Thrifting with SeeSaw and Old Ladies in Underwear

Pillows sell like mad.
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It's no secret that

we adoreSeeSaw Designs

. So it's only natural that we also love

SeeSaw Vintage Shoppe

on Esty.com.

The three women who run SeeSaw (a Phoenix design firm) frequently hit some of the best thrift stores in town to accumulate the vintage goods they sell.

I tagged along with expert-thrifter Lindsay Tingstrom (one of SeeSaw's masterminds) on a recent Saturday afternoon. And during our thrifting adventure, I saw an old lady in her underwear.

The treasure lies within...

We hit the

Sun Bowl Plaza

(located at 107th and Peoria Avenues), a strip mall in Sun City that features four thrift stores filled with some of the best junk available in town. Given Sun City's demographic, it's no wonder vintage treasures pop up in these stores. Tingstrom gave me the tour as we gabbed about SeeSaw's great finds.

"These blankets sell really well," Tingstrom said as she picked up a crocheted afghan. "It has cute colors in a zig-zag. It's in decent condition. There are no holes or mothballs and it doesn't smell."

Trash or treasure? Let SeeSaw decide.

Then we found a bleach spot. On to the next store.

This was where I saw the old lady in her underwear. I walked by the dressing rooms and accidentally (I swear, it was an accident) glanced through the crack of the dressing room curtain.


In fact, if you're hitting up the Sun Bowl Plaza, get ready to hang with the seniors. They're cute but aggressively chatty; Tingstrom and I both had to sit through an old lady's long-winded description of her toothpick holder collection at home.

Tingstrom is one picky shopper. Out of five stores, she picked up two items: a blue silk blouse and a floral pillow. This was a good day. Often, she leaves empty-handed and as we shopped, one of the thrift store employees teased her for never buying anything.

Tips I learned for good thrifting:

Get out of town. Hit the outskirts of Phoenix proper and you'll find stores that haven't been previously picked over.

Inspect, inspect, inspect. If there's a minor flaw, you'll regret it.

Think about weight. Do you really want to lug/move/ship that fifty pound vintage sewing machine?

Know your buyer. If you plan to sell this stuff, make sure it will actually sell. Start with a small collection, see what goes first, then focus on those items.

Don't be afraid to let go. Tingstrom made a drop-off during this trip of unsold items to be donated back to the store. Hoarding must be avoided.

Think about storage. Tingstrom has a room in her house set aside for this stuff. And, yes, it makes her husband a little crazy.

Come back for more. Want to know why The Shoppe is always so well-stocked? Tingstrom hits thrift stores twice a freakin' week!

Check out SeeSaw's vintage goods here.

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