Is The Juice Worth The Squeeze? | Thrifting

Thrifting is addicting. Maybe it’s the thrill of a good deal or beating that grandma headed towards the same dresser you’re eyeing. Whatever it is, it feels good. I love making over a good find, but it has to be priced accordingly. Scouring Craigslist for that perfect hutch or desk takes time. In fact, the two and a half years we were in Monterey, I did NOT find a single sideboard/buffet that I loved despite my weekly searches. This is when my husband would say, “Is the juice worth the squeeze?”

I don’t know if its the lack of awesome thrift stores AND furniture stores here, but the desire to makeover our home has been completely consuming. I look at furniture online. DAILY. If a friend of mine has an awesome couch, I’ll ask her where she got it. Then I’ll pin it and doodle in a notebook when I’m not changing a diaper or sweeping puffs off the floor for the tenth time.

I’ve learned a few things about furniture, thrifting, and DIY projects thanks to constantly having to move because of the Navy, having messy kids and going from college “furniture” to the big girl stuff.

Spend big bucks on a durable couch.
I’m not talking about a slipcovered Green Beast. I’m talking about a beautiful sectional, preferably leather (like the one from Bassett below). Everyone and their mother loves white slipcovered couches these days. Even I sipped the white couch Kool-aid. Let me tell you something. It sucks. Beautiful, but still sucks. Especially when you have small kids with messy fingers who smuggle pens and crayons. Having to wash a slipcover every week is the last thing I want to do or have time for.
bassett sectional

Invest in a great bed and mattress.
When my husband and I were expecting cherub #1, we went from furnishing a one bedroom apartment to a three bedroom house. We didn’t have a huge budget or a lot of time, so we thought Ikea was the right choice. Hindsight, we would have gotten a bed without those stupid slats. Falling through the bed when you’re eight months pregnant is no fun. Having a crappy mattress through two pregnancies is enough to bring any childbearing woman to tears. Never again.ikea slats

Thrift items with great bones.
Like the antique dresser I found way back when I thought I could get away with crappy blog pictures. Or the pristine Pottery Barn crib I used in both V and E’s nursery that I got for a steal that would make every other thrifter eat my sawdust. $8. Yup! Eight dollars.

Nautical Nursery

Time is money.
Sometimes I’m super gung-ho about making my own stuff. I’ve only recently come to the conclusion that there is no point in making it yourself if someone else can do it better than you for a reasonable price.  I have a personal formula for how much I’m willing to spend on a handmade item based on price of goods, time and difficulty ($/hr increases based on difficulty). ($15/hr * number of hrs) + cost of materials = items worth. If you have the time, go for it. If you’re struggling to keep up with work, kids, and keeping the floors clean (like yours truly), then reconsidering what you should make yourself vs. buy might be a good idea. As much as I love creating, sometimes I just don’t have enough time for it.

If you’re a military family that has to move overseas like ours, you might be happy to know that they will put your furniture in storage during the time you’re overseas and many bases/posts/stations have furniture you can rent for free during your overseas tour. So you don’t have to have a panic attack watching movers man handle that couch you saved for months to afford. Yay!

Now I’m off to scour the web for some pillowcases for our soon to be updated living room (hopefully) and master bedroom. Is the juice worth the squeeze when it comes to your thrifting adventures?



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  1. 1

    Hi Maria, I do love your blog!
    When it came to choosing our sofa I REALLY wanted the beautiful cream sofa I had fallen in love with. I can except the kids being clumsy, they are children and it’s part of the deal! My husband would NOT have gotton off soooooo lightly, ruining the sofa of my dreams, Oh Dear, it may have been a deal breaker. Divorce courts here we come. Antway we avoided such tradgedy by doing the same as yourself and purchased the almost indestructable but very attractive leather one.

    I have to agree with you about the amount of time you spend making something that could be done better and cheaper by someone else! I now just remind myself that my craft obsession is supposed to be fun and bring me pleasure afterall, it’s not rocket science! If I am finding it a pain to fit it in, then maybe I should reconsider the need to do it.

    Will continue reading your lovely blog.
    Louise Carter recently posted…A guillotine, not just for the French Revolution!My Profile