Extreme Thrifting, or Why You Need to Carry a Golf Club

Why am I holding a golf club? It turned out to be an important tool during my visit to the Idaho Youth Ranch Outlet Store.

The Idaho Youth Ranch held a $10 cart sale at their Irving Street location last Sunday.

Simple premise, fill your cart with as much as you can and it's only $10.

Filling a cart to really maximize the $10 takes balancing and structural talents. It reminded me of my old salad bar skills at Wendy's.

The salad-stacking skill-set was not enough. I was clearly unprepared.

Overwhelming. Yes.

When I arrived, there were no carts at the front of the store. All taken. So I just browsed a little bit and pretty soon, a nice person noticed I didn't have a cart and they found one for me.

My mission was to gather items for an upcoming miniature garden-fairy-garden-dinosaur garden class I'm teaching at the Idaho Botanical Garden this Friday. The best accessories are one-of-a-kind and re-purposed.

Some of the boxes in the outlet store are very large and deep. There is some generalization for what might be in the boxes. with an area for clothes, household goods, books, shoes and toys. But what is really in the boxes, who knows? Just dive right in.

That was a literal dive for many people, who got inside the containers. I'm too short to climb into them, so I copied what I saw some children doing: I grabbed a golf club - you will find lots of those in the bins - and started digging.

Did I find the treasures beyond gardening goodies? Oh, yeah, and more. 

  • A white Corningware bowl just like the one we used often at home until it broke last year
  • A GIANT letter "D" - I'm sure I needed it
  • Lots of Christmas ornaments
  • A pretty, purple vase for my friend Katy (don't tell her, it's a surprise)
  • An ice cub tray - which I will use for herb preservation this summer

I sure I wish I had brought gloves. So much broken glass in the bins, along mud and dirt.

Frankly, a lot of things in the bins were clearly trash. Like the wad of aluminum foil below. I also found a to-go bag of Cheesecake Factory leftovers.

Even if you aren't interested in a 'cart sale' promotion, it's important to see the kinds of donations made to the Idaho Youth Ranch. If you want to support a cause, use care in donations. It's obvious that people load up items that are clearly trash and dump them in donation bins. 

See you at the next cart sale!


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