We woke up to snow this morning. Yes, snow. We are on the West Coast and it is very rare to get snow at the end of March! So I was tidying up around the house trying to decide what to do with the kids today when I came across a couple piles of stuff for donation. So I decided we’d go to the thrift store (Value Village).
The kids were very excited, and I think that in itself is pretty cool. It’s a very different shopping experience at VV compared to the usual retail store. For one thing my kids spend ages in the toy section and they can handle everything. Few items are packaged, most are already showing signs of wear and tear. They are also allowed to each choose 1 or 2 items. It cracks me up watching them going over everything so carefully and trying to decide what to pick, when I know that the grand total of their booty will be less than $5.
And while they are perusing the toys I look around for kids’ clothes or other stuff. I actually have enough clothes for them right now so this time I hit the kitchen and household stuff. I almost bought a sparkling clean oven roasting rack for $10 but I realized that I very rarely use one and, since we are renting, I could totally see myself leaving it behind with the house, forgetting that I bought it myself and assuming it came with the oven. Now, ten bucks is possibly a very good price but being the frugal person that I am (aspiring to be) I weighed my decision carefully, asking myself if I really needed this or not. I really didn’t.
I did however find the Patricia Cornwell novel that is missing from my (now complete) collection. That was my big find today. They only had it in hardcover, but it was still only $3.99. The original $26 price tag was still visible.
Daughter came away with a plastic case filled with little trinkets – this is exactly the sort of thing she’ll obsess over for hours and it cost me $2.99. She also got a Sesame Street doctor’s kit, which came in very handy when we hit the supermarket a couple hours later – she took her brother’s temperature, listened to his heart, etc. all while I wheeled them through the store. That was $1.99 well spent for a half-hour of shopping peace. Son picked out a nice, new, in the package rubber ducky that came with a soft football and some bicycle handle streamers, all for $1.99. He hasn’t let go of the ducky since. I also got them a travel games set, still in the original wrapping, for $3.99.
As we left the store and the kids were all excited to play with their new toys, I felt very satisfied with myself. It makes me happy that my children could be so thrilled about a bunch of used, inexpensive toys. They’ve been to Toys ‘R Us on occasion when we’ve had to buy a birthday gift. They’ve glimpsed the toy section at Wal Mart (which they both pronounced “boring”). And yet going to Value Village is considered a treat to them because they get to play with all the toys and then pick their favorites to take home with them. They also love that you never know what you are going to find!
I hope they will feel this way for a long time. I hope that by doing this at such a young age they will feel comfortable in thrift stores and see them as the eco-friendly, budget-friendly, fun places that they are. I look forward to many more trips, and many more fun finds.