Posted in Repurpose, Thrifting

Mod Bettie’s Rules of Thrifting and the Universe

This is my first post as a contributor to the Metrolina Restores Blog:

I have always adored a deal. But man ‘o man, the only thing I adore more than a deal is the actual *hunt* of the deal. So it still hard for me to believe that it was only recently that I discovered how excitingly fun and fantastic thrift shopping is….


My husband and I have always loved the midcentury time period–it just seemed like so much swanky coolness! When we first got married our décor was a mix of modern and mid-century pieces with a lot of color thrown in. Your style does tend to sharpen as you get to know yourself better; through the years we would daydream about having an actual midcentury house filled with nothing but retro mid-century mod furniture. Well, it took us 15 years or so, but we pulled the trigger in August 2012  when we purchased an atomic ranch from 1956; I have been fulfilling my dream of happily hunting around for original mid mod furniture  and décor ever since. 


So…I have some thrifting idioms that run around in my head when I am out and about on the mid mod hunt; I have found them strangely applicable to not just thrifting, honestly…but to life in general. And since I have a huge belief in sharing the knowledge–I will be revealing these rules from time to time throughout the blog posts complete with real life thrifting examples. So…..


Mod Bettie’s Rules of Thrifting and The Universe” is born! And, drumroll please, this first one’s a  big biggie:                                             


Yup. Doesn’t it seem like pure common sense that if you aren’t out there and looking that you’re obviously NOT going to find anything? Well, to me it does, but I meet so many people that are expecting to FIND without SEEKING. Okay, so I suppose there may be an example in the world where that works out, but it is certainly not the norm. You have to put yourself out there and be searching around, seeking those yummy vintage goodies-whether it’s home décor, vintage clothing, or—here comes the life/universe part- a job, or a date, or a friend, or your real purpose in life- you get the picture–you have to be pursuing it. And the second big important part of this seemingly-simple-yet-truly-complex rule is that you must be open to what you find. If you are not open to the possibilities, you will shut it all down and get totally stuck in the seeking part. Not good for your thrifting, but most importantly not good for YOU.


Mod Bettie Guest Bath, BEFORE


Mod Bettie Thrift Case Study: I wanted a cool mid-century mirror for my guest bath. It’s important to note here that my 1956 ranch has been updated and our goal is to take it back closer to it’s original feel and MCM swankiness. So, as you see in the before pic above, the bathroom was fine, just not retro enough to suit our style. After  repainting it and replacing the light fixtures with what my dear hubs refers to as ‘old-gas-station bathroom lights’-which I adore, BTW- I needed a really special mirror.  I did not have a specific design in mind: my guest bath-in my head, mind you-is called the Marilyn Monroe bathroom, because in addition to being painted the most flattering shade of pink, it has a collection of mid-century toiletries on the shelves and has vintage cosmetic ads on the wall in which MM is featured. So for the looking glass, I was thinking something semi-ornate and Hollywood Regency-ish in honor of Marilyn. I was looking and checking in all my spots, seeking, seeking, seeking. But Drat! Everything I came up with blew the budget. Or didn’t fit the measurement specs. Or just wasn’t right somehow. And I was getting sort of impatient because I had guests coming into town–and we all know how that just amps up the want to complete a project. I decided to hold and not jump–which is, by the way, always the best decision ever in these situations. The guests came and went and I was still seeking… 


One day not soon after, when I was making my thrift rounds, I saw a glint of  something shiny behind some large paintings at the Habitat Restore on Wendover. Like a moth to a flame, I started the unearthing–you gotta be willing to dig to get to the good stuff! I carefully extracted a fantastic unusual mirror from the pile and….


It was perfect for the Hollywood Regency MCM idea I had in mind, even though it had no markings on it to lead me to believe it was actually vintage. I was open minded about it- and not such a stickler for my own ‘I want it all to be vintage’ rules that  I was going to let the fact that it probably wasn’t actual vintage distract me from the fact that IT WAS THE PERFECT SYLE, SIZE AND PRICE AND JUST WHAT I HAD BEEN LOOKING FOR ALL ALONG! Thrift score! It is to this date one of the most commented-on items in my house- I love it! And, of course I took the mirror that came with the house and the old light fixtures, both still with plenty of life left in them,  back to the ReStore to continue the positive thrift karma cycle.



Mod Bettie Guest Bath, AFTER

I love other people’s thrifting victories! Do you have any fabby examples of seeking and finding exactly what you were looking for? Wow, I’d sure love to hear ’em! 


Posted in Thrifting

Why thrift?

I have to admit, I am NOT a thrifter from way back. Although I have always loved the hunt, it never occurred to me to thrift until the hubs and I fulfilled a dream to move to a Mid-Century house and furnish it with mid mod furniture. Even then, my road to thrifting took steps: first I shopped Mid-Century resale and antique stores, and with the occasional exception found out quickly that I was getting priced out of my budget. (Thanks a lot Mad Men- you’ve made MY favorite stuff EVERYONE’s favorite stuff. ) Then I discovered online auctions; those can also be fun, but you may sometimes end up paying more that you meant to pay, if you are, ahem, competitive at all, and perhaps could get caught up the idea of auction-winning for the sake of winning. These are all great ways to find MCM and vintage goodies, but to me, none of them compare to the true excitement of happening up on that little retro gem yourself at your local thrift store for really, really cheap. That’s awesomeness people, pure awesomeness.

Thrifting is good for the environment because it is recycling, repurposing and breathing new life into an item that had been previously discarded- and really, what could be better than that?! Most of the mid century items I seek out, collect and love were made right here in the USA- and still have so much to offer in the way of history, style, functionality and use—and that’s just plain ah-mazing to me, considering the age of some of the fab stuff I find. So I am going to be blogging the how-tos and where-tos of thrifting and vintage shopping in and around Charlotte and surrounding areas in North Carolina. And, wherever I go from now on. Ahhhhhhhhhh: a thrifting road trip-I can’t wait for that one!

Are you a thrifter? Do you love vintage goods and collect? Do you repurpose and upcycle? WOWEE–ME TOO!
So let’s swap some stories—-