Macklemore Thrift Shop Challenge

(Note: I originally wrote this post for the Young House Love Thrift Store Challenge.  However, I think the readers at Apron Thrift Girl will enjoy it as well.)

Last week my imaginary BFF's John and Sherry at Young House Love issued a little something they're calling the "Macklemore Thrift Shop Challenge."  It's based on this video and the concept is simple:  grab yourself a $20, head over to your local thrift, and see what you can get.  (Extra points for finding items mentioned in the song.)

Hello Mr. Jackson!

A challenge that combines my love of John & Sherry with my love of the thrift store?  Sign me up!

(Right about now John & Sherry are probably about ready to sign me up for a restraining order... in my head, that is... because they don't actually know who I am in real life.)

So anyway, I decided to join the challenge.  And boy am I glad that I did.  About thirty seconds into the trip I hit blogger pay dirt in the form of this: a mangled, dirty box containing a dozen, never used, 32 oz. Ball Mason Jars from 1987.

Oh, and did I mention that they were only $4??  For those of you who are new around here, a craft blogger finding a dozen brand new (despite the gross box) vintage mason jars at a thrift shop for under five dollars is a little like an eleven-year-old girl finding Justin Bieber with a shiny red bow on his head under the tree on Christmas morning.  Very. Exciting. Stuff.

(Here's a little thrifting tip for those of you who might be interested:  some of the best things I've ever found at the thrift shop were in beat up cardboard boxes.  If it looks like something you might have tripped over in your grandmother's basement, definitely stop to check it out!)

After that little thrill, I found myself wandering through the kids' clothing aisle.  Though I don't really shop for my kids there (they've gotten rather picky in their old age), the former ebay seller in me can't resist taking a peek every now and again.

That's when I ran across this adorable suede(ish) jacket from Gymboree.  

Rule #2 of the challenge was: "Find one item (or more) referenced in the song and snap a pic."  
Fringed leather coats are referenced at about the 1:24 mark in the video.

It was notable for a few reasons:  first off, it was brand new with the tags and in perfect condition.  It also happened to be a size 5/6--perfect for my little niece.  But the thing that really struck me (and not in a good way) was the price.  Do you see it?  That's right, $14.95.  Kind of steep for the thrift store, don't you think?  Truth is, this particular thrift can sometimes be overpriced.  It's almost as if someone told them that certain brands are worth more money so they mark them up.  Ironically, while their Gymboree is always expensive, I frequently find brands like Oilily for under $2.  (Shhh!  Don't tell them!)

Before I left the jacket for some other lucky kid, I craned my neck to check the specials board.  That's when I discovered that all tags except the white ones were 50% off that day.  And although $7.50 is still kind of high for thrifted clothing, given the condition of the jacket, the original price of $79, and the fact that it was the right size, I decided to put it in my cart.

So, that's where the first $12 of my challenge money went.  

I saw lots of other things I could have bought with the remaining $8.  Like these for example:

That's right, a big bag of plastic animals.  Because with plastic animals, you can make something like this:

Read more about it here.

Or perhaps this...

Read more about it here.

And at this thrift shop there was a whole wall full of these bags:

But a girl has to be selective, and this time around I didn't see any plastic animals that I needed, so even at $2.95 a bag,  I decided to move along.  

I also spotted some of these:

And you know what I like to do with a thrifted pants hanger:

Read more about it here.

Vintage Pyrex is always a fun find, but this bowl was a little too care worn for me to consider.  (Especially at $4.95!  ;)

Truth be told, there were tons of things that I could have bought, but as Kenny Rogers says, you've got to know when to fold 'em.  How true it is, Kenny.  How true it is.  One of the hardest and most important lessons of thrifting is knowing when to say no.  Often I will put everything that strikes me in my cart and then decide at the end what I'm going to keep.  If I can't use it or sell it, back to the shelf it goes.  (And I have a weird thing about putting everything back where it belongs.  I feel like it brings me good thrifting Karma.)

So this is the point where I may or may not have cheated in the challenge:  I went to another thrift store.  After all, I still had that extra eight dollars and there was nothing in the bylaws about sticking with one store.

And I'm glad I did because it was at the next store that I had one of those magical thrift store moments.  You know on the High Low Project, when Sabrina Soto goes into a resale shop and finds a piece that is so perfect, so close to the high-end item she's trying to match, that you almost think it's got to be a plant?  Well, this was my Sabrina Soto moment.

You see, for my daughter's birthday party we are doing a DIY photo booth.  My regular readers will remember that I recently made these for the occasion:

Read more about it here.

Although the props had all been made, I was still searching for the perfect frame.  I wanted something kind of large, so that multiple twelve-year-old girls could fit "inside" at once.  I was also looking for something gold, though I was willing to spray paint if it came down to it.  I was also hoping for something with a little detail on it--not just a smooth surface.  

And then I saw her.  

Alone in a corner, I spotted this:

It was exactly what I had envisioned.  (It looks a little green in this picture but I assure you it's not.)

The only problem was the price: $20.  Ouch.  That was my whole budget and as we know, Mama had a trunk full of mason jars out in the parking lot.  

But guess what?  That good thrifting Karma came back to me because you'll never believe what day it was?  That's right, 50% off day.  For everything in the store.  This girl was on fire!  Of course that still took me $2 above the $20 limit but there was no way I was going to leave it behind.  In fact, as soon as I hit publish here, I am off to the garage to rid my frame of its picture so I can get started on the photo booth.  As I'm sure you can imagine, this isn't the last you've seen of it!  ;)

(2/3/13 Update:  Come see what I did with the frame here.)

Did you write a post for the thrift shop challenge?  I'd love to read it.  Leave your link in the comments below.  :)



  1. LOVED this post. You scored an incredible haul. I loved that you compared your $4 box of vintage mason jars to a teen/tween finding Justin Bieber under the Christmas tree with a red bow. Loved the vintage hangers, that was one of my favorite projects you made. The frame is perfect and your thrifting karma impressive. Great finds!

  2. I loved this post too! I love it when you write more! You're good at it! Totally jealous of your jar score and I've been on the look out for some of those hangars ever since you posted that project! Enjoy the party prep and I hope you'll post all about it!

  3. Way to go on finding all those goodies, Elena! So many great items that I'm sure you will do amazing projects with. I can't wait to see what you do. Megan

  4. I heard about this Challenge - I think I'll be heading to the Salvation Army this afternoon after work today!!


  5. I have some of those hangesrs and I love that idea! My kids toys are long gone but I love those lids, too. I need to hang out with you crafters more!

  6. Ooh yes also, I forgot to mention that I love that hanger idea! :)

  7. So how lucky is my little buckeroo? :) Best ever aunie blogger!

    1. Oh good! I was hoping you'd like it. It's even cuter in person. :) xox

  8. Great finds! I would have jumped around squealing over that box of Ball mason jars - especially for only $4. Sometimes I wonder what people are thinking when they price stuff. $4.95 for that Pyrex bowl is way too high for the condition it's in.

  9. This challenge was so much fun! :) Nice job with the mason jars! :)

  10. My Thrift Store Challenge blog is live today! :) Check it out!


  11. I'm totally in love with Macklemore! I love how his song got turned into a challenge. I've been toying with the idea of doing the challenge myself. What great finds!


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