Small House Big World


There’s Treasure Everywhere

Anna Edgren • February 16, 2015

Kelly and I are slightly obsessed with thrift store shopping. It feels a lot like treasure hunting; there is something instinctual and gratifying about it. Since we have been paring down what we own as much as we can, this is a weirdly cathartic outlet, to be able to go somewhere and buy whatever we think is cool really cheaply and then instead of keep it, just resell it. It’s essentially a fun hobby that pays for itself. And if you do it carefully and frequently enough, it can actually be a source of a fair amount of extra cash. 

We are in the beginning stages of hitting thrift stores regularly, trying to parse out what is worth picking up and what should be passed on.  We are getting excited about the idea of visiting thrift stores and also garage sales when we hit the road.  In fact, we’ve been having so much fun with it that Kelly has a fairly prolific eBay account, and I have opened up an Esty shop. It will be interesting to see if we have any success as we set off. Either way, we have a lot of fun looking at the weird odds and ends that someone else considered to be trash. 

There is an element of thrifting that is much like recycling. You are taking an item someone didn’t want and giving it a new life. And instead of going to a big box store and essentially paying to have someone in China make something new for you, you are using something that already exists in the world and putting it to good use. You are saving it from a landfill.  That’s a nice thought.  

One man’s trash in another man’s treasure, of course, and by taking the time to go to thrift stores, you become an instrument in connecting eager buyers with difficult to find and rare goods.  You become a middle man between people who have old and unused items they don’t want, and other people who are desperately seeking said items. It can be a lot of fun to make that match, and hey it’s profitable, too! The best part is, there’s no loser here. The person getting rid of their goods is happy – they cleaned out some junk that was cluttering up their space. The person buying the goods is happy – they found what they were looking for! And the person connecting those people is happy too – they made a little extra cash while enjoying themselves and treasure hunting. 

We will definitely continue to post updates on our thrifting adventures as we gear up to leave Chicago! 


Anna Edgren • February 16, 2015

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  1. Darryl February 20, 2015 - 2:52 am Reply

    Where will you store your treasures as you wait for them to sell?

    • kelly February 20, 2015 - 3:49 am Reply

      We have lots of space in our bays and try to turn over quickly

  2. Kathy February 20, 2015 - 10:13 am Reply

    Question: Have you ever thought of offering to go into basements/storage rooms/garages of people you know to seek out treasures there, sell them for the people, and then share some percentage of the take? Not sure if there would be a market for this, but just a thought…

    • Anna Edgren February 20, 2015 - 10:33 am Reply

      Good idea! Definitely something to think about…. How about we start with you 🙂

      • Kathy Edgren February 24, 2015 - 5:51 pm Reply

        Yes! Start with me.

    • Kelly February 21, 2015 - 10:36 am Reply

      There’s for sure a market for that. The American Pickers TV show revolves around that exact premise.

      When dealing with strangers I’d sooner buy their stuff outright. Cleaner that way.

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