1. BE IN SHAPE – it is important to build up the strength and stamina needed for regular thriftiness and crafting. One’s leg muscles must be in optimal condition for the purpose of walking up and down aisle after aisle of thrift shops, squatting down and up again for the best view into cluttered shelving, sorting thru endless stacks of mismatched china, and poking and prodding through pile after pile of vintage linens. One also needs to build up arm and hand coordination for various acts of craftiness, be it the constant clicking of knitting needles (whilst continually picking up and putting down a cup of tea), or the hooking action of crochet. Let’s not forget the muscle strength and endurance also needed for snipping and sewing of vintage fabrics and linens. Be ready for the physical and mental demands and you will excel!
2. UNDERSTANDING THE NATURE AND PURPOSE OF THRIFTINESS AND CRAFTING – It is fairly common for new trainees to feel that the whole purpose of thrifting and crafting with vintage goods is simply to find a “good deal” and save money. Be patient with these new trainees and be ready to Show Them the Way. Help them to understand the thrill of the “hunt”, the ecstasy of the “find” and the utter and complete satisfaction of the building up of the “stash”.
3. DISCRETION IS SOMETIMES NECESSARY - Also help them to understand that there will be others in their lives that may not share their enthusiasm for “used” sheets, pillowcases and tablecloths (or as we in the Army refer to as pre-loved, vintage, re-purposed, pre-cherished or re-cycled); knick knacks with chipped paint, rusty tins, old Pyrex, crocheted potholders, lampshades with no base, scratched up tables, granny square afghans, etc. Namely, these less enthusiastic people tend to be known as Husbands or Significant Others who may refer to our newly acquired treasures as “junk” or “crap” – as in “My God, what junk are you bringing in the house now?” It is best to train these new recruits in the fine art of leaving newly acquired goods in the trunk of their cars and bringing them in when the Significant Others are either not home or appropriately occupied. It is also possible to blend in the new acquisitions with the already established stash so said Significant Other will most likely never notice a thing.
Of course there are times when the services of the Significant Other are needed, i.e. for their brute strength in helping to pick up and carry in the tenth armoire or china cabinet found on Craig’s List that the Recruit may not know where she will put, but must have nonetheless. That is when a blondie blu Army Recruit must truly be at her most creative in effectively soothing, complimenting and building up (and possibly cooking him his favorite dinner) said Significant Other so that he will cooperate. Most married Recruits already know how to do this.
4. THE FOURTH and LAST RULE – STAY FOCUSED – There are many outside influences that can distract us from our Thrifty, Crafty Greater Purpose. Shiny, new objects gleaming in colorful photos in catalogs; attractively displayed items in store windows; a friend’s newly interior designed living room. The distractions are too numerous to list. Straying from our thrifty ways a little bit here and there is most certainly not a serious infraction. We all go a little AWOL now and then. As long as you keep your thrifty crafty Golden Rules close to your heart, you will reap the benefits of your best efforts and be a proud Army member for life.
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