Retail Therapy On The Cheap Spurs Creativity

I sometimes hear my friends talk about retail therapy, the act of going shopping to ease them out of a funk. I will confess that it doesn’t usually work for me. In fact, it’s just the opposite. If I impulsively purchase something of limited value, I feel terrible. It feels as though I have traded my life’s energy for nothing. It’s disrespectful to me and to the limited resources available to all of us.

Recycled Glass Tumblers

Wine bottles are upcycled into adorable tumblers! At Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio or at Lehmans.com.

A bargain, on the other hand, has the opposite effect. I love getting a great deal on something I know I will use all the time or a tool that will make my life easier.

I enjoy the hunt, the sorting through piles of junk at a swap meet or carefully examining a rack of sweaters for the red cashmere twin set that I have been coveting. I also love looking for something that has upcycling, refurbishing or repurposing potential.

The weather here has been just dreadful. It’s twenty below zero one day and raining the next.

Sidewalks and parking lots resemble luge runs and a grey fog has hung over everything. There has been a lot of winter viruses and more no-school days than I can stand. We are all bit cranky and as the sun is shining for the first time in days I’m going shopping. I have my list and I’m ready to go.

I’m on the prowl for a couple of things. I want some old, wool sweaters. I found the patterns for mittens made from felted wool. They look really easy so my first stop will be the thrift store. Today is half-price day for seniors and I’m all over that. I need a medicine cabinet for the bathroom too. I want an old one as it’s more likely to be made of real wood than pressed board. I don’t mind painting one if the lines are good and the joints sturdy.

Amish-Made Desk Organizer

Baskets like this Amish-Made Desk Organizer at Lehmans.com can help keep your workspace organized.

I use my bedroom as an office. The space is rather crowded so we are rearranging furniture as well as painting and organizing. Getting rid of an entertainment center that we have never used has made space for a bookcase. I want to find some baskets to use as holders for office supplies. I like things that are mismatched and the thrift store usually has dozens to choose from.

I’m looking for one more special thing. Monday is my 42nd anniversary. My husband and I don’t share expensive gifts but we do look for gifts with meaning. One year he got me a book of poetry and another gave me a box of vintage candies that I had not had since I was a kid. I want to find a lovely picture frame. I found a picture of us from the first year we started dating. I can’t believe how young we were!

I think getting it enlarged and framing it would be a great gift and a reminder of all the years we have been together and the history we share. I’ll post a picture when I get it done.

Kathy Harrison

About Kathy Harrison

Kathy Harrison is the author of Just in Case, Another Place at the Table, and One Small Boat. She is a national spokesperson for both foster parenting and family preparedness and has appeared on The Today Show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, and National Public Radio. She lives with her family in western Massachusetts.