Thrifting: the art of taking other people’s old things and turning them into something all your own! (as per my own definition). Thrifting around Quebec City: the art of finding the best used items from locals in the area and its surrounding communities.
If you’re like me, and enjoy the art of stalking and finding the perfect piece for your home, be it ready-made or in need of some work, thrift shopping and antiquing is for you!
The distinction between antiquing and thrifting lies in the perceived value of the object: an antique store on the side of the highway will probably know exactly what they have, and will charge something a bit higher than its value.
Like this really simple yet stylish light fixture that would look really cool in a kitchen. The antique store in question was asking 191$ of it… a tad too much for my likes, but it might be the perfect price for someone else!
A thrift store downtown may have the find of the century, and price accordingly, or have it for a steal. Thrift stores are also usually full of junk, and there aren’t appraisers on hand to help determine value. You may in fact be purchasing some garbage, but as long as you love it, who cares!
I got my desk at a thrift store downtown for 30$. It’s a campaign-style table, really solid construction, and perfect for my laptop and a lamp.
A final distinction between the two, would be the level of care brought to the item before re-sale. Antique stores will often partially restore/re-inforce/appraise their merchandise, hence the added value reflected in the price-tag.
Any decent household style blog will have their tips and tricks for thrifting, and mine probably aren’t any different. As such I’ll list some of them below
– Go with a limit in mind: it will save you from purchasing things that, although cheap, you don’t necessarily need. If you only have 20$ cash on you, it’s hard to over-spend. If you really want it, you’ll make arrangements to go back.
– Go early in the week: most people clean house, and then donate items on the weekend. Allow a day or two of processing in-store before articles show-up on the floor. This is seasonally applicable too: a lot of people spring and fall clean, so check then!
– Look for solid pieces, with solid construction: you don’t want to buy a table that will fall apart the second you put a phone on it. If a tightening of the screws will do the trick, proceed! You can also re-paint/re-finish a good piece, don’t let the original colour deter you! (in doubt, call me, and I’ll do it for you!)
– How much would you pay for what you’re buying, if it was brand new? I find that’s a good question to help me gage the price-point I’m most comfortable with. I enjoy a good deal, but I’m also willing to spend good money on a used piece, if it means I get a bit more character than something mass-produced. ex. china sets, you can find some really interesting ones at thrift stores for the same price as what you might find in a store. Chances are, if it has lasted this long, it will keep going.
– Google actually works: At first I thought google wouldn’t be the best place to look for thrift stores, boy was I wrong! Turns out a lot of stores do actually have websites that are up to date. Word of mouth is super useful too.
– For furniture and china, I recommend Le comptoir Emmaus
This place is run by 25 or so full-time employees, 7 days a week from 9-5. They offer delivery to base too! They’re priced very competitively, and receive no funding from outside sources. The profits keep that place going!
They have a great selection of household furniture like buffets, dressers, tables, chairs etc.
– For house-wares and knick-knacks, I recommend Value Village / Village des Valeurs
There are three around us in Quebec City. Get the membership card! they send out emails when members-only sales are on too. For the most part they price very well, and you can find a lot of sets. Great place for coffee table books too!
– For antiques, take a look on the Route des Antiquaires website
They list all the stores in Quebec Center (so within an hour or two of here). The prices at these places are all fairly similar, and a lot of them have bought-out closing churches, and estates from country homes in the area. If you’re looking for religious items, or some solid Quebec country-side construction, these places are great, if a bit expensive. You won’t find much for under 200$.
I suggest calling ahead to see if they have what you’re looking for, and ask to see pics before you drive out to see them!
– Garage sales are fantastic for the un-expected!
You can’t really plan for these, but take a look around Val-Belair and the residential areas around posting season, you’re bound to find at least one!
That’s all I’ve got for now, but let me know if you have any places you go to for these kinds of items!