I shop in thrift stores. And rummage sales, garage sales, consignment shops, Salvation Army, and gladly accept hand-me-downs. To top it off – I like it. I enjoy the thrill of the hunt. Monday I braved a local thrift shop’s MLK sale – 50% off everything in the store. Dennis laughs, you mean you are looking for half off of $4.99? Yeah, I am. There is a method to thrift shopping. You need to visit often and have several stores at your disposal, because it is hit or miss. You don’t really walk into the store looking for a specific item hoping you’ll find it sitting there for the taking. You get what you get and you don’t get upset! I know there are certain things I want to have in the boys’ closets all the time like black shoes, dress pants, thermal underwear, rain gear, assortment of hats and cool t-shirts, great jeans – the basics. When you thrift shop, you have to take what you see at the time. This weekend I found a pair of flannel lined, Gap jeans (tag still on) in a size 14. No one fits them right now, but I know that both Gavin & Mikey will wear them at some point at Scout camp – worth storing. Through trial and error (and a little help from my friends), I have come up with the equation that to store something, someone has to wear it within the year. It also helps that we have so many boys! Someone is going to wear it at some point! There is a ‘snobby’ side to my thrift shopping. I am not interested in run-down, washed out cheap versions of things. I am looking for the awesome 8 slim, brand new, Tony Hawk jeans I found for Mikey for $4 (tag says $38) I like Abecrombie, Urban Pipeline, Levis, Ralph Lauren, LL Bean, Northface, and Land’s End. I just don’t like them full price. There is also the gear I always have my eye out for – expensive items that we might like to have, but are not going to prioritize to buying at Sports Authority or a specialty shop. Wet suits, surf boards, skiis, hockey equipment, rollerblades, ice skates (in every size) unicycles (yep), classic toys and games, science kits, and the list goes on. And it’s a real list. When we think of something we’d like to have, I pull out the paper and keep track of what we are looking for. The boys now ask if they can put something on ‘the list’. The ridiculous to the sublime is written down and the search begins. I have heard comments such as “having kids is so expensive” or “that’s an expensive sport”. While those statements might be true, a little help from ‘the list’ and some patience can go a long way.