At ThriftSmart we are passionate about community and life transformation. That’s why we created the most effective Thrift store model on the planet. We combine all the passion of ministering to others while at the same time utilizing the best trends in business management. Smart.
Is it just us, or is hosting a dreamy garden party super on-trend these days? Pinterest is saturated with whimsical images of be-decked tables a la twilight, and the atmosphere all too closely resembles the sophistication of one’s wedding reception.
The thing is, there’s something attractive about creating memorable shared experiences in intimate settings, and we’re so here for this.
If you’re like us and are itching to transform your yard into a mid-summer night’s dream like this without breaking the bank, here are five easy ways to class up your garden party on a budget!
1. Hit play
First things first: silence can be a total vibe vacuum at parties, and no one wants that. Whether you’re going for a relaxed, elegant dinner at dusk or a day-time, upscale BBQ, providing the right ambience starts with a feeling, not a visual. What better way to do so than streaming a playlist! Think about the guest list and the tone you want to set for the party, and have the right music on cue. Even if only dimly heard in the background, music can immediately transport people into the desired atmosphere of choice. It’s a free provision that’s easily overlooked, and the payoff is priceless.
2. Cozy is key.
Comfy seating, blankets and soft linens add an element of charm to any outdoor space, no matter the landscaping. The goal here? To feel as if you’re hosting a nice dinner in your living room…outside your living room. Adding cushions or throw pillows to patio furniture or grassy area invites guests to relax and creates a sort of “un-garden” garden party instantaneously. Strewn blankets across the back lawn and tables covered in linen tablecloths, runners and napkins are all soft touches of formality and comfort without the ostentatiousness. Thrifted linens are great for outdoor entertainment too, by the by. Bottom line is, hominess isn’t exclusive to the interior of your home!
3. Lighten things up a bit!
Light brings a sense of warmth, signals an undertone of merriment. String a canopy of little white lights over the table, hang lanterns, scatter tea lights, or incorporate thrifted, mismatched candlesticks into your centerpieces. Speaking of candles, be mindful of mosquitos! Light a few insect repellent candles or torches on the outskirts of the designated area to ensure your guests aren’t interrupted by the annoyance of summer skeeters. (Psst! Here are a few other creative ways to repel these unwelcome, tiny visitors.)
4. Foraged centerpieces.
Some of the most beautiful floral arrangements can be sourced within the confines of our own backyards – no florist necessary! Prune a few branches from trees, pluck lush greenery from shrubs, or handpick delicate flowers from the unlikeliest of weeds, like Queen Anne’s lace. Hang on to spare glass soda bottles or cold brew amber jars, and transform them into unique vases! As long as you thread similar textures and colors throughout your spread, the harmony flows. We also recommend using leafy vines or branches as table runners – pure beauty!
5. Sign here.
Signage is such a simple way to class things up, and you need not spend a penny! Don’t have the best handwriting? Fear not. Messy print and relaxed cursive is the trend here. Get scribbly with it (nah nah nah nah nah nah nah). Whether it’s a seating arrangement, menu, tomato basil and feta salad (see delicious recipe here) or strawberry-infused rosé, written signage on simple note cards can make even the lowliest of tater tots look gourmet (but perhaps rename them “potato bites” for a bit more class).
Summer is moving season in Nashville, and moving means home designs and makeovers are going on all over Middle Tennessee. But as many recent residents have discovered, moving can be expensive. And while our moving to Nashville Guide can be helpful, there are still going to be some significant costs to living in Nashville.
However, we can help with your home design. Upgrading to a bigger home, whether because of the addition of a few new little family members (see our nursery decorating guide here), or getting married (and our fun bachelorette guide here), means redecorating your new nest. And it usually means additional costs on top of what you just spent in moving.
That’s where Motherhood In Nashville comes in. They are a new site for Nashville and Middle Tennessee moms to find great ideas, resources, and friends. Hannah Browning, the founder of Motherhood In Nashville recently moved from a condo to a house and needed some serious home design help. So she called Ashley Friend, one of the writers, and a home designer to help redecorate Hannah’s new house. The catch: Ashley had to do it for under $100.
A Home Design On A Budget
Why just $100? First of all because moving is expensive. Secondly because as a mother of a 1 year old and a 3 year old, buying a $4,000 couch that is going to have crayon/marker/veggie pouch on it within a week didn’t seem like a prudent financial move. But that doesn’t mean that she doesn’t want a home that feels like a million bucks. Plus Hannah and Ashley just wanted to see if they could pull it off.
How They Did It
Saving money often means spending time. And in this case it meant taking the time to plan ahead. In brainstorming, they decided to shop at a thrift store, and ThriftSmart in particular. According to Hannah, the reason they chose us was because of the following factors:
Half-off sales. What would normally cost $200 most days, could be snagged at their budget twice a month if they planned it right.
ThriftSmart is local and gives back locally. That ties in to Motherhood In Nashville’s mission of connecting local moms and community. At ThriftSmart we are proud of our work in the community and LOVE working with others who are doing the same.
Because this is moving season, ThriftSmart, like other thrift stores in the area are going to be well stocked on home furnishings. Thrift stores tend to have some goods that are seasonal, and home goods can fall into that category. So early summer is a great time to find furniture cheap.
Hannah was so happy with the results that she is giving away a $100 gift card from ThriftSmart on Motherhood In Nashville. Just head over there and enter to win, but hurry because the drawing is June 30th, 2019 ENTER THE CONTEST HERE
Congratulations on your upcoming baby! As you’ve realized by now, there’s a whole lot going on in the baby industry. You’ve been researching strollers, breast pumps, car seats, and so so so many opinions on how to parent. And on top of the fact that you’ve been thrust into a brand new world with a strict yet complicated and easily misunderstood culture and set of rules, there are also hormones and unexpected body changes to deal with. So ThriftSmart has marshalled its resources, scoured the internet for tips, and called our moms to help you with one of the potentially thousands of decisions that you’ll need to make before you even have the baby.
Deconstructing The Nursery
Before you can really begin, you need to step back a moment. Typically at this point most mothers and some fathers are in “nesting” mode. That means that they want to make a special place for their baby but don’t really have any idea what that is. And as anyone who has ever bumped into a celebrity and felt compelled to talk to them without any convenient topics on hand can tell you, this is a road that can only lead to disaster, embarrassment, and potentially a restraining order. Don’t go in without a plan or a purpose.
So let’s look at what a nursery is for. For many families, the purpose of their nursery is to provide a safe and comforting place for the baby. A place for them to feel loved and nurtured but that connects them to the family unit as a whole. A place of peaceful tranquility that will provide for the baby’s needs such as diaper changes, feedings, and rest. Or, if this isn’t your first baby, maybe the purpose of your nursery is to provide a space to keep the kid quiet and unable to tell if it is time to wake up yet.
Start With An Idea
Help us help you. Someone can’t completely design your nursery for you, otherwise you’d let your husband do it. But this decision making process can be fun rather than paralyzing. If you are completely stuck on where to start, then find a friend whose design opinions you trust and value. Or, if you and the other voting member of your family are at an impasse, jointly choose a decorating arbitrator. Turn decision time into friendship time and look through Pinterest or Instagram together to find a place to start.
You don’t have to know exactly what you want. You just have to have an idea of where to start and what you’ll be doing in the nursery. A color palette is very helpful. Canva has 100 examples of great color combinations, and they even have a color palette generator if you upload a photo of something you like.
There are some other questions that you can answer at this time:
Will you be reading to the child in the nursery?
Will you be nursing your child in the nursery?
What types of music, lighting, and storage will you want/need?
Use What You Have
Typically nurseries are designed by moms-to-be. Even in a house full of boy babies, no nursery was ever confused for the mancave. Perhaps you should consider using some of the decorations and pieces from your wedding… also a project that the husband wasn’t really allowed to be super involved in (except for reading from a script). Over at Motherhood In Nashville, this mom uses some of her old wedding pieces in her girls’ room to great effect.
Even if you haven’t kept your wedding decorations you can still reuse and repurpose some other pieces from around your house and give them a whole new life and purpose. This is especially true when paired with an intentional color scheme.
Head To The Thrift Store
This is an article on a thrift store blog, so of course we’re going to suggest checking out ThriftSmart. But that’s only because it really is a good idea, especially when it comes to children’s and baby items. Nurseries and childhood bedrooms don’t stay the same for very long. The child grows and tastes change for both child and parent. Occasionally children are born with wildly different opinions than their parents. Some even learn to talk just to express those differences. New children later come along and kick the former beloved children out of their perfect little nest (firstborn here). And sometimes our little cherubs actively work to destroy their home through creative expression and crayon graffiti.
All of this means that thrift stores like ThriftSmart regularly see nursery and children’s room goods donated. Many of which are still very new, name brand, or high quality pieces. Plus it is free just to stop in and look. You might even find some new inspiration!
Let us know what your nursery tips and designs are. We’d love to share them on social media to help other local moms-to-be make the nursery decorating process fun and easy. Plus nurseries don’t stay nurseries for very long so it is great to celebrate and enjoy them just like we do with our weddings. Again, congratulations on the new baby!
You don’t have to be a hipster to appreciate art. (Or an artist, for that matter). Art brings intention, design, personality, and inspiration into any space. You feel it when you walk in. And while family photos provide personal touches throughout your home, balancing them with pieces of thrifted art (art with a story) offers both a sense of self-expression and a hint of sophistication…and not in a pretentious way.
Too many homes lack actual art. We’re all drawn to beauty, so why not intentionally infuse our intimate spaces with bits of just that? With a little help and at little cost, we can collect pieces that easily transform our homes into curated shelters of inspiration at every corner!
Look Deep Within
Cue iconic Charles White’s “Express Yourself…” No matter your style – be it Industrial, Bohemian, Modern, Vintage, Rustic, Traditional, or Eclectic – thrifted pieces have a home inside your home. The trick is to tailor each piece to your own specific style! Most of us identify with a combination of these genres of design, but the important thing to remember here is that once your style is defined, you’ll want to thread the same, consistent artistic expression throughout that little nest of yours.
In her recent book “Homebody,” designer Joanna Gaines (HGTV, Magnolia) discusses the importance of identifying a style that suits your tastes: “…what you discover about your preferred aesthetic will enable you to better define how you want to approach the design of every part of your home.”
For example, if you’ve got a flare for the Bohemian look, you may be on the hunt for art that has woven textures, geometric shapes or natural elements like wood or botanicals. If you’re more of a contemporary or modern-type, look for clean lines, negative space, and unusual, dramatic shapes. Dig in a little deeper to each of these different styles, and have fun choosing the right one for you!
Make Good Choices
Whether a framed painting or print, a sculpture, a vase or a conversation piece (think antique fans, vintage radios, or hand-painted plates) we recommend picking pieces you personally find interesting and beautiful, pieces that tell a story, pieces that fit your specific style. Remember that tying in repeated shapes and colors within a room creates harmony as well, so it’s good to think about the placement of the item before you make the purchase!
The Wall Is Your Canvas
We love the idea of collage or gallery walls, and they’re not too difficult to pull together! Find pieces of art that speak most to you and arrange them in a thoughtful design. Here’s a great gallery wall tutorial and a few different examples we like! No need to agonize over the math here. If comfortable, simply lay out the arrangement on the floor first, then eyeball it and adjust from there. You may have to swap pieces out once you see them on the wall, but trial and error is your best friend! Feel free to use an assortment of squares, rectangles, ovals and circles in your gallery for added visual interest, so long as you are drawing from shapes and colors that appear elsewhere in the room to keep things harmonious.
Keep thrifted artwork as is, or use upcycling as a nifty way to tailor pieces to your own design style. Either repaint the frames to give them a little facelift, or reframe for a fresh, modern, matted look. Another option for framed art is to keep the print, but add your own flare!
Some art is weird, and we’re OK with that. All weirdness aside though, obscure objects like antlers, old fans, hats hanging on walls and typewriters on shelves are other thrifty ways to intermingle organic shapes and statement pieces into your decor. (Check out this cool, eclectic space!) All thrifted objects come from somewhere else. They’re artifacts that will inspire your house guests (and you) as soon as your threshold is crossed. Each of these artful, repurposed items illustrate a narrative in their space – not just their own story, but yours, too. Give them space to breathe, and be careful not to let things evolve into clutter (see our blog on Tidying Up)! Your collection of art is an extension of what gives you peace and enjoyment, what you find to be beautiful.
Each of these artful, repurposed items illustrate a narrative in their space – not just their own story, but yours, too. Give them space to breathe, and be careful not to let things evolve into clutter (see our blog on Tidying Up)! Your collection of art is an extension of what gives you peace and enjoyment, what you find to be beautiful.
Let’s Get Started
Your home has gone without love long enough. Stop neglecting those vacant countertops on your vanity, and start sprucing up those living room walls, those haphazard bookshelves in your bedroom. Better yet, send us your #shelfies of uniquely thrifted art, and we’ll repost on all our socials! We can’t wait to see your inner-hipster shine.
April showers might bring May flowers, but Nashville’s dreary, rainy weather this time of year can leave us feeling stuck inside with nothing to do but stare at each other, sulk, and count how many times our kids can say those infamous, dreaded words: “I’m bored!”
But what if we looked forward to the rainy days? What if bad weather was just another opportunity for some self-made sunshine we have stored away, literally, for a rainy day?
Because it’s easy to let bad weather get you and your family down – and because cabin fever is a real thing – we’ve come up with 10 rainy day activities the whole family (parents included) will enjoy!
1. Game Swap!
Have your kids choose one or two old games they’ve outgrown or haven’t played in awhile, bring them to a local thrift store (we happen to know of a good one), and swap them for a different game. This not only creates a healthy habit of purging and giving (read our blog on Tidy Up Nashville!), but also provides the thrill of the hunt for something new and exciting. To top it off, this is an activity that promotes family togetherness when you all go home and play with your new treasure. Triple win!
2. I Spy With My Little Eye…
Inside your home, on a car-ride, or in a totally new environment, this is a tried and true oldie-but-goodie. Take turns singling out an object within eyesight and recite the words, “I spy with my little eye something (insert clue).” Mystery and intrigue are a great way to amp up thinking skills and there’s always a hefty boost in their little moods when they guess the correct answer! This is a great one for pre-school-aged children too, who will play this game for a surprisingly long time. It’s a classic go-to if your kids need a simple brain break.
3. Indoor Scavenger Hunt!
Paper clips, rubber bands, one of mom’s lipsticks, the left shoe of one of your siblings…these are just a few random items you can have your kids collect on a scavenger hunt around the home! Get into teams, provide each team with a grocery bag and identical list of 10-20 items. Whoever collects all items on the list first wins! (You may want to set some ground rules first, though, such as no running.) The more unique the items, the more fun you’ll have. You could also create clever riddle clues that lead to a new item one-by-one, like this!
4. Pet Store fun!
If you’ve got animal lovers at home, stop by a local pet shop, and let them explore! We like that this is part-fun and part-educational, as little ones can learn about all different types of small animals. It could also lead to a great opportunity to teach them the responsibility of caring for a pet such as a fish or hamster, should you agree to take this on as a family. If not, be sure to prep kids ahead of time that this is a visit with the animals, lest they want to take home all the fuzzy, cuddly, and/or slimy things!
5. Baking Lesson!
Drop by Trader Joe’s or any favorite local grocery store and pick up ingredients for your desired baked good of choice! Be it cookies, a colorful cake or simply a box of Jiffy corn bread, this is a way to have fun and teach your child something new! When your sweet of choice is fresh out of the oven, bring some to a friend or neighbor for an added touch of generosity. Nothing feels better than giving, especially when the gift is something made with love!
6. Bookworm Time!
Another resource at your fingertips that’s always chock-full of fun activities for kids is your local library! Peruse their online calendar for fun events like puppet shows, readings, and more! Or, if you need some built-in quiet time, simply have each child pick out a book to read and curl up in a cozy nook! They also have a myriad of movies and audiobooks to check out, if you’d like to make a quick stop and head back home for some relaxing down time. (Here’s a handy link to Nashville Public Library’s Calendar of Events for all you locals.)
7. Visit A Museum!
Nothing like a rainy day visit to a local museum! One tip: head out first thing, when their energy is high, and crowds are low. In Nashville, we enjoy the Frist and Tennessee Agricultural Museum, but there are so many to choose from! Always be sure to check online calendars for special events and discounts. Hands-on exploration combined with learning is optimum. Other local hot spots are the Adventure Science Center and the Lane Motor Museum, which has an indoor play center for kids!
8. Give A Gift, Get A Gift!
Clearly we’re partial both to giving and to thrifty living, so for this one, first have your littles go through toys or clothes and contribute 5-10 things to a donation box! We’re not talking the whole playroom necessarily. You can start small with just one basket of toys or one drawer of clothes. Next, head out to a thrift store like ours to donate the goods! To reward your children’s generosity, treat them to ice cream or stop by the a dollar store and allow each child one treat! (Tip: if you’d like to avoid them just picking out more junk, have them pick out either a one-and-done craft kit or art supplies they’ll use up over time.)
9. Indoor Campout!
Stay in, but build a pillow and blanket fort equipped with stringed lights and oven-roasted s’mores or popcorn! Kids love building forts, and even the simplest creation can transform cabin fever into wonderment and fantasy. They’ll spend the whole day in their new self-made habitat and can either play pretend, do a craft, read or listen to a book, or watch a movie. The possibilities are endless when the imagination is stretched!
10. Embrace The Elements!
Who says you have to stay indoors? If it’s not too cold, go ahead and dive right in! Get out those old play clothes, raincoats, and galoshes for some good clean fun. Research shows that kids don’t get outside enough these days, so why should a little rain stop them? Catch raindrops in your mouth, observe the creepy crawly things, play in puddles, and splatter the mud! Getting outside is good for the soul, even if it’s just fifteen minutes!
We hope this sparked some creativity for bad weather days! You score big, big bonus points when you get on the ground and do these activities with your children. Creating lasting memories through carefree timelessness builds relationships, and shared experiences with one another are the things they’ll cherish most in their later years.
Just like in life, we need rainy days for new growth, so there is a valuable life lesson for kids to learn here: don’t let bad weather rain on your parade – let it be another opportunity for some self-made sunshine!
Valentine’s Day is upon us again, and if you’re looking to make a romantic gesture beyond the standard dozen roses and box o’chocolates, you can choose, even now, to spice things up this year! Amp up the romance without even emptying your wallet. It just takes a little forethought and a dose of creativity! Here’s where we’re coming from: at the end of the day, we all place a higher value on meaningful experiences and small, thoughtful gifts with stories behind them than we do on shiny material goods, don’t we? With this in mind, we’ve got a couple alternative Valentine celebration and gift ideas that won’t break the bank and will serve as unexpected treasures.
Whether you decide to go the experience route or the unique trinket route, the truest gift will be intentional, premeditated time combined with the element of surprise. Trust us, any of these ideas will create memories worth more than any stereotypical item can provide.
1. Spontaneous Hike!
Brew up some coffee in your Yeti, grab a warm blanket and wake your loved one for an early morning hike! What says romance better than bundling up with a soothing cup of joe with a beautiful view of the sunrise? Yep. Nothing. (Psst – If you’re in Nashville, Radnor Lake is a great location for this).
Or maybe you’d like a more private respite – keep it simple and opt for a morning stroll in the neighborhood or nearby park! Fresh air is proven to automatically improve the mood, and getting outside first thing can set a positive, romanticized tone for the rest of the day.
2. Breakfast of champs!
If your person’s not a morning person, let them sleep in and make them breakfast in bed! Even if it’s a slice of warm toast and jam, the element of surprise is what we like most here. If you’re going for more of a statement though, quietly jet out of the house in secret, and bring back their favorite local coffee or donuts! Fox’s Donut Den? Five Daughters? Yes, please. There’s nothing like waking up to the aroma of freshly-baked goodness. Are we right, or are we right?
3. The Not-So-Classic Picnic!
Scenic surroundings for the perfect afternoon picnic spot in Nashville are about as common as the steeples erected on every corner, but some of the best-kept-secrets are Love Circle (a trendy, hidden hill overlooking Nashville’s skyline), Sevier Park in quaint 12 South, the wooded grounds of the Ellington Agricultural Center in Oak Hill, or even your own backyard!
Sure, go ahead and reach for every cliche here – blanket, candles, wine, cheese, chocolate – but don’t forget to put your own spin on it! A few ideas are adding his or her favorite candy or snack, bringing a hammock for two, presenting little handwritten note cards about why you fell for them, or toting a thermos of their favorite coffee, tea or cocktail to sweeten the pot!
3. Memory Lane (with a twist!)
Of course, many couples revisit a spot that is special to the two of them on Valentines – but what if you went a step beyond and went to see a show at the venue where you met, or you cook the very first meal you ate together, or go to the specific site where you first said, “I love you.” The more unusual and unpredictable, the better! For added commemoration, bring champagne or a heartfelt, handwritten letter for them to read on-site.
4. Build A Fort!
Bedecked with stringed lights, drape a sheet over your living room furniture and use lamps, blankets, and flowers to add to the ambiance! That’s right, turn off those overhead lights, turn on your favorite playlist, and watch your familiar space turn into a foreign, dreamy escape.
This provides the perfect setting for watching a movie, sipping wine, eating dessert (we highly recommend chocolate fondue and strawberries), or even a nice meal. This brings elements of childlike charm and fun to the day that provides the perfect setting for romance!
5. Scavenger Hunt!
Dial up the fun meter with this one, and create a little scavenger hunt! You can go hunt-lite here, and leave little clues or a candy trail around your home that eventually lead to a thoughtful gift or handwritten letter. Or you can go more robust and devise a hunt around around the city, leaving clues at locations that are special to you! Let the last clue bring them to either a meaningful experience like the ones we’ve mentioned here or a special gift or letter they can open. Speaking of gifts…
6. Bouquet of Flowers AND Affirmations!
This one’s so simple, but so straight from the heart! Bundle up little written affirmations with that beautiful bouquet of flowers! Think of the qualities in that person that you appreciate most. While generic virtues like “patient” and “kind” are complementary, we suggest really taking a moment to reflect on what makes that person them. The more specific the better!
What first drew you to them? What are the things you admire about them? How do they make you better? You can even incorporate inside jokes, quirky attributes, what makes them laugh, what makes them cry… Have fun with this, and watch their face light up when they read through each characteristic you hold dear.
7. Unforseen Treasure!
It may sound trite coming from us, but get thrifty! Seriously though. Buying something vintage generates more of a story around the object of choice, demanding an answer for the reason for giving. Go to a local thrift store, and find a vase, whiskey glasses or bar accessories, a piece of art, a book, a tie or a sweater that made you think of your honey. They’ll love hearing about why you picked it out!
8. Home-made = Heart-made!
If you have children, this is a fun one to get them in on! Bust out some paints, markers or even crayons and have everyone contribute to a piece of art! Even if you’re the sole artist of your creation, and you consider yourself a poor artist at that, this is something that costs nothing, but means the world.
Especially since simplistic modern art like this is super trendy right now, even little scribbles in black and white will do the trick! Just make sure to place your handmade gift in a nice frame, and voila! Be it a landscape of a place you’ve visited together, a portrait of him or her, or an abstract image of plain geometric shapes in their favorite colors, your Valentine will treasure this masterpiece forever because of one simple fact: it was made by you.
Other DIY ideas? You could make a finger-painted picture frame like this, bake something delicious, or even put together a DIY adult hot cocoa ensemble. The possibilities are endless, as long as they come from your heart. Here’s to a happy Valentine’s Day!
Out with the old, and in with the…clean space! There’s something about the freshness of a new year that inspires us to look both within and around and do some serious purging, and when we do, our inner-Marie Kondo does a little dance.
The idea of the KonMari method, as she calls it, is going through possessions by category (i.e. clothing, books, papers, etc.) taking each individual object in your hands and asking yourself, “Does this spark joy?” If the answer is “yes,” make sure it has a specific place to live. If the answer is “no,” then thank the item, give it a new home elsewhere, and clear out the clutter in your life.
As we embark on this new year, most of us bolster our own commitment to this seasonal discipline of tidying, and when we do, we find it becomes a detox for our minds as well, allowing space for both physical and emotional peace. And juxtaposed with our heavily consumer-driven culture, there’s an underground movement that’s embracing minimalism. (Can anyone say tiny house?)
Society is slowly shifting our focus toward decluttered living, finding meaning through relationships and experiences rather than material goods. In turn, we’re better able to alleviate stresses, nix expenses, and be present to what is truly important here and now. So needless to say, today’s a great time to ask ourselves the question: “Do I really need this? Does this truly, in the words of Marie Kondo, ‘spark joy?’”
Remember all those gifts you got at Christmas that don’t suit your tastes? Any toys that take up too much room in the home? How about older accessories that have gone unused due to the excitement of newer ones?
Maybe you take a family day and go through clothes. Or maybe you take a page from the book of The Minimalists, and simply place a donations box in your home to form the habit of gifting things throughout the year, little by little.
Whether you use the KonMari process or a different philosophy, when you’re shedding those unwanted items, we’re happy to give them a new purpose and home to someone in need. Part of the joy of clearing things out is gifting them to others less fortunate who could use them far more than we can. Even better when proceeds of those items go to a good cause, right? So while you tidy up, you can pay it forward!
We offer free pickup service and have donation bins in Nashville, Franklin and Brentwood. Find a bin near you here! You can also find out more about what donations we accept.
We hope you enjoy the clean slate of this new year, whether by a cleaner closet, a cleaner house or cleaner mind! And thank you for supporting our mission to provide value to our community and beyond – all for God’s glory. Happy spring cleaning, happy giving, and happy 2019!
It’s that time of year again, and apart from baking our family’s favorite holiday treat or stringing Christmas lights from every corner, many of us look most forward to decorating our tree with the trappings of Christmas spirit.
It’s that time of year again, and apart from baking our family’s favorite holiday treat or stringing Christmas lights from every corner, many of us look most forward to decorating our tree with the trappings of Christmas spirit.
Part of the delight of gathering around during this age-old tradition is hanging the beloved trinkets that conjure up our happiest of memories – whether a craft we’ve made with our children, a place we’ve visited with family or friends, or a handmade work of art constructed with artifacts of our past.
In true holiday fashion, we’ve handpicked our top 10 favorite DIY thrifted ornaments as a gift of inspiration this season. Swipe our gallery for new ways to upcycle and reuse thrifted goods as ornaments your family will love hanging around the tree for years to come!
A wonderful way to repurpose mason jars: handmade snow globes! Simply add any winter figurines you like and sprinkle in some sugar, salt or faux snow. To finish, hot glue both the lid and hanging fixture, and rope with simple twine. Voila! (By Sarah Hart of www.homeiswherethehartisblog.com)
Find a new function for those old CDs or DVDs lying around, and add some sparkle to dull orb ornaments! This is a fun craft to do with older kids. (Tutorial at cremedelacraft.com)
Upcycle little toy cars into that precious “bring a tree home for Christmas” moment! All you need is a baby Christmas tree, some ribbon and hot glue! (by HGTV)
Find an old map of the places you’ve lived or visited and use mason jar lids for this adorable memento! Great gift idea for family and friends. (Full tutorial on happy-mothering.com)
Such a creative use for those puzzles you’ve completed so many times. Handwrite or hodgepodge a meaningful phrase or quote (a la “We fit together like pieces of a puzzle”), and give to your sweetheart.
Patterned thrifted ties make the sweetest angel ornaments. Simplify these angels from Etsy by just using poster board and sharpie for the wings and face. Buttons, bells and bows add the perfect touch on these cherubim, too! Simply cut the tie to the preferred length, leaving height for the arms, then fold over and pin down using hot glue.
Utilize outgrown or stray children’s socks as little snowman! Fabric scraps and buttons are great accessories, and you can choose any color combo you want. (Full tutorial on craftsncoffee.com – just stick a paperclip through the tip of the hat to hang!)
We L-O-V-E this Scrabble re-purpose idea! With spare beads, a drill and some wire, this makes the cutest little curio. (Tutorial at womansday.com)
We adore these little cardboard gingerbread men made with spare buttons, yarn and fabric! Great holiday activity for kids, and to make them into ornaments, just poke a hole through with some wire, ribbon or twine! (Full tutorial at mermagblog.com)
What a fresh take on the classic snowman! Use a bulb ornament, ping pong ball or styrofoam. From there, it’s just paper, string and a bit of paint. Love! (Tutorial on mermagblog.com)
Once upon a time, long ago, there was no Instagram. McDonald’s didn’t offer delivery. And the streets of Nashville weren’t littered with discarded motorized scooters. The people of this time would gather together once a year and attend fancy holiday parties. These parties, usually dinner parties, didn’t have gag gifts, or ugly sweaters. They had acquaintances becoming friends, probably ham, cloth napkins, and the joy of Christmas. While ugly sweater parties are still great, maybe this year, you should consider hosting a fancy holiday party from the golden age!
The Guest List
Step one is to come up with a guest list. The guest list is crucial to the entire event so it should be even more carefully curated than your playlist. Nashville is currently blessed to be the preferred city of choice for new and young families. So if you decide to invite friends and family who have young children, this will affect the time and type of activities. Toddlers can’t be expected to entertain themselves at the kids table the way an 8 year old could. So you would also have to consider a spare room and babysitter or babysitter rotation to care for the younger attendees and make sure that the party is early enough to accommodate your youngest attendees. If your guests have older children, are they invited? Turn any room into an excellent game room with a quick trip to ThriftSmart to pick up a few classic games or toys. Or if you are feeling especially ambitious, you can even find some prizes for the kids. However if you choose to keep it kid free, whether your attendees are mostly childless or empty nesters then the fancy holiday party should probably start a little later in the evening to give your attendees plenty of time to get ready.
Your guest list should also be carefully curated for the benefit of your guests, not necessarily your own social status. Who among your friends and acquaintances can benefit from meeting each other? The goal of your fancy dinner party is to foster community and build relationships. A good party is one where the guests feel special. An essential ingredient to a holiday party is making the attendees feel loved and appreciated. Drawing new friends into a community is an excellent way to do that.
To make your fancy holiday party feel like a family, you need a good plan. And the foundation of a community is good communication. The invites are a crucial part of that plan. Yes, you can and should use a digital service like Facebook events or evite. However, you should also send a handwritten invitation. Why both? Because the digital services make RSVPing or communicating special needs, exceptions, or plan changes much easier. The handwritten invitations convey the sincerity of your desire to spend time with that person. They are special to you. There are so few pieces of mail that are happy surprises, so invitations are rare treats.
Your party should also have a purpose. Not just a theme like an 80’s party, but an actual vision. Why should someone attend this party? This time of year, an excellent way to accomplish this is to host a donation drive along with your party. Collect canned goods, box tops, or collect goods to be donated to ThriftSmart. You are hosting a fancy holiday dinner party. The least your guests can do is donate something.
The next part of the plan, and possibly the most important, is to consider your list of attendees who have RSVP’d yes. What you want to avoid are cliques. People tend to congregate with others that they already know. They are comfortable with that. Your job is to mix people up and get them into groups of others that they may yet know but should. But a good host can take their guests out of their comfort zone, but just far enough to be pleasantly surprised and delighted. Plan out your seating. Couples cannot be seated together during dinner. They will have plenty of time to be together, but at dinner, they should be separated. Instead seat people next to each other that have similar or complementary interests. Then place a card with each person’s name at their seat and some introductory questions (e.g., will you be traveling for the holidays? Do you give gifts on Christmas Eve or Christmas day? etc).
A fancy holiday party doesn’t necessarily mean that all of the food has to be fancy as well. This is Nashville after all and BBQ is basically a staple no matter the formality of the event. But any ethnic food strongly identified with a culture can work, no matter how simple or inexpensive. Italian food is the most popular example of this. Pasta, salad, and some rolls work for everything from a wedding to a quick weeknight meal. The same is true with Asian dishes, Mexican, or French (except fries). And virtually every culture has inexpensive meals for large groups. So it is a good idea to try to find an something that will keep your particular friend group fed without annoying them with food that is too different from their preferences. For some, a home made sushi night sounds like fun. For others, raw fish makes them far more squeamish than Korean fried chicken.
The whole goal of this fancy dinner party is to cultivate the “Joy of Christmas.” That means you want a warm fuzzy family feeling. And not the sibling squabbling or uncomfortable silence kind of family either. To do this, we need to encourage acquaintances to get to know each and form deeper relationships. So all of your activities should be designed to do this. As previously mentioned, have questions at each table setting. Following dinner have everyone gather in one room and sing Christmas carols. Make sure to have lyrics of some of the most popular Christmas carols on hand to pass out. It is also probably a good idea to make sure that there aren’t enough for everyone, forcing people to share. And it is also probably a good idea to meet in a room that fits everyone but just barely.
After the Christmas caroling, allow people to mingle on their own. After a meal and singing together, they should be a little more warmed up to the idea of spending time with each other and couples will probably be looking forward to reuniting at this point. But now is also an excellent time to allow them to have dessert. A popcorn and hot chocolate bar is a great way to keep the activities and engagement going. And of course, this would be a great time to set up an Instagram booth, complete with props from ThriftSmart!
And finally, follow up with your guests! Send them a thank you note, remind them of the evening and the fact that you valued their company. Following up will cement the positive memories and feelings while allowing any negative or bored moments to fade away. That follow up note is the cherry on top that will make your fancy holiday party one to remember.