Finding My Home

As you may know I am a first time home buyer right in the thick of it, busy spring buying/selling season and competition unlike any other I’ve ever experienced. To date I have looked at 6 houses which in the grand scheme of things is not a lot, some people look at 100, others 20… I knew the distance radius I wanted to be in based on my 12 hour work days and social life I wanted to stay close to Kingston’s boundaries without actually being right in town.

I had no idea that buying a home was going to be such a competition, but now that I think about it, I probably should have. Anyone of my age group or younger tends to have a more limited budget, and myself being a single woman I need to have a home that is suitable for one income only. The price point is what makes it competitive, basically $250k and under as there is so many needing an affordable home and so few options.

The first home I looked at on Realtor.ca was the one I am buying. Curious isn’t it? I actually ruled it out early on because of the price point, but after months of looking at my ideal price point ($175-$200k would put me in the same payment category as my rental property) I realized what I could get for that price was a phenomenal amount of renovation and in the end, a much higher price tag. I love old character homes, unfortunately a girl of my income and ability, cannot manage to flip a house like that as much as I would dream to. If I could save all the abandoned homes I would. Continue Reading

Monthly Consignment Update

Thrift Spending:

March 28th – $34

Total purchases: $34

Consignment Income:

March 1 through 6th – $141
March 7 through 13th – $241
March 14 through 20th – $269
March 21 through 27th – $148
March 28 through 31st – $133

Total income: $932

Number of items consigned: 144

Consignment Income $932 – Spending $34 = Month End Balance $898


I’m at a loss for words what can I say? When I set my mind to do something I follow through full tilt. Since deciding to purchase my first home (which I haven’t found yet!) I have completely put a halt on my spending. I visited Value Village maybe twice this month and only spent $34… I also sold some items on Kijiji which just increased my home savings.

I think the boost in sales is mostly in part to finally being able to consign spring items which in my opinion sell far better than anything else. Everyone here is chomping at the bit for warmer weather and sunshine! It does pay to save your off-season items!

I’m not gone… I’m moving!


If you cannot view this video, please view it on YouTube at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jo7BUEOPA4

It came to my attention last week that I had not made a video in quite some time, and this is because I am moving so my focus completely shifted. I am not gone, I’m just distracted! Now that my house has been rented there will no longer be weekly showings and I can get back to a normal routine and more video making.

After watching this video I realized how emotionally charged I was at the time talking about thrifted items that I had become attached to. Normally I talk like my thrifted items are not important, that I could “take or leave” them but after watching this I can see how moved I was by one of the pieces. I have since decided not to sell it to the new tenants as I feel like its a great piece of furniture I will get plenty of future use out of.

St. Patrick’s Day Style

Mar17As much as I love green, in fact, I’m fairly certain if I had to choose one colour green would be my favourite. When it comes to St. Patrick’s Day I feel like the green required to celebrate should be a vibrant one, not a soft sage or army green as per my usual. Every now and then I have a great emerald green shirt or dress… currently it looks like all I have is this plaid shirt.

Facebook would remind me today that last year on this same day I wore it with the same jewellery and a pair of jeans… you could think of it another way, this cheap Old Navy shirt lasted an entire year in my closet! Holy moly. If you look back even further you’d see I paired it with a shorter feminine skirt that was also this rich royal blue. I am certainly not a fan of plaid but this one I quite like.

It is comfortable and very easy to make very fashionable. It may also be because of how rich the colours are that it goes so well with my skirts. I always receive compliments when I style it up with this thrifted Stella & Dot necklace and earring set. I had no idea when I picked it up for about $5 at Value Village a few years ago that it was S&D… and a celebrity endorsed one as well! I believe it was Cameron Diaz that was pictured wearing this beauty. To this day its one of my favourites.

 

Resistance and the Art of Not Shopping

How surreal it is to be writing a blog about the art of not shopping, being that I am an avid thrift shopper. We’ve read a million times that we need to be a less wasteful society, big on recycling, protesting against fast fashion and converting to efficient methods in our daily lives. I recently read Patrice’s blog post How Taking a Shopping Hiatus Can Lead to a Better Wardrobe and reflected on my own shopping habits and style. When you stop and think, you know what you wear regularly, what is a staple in your wardrobe and an idea of what your “style” might be.

gotooutfit I have never felt that I have a particular style, I just like things, I buy – I try it out. Patrice talks about her “go to uniform” and I started wondering what mine would be. A lot of women I’ve noticed recently, have a “go-to” that is leggings and a long tunic. I have never found leggings to be comfortable and I don’t find long tunics to be particularly flattering on my figure so that’s definitely out for me. But I do think high waist skirts and tucked in blouses are one I repeat often. I love my skinny jeans, cozy sweaters, big bold jewellery and a layered look. I have started the process of moving, with the intention of buying my first home so I am packing up off-season clothing and starting to take a closer look at my current closet. With my situation I am deciding if things are better to be sold, donated or brought with me.
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How Consignment Works

I am often asked about how I can afford to thrift as much as I do, they suggest my wardrobe is massive and bursting at the seams. I buy a lot of clothes, that we will admit up front. But I am buying clothing at a fraction of the retail price so you need to change your way of calculating. I only buy secondhand knowing that I get bored of things and change my style frequently. I also have the ability to open up my closet on any given day and pull out a ton of pieces that are not screaming my name.

Most people are not able to be this brutal as most people think of how much they spent and have an emotional attachment to things. The most emotional attachment I have ever felt with clothing is my inability to wear it after experiencing something traumatic or unpleasant in that outfit. For instance if someone broke your heart and the red dress was their favourite, you’re not likely going to want to wear it again because it will remind you. I have had a few items that have been tainted by experience so I need to remove them from my closet.

Don’t get me wrong I do donate a lot of items, but many items are still in great condition and worthy of generating extra cash. In working at a consignment store I know exactly what to look for and what will sell to our clientele. Each store has its own processes and requirements, so I can only speak to our way of doing things. Let me tell you a little bit about how consignment works.

Lightly worn items are brought into the store clean, pressed and ready to go on hangers. These are items that are in style, in season and purchased within the last two years. My job is to analyze each item that is brought in to decide if it is suitable for resale, quality and if we would potentially have a buyer for it. Once I decide to keep an item I change it over to our hangers and double check that there are no stains, rips or flaws. Once I have processed all the items I return the hangers along with any “no thank yous”. Continue Reading

Saying Goodbye to Union Street

Since paying off my car in November (or realizing I could go ahead and pay it off at any time without penalty!) I realized that with the help of my budgeting system I am able to save decent money and live off a smaller amount of income. I am working very hard at a few jobs and doing my best to live comfortably. I decided recently that I was close enough to start the process of looking for my first home.

The first step in making this decision come to life is giving notice on my rental house, cancelling services and beginning the process of finding out about the legalities of buying a home including mortgage, insurance and fees required. What I am looking for in a home is that of my current rental, a cute older home that has had some renovations done but still holds its original unique character. As I will be living there alone I do not need a ton of space but I do hope to have a decent yard that I will be able to actively use and garden.


livingroom1

The Living Room

I have rented many apartments in my day, but this was the first real house, a semi-detached 100+ year old home in an old suburb of Kingston. When I toured the space I knew it needed considerable work but that’s never an issue as I enjoy the renovation process. At first glance it needed a solid cleaning, holes filled in and fresh paint.

The living room I’ll admit, is rather busy looking at the moment. I change it around every 4 months which is also when I do a deep clean of every room. I love my thrift treasures, artwork and trinkets so naturally it can look packed very quickly, but I assure you it is nice and cozy when you are physically in the room.

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Monthly Consignment Update

Thrift Spending:

Value Village on February 8th – $34
Value Village on February 10th – $18
Value Village on February 14th – $14

Total spending: $66

Consignment Income:

February 1 through 7th – $39
January 8 through 14th – $125
January 15th through 21st – $25
January 22nd through 29th – $135

Total income: $324

Number of items consigned: 54

Consignment Income $324 – Spending $66 = Month End Balance $258


I announced last month I would have a new goal of $70 per month for thrifting purchases and I managed to come in this month just under the wire! I’m quite proud of my spending, I have definitely curbed it for the better. Being very particular about my purchases and increasing the rate I consign to generate more income. I have also noticed a sizable increase in the prices at Value Village once again this month so that is also a buzz kill.

Hurry Up Spring!

feb19finalWorking in a retail setting that doesn’t follow the mall’s idea of “seasons” where they bring in the summer stock in March and Christmas stock in August… we operate based on the weather so naturally mall shoppers will walk in and assume we are taking inventory for the next season. Our shoppers like to be able to wear the item today, not a few months from now. My greatest peeve all year round is how much people complain about the weather, maybe its just in Canada where our weather fluctuates high and low but that seems to be everyone’s favourite topic. Right now with 5 foot high snowbanks and a record 45″ snow fall this week people are saying things like “well Spring is nearly here!” … sorry to be a realist but if you think Spring is nearly here I would suggest you look outside!

What is tough is following women on Instagram that live in the lower United States, as their seasons seem to look like summer all year round its only their choice of clothing colours that seem to change to define the season. Seems odd to me, if it was sunny and mild all year round you can bet I’d be wearing bright colours all the time!

feb19final2I am however, loving the pastels right now even though its not a reflection of the season. This week has been horrendous with a snow day, pipes freezing in -30 degree weather and daily snow shoveling is beyond exhausting. I wanted to try out a new look that wasn’t planned using this new scarf I picked up at The Store. I won’t go into another rant about the size the arms are being made on blouses but basically two I picked up recently that were MEDIUM I couldn’t fit my arms into – so the original outfit was spoiled – TWICE. New plan was to use another favourite that does fit.

Now matching the colour in the scarf was tricky because I wanted to wear pants (-19 you know) but black was just too stark. I picked up these jeggings by Mossimo in a mini thrift haul last week that have already been a bit of a challenge. I decided last minute to bring a belt as I haven’t worn them before and not too sure how they will stretch. Sure enough I barely got to work before they were falling down. Funny you know, how you can struggle to get these tight pants on in the morning then twenty minutes later they’re falling off your bum. It seems I just cannot win when it comes to pants. These will be the next pair that need to be taken in at the bum!

 

Tips for Thrift Shopping


If you cannot view the video above, please check it out on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TwYxutG-jJg

The number one question a thrift-lover is asked on a regular basis is: “How do you ever find anything?!” The thing about thrifters is we don’t see these shops as gross, we look past the scent lingering in the air from unwashed clothing, we see the limitless potential in every piece we see. The fun is in the search, the reward is discovering that magical piece whether its clothing, home decor or furniture. In these stores it is all one of a kind and to me, that’s something special.

I’ve watched plenty of YouTube videos and read plenty of blogs regarding the do’s and don’ts of thrift shopping. They all have similar points but a few I would disagree with based on how I go about it.

Try it on or wear your thrifting uniform

I used to load up a cart with items that looked like they would fit, I was pretty certain I was about this size and if not well I didn’t spend much so it’s okay. Its this attitude that gets you spending and wasting. More recently I have been taking the time to try things on, even if its just over top of my clothing. Now I don’t have a thrifting uniform (leggings, tank top as your base layers with easy to slip off shoes) I just go after work so whatever I’m wearing is how it is. Granted, this doesn’t make it easy usually for trying things on – so I have to really love it before I go through the effort in the change room.

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Tour My Wardrobe

If you cannot view the video above please check it out on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k8YL9TtVNLM

People often say to me “wow you must have a huge closet!” well there are a few ways to respond to this. Yes and no. I live alone and have a two bedroom home so therefore I have a master bedroom that can be better used to make my life easier. Complete with sewing station, garment rack, makeup desk and storage.

My closet was reconstructed by my father as it was not useable in the state it was in. The bar was located deep into the back of the closet, one shelf above the bar that was installed too close to the bar, so I wouldn’t be able to hang any clothing on it as is. My father lowered the bar in the back and installed a second one at the front of the closet – easily enough space in this deep closet for two rows of clothing.

I use the back row for off season so currently it has my summer tops and dresses, as well as my vacation clothing. The front is what I use most frequently. Yes there’s also the garment rack, and this is because it was offered to me so I wanted to make use of it to keep myself organized. It actually fills the empty space in the room as well as giving me a place to sort my ready-to-go business outfits for mornings when I must be up and out the door before 6:30am.

As I say in the video this home is exceptionally old (close to 100 years old according to my landlord, at least a good 75) and was not built with decent lighting or shelving of any sort. All storage would have to be created using thrifted cabinets, bookcases and desks. It makes for a lot of furniture and a cozy atmosphere.
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The Many Shades of Blush

feb5finalHow long would you hang on to a unique item in hopes of eventually finding the perfect pieces to match it? 6 months this vintage skirt has been hanging in my closet, front and centre, in hopes of one day finding a matching top. A handful of hopefuls came home but went back out as I searched for the right shade of blush to match this skirt. Sure you could put other shades with it, but every one I tried bothered me. It wasn’t quite right and for this type of skirt I felt like it had to be a certain… je ne sais quoi.

Now I don’t necessarily feel like this top is “the one” I do feel it was a close enough match to warrant a test run in real life rather than being sentenced to serve lonely days in my closet. This sleeveless crochet style top by RW&Co was brought in for consignment last week and I thought, “maybe, just maybe” this would be the right colour. Sure enough it was!

I kept the look low key with a long wrapped scarf and matching earrings (I do have the matching necklace but I thought that would be a bit much.) My nude pumps by Nine West go with everything and I am saddened to know that their time is running out. They were very worn when I got them in the summer and now your foot rolls like there is no sole left. Sigh. One day I will find another pair and you will be mine.