Saturday, October 20, 2007

These shoes are made for walking

After watching yet another pair of cheap tennis shoes literally disintegrate off my feet I decided I needed to find some good walking shoes that would last for awhile. I guess my shoe philosophy has always been get cheap shoes and get lots of them. That worked ok when I was wearing lots of different fun shoes basically from the car to the office and then kicking them off under my desk. Now a days I am walking a lot and walking out in the elements, which in Seattle means puddles and wet leaves. I needed a pair of walking shoes that were at least mildly cute and could stand the wet whether. Luckily I have two nurses in my extended family who know about needing shoes that are comfortable for being on your feet and they recommended Danskos. To my dismay these shoes cost a lot more than I am used to paying for shoes. Luckily I also have recently discovered Ebay and got a pair of used, but in nice shape shoes for $35 (after shipping). I am pretty excited about my purchase and I have to say these work great for my walking needs. I give them a hearty endorsement!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Recent thrift store finds

I have had no luck finding free stuff on the side of the road lately. I guess I still see it occasionally, but anything I see is sopping wet and therefore unappealing. Because of this I have had to resort to the more standard way of acquiring thrifty finds - the thrift store. It can definitely be hard at times to find good deals at the thrift store. Many stores seem to over price their stuff and things can get really picked over. Sometimes I walk around a store and just feel like I am staring at a bunch of junk, which is a very sad state of affairs. However even on those days there is usually a couple of hidden treasures. Below are some earrings I got for $2 a piece at the Goodwill on Dearborn. My current dressing philosophy is wear all black or neutrals and accessorize with gusto. This is a significantly less expensive way to feel well dressed and takes up less space in a small apartment. Plus there always seem to be worthwhile earrings at the thrift store.
I also found a copy of one of my favorite reference books. Home Comforts is basically a house keeping how-to book that I have had since college. It is written by a philosophy PhD and lawyer who admitted to herself that she had a passion for housekeeping. I've always loved this book and it sells well on Amazon so I had to pick it up rather than let it sit unloved on a thrift store shelf.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

I have been lax again in posting so I am going to throw up a quick post so I can feel better. (that sentence really is very poorly worded, sorry) I recently found a great set of wooden building blocks at the Kent Goodwill for $3. It is a pretty large set that still has a lot of life left in it. Hannah is still a little young to get the concept of building and stacking but she certainly does have a conceptual understanding of digging through baskets and banging things together so even now she is getting use out of it.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Although this is primarily a blog about thrifty finds I couldn't resist posting one of my favorite thrifty recipes. Normally this kind of thing falls out of range of my blogging, mostly because the most obvious way of being thrifty is to not buy stuff, and that is rather boring to blog about. In fact that pretty much sums up any blog you want to write on the subject of thrifty living - don't buy stuff you don't need. Well no one wants to hear that (it is America after all) so I have instead focused on finding cool stuff that you don't need cheap or free. That, at least, is moderately thrifty. Anyway, one of my favorite things I started doing was making my own laundry detergent. Basically this started because I wanted to buy natural and non-toxic laundry soap. When I looked at the ingredients in Seventh Generation soap I learned that basically that is made up of water, borax and lavender essential oil. Since I happen to stock all three of those things regularly it seemed like I could make it myself. Well after some searching this is the laundry soap recipe I now use to make my own soap. It works great and is good for my sensitive skin, which always tends to act up with other soaps. I use it on all our clothes including my baby's cloth diapers so its safe to say it should get out any stains. Plus it is non-toxic, kid and pet safe, and works out to be less then 1 cent per load.

Homemade Laundry Soap
1/3 bar Fels Naptha soap (can be found in laundry aisle)
½ cup washing soda (can be found in laundry aisle)
½ cup borax powder
Essential oil (optional)
You will also need a small bucket, about 2 gallon size

Grate the soap and put it in a sauce pan. Add 6 cups water and heat it until the soap melts. Add the washing soda and the borax and stir until it is dissolved. Remove from heat. Pour 4 cups hot water into the bucket. Now add your soap mixture and stir. Now add 1 gallon plus 6 cups of water and stir. You can add any essential oils you want at this point. Let the soap sit for about 24 hours and it will gel. You use ½ cup per load.

The finished soap will not be a solid gel. It will be more of a watery gel that has been accurately described as an "egg noodle soup" look.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Some of you may already know I am a bit of a shoe horse. I love getting new shoes. Especially some high heals that give a nice clicking sound when walking on hard wood. Must be left over from childhood somehow. Unfortunately my lifestyle right now can hardly be described as professional and so most shoe purchases beyond the basic tennis shoes are a little silly. Luckily, I do have a professional mother who also likes to buy new shoes and who sometimes decides that the shoes she just bought aren't going to work for her after all. Luckily again, she has the same shoe size as me (must be genetic). Below are my latest free shoes handed down from my mom. They are nice quality shoes that fit rather well. Hopefully someday soon I'll have an excuse to wear them.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The rest of this week's posts will highlight the advantages of developing a reputation as a thrifty person. (aka person who will take someone else's trash off their hands.) I often find that I am the recipient of other people's useful caste offs. Below is a picture of my medicine cabinet. If you notice a theme it is likely to be Mary Kay. My sister-in-law Stella recently got out of the business of selling Mary Kay and gave away her remaining inventory. Her loss is my gain as I have been enjoying this new influx of facial masks and creams. It is like being able to play at Sephora in your own bathroom. Stay tuned for more cast off treasures tomorrow.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Tribute to a fellow thrifter

My sister in law Kara has been an inspiration this week. I have been out of luck, but she has made a couple of great finds. Below is a child's rocking chair that she found at a garage sale for $5. Since Hannah is the only Shafer child at this point she was the lucky recipient.
Additionally Kara found this full bottle of Dreft stain remover on the side of the road and passed it on to us. What she didn't know was laundry pre-treatment was actually on my shopping list this week. Nice work Kara.

Kara will soon be searching for thrifty finds in Colorado so beware those of you in the Rockies. You will soon have some competition.