I’ve always been a bargain hunter. I was raised in a mindset of, “if you don’t have the money for it in your bank account then you will not be buying it today.” It’s always been “sale rack first” because the thought of paying full price for something “made in China” or some other land where labor is cheaper is really beyond me. Still, the sale rack can often be above my means – oh the life of a unemployed post-grad!
So this is where thrifting comes into the picture. To be honest, I used to think I was so above buying things second-hand. The only time I went to the thrift store was to find a costume for a performance, and in college, it was to find outfits for theme parties, because we all know you can only find that Reebok jumpsuit for the 80s party at Goodwill.
I’m not sure when I started buying non-costume items from thrift stores…maybe it was when I realized they had some pretty neat and great quality glassware that you can’t find in stores today. Then I started finding great furniture pieces for cheap, made of pure wood, not particle board you find at those Ikea-like places. And then, when a brand new Goodwill opened up in Williamsburg, VA (my college town) during junior year, my mom insisted we check out the clothes there.
At this point, I stayed away from second-hand clothes. The thought of putting something on my body that another person wore was not for me. But when I found a gently used 100% Cashmere J.Crew sweater for $3.99 I was hooked. Logically, clothes can be cleaned and germs washed away. If you don’t feel comfortable with the chemical wash that Goodwill and many other thrift stores use by law to disinfect clothing and other linens, then you can always take your 100% Cashmere $3.99 J.Crew sweater to the dry cleaner and they will make it good as new for $5. Can you beat that? No, no you can’t.
Also, the lifestyle of reusing, repurposing and rediscovering items is really appealing to me. As humans, we should always try to reduce waste, so to me, buying second-hand is a great way to do my part in lessening the waste that comes from the production line. Perfectly good items sit in thrift stores and even landfills. Why not do a small part in stopping deforestation by buying a wood kitchen table second-hand? Why does stuff always have to be new? I am also a big fan of the fact that many thrift stores support local organizations through their sales.
Thrifting might not be for everyone. Patience is a virtue when sorting through thousands of items of clothes to find that designer sweater for $3.99 that would cost you $90 new. Maybe that frame needs a coat of spray paint. Sometimes you might not find anything – it is often a treasure hunt. If you have allergies, make sure you prepare by taking your allergy medicine because it can be dirty and dusty.
So it’s pretty obvious – I’m passionate about thrifting and will be sharing my finds in the thrifting section of this blog in hopes of inspiring others to thrift too. Some of my crafting might overlap with the thrifting section because I find a lot of my craft/repurpose projects at thrift stores.
Here’s a list of some of my favorite thrift/second-hand stores on the East Coast, descriptions and their locations. Feel free to comment with any store suggestions!
Diversity Thrift – Clothing, shoes, linens, housewares, furniture and books. Awesome furniture selection. Christmas room. Supports the Richmond, VA LGBT community. Takes credit cards.
1407 Sherwood Avenue, Richmond, VA – (804) 353-8890
Goodwill – Clothing, shoes, linens, housewares, furniture and books. Goodwill is hit or miss sometimes, but the one in Williamsburg is amazing! Every week a “tag” color is selected and those items are half-off. Supports job training and putting people to work. Nationwide. Takes credit cards. Here are the ones I frequent.
8018 West Broad Street, Richmond VA – (804) 565-6780
1260 Richmond Road, Williamsburg, VA – (757) 941-3140
Aggie’s Attic – Clothing (older – think vintage – not a great selection), linens, shoes, housewares and furniture. Really great prices. Supports the mission outreach projects of Laurel Park United Methodist Church. Cash only.
Laurel Park Shopping Center – Corner of Hugary Road & Woodman Road, Richmond, VA
Clementines – Consignment designer clothing, shoes and accessories. Some items are new. Pricey, but can sometimes find great deals. Takes credit cards.
3118 West Cary Street, Richmond, VA – (804) 358-2357
Value Village/Unique Thrift Store – Warehouse size. Amazing selection, great prices! Awesome clothes – good quality and well-known designer names. Quality furniture at a really low price. Also sells new items at a low price. Think Big-Lots meets thrift store. If I read the sign correctly, all items are 25% off on Mondays. I could probably spend 3 hours in this place. My new favorite thrift location. Partners with and supports local nonprofits. Takes credit cards.
10121 New Hampshire Avenue, Silver Spring, MD – (301) 431-9670
Crossroads Trading Co – “Fashion Recycled”. Designer second-hand clothing and accessories. Some new items. A bit pricey, but great brand names. Check out the half-off rack first. This is a nationwide second-hand store and it buys, sells and trades clothing. I went to the one in Brooklyn, NY. Takes credit cards.
135 North 7th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11249 – (347) 549-4005