How to clean anything from a thrift store

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It’s probably because I’ve been thrifting forever, but I’ve never had an issue with my things being ‘used’.  I would say that probably 80% of all of my possessions are from thrift stores…from my clothes to my kitchen items to my decorations.  I simply have no qualms about using things that other people have already used.

I’m also not a germaphobe so that probably helps.  In case you are a germaphobe or are a secondhandaphobe, I’ve created a guide to help you clean everything you might get from a thrift store.

How to clean anything from a thrift store


Clothing

Of course depending on the fabric, throw it in the washing machine.  If you’re especially phobic, go ahead and use hot water and bleach.  If it says dry clean I would probably dry clean it or hand wash it with Woolite.

Jewelry

Soak or wipe with rubbing alcohol and let it dry.

Shoes

Rub them down with rubbing alcohol, use lysol, or put them in a ziplock and freeze them (yeah, you heard me right).

Kitchen items (dishes, silverware, baking stuff)

A good ol’ scrub with antibacterial soap and hot water should do the trick.  You can also disinfect them by soaking them in mixture of two tablespoons of bleach per gallon of hot water.

Rugs and carpets

Spray a mixture of one part vinegar to three parts water on your rug.  Let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes and then vacuum it up.  You can also buy non-toxic rug cleaner.

Furniture

First of all, always inspect for any signs of bugs (unlikely though).  Wipe down hard surfaces with soap and water, vinegar, or a disinfecting spray.  Remove and wash any covers the same way you would with clothing.  Vacuum or spray with a disinfecting spray.  If you’re especially wary, buy D-Earth and follow the instructions (but essentially you wrap up the piece in plastic for a few days) it will kill any bugs.

Toys

Soak hard toys in a bleach mixture.  Throw soft toys in the washing machine.  Honestly, it won’t destroy the toys, I don’t know why toy companies would ever make toys for kids that couldn’t be washed.

Knick Knacks

Wipe them down with hot soapy water or some windex or the like.  Honestly, it’s not like you’re going to be holding these close to your body so as just get the dust off of them and they should be fine.

Any other questions let me know below!

Brands to Look for at Thrift Stores

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I did a post a while back on brands to look for at Goodwill and other thrift stores, but I have more I want to add to the list.

When thrifting, I find a lot of brands that people might not normally know to look for at Goodwills.  They’re not always household names, but they’re excellent quality and worth the money!

Alice & Olivia
Badgley Mischka
Current/Elliot
Dolce Vita
Elie Tahari
Elizabeth and James
Ella Moss
Equipment
Frye
Helmut Lang
James Perse
Jeffrey Campbell
Joie
Milly
Rachel Roy
rag & bone
Sam Edelman
sass & bide
Splendid
Tadashi
Tahari
Theory
Tibi
Tory Burch
Trina Turk
Twelfth St. by Cynthia Vincent
Vince

DIY Teacup Candles Step-by-Step Instructions with Pictures

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Here’s the guest post I did.  Enjoy!

DIY Teacup Candles

Candles are a beautiful gift for the holidays, especially when homemade.  This DIY instruction will show you how to make very pretty (and very cheap!) teacup candles from materials found at thrift stores.

You will need:

  • Candles
  • Teacups
  • Two pots and water (two make a double boiler)
  • Wooden skewers/pens/chopsticks

Step 1. Gather your materials

I went to a Goodwill store in Boston where I found all of my materials.  This particular store had a whole section devoted to donated candles, so I gathered up many different ones.  I would definitely recommend picking up any tapered ones or ones with long wicks that you could use for your project.  This way you don’t have to make your own wicks, which can be quite a process.  I spent $4 on all of my candles.

Any old teacups will work.  I picked out different styles of teacups but if you found a whole set you could have all matching candles.  None of mine came with saucers, but keep the saucer in mind as it could be a cute addition to the candle! I bought 10 teacups for about $6.

NOTE: You have to melt the wax, so one of your pots will have wax directly in it.  If you don’t want this, consider picking up a cheap pot at the thrift store to use instead.

Step 2. Melt the wax

I pulled the wicks out of my long tapered candles to use for the teacup candles.  You can also pull them out after the wax has melted, but then you would have to let them dry.  Set up your double boiler by putting about 2 inches of water in one pot and nesting a slightly smaller pot inside.  You can search online for a better description if you need it, but you’re essentially setting up the pots like you would to melt chocolate.  My wax melted within 10 minutes.

Step 3. Set up your teacups

While the wax is melting, set up your teacups with their wicks.  Lay a pen or a skewer across the top of your teacup.  Then take the wicks you pulled out of the tapered candles and measure so that the wick just touches the bottom of the teacup.  I would do a rough cut of the wick at that point, and then I would wrap it around the pen to make a candy cane shape and hold it in place.  You could also use tape or ‘trap’ it in between two taped together chopsticks…it doesn’t matter, as long as it’s centered!

Step 4. Pour in the wax

When the wax is melted, pour it slowly into your teacups.  I would definitely suggest putting down some sort of old towel under the pot in case some wax spills. Fill it up leaving a little space before the edge of the teacup.  Also keep the height of your wick in mind…you don’t want it to be too short and drown in the wax! Also, feel free to adjust the wick at this point before the wax hardens.

Step 5. Let the wax harden/trim wicks

I made my candles at night and the next morning they were beautiful and hard!  This also explains the difference in lighting in my pictures.  One thing to keep in mind is that for some reason that I don’t understand, you will almost inevitably end up with a slight depression in the middle of your candle.  They don’t bother me, but if you want the surface of your wax to be smooth you should pour more melted wax in and let it harden again.  At this point you should also trim the wick.  There’s not a real science to it, just don’t trim them way too short or leave them way too long.

Step 6. Enjoy!

You just made beautiful, easy, and cheap, homemade gifts at $1 a piece!  Spread the holiday love and share them with your friends and family!

$9000 Print Found at Goodwill

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Seriously. Why isn’t this me.

Another story of a woman who found a lithograph worth $9000 at her GW.

I really need to start checking out the art section more / not using the art I find for DIY projects before I’m sure it’s not worth something!!!

$9K artwork bought for $12 at Milwaukee Goodwill

source

Guest Post-DIY Teacup Candles

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WOW it has been too long.  My life got a little hectic for a while!  I was acceptedamericorps into AmeriCorps and I had to attend a week long training before going straight into work at my site.  I’m working at a public high school with their strategic planning team for the next year. Very busy!

But really, I couldn’t be happier to be working with AmeriCorps.  It’s such a great program, and I hope it will help me develop my skills and lead to great things.  It does mean that I had to leave my job at The Restaurant because you can’t work with AmeriCorps and have any other side income.  But regardless I love it so far, and that’s a good thing because I’ll be here for a year! Also, the job still leaves me plenty of time to go thrifting and do projects…

…like this one, a guest post I did up at voxpopnj.  It’s a DIY for teacup candles.  It was so easy and they make adorable and very cheap gifts for the holidays.

Check it out and enjoy!

Ps, nice to be back.

burningcandle

Friday Favorites

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FRIDAY FAVORITES. YAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY

Recent Thrifted Find

Definitely my Marc Jacobs top that I got at The Garment District this week.  I think the cost came out to 52 cents per item…you seriously can’t beat that.

Music

I can’t stop listening to Alabama Shakes.  I don’t even know how to describe them, but you need to listen to them immediately.

Food

My wonderful and amazing friend Lily from Best Bathrooms LA sent me a care package with these things called Nips.  They’re like hard caramels with fudge inside.  Needless to say they’re incredible (and gluten free!)

Pinterest Project

From jaynsarah

diy peplum dress from ugly thrift store find! MUST TRY!

Quote

(from pinterest)

Outfit Inspiration

(from pinterest)

Book

Yeah ok I’m still reading The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.  It’s still incredible. I’m just so sad the trilogy is going to be over, I’m dragging it out as long as possible.

Nifty Thrifty Under $50 Outfit

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Holiday time is coming!!!  Which means SEQUINS!!!

J Crew Top: Goodwill Outlet $1.50 / Retails for $79.50
Teenflo Skirt: Goodwill in Eagle Rock $4.99 / $100
Sepalla Woman Shoes: bought in Russia.  I believe they’re Finnish… $18
Bracelet: Sway $9

My total: $33.50
Retail total: $206.5
Savings: $173 or 84%

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