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Thrift Store Score

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Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 55 total)
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  • #79940

    asil
    Participant

    Inspired by both the Apartment Therapy thread (thanks to that and jennyw’s retrodepot twitter I’ve been fantasy cramming my house with beautiful furnishings I have absolutely no need for) and Anne’s lament in the reTagit thread about never having any thrift store luck I’d like to start a forum to share thrift store finds. A place to share not only your personal scores, but things you saw that you don’t need (a la the Apartment Therapy thread) in the hopes that someone else might score.

    I hit a thrift store or two once every 1-2 weeks. I started off in the same boat with Anne: hearing about amazing finds but never finding anything myself. Then I changed my approach. I started going more often and I stopped going with specific expectations for each time. If I have something detailed and specific I’m trying to find I’ve learned to save the time and frustration and buy it new, I’ll never find it thrifting. For instance, I can find a black skirt. I can’t find a black knee length pencil skirt with a ruffled hem. This generalization has served me well.

    Things I now buy pretty much exclusively at thrift stores:

    – Purses (haven’t bought a new purse in over two years)

    – Wallets (ditto)

    – Picture frames

    – Baby clothes

    – Plastic storage bins of every size from drawer organizers to tubs

    – Exercise clothes (’cause who cares what it looks like?)

    Things I will never buy from a thrift store: any bedding, pillows, stuffed animals, underthings. Just no.

    My favorites are the Volunteers of America at Indianola and the High Street Clintonville Goodwill. Generally speaking I get lucky at Volunteers for baby clothes, coats, wallets, kitchen utensils, small storage bins. Goodwill for lamps, purses, large storage bins, picture frames.

    Tips from my experiences:

    – In clothes look at color first, feel for quality, then look at size. That way you don’t waste time looking for clothes that fit if everything else is wrong. You know what colors you’ll wear. And just because it’s $1.00 doesn’t mean it should be cheap. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you’ll start being able to pick out the higher end labels based solely on how something feels.

    – Try on clothes that have a tendency to shrink. I’ve relied on the tag size of too many sweaters only to realize at home they’re fit for a 12 year old now.

    -Go often but don’t spend a long time digging, it’s too frustrating when you don’t find anything.

    – Wash clothes before wearing (hopefully obvious)

    – Keep a list of general, non-essential items that you’d like to find at a thrift store as you think of them so you’ll remember to look out for them.

    – Pay it forward. Donate your unwanted items to your favorite thrift store.

    My hope is that this thread will inspire others to try thrift stores first before buying something new. It’s not always feasible or practical, but it feels so awesome when you find something you need (or want) in good used shape at a fraction of the retail cost. It’s the ultimate reduce, reuse, recycle.

    #340613

    10sun
    Member

    I’d argue your opinion on bedding to an extent.

    I pick up outdoor blankets up every year for camping, picnicking, and general outdoor usage.

    Last year I picked up two brand new Lands End cotton blankets for something like $5 apiece and they’ve treated me well. I keep my eyes open for stuff like that as well as other cheap stuff I don’t mind ruining.

    #340614

    My Kitchen Aid mixer was one of my best finds. It was sans bowl and beater which santa brought me…

    #340615

    This is my specialty! I have an ongoing side project where I get together info about this exact topic & create a blog, but it’s getting buried under my other work. Meanwhile, some tips!

    -Goodwill in Lewis Center is small but clean, well-organized, and full of high quality items
    -Goodwill on Morse Rd. has the best children’s clothes – they get donations from the wealthy areas
    -Ohio Thrift Stores, Inc. is a great place to find house wares and clothing. Go to the store in Westerville
    -You’ll find designer labels tucked among the clothes @ German Village Volunteers of America
    -The mother of all thrift stores is Ohio Village Thrift on Cleveland Avenue. It’s large and disorganized. You’ll spend a few hours there.

    If you find a gem that you can re-sell for a profit and you don’t have time to list it yourself on Ebay, you can find an Ebay “Trading Assistant” here who will do the dirty work for a cut of your profit.

    #340616

    mrsgeedeck
    Participant

    Last year’s resolution was not to buy “new” clothes (socks underwear etc., doesn’t count), I’d found myself far too often shopping because I was bored, or the store was cheap (Kohls) and my closets were starting to clutter up with a bunch of crap worn once or twice and never again. To adhere to this rule, I found myself shopping at thrift and second hand stores almost exclusively for the first time since high school. I found it interesting to discover, I put more thought and effort into thrift shopping than I ever did at a chain store.

    #340617
    Lauren Wilson
    Lauren Wilson
    Participant

    Kbear919 wrote >>
    My Kitchen Aid mixer was one of my best finds. It was sans bowl and beater which santa brought me…

    Ummmm…no nod to the vibrating seat cushion and 70’s era golf putting practice thingies? That’s quality business right thar.

    #340618

    lifeontwowheels
    Participant

    I’ve found a few nice sport coats in area Thrifts, including 2 Harris Tweeds.

    Also found the popcorn popper that has since become my coffee roaster. (Really need to make a trip to get some more green beans…)

    #340619

    jennyw
    Participant

    I am a huge fan of mid century housewares and furniture (no surprise to anyone who follows my @retrodepot Twitter), I’ve made some great scores in that regard in thrift stores. Like asil, I don’t generally go in looking for a particular thing; rather, I have a slew of categories that I might look for, nearly all vintage: glassware and dishes, games, Fisher Price toys, train cases, furniture, craft supplies, etc. Some I keep, some I put in my etsy store (www.gotcha.etsy.com; it’s temporarily closed while I finish unpacking at my new place). I LOVE using vintage linens for craft stuff; I understand that people might feel squeamish about used sheets and such, but you sleep in hotel beds, right?

    Oh, and Goodwills are good for Target fans, as they get the stuff that hasn’t sold in the stores (just be careful–sometimes they sell broken goods/goods at a higher price than they cost at Target on clearance!).

    Edited to add: I am a sucker of items of local historical importance, i.e. if it has an Ameriflora or Son of Heaven logo on it, there’s a very good chance I will buy it. I’m also a fan of visiting thrift stores when I travel–always interesting to see how their items compare to what can be found locally; it’s also a good way to pick up a memento to remember the trip by.

    #340620
    Manatee
    Manatee
    Participant

    One thing I think it’s important to note is how GOOD we have it here, thriftwise, in the midwest and particlularly in Ohio I’ve noticed. “Thrift” stores nearer to the coasts and in bigger cities tend to be really over priced and full of people’s stretched-out sweatpants and broken stuff that shoulda just been thrown away. $10 for a broken paper towel holder in Portland, OR? No thanks… I’ll just by a new one for that much.

    We live in the thrift promised land.

    And before we look too much askance at vintage linens, a lot of that stuff (especially if it’s made of barkcloth) goes for biiiig money on ebay. That’s how my mom made a good side-living for a while.

    ALTHOUGH! Nothing can ever compare to the glory days of thrifting, pre-early 90’s, before grunge hit and picked the whole thing over, followed by a wave of dealers and pickers who get most of the good stuff before we get there. God, I used to walk into some stores and almost have to walk back out again immediately, just from the sheer volume of eye-poppingly good stuff I’d see on first glance alone.

    #340621

    TaraK
    Participant

    I’ve scored some amazing thrift store finds since moving to Columbus, including an awesomely gorgeous pure wool are rug (5×8) for $12. I usually pop into VOA on Indianola b/c it’s next to my gym.

    On the topic of linens, I’d also remember that sheets can be fashioned into curtains or curtains into pillows. To echo Manatee, you see quite a few people selling vintage sheets/fabric on Etsy as well.

    #340622

    Tenzo
    Participant

    mrsgeedeck wrote >>
    Last year’s resolution was not to buy “new” clothes (socks underwear etc., doesn’t count), I’d found myself far too often shopping because I was bored, … and my closets were starting to clutter up with a bunch of crap worn once or twice and never again…

    Can you talk to my wife please?
    She has the belief that if a closet exists, it must be filled.

    I used to tease my female friends. My last place when I was single had three bedrooms. When showing the place around I would always show the women the guest room, open the closet door and explain that it’s just empty because I don’t have anything to put in it, so I just leave it empty for guests.

    It was interesting the different reactions from stunned silence to just about convulsing at the thought.

    #340623

    AmyJ
    Participant

    Manatee, I agree with you on the early 90s thrift heaven. My wardrobe was exclusively from the thrift store and I would kill for it now. So many 50s-60s dresses and handbags. Ahh.

    I’m not sure if there are any around here, but in my old hometown, my grandma volunteered for the St. Vincent dePaul thrift store and there were so many gems in the stuff donated there.

    #340624

    agtw31
    Member

    years ago,folks were kicking the IRS’s ass donating junk cars to Volunteers of America.

    buy a junker for $500 with a $2000 book value,and donate it.

    that has changed,now your deduction is based on the auction selling price.

    #340625
    Manatee
    Manatee
    Participant

    AmyJ wrote >>
    Manatee, I agree with you on the early 90s thrift heaven. My wardrobe was exclusively from the thrift store and I would kill for it now. So many 50s-60s dresses and handbags. Ahh.
    I’m not sure if there are any around here, but in my old hometown, my grandma volunteered for the St. Vincent dePaul thrift store and there were so many gems in the stuff donated there.

    I know! It used to be totally possible to say, “Gee, I’d like to go buy a ridiculously attractive, charcoal gray wool pencil-skirted suit, I’ll take that in a windowpane plaid, handmade, and my size too, kthxbye”, and it would just be there, for like $3.99.

    #340626

    Twixlen
    Participant

    Last year I was a thrift haunter, as I was looking for a couple random pieces of furniture to fill empty spots – I would go three times a week, hitting two or three stores in a shot. It got to the point where I could immediately tell the new stock from the stuff that’d been there (sad, I know!).

    At one point (and this doesn’t seem to be the case anymore), art.com donated “damaged” art to the Salvation Army – I would walk in, and there would be two or three leaning stacks of art, from canvases to matted/framed. I got several things, including a signed lithograph (!!!), a couple classic matted and framed Picasso sketches and some black and white photos that were matted and framed. We’re talking huge prints, with a teeny scratch in the plexi, for $5-7.

    At VOA, I stumbled in just as they were finishing putting out some old woman’s entire collection of pyrex – I’m talking hundreds of pieces. Mixing sets, serving bowls, casseroles, refridgerator sets, bakers – you name it. I filled a cabinet for about $25 – and turns out a couple of the pieces I ended up buying were originally only sold to employees.

    Anyway – all that is to say that I agree we live in thrift store heaven (although, Florida can also be a friggin TREASURE trove) and there are still amazing things out there, it just takes more effort to find them.

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