This is my ambitious journey as a thrift store junkie single-mindedly bent on documenting every, single thrift store in the San Francisco Bay Area. While this task may appear daunting, you’ll be comforted in the knowledge that I am up for the challenge, having been genetically predisposed to finding bargains from a tender age. Plus, I was a Geography major, so that’ll come in handy.
Why thrift stores? I can’t remember exactly when or why I began frequenting them. Some of them clean and bright and organized by color or item. Others smelling slightly of body odor or old carpeting. But, this has become a type of excavation for me. Searching, uncovering, pulling back, scanning the racks and shelves because they could hold a buried treasure.
I can lose time in these places, exposing the remnants of other people’s lives. Observing the hidden gems that tell countless stories. The personal photographs in black and white and kodachrome of weddings, family portraits, leftover souvenirs from world wars and world travels. Why did someone donate this portrait? I sometimes wonder when I see a painting or a photograph of a man or a woman, someone’s mother or father, aunt or lover. Where is their family?
Thrifting, thrifted, thrift – these are all terms that may delight some and that others may revile. But perhaps it is because I once wanted to become an archeologist that I now find great pleasure in combing these receptacles of our modern, throw-away culture, of other people’s personal detritus. I always wonder what I’ll find around the bend…
This thrift store project has been five years in the making. It is really only because of WordPress (and Tara Brennan) that I am now able to give it wings.
My goal: to document in words and photographs every single non-profit thrift store in the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area. It is the perfect intersection of three of my favorite activities: writing, thrifting and photography. I hope it helps you find many of your own hidden treasures, and I hope that it helps the non-profit stores by bringing them more visitors each and every day, which in turn helps further their mission to help those struggling in our society. That is my wish. Added bonus: it’s good for the environment.
Stay tuned for more thrifting adventures with Mimi …single-mindedly bent on documenting every, single thrift store in the San Francisco Bay Area.