Inspired by attending house auctions with her mother and reading about Pippy Longstocking, a “thing-finder,” Barb Bassette was introduced to the world of secondhand shopping at an early age.
Barb lives in the Town of Ithaca with her husband and two daughters. Having recently retired, she has been able to go secondhand shopping three to four times a week. You can find her frequenting the Salvation Army Store, Trader K’s, and Plato’s Closet.
“A lot of my friends say that this is my revolving closet, because when I’m done with what I’ve worn and want to change my look, I bring it back here. When I’m done with the books I bought here, I bring them right back,” she said.
Barb sees secondhand shopping as treasure hunting and enjoys it because, if she’s patient, she can find the same quality goods as everyone else for only a fraction of the price. Secondhand shopping has also helped Barb with some of her creative projects. She is currently looking for shirts to create a flag to bring to the Grassroots Festival.
After her girlfriend attended the event and found out that everyone camping out had their own flag, she told Barb that “Everybody has flags here. We just gotta make one for our site!” Knowing that t-shirts are only 50 cents on half-priced days at the Salvation Army Store, Barb began her t-shirt hunting. So far, she has found so many that they’ll have enough shirts for a blanket and a flag.
“If you are creative, you can find so many cool things, starting with the inexpensive and going from there.”
As for advice for possible new secondhand shoppers, Barb preaches the importance of patience.
“If I’m looking for walking shoes, they’ll come sooner or later. You have to be willing to put in the work to find what you want."
Original interview by Get Your GreenBack Tompkins intern Kelly To in May 2015.