Thrift is Thriving

I’m reading a book right now that contemplates the idea of thrift. Lots of folks associate the word thrift with cheapness and scrimping, being poor, or with other people’s junk. Really exploring the true definition, however, proves totally enlightening. Webster’s II New College Dictionary, defines thrift as: “1. Wise economy in the management of resources, esp. of money. 2. Vigorous growth of living things, such as plants.” And thrifty: “1. Practicing thrift : ECONOMICAL. 2. Industrious and thriving : PROSPEROUS. ”

I like to think of thrift as: expanding, enjoying and purposefully using what we already have, sharing what we don’t need with others, spending money wisely, the thrill of hunting for bargains that are worth bragging about, finding charm and character in cast off goods, and challenging my creativity to freshen things up on a budget. Thrift is being responsible, economical and living within your means, but that doesn’t mean you can’t live well. For me, it’s exciting to think about thriftiness in this light, and most especially in our current economy.

That said, here are few time-worn, but tried and true tips for decorating with thrift as your muse.

1. Gather all of your artwork, accessories and lamps on the dining table. Regroup them and find new homes for them.

2. Switch out area rugs to different rooms.

3. Rearrange your furniture.

4. Make new pillow covers using remnant fabric or a discounted seasonal tablecloth.

5. Search second-hand stores for picture frames. Spray paint them all one color and group them together on a console table or hang them on the wall.

6. Paint baby, paint. Walls, end tables, dining chairs…whatever! Enough said.

7. Declutter! Maybe a good purging is what your rooms really need.  Take unwanted items to Goodwill or share them with friends.

I’m going to keep pondering this revelation, out of both necessity and inspiration.Who isn’t for whatever is “industrious, thriving and prosperous”? Let me know if you’ve thought about this too, how you define thrift, and if  you’ve got a thrifty decorating tip for us to benefit from.


  1. I love rethinking the word “thrift” like this! Less is absolutely more… sometimes I think America’s culture of keeping up with the Jones’ and having the newest thing just makes us unhappy and less fulfilled.

  2. You said it so well! It feels good to see you embracing the thrifty life which we have (in a modest way) been doing for most of our married life. I definitely think it’s a trend that’s gaining traction now that the nation collectively has gotten stung by over consumption. In spite of the big retailers’ efforts to goad us into more unnecessary buying, it looks like we’re beginning to appreciate the simpler things a little more.

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