How Shopping Secondhand Helped me Discover my Style – and Myself.

Emily Karbach || 10/28/18

“Where’d you buy that?”

This is both my favorite and least favorite question when someone comments on one of my outfits. I love it because I love to engage with people about fashion and, of course, I appreciate the compliment! The less fun part is that if someone loves one of my pieces enough to buy it, they may be out of luck. Why? Because my answer to “where’d you buy that?” is almost always “it’s thrifted!”

Screen Shot 2018-11-05 at 11.23.02 AM

A shot from a photo shoot I did last winter. My entire outfit (excluding the shoes) was thrifted at an arc in Fort Collins, CO.

Although I just recently became passionate about it, I’ve been thrifting clothes for as long as I can remember. Growing up, my family had to be frugal with the ways we spent money, so almost all my clothes were hand-me-downs from friends or had been found at our local thrift store. Even as a kid, I loved to go to the thrift store and pick out a bright floral top or some fun patterned pants, and I never minded that my clothes had been used before. To me, it just meant that some other little girl who loved the same things I did was giving me a chance to express myself just like she had been able to. Nowadays, I thrift for a lot of reasons. Sustainability is hugely important to me, so I appreciate the ability to take part in the “reduce, reuse, recycle” movement. Plus, thrifting gives me the ability to experiment with fashion and unique ways to express myself. Also, I’m currently a college student so I always appreciate easy ways to save money! The core of my passion for thrifting, though, will always be the admiration I have for the story behind each piece of clothing, and the excitement being able to give these pieces new life creates in me.

Screen Shot 2018-11-05 at 11.23.13 AM

One of my favorite outfits at Pier 39 in SF, CA. The complete outfit (including accessories) was thrifted from arc Thrift Stores in Denver, CO.

Arc Thrift has always been my favorite thrift store for a myriad of reasons (mostly because of their 50%-off everything Saturday sales!), and the more I learn about their stores and their cause, the prouder I am to support them not only with my business (I try to donate a piece of clothing for every piece I buy) but also with the creation of this blog. Arc creates value in our communities within every part of their business model, and to be able to educate people about that positive impact is an immense honor.

My goal with this blog – which I will be posting once a month – is both to share my passion for thrifted fashion and how I stay true to my style while shopping thrift, and to inspire people so the next time they walk into an Arc Thrift Store they are excited by opportunity instead of overwhelmed by possibility. And of course, I’ll be sharing my favorite thrifted pieces and looks, giving helpful tips for how to find unique and fashionable pieces while thrifting, and the nearly endless benefits that shopping at Arc provide not only to us, but also to our communities, our environment, and our world. I’m so excited to join you on this journey, and I can’t wait to see where it takes us!

Screen Shot 2018-11-05 at 11.23.21 AM

Couldn’t get enough of this San Francisco look! I love wearing thrifted looks when I travel, it allows me to look unique and fashionable while staying on budget.

Happy Thrifting,


Instagram: @emily_karbach

Wood you like to go to arc?

There are always tons of beautiful furniture pieces when you walk into an arc thrift store. If there are imperfections or cosmetic issues you might wonder whether or not you should buy a piece. I’m a big believer that as long as you have a great piece of furniture to start with, you can always paint/fix/tweak whatever is needed.

Wood furniture can be the easiest to spruce up. A lot of times all a piece needs is a bit of a restoration or minor repair around the edges.  When I get a new piece of wood furniture from arc, my first step is always to clean it. I use a special soap made just for wood that won’t dry it out.

The next product I use is Restor-A-Finish. It comes in different stains and it’s like a refresh for your wood.

You rub it onto the furniture like you would a stain and it helps darken any light spots that have occurred because of bumps or scrapes. There are a variety of tints based on the kind of wood you are working with.

It doesn’t make them invisible but it definitely makes them far less noticeable.

The final product that I use is Feed-N-Wax. It’s by the same makers as the Restor-A-Finish and the two are meant to be used together. The Feed-N-Wax moisturizes the wood and shines it up so that it glows. You buff it on and wait a bit and then wipe off any remainder with a rag.

You can see in the pictures below how the scratches are less noticeable from left to right, in the wood that’s gone through all three steps.

It really helps with wear along the edges of a piece of furniture due to normal use and transport.

Needless to say, you should not let a few scratches or a little bit of damage deter you from buying a great piece of furniture from arc thrift. I found my favorite piece at an arc thrift store and it cleaned up beautifully for my home.


arcs and Crafts

Many times, the items that I buy at Arc thrift stores are for organization. I have lots of little dishes and trinket boxes for storage that I have thrifted at Arc.


But I do not have a ring holder for next to the sink when I am doing dishes. I started hunting for one recently and when I did not find one right away I decided I would make my own. I found a small saucer with a great pattern from one of my favorite arc thrift stores.

Then I managed to find a small ceramic unicorn for only $.69 to be the actual ring holder.

I liked how it looked with the unicorn set straight on the plate but I decided I wanted to fancy it up a bit and paint the unicorn gold to match the pattern on the saucer. After painting it I used glue that bonds ceramics to glue the unicorn down.

I love how unique it is to my home since I thrifted the pieces separately and put it together myself. That is my favorite thing to do with items from Arc.


Sangre De Cristo Volunteers for the Community raised $750

Sangre De Cristo Volunteers for the Community raised $750 by participating in arc’s Buck a Bag fundraiser in 2017.  They will use the funds to further their renovation of an old outdated golf course clubhouse into a community and nature center for our area.   The building was built with environmentally responsible construction and forward-looking innovations.  When completed, it will be a demonstration building for green renovation, as well as an attractive amenity for much of Southern Colorado, with public, private, and community-oriented events.  Plans include a nature and environmental center, a local-history area, classrooms, and performance spaces, among other amenities.Picture1

Getting Organized at arc Thrift Stores

by Julie White

With the beginning of a new year comes a chance to start fresh and get organized. I have several little areas of my home that are constantly cluttered and I want to finally get them under control. I hit a few Arc Thrift stores for some furniture and organization inspiration!

I found this big bookcase at the first Arc I went to for only $9.99.

At the same store I found these two storage chests, $14.99 for both.

These looked great on the outside and had tons of storage inside. They’d be perfect to hold blankets or pushed together as a coffee table.

I ended up finding this little bookcase/record stand at the Arc Thrift store closest to my house for only $4.99! It needed a quick dusting but it was ideal for the storage that I needed.

I filled it with books and it tucked perfectly into a corner by a window. There were so many options at Arc Thrift stores and all of them were very affordable. I will definitely be heading back to Arc soon for more organizational projects.


Discover how arc Thrift Stores Buck- A – Bag Fundraiser supported Homeschool Etc.

By: Miranda Halverson

Did you know you could turn your donations into cash for your favorite nonprofit cause?  Not only can you help support arc Thrift Stores and our important mission of helping individuals living with an intellectual or developmental disability, but you can raise money for a cause that is near and dear to your own heart as well.

The fundraiser program is called “Buck a Bag”.  It is easy. Just bag and box up your unwanted household items and clothes. Schedule a pickup or drop off with me. Provide me with a copy of your nonprofit organization’s w9, and then receive a check within 2-4 weeks.  Easy peasy, right?

Over the past 7 years, arc Thrift Stores has given over 2 million dollars to local nonprofits through our fundraiser programs. This is an incredible opportunity that you should not miss out on. Homeschool Etc. ( can attest to the benefits of this amazing program. They have raised over a thousand dollars for school supplies for their kiddos.

IMG_9117 (1)

This is a wonderful time of year to schedule your first “Buck a Bag” fundraiser and to give back to arc Thrift Stores and your favorite nonprofit cause. Please contact me to schedule your first fundraiser.

Please call Miranda Halverson at 720.323.5079 to set up your own Buck-A-Bag Fundraiser.

mirnada holiday_flyer

Thanksgiving at arc

In terms of decorations for holidays, Thanksgiving doesn’t always rank very highly on the list. However, a Thanksgiving centerpiece is always great in the middle of the dining table. I found some great options at arc thrift this week for turkey and fall-themed centerpieces.

Screen Shot 2017-11-20 at 1.40.57 PM

My favorite option for the table is this blue mason jar ($1.99 at arc) filled with fall-themed floral picks ($2.99 for a whole bag of them).

Screen Shot 2017-11-20 at 1.41.11 PM

The floral picks have mini pumpkins on them, gourds, leaves and fruit. The bright fall colors look really great with the blue glass.

Screen Shot 2017-11-20 at 1.41.24 PM

Another funky option I found is this giant ceramic turkey dish ($4.99 at arc thrift).

Screen Shot 2017-11-20 at 1.41.36 PM

It’s super kitschy and fun, and the top lifts off so that it can be filled.

Screen Shot 2017-11-20 at 1.41.47 PM

Anything fall-themed would look great inside but I think I’m going to fill the whole thing with buckeyes or nuts in their shells.

Screen Shot 2017-11-20 at 1.41.59 PM

There are so many options at arc thrift stores right now that you’ll definitely be able to find something to fit your individual style and brighten up your holiday table on Thursday.

Screen Shot 2017-11-20 at 1.42.09 PM