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Shopping thrift stores, flea markets and estate sales can be overwhelming. With the sheer volume of stuff, how do you know where to start? How do you spot gems amid all the junk?
As a professional reseller who has been combing through thrift stores for the better part of 30 years, I can help. If you’re ready to cut your shopping time in half, score bigger bargains or walk away with brag-worthy finds you can flip for cash, read on.
From hard-to-find household items to resale money-makers, everything featured in my “Thrift Shop Like a Pro” series qualifies as a BOLO (“be on the lookout” for) item. When you find it, buy it!
Featured find: Chemex coffee makers
In my house, coffee makers expire faster than the half-and-half. Seriously, I’ve bought two single-cup brewers in the past month. Each one lasted about two weeks before the pump mechanism failed and rendered the whole machine useless.
I’m tempted to go into a diatribe about planned obsolescence, but I haven’t had my coffee yet. Instead, let’s talk about one solution — the Chemex coffee maker, an elegant, efficient pour-over device with no moving parts.
Invented by chemist Peter Schlumbohm, Chemex first appeared on the market in the 1940s. Made of heat-resistant glass, the brewers look like an hourglass with the top shaved off.
The cone-shaped upper portion of the carafe, together with a special paper filter, removes sediment, oils and fats from the coffee. No bitterness and no grounds — the perfect cup every time.
But the smart design doesn’t end there. The narrow neck of the carafe fits the hand perfectly and protects it from the hot surface with a band of wood called a “collar.” The collar is secured with a leather cord knotted through a wooden bead. (Don’t you just love mid-century design?)
A subtle groove molded in the glass serves as a spout. Just remove the used filter and grounds as one compostable package and then pour the coffee.
Why buy it?
Besides brewing a superior cup of coffee, Chemex coffee makers just look cool. In comparison, my now-defunct single-cup brewers look like ill-conceived piles of plastic.
New York City’s Museum of Modern Art and Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum agree on Chemex’s artistic merit — the permanent collections of both esteemed institutions include a Chemex.
Properly used and cared for, a Chemex will deliver piping hot perfection for generations. An excerpt from an old company brochure says it best:
“The Chemex coffeemaker is a perfect masterpiece of glassblowing, which only very few …….