Great buys at a thrift store.
One of the things I enjoy in my monthly routine is making trips to the local second-hand stores in Atlanta or Indiana. I go there to find anything that I might be able to use for dinner parties such as vases, candle holders, plates cups, glasses and serving dishes. I look for anything that I think will be a great addition to my arsenal of objects and vessels that I use to entertain friends.
I know that the words, “second-hand store” or “thrift store” conjure up negative images for some people. The thought of buying a plate off of a dusty shelf, or a martini glass that you are looking to buy has some type of food debris on it can put some people off. The fact is a good scrubbing with hot sudsy water, some bleach will clear all of that up.
I usually go to the second-hand store with an idea of what I want to get. I may have a small dinner party planned where I need to find something interesting to hold my coveted shrimp and grits. Most of the time, I usually find other items that I would like to add to my entertainment arsenal.
I found these 6 small bowls all for $2.00. I serve small salads in them or soup or I use them to hold condiments like pickles, mustard or sea salt without any regard to their original purpose . I don’t care if it was used for a specific function, I use it for what I need at the moment. That is the key in entertaining with things that you already have.
As a private chef, I cherish serving my food on special vessels and the fact the people comment on how beautiful it is, confirms to me that it is not always necessary to pay $120 for a large serving platter when you can get one that is prettier for about $8. For me, it is a way of recycling and re-purposing things that would have other wise been thrown out.
Keep in mind that i t does not matter if glasses match or plates match. From a design perspective it is better to have a table with beautiful dishes that do not match and have continuity but not exactness. The key is to try to keep things similar in size or similar colors.
There are some tips to keep in mind when you finally decide to make the trip to a thrift store.
1- Things at a thrift store will not be organized the way they would be at a department store. So you may need to look around and “find” what you are wanting to buy for your table.
2-Things at a second-hand store are most likely used. A good washing with hot water and bleach will make that vantage glass sparkle as if it were new.
3- Try to remember that the most interesting object on a table is something that has been re-purposed. An old water pitcher can be used for pouring lemonade or it can hold some freshly cut flowers from your garden.
4- Most vintage martini, wine or cocktail glasses can be picked up for about $5 and they are relatively small. Use these vessels to control the portions of the amount of liquor you consume.
5- Try going to a second-hand store that gives their proceeds to a charity. You will be helping out your community.
6- When you buy from a thrift store, you are helping the environment because you are recycling some items that would normally be thrown away.
7- When you buy plates or glasses don’t feel as if they all need to match exactly. Sometimes small plates that are similar in size are great serve dessert. If they break or chip all you didn’t spend $50 on the plates but a couple of bucks.
8- Don’t feel compelled to get an exact set of 8 or 6 of a particular glasses. It’s ok to find 5 or 7 and then try to find the same glasses on another visit.
Going to a thrift store is not for everyone and you do have to have an “eye” for finding things that will look good holding your food and things that you can use to grace your table.