Anyone who knows me well knows I don’t buy anything full price. If I’m acting grumpy my husband will offer that I go shop clearance at Target for an emotional cheering up. Not only do I get all the sales at 20%-80% off but I also can pair that up with a 15%-30% off coupon (I know, with percents like that I should be given money back, right?). So when I heard about The Second Annual Lansing Thrift Crawl event created by Lansing’s very own fashionista Kat Cooper from Ginger and the Geek, I knew I wanted to give it a try. For this adventure we were scheduled to hit up six separate thrift stores. The first four were all located on the south side of Lansing. I was able to make it to 3 and found some great deals as well as a great time. This will be my one and only attempt at a fashion blog for the sake of presenting my finds from Lansing’s re-treasured stores.
My first stop was at Volunteers of America. I had arrived about fifteen minutes later than the rest of the group and with this being my very first thrift shopping, I was a bit not sure of what to do. I think also, I am the type that gets overwhelmed with too much to take in. VOA is a large warehouse style building filled with rows and rows of sale items. Most of the clothes are organized by selection; e.g. men’s, women’s, children’s. Then each of these sections is organized by color, not size and definitely not both. After 30 minutes of greeting people, potty breaks and getting organized I assumed I was walking out of this store empty handed. At the checkout I stood with our group as they finalized their choices. I toyed with a set of clothes outside of the changing room and came across my find. It’s a stretchy black, knee high skirt. I wore it to church today as it goes with almost all of my fancy shirts.
The next thrift stop was at St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Shop. I had made a stop in here earlier in the year and wrote about their shop in my blog Resilience. Here I was able to pick up quite a few items including four shirts for my son, 3 shirts and a pair of pants for my daughter and 4 shirts for me all under $15!
Evan only let me take one photo. Imagine this photo with a blue shirt, and a red shirt.
This shirt had the tags on it too!
Hand crafted hat by Grandma Teresa
My final stop was at Hidden Treasures Thrift. This store was meticulously organized. The prices were quite a bit higher but it seemed to match the quality of the items being sold. Here I found an adorable purple dress for Ellie. I also purchased 3 books.
For a first time thrift shopper I think I came home with some nice finds. My total spent was $29.15 for eleven shirts, 1 sweater, 1 dress, 1 skirt, 3 books and a pair of pants. I think my only negative would be the amount of time it takes to go through all of the clothing as many were organized by color and not size. I think a Thrift Party with a post fashion show would be a perfect way to spend any afternoon!
I pushed it on this last walk. I went to parts of the city that I was unfamiliar with. My original intentions were to park at Meijer on South Pennsylvania and walk north to the new St. Vincent dePaul Thrift Store and then make my way back south to Meijer again. My plan was to write about resilience; the nature of a person or business or even a city like Lansing to get knocked down yet find the courage and strength to get back up. I’m not talking about getting up, dusting off and walking away. I’m talking about getting hit hard, then climbing back up and standing firmly in place, hands on hips, shoulders stiff, surrounded by loved ones. They look the adversity square in the face and say, “that really hurt, but I’m not backing down. You might have gotten a good punch in but you will not win this fight. Not only will I win but this will make me stronger. Watch this!” Man I love that idea.
In the middle of December last year the St. Vincent De Paul store located at Elm and Washington in REO Town was struck by a devastating fire. It left their building, all the donations, office supplies and a multitude of undelivered Christmas presents destroyed. In less than a day new donations were being made and social media was reposting ways community members could help. In a very short time the St. Vincent DePaul store was relocated to 5206 S. Cedar St. where over 50 volunteers and an overwhelming community support, including donations from Accident Fund ($10,000 check) and Meijer ($10,000 in gift cards and merchandise), allowed them to open their new store on January 28, 2012. The City of Lansing also donated a closed down fire station to be used as a storage facility. A church in Brighton filled a pole barn with supplies and volunteers had to make multiple trips to collect all the items. All the generosity was evident when I stopped in as two separate store fronts were full of items to be purchased at very reasonable prices. I was told by the operations manager that on their grand opening day there were over 800 sales, with all proceeds being used to help pay utilities for those that are in need! Talk about resilient.
Inspired by this, I continued this walk beyond the 3 mile, one hour stroll I usually find myself doing. Not that there is anything wrong with that. The one hour, 3 mile thing seems to be my norm as I try to fit the saunters between work and school schedules of my family. Today, however, there was no need for me to race home. I had all afternoon. Yes, I skipped lunch but I think I could bear being a little hungry. I’ve recently watched (through social media posts) a couple really good people show their resilience. I feel strengthened and encouraged when watching others suffer through circumstances with dignity and courage. Like my friend Dalia. I worked with her at Wendy’s back in high school. Tomorrow is the one year marking of the death of her son. Even thinking of what she’s been through makes me teary. Yet her messages are of hope. She offers thanks to all those who’ve helped her stand this past year. She concerns herself with the perfection of her other children’s’ birthday parties. She amazes me. That is resilience. Or another friend whose healthy daughter was taken to a regular doctor appointment for a bloated tummy and learns it’s Leukemia. Wow! Did she crumble to the ground and become unresponsive in her agony? No! She started a CaringBridge page so all of her friends could go through this experience with her. She urged her friends to raise more funds than last year for our Relay for Life team. Amazing! I know someone that recently had to give testimony about a horrific crime. It’s hard for me to think about all that he’s been through and then to be asked to stand before lawyers and judges in court to the detriment of his own safety. He did this knowing he might be putting himself and his family in harm’s way. When this all came to pass I asked his wife if he was making the right choice by coming forward. She said, “He has to do it. It’s the right thing to do. Who else will do it?” I was never more proud.
These struggles go on for everyone. Something will eventually come up. It’s really how we respond to these difficulties that prove our resilience; to look at the hardship and think I will not be taken down by this. I will not give up! I will find the silver lining, the light at the end of the tunnel and the ability to feel blessed despite the agonies.
It seemed like a little gesture; to walk an incredibly longer walk than normal, in an area I was a bit nervous to walk. There were moments during this walk where I thought I could become the victim. I even called my husband at one point just to let him know where I was just in case I didn’t return. That way he would know where to find me. I was out on a street with very little around me; no safe place to go to, with dangerously fast cars passing. I knew though, that if I continued walking I would make it home. And I did, each step inspired by the strong fight by friends and family and the Lansing community.
Photos from the walk can be found here.