Thursday, February 1, 2024

The Practical, the Delightful, the Bottom Line

Genie was kind enough to leave a comment on my last post which included a request for the 2023 spreadsheet report, which reminded me I’d never done it! I realized during the year that most of my finds fall into two categories. They are either practical (Pragmatist is my middle name. Hmmm, would that make me Queen Pragmatist of Fifty Cents?) or I find them delightful.

I much prefer the word ‘delight’ to the word ‘joy’; it seems to carry less responsibility, less necessity to work at maintaining it. Delight can be ephemeral and yet no less delightful, and as long as I still view something with that sense of delight I will keep it. If the delight fades, I tell whatever it is goodbye. Makes it easier to pack it off to the Humane Society Thrift Store, where I hope someone else will experience delight. Which of course brings up my donations category – 30 items I bought didn’t make the long-term cut. $44.25 spent…but hopefully will bring in more than that and feed some puppies and kitties.

The single most lucrative category (best return on investment) surprised me because it was such a small one – reselling. I bought only two things to resell, paid a buck and a half for them, and after all expenses they made $60.71 on eBay. I wish all my investments were that robust. Sheesh. What were they, you ask? A vintage bar of soap 

and a silk Citron Santa Monica dress.

Household goods had the next best return on investment – found 13 items for $17.55, worth about $390. As you’d expect, these are things that fall squarely in the practical camp. Fifty cents for a 3-way lightbulb that retails for $12. (Twelve bucks for one lightbulb! Lord have mercy.) A $2 jug of laundry soap that lasted 3.5 months. Nearly new king size all-cotton sheets for a dollar each. You would not believe the thrill I get making the bed with a beautiful blue sheet that cost a dollar.

One of the best household things I found all year is both practical and delightful – a fireplace screen. But wait, you say, there is no fireplace in your house. True, but this is the best doggy gate I have ever used. Never, ever thought of using one this way before.

I found several useful pieces of clothing, the cream of the crop being three Land’s End turtlenecks from a free box. I wear t’necks constantly in the winter, and these are the good heavy ones that are hard to find these days. I bought 12 pieces of clothing and accessories for $12, including this classy vintage purse that’s been fun to carry.

The category in which I found the most items was yard stuff. I saw an article in a (garage sale) gardening magazine about someone who used fancy vases upside down on stakes in their garden. Once you embrace upside-down-on-a-stake, you find all kinds of possibilities on driveways. For both the fancy part and the stake – curtain rods make great stakes, often with interesting finials. My favorite concoction used a $1 curtain rod (originally white, I painted it with copper spray paint) with a $3 pair of glass pendant shades. 

I had an open garden in June, and visitors had a lot of fun spotting all my décor.

Altogether I had a pretty darned good year – spent a total of $310.55, with an estimated value of $4826. It still pays to shop on driveways!



  1. thank you, thank you for all this wonderful info, especially the garden ideas. I love to use unusual items in garden also. Sounds like you had a very profitable year. Since this is the age of downsizing for most of us oldies, I'm trying to cut back but I will always be a junker at heart. Thanks again!

  2. So glad to see your post. Love sales and love when I found that real treasure and it is something I wonder how I ever managed without it. Keep on checking out the driveways.


I really love your comments. Thanks for coming along on my thrifty adventures!

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