stores reminds me not to take life so seriously.