Posts belonging to Category thrift store review



Thrift Store Review: Cherry Picked Thrift Shop, Santa Monica

I don’t know how I have missed this thrift store for the six years it’s been open, but my personal observational failings are not the subject of this post. This is merely to alert you that the Cherry Picked Thrift Store near Pico and 28th in Santa Monica is an incredibly well-run and tidy place to shop, clearly a result of the loving attention of the manager and their committed staff of volunteers. They have a relatively small inventory, but everything there is clean and super well-organized. They also offer free coffee (though they won’t let you drink it in the store, but merely allow you to take it to go, which struck me as odd.) Overall rating: B+

What to buy:

1. Christmas Sweaters. Whether you are in the like-it-sincerely or like-it-ironically camp, you can wow everyone at your holiday gathering/office Christmas party/bad Christmas sweater event with a choice offering from this store. This appears to be a line they’ve created in-house, and they do not hold back from letting their decorating flair run rampant. They were priced between $20 and $35.

2. Christmas decorations and wrapping. Holiday decorations are a great thing to get used, since they’re rarely worn out, and it’s hard for them to really look dated. (Unless they’re really vintage, and that’s appealing in a different way.) All the inventory here is well-sorted and fairly priced. Ribbon was typically around fifty cents.

3. Kids clothes, including underwear. I can understand how you might be reluctant to purchased used underwear for your kids, but the baskets of kids stuff are so lovingly arranged you might change your mind if you saw them — and they’re only fifty cents.

4. Wall hangings. I saw some super cute vintage pieces of art/crafts up on the wall ranging from $5 – $20. If anything, I think they’re underpriced.

I see people raving about their clothes on Yelp, but I wasn’t personally that wowed by the selection. I saw prices from $5 and up, but there was a 50% off sale while I was there, so now’s a great time to have at it.

Thrift Store Review: Treasure Island in Canoga Park

treasureisland_smallI had high hopes for Treasure Island, which appears to have taken the former spot of Rummage Rat on Sherman Way in Canoga Park, based on its name. Unfortunately, Treasure Island failed to deliver on its implied promise of parrots, adventure, and, most critically, treasure. While ‘treasure’ might be a high standard, perhaps that term might be more suited to a store that did not think it appropriate to charge up to five dollars for a used DVD or sell a used fax machine at all. I found it particularly annoying that almost no prices were marked, forcing you to ask whenever you wanted to know how much something was. Their combination of messy thrift store vibe and antique store prices was a serious mismatch.

Overall rating: C-

santasmarchingband_smallThe coolest thing I saw in there was this Santa’s Marching Band, which, when plugged in, played songs by ringing the bells in turn on each individual marcher. However, they wanted $120.00 for it, and a quick search of ebay shows that it is not that rare and many sets are available for half that or less. I got the distinct impression that Treasure Island was run as if in some pre-Internet reality when shoppers could not always easily find a comparable vintage item, so pricing was often skewed.

Normally I recommend categories of items to buy at stores I review, but I can’t wholeheartedly recommend anything here. Here are two possible categories to consider under very specific circumstances.

green_phone_smaller1. Phones. Hey, maybe you’re actually looking for a landline phone. The thing is, you can get a pretty generic new one from AT&T for $15, and a full-size one with caller ID and everything for $20. Theirs ran from $5 – $20. The green one shown here was $20! (It is pretty cute, but whatever.) Because the technology has not changed, it’s conceivable that you want a super cheap phone for infrequent use for $5, and, if so, you might want to stop by.

controllers2. Videogames and consoles. Based on the rest of their pricing, I doubt anything was an especially great deal, but if you happen to be looking for something specific and find it easier to shop in person, it might be worth stopping in.

What to avoid:

lamps_smallerLamps. The guy at the store quoted me a range of prices for lamps between $65 and $100, and there wasn’t a single lamp in there worth that. Most didn’t even have shades. I was told these two gold-toned ones with shades in the back row were $100 each, which is a pretty absurd price for a used lamp that has no particular vintage appeal. You could get a ton of modern lamps that are comparable or even better new from Lamps Plus. This is especially galling when Council Thrift next door had many nicer lamps which were all a lot cheaper. You can generally count on getting a usable lamp with a shade at Council Thrift for $25.

butter_dish_smallDishes. They didn’t have a lot of dishes, but this butter dish which is not of particularly good quality was $5.00, which is way too much. Again, this is bad pricing is especially conspicuous since you can simply go next door and have a much wider variety of dishes available to you at a much better price point.

And almost everything else.

IMG_20151011_133408241DVDs were between $2 and $5, especially galling since the next day I saw new DVDs at Target for $4.75 apiece (obviously they might not be the movies you want, but the point stands.) Vinyl records were between $2 and $5 each. Since none were marked, it was too much trouble to figure out what they thought was worth $5, but I truly hope it didn’t include the Flashdance album I saw. Given that the collection was clearly a random selection and not curated at all, that is well above the standard thrift store price of $1 each.

treasure_Island_smaller2In short, Treasure Island would have to really step up their game to justify their prices, should do a better job of curating their items, and should stop trying to charge Etsy-high prices on the few unusual vintage items they have. Until then, do your thrifting elsewhere.

 

Thrift Store Review: Finders Keephers in Manhattan Beach

Finders Keephers_smallI’m going to say right off that I am not the perfect person to review Finders Keephers, and it’s not really a thrift store but a consignment store for designer clothes and accessories. However, I thought I’d mix it up in the interest of variety, and I will proceed as best as I can.

This is a small, well-curated store for the person who wants a gently used Tory Burch dress for $150. Are you that person? It stocks women’s clothing, shoes, jewelry, and lots and lots of purses. In general, my experience is that you pay a premium buying this stuff in person over ebay or other online outlet, but let’s review and you can decide for yourself.

Overall rating: C+

They really only have the four items, so let’s break them down.

1. Clothes. They have a lot of jeans for you if your waist size is between 25 and 28 inches, which I realize is not most people. They had a pBCBG jacket_78_smallair of Lucky jeans for $50 (honestly, they have sales that good for new pairs) and a pair of new-with-tags jeans from Bergdorf’s also for $50, when the original price was $269.00 That said, I’m not sure how old they were. They also had a cute BCBG jacket for $78, which was in excellent condition, but I found a comparable new one on sale for $159. Half price for used is not what I call a good deal. Overall, they did have quite a few new-with-tags items, though, so it may be worth it to you if you find the right thing.

2. Shoes. These used Pucci shoes were selling for $240, and Pucci_240_smallwithout any trouble whatsoever I located a comparable used pair online for $110, literally half that. I’d be willing to pay a little more locally, since it’s less hassle, and you save on shipping, but that’s a massive difference, and not unusual for consignment shops, in my experience. Similarly, I saw a pair of gray wool (?) Louboutin pumps for $750, and The Real Real offers shoes from the maker for around $400. (Again, I’m not an expert, so maybe the gray ones are especially collectible. But they weren’t even in pristine shape.)

3. Jewelry. Some of the stuff looked really dated to me. I Tiffany necklace_smalldid notice a fairly generic Tiffany silver heart necklace, but I’m not sure who would prefer a used Tiffany necklace for $160 over a brand new heart necklace (obviously a different style) from Tiffany’s for $225, if all you’re trying to do is get something in one of those aqua boxes.

 

4. Purses. They had a very good selection, some new-with-tags. This Francesco Biasca bag was $260 (originally almost $500, according to the tag) but there are many more inexpensive bags by the same maker on Tradesy Francesco_Biasca_smallfor considerably less.Overall, it’s a very lovely store in a neighborhood that’s hard to park in where you’ll pay somewhat more than you really have to. If you’re not a fan of online shopping, it’s an okay option.

Thrift Store Review: Value Valley Center, Van Nuys

storefront_smallerIn much the same way you don’t start your career as a pianist playing Carnegie Hall, you would be well-advised to start your thrifting journey somewhere other than Valley Value Center. Not because it isn’t worth your time, but because it requires a stamina and commitment that newbies may not possess. It occupies a former Circuit City location, and is suitably vast. This Saturday it was filled with throngs of shoppers all chasing the elusive dream of finding an item of value that did not bear a red tag, which would mean an additional 50% off.

The prices were quite fair at Valley Value, and, judging by the Yelp crowd_smallercomments, there were some serious deals to be had if you invest the time to dig. (A Vera Wang wedding dress was mentioned.) Unfortunately, also judging from the Yelp comments, it has an incredibly rude and/or accusatory staff, and quite possibly a pickpocketing problem. I left unmolested with my wallet intact, but a fellow shopper commented to me, after I asked her about the lack of dressing room, “if you knew what went on in there before, you’d be glad there wasn’t one anymore.” I didn’t have the heart to pursue this thread any further, but I will caution you to guard your money and wear a tight-fitting outfit so you can try on clothes over it.

Parking was easy, and they made continual announcements about sales in both English and Spanish, which was a nice touch. One minor drawback: they take cash only, so be prepared! A big shoutout to my friends Sonia and Jorge who came with me. Overall rating: B+

What to buy:

Jorge_golf_clubs_smaller1. Golf Clubs. I don’t know if they always have golf clubs, but they had quite a few to choose from when we were there. Jorge noted that they were common brands, like Callaway, and started at around $9.00. I know golfing technology is always advancing, but this might be a decent option for someone new to the sport, especially since used options online would be prohibitively expensive to ship.

2. Books. They had a big section and most were priced at $1.95 or $2.95. As you might expect, it was a fairly contemporary selection, though I managed to pick up two 19th century schoolbooks and a Theodore Dreiser short story collection from 1929, which I look forward to reading. They were $2.95 apiece.

painting_smaller3. Paintings/Wall Hangings. I’m not saying everything in this category was pure gold, but the price was always right, and the inventory was extensive. I found stuff for as little as $2.99, including this picture for $7.99. Beats looking at a crack in the wall.

4. Stuffed Animals. Stuffed animals are stuffed_animals_smallerone of those things, like bras, that you have to either be on a serious budget or have an incredible commitment to recycling to get on board with. A stuffed animal in a thrift store always looks somewhere between sad and eerie, like a stock photo that accompanies a story on abducted children. Surprisingly, though, Valley Value manages to rise above this. All their stuffed toys appeared clean and even cheerful, and they sold entire bags of them for $2.00 apiece. If those kids are young enough, they’ll never know the difference, anyway. Now you can save your money for beer, parents.

linen_small5. Linen. They had an extensive collection of bedsheets which were clean and in good condition. Most were selling for $4.99. It’s tough to get a set of twin sheets from TJ Maxx for less than $19.99. Research brand names before you go. The low thread count sheets from Target are labeled Threshold, and Walmart’s label is Mainstays, so avoid those and go big, though that’s most of what you’ll see. Get some Tahari or Max Studio if you can! You deserve it.

6. Sleeping Bags. They had quite a few, including kids’ ones, mostly featuring Disney themes, for $3.99, whereas the cheap new ones at Toys R Us are $19.99. That seems like a pretty good deal to me, unless your 8-year-old needs to break out the high-end stuff to summit Mt. Everest.

oster_waffle_small7. Specialty Appliances. As I have told you before, you are crazy to buy a cupcake maker new. Perhaps you are crazy to buy one at all, but I’m not prepared to get that judgy. Most of them are cheapish $19.99 things, like mini pizza makers, which sell for $5.99, but there are nicer things like this Oster waffle maker, which went for more.

What to avoid:

Jewelry. It was all really cheap stuff, and by cheap I don’t mean inexpensive. I’m not going to tell you not to buy it, but it’s no great shakes.jewelry

Anne_KleinAll in all, definitely worth a visit, though Valley Thrift suffers from the classic low-end thrift store habit of overpricing anything that they think is decent (like these new with tags Anne Klein pants for $19.95. Again with the Anne Klein. I don’t get it.)

my_haulI got three books, a jewelry box, and an unopened puzzle for $17.00. And the grammar book, formerly owned by one long gone Edna Gast, had this classic turn-of-the-century phrase written on page 212: “If this book should happen to roam, give it a kick and send it home to Edna.” I think it’s too late for that, but I hope she had a good life full of proper comma usage.

If you know of any great thrift stores that sell antique tools, or are interested in tool restoration, check out Jorge’s You Tube channel and leave a comment.

 

 

 

Thrift Store Review: Savers Thrift Superstore, Lomita

_MG_2379Lomita, California, is known for its railroad museum,  a now-defunct comic book store owned by a professional wrestler, and the closest Savers Thrift to Los Angeles. Sadly, I did not have time to stop by the museum on this trip, and missed the window on the comic book store permanently, but I did have a chance to thoroughly inspect their Savers. It was clean, organized, and massive, though I did not find a lot of exceptional deals there. I’m only rating it as a high as I am because of its comprehensive inventory, which makes up for its other shortcomings. Overall rating: B

In the same way a couple can only be as happy as its least happy member, a thrift store can only be as fancy as its surrounding demographic. Lomita is not an especially wealthy area, and so most of the Savers merchandise comes from low-end department stores. The racks of clothing are chock full of Forever 21, Express, and H&M, and the shoe section is mostly brands like Bandolino, Fioni (available at Payless), and Xhiliration (Target). I will break this concept down in a future post, but it’s simply not worth paying much of anything for used items that are shoddily made and won’t wear well, which is most of what “fast fashion” is. In the used market, you have the additional complication of used items being priced comparably to new items on sale from the same maker. If shoppers realized this, and had both options to choose from side by side, they would be very unlikely to buy used.

For example, there are a number of H&M sleeveless/short sleeve women’s tops which sell for between $4 and $7 new in the clearance section on their site while used versions of these fro_MG_2408m seasons ago are priced at $4.99 at Savers. Similarly, I don’t think anyone would knowingly pay $5.99 for a used pair of shoes from Payless when they knew they could get an equivalent new pair in the sale rack for $10 – $15 unless it was in absolutely pristine condition and there was no comparable new style.

What to buy:

_MG_24051. Specialty kitchen appliances. When I make a complete list of everything you should never buy new, specialty appliances will be at the top of it. Nobody ever runs their pretzel/homemade pasta/ice cream maker into the ground. Savers had a decent-sized appliance section, and I noticed both a pretzel maker and a tea cake maker (which, I have to admit, I considered purchasing) for good prices. I think this pretzel maker was $7.99, though I see you can actually buy a new one for a little more than double that, so it’s not quite the steal I thought it was.

_MG_24572. Vacuums/carpet cleaners. They had models from Eureka and Bissell for $9.99 and $19.99. They had what might have been an old model Eureka Boss Smart Vac, which sells for about $150.00 new. Before you commit to a vacuum cleaner, I urge you to confirm that the bags for the model you want are still available. This can be the downfall of an otherwise great purchase. Also, where possible, in both new and used models, I urge you to find a bagless model. Vacuum cleaners can last a long time, and be easily repaired, so get one you can keep for the long haul.

3. Hair dryers/curling irons. $4.99 and $3.99. I couldn’t find any model of curling iron for less than $15.00 new, and I’m sure some of these are higher quality than others.

_MG_24374. Ties. How many times do I have to tell you? Don’t buy new ties, ever! These were all $3.99. Maybe this hipster safety pin one appeals?

5. Dresses. Maybe it was pure chance, but I saw a few cute Max Studio dresses for $9.99 and $7.99 here, which is a fair price, though they are very easy to find for around $40.00 in every discount chain you can shake a stick at. They look great on everyone and wear very well!

_MG_24546. Uniforms. I have never before seen a uniform section in a thrift store. Scrubs are pretty cheap new, but I’d still way rather spend $1.99 on a pair of scrub pants than $8.99, when I would only be buying them through a cloud of resentment that I had to pay for them myself, anyway. Unless they’re obviously stained, they’re not going to look that great no matter what you do.

_MG_24467. Toys. Savers boasted the least depressing toy section I’ve ever seen in a thrift store, which is kind of like the best performance in the worst movie of the year. Everything looked relatively clean, though I’d be cautious about purchasing toys with a lot of parts missing. I saw a few Bratz _MG_2449styling heads for $7.99 or so, but they didn’t come with all the beauty products they do new, so it’s up to you whether you can make it work without the official styling gel.

It’s also worth checking out their plus-size clothing and kids’ clothes, because those sections were extensive. Certainly kids’ clothes in decent condition seem like a worthwhile endeavor.

What to avoid:

1. Most clothes. See explanation above for their overpricing of mostly low-end labels. In the few instances when Savers had something more upscale on offer, it was no bargain. I saw an _MG_2416Anne Klein pink suit with a jacket with the tags still on, but nonetheless looking like it had sat in someone’s closet for 15 years, for an absurd $119. Why would I ever buy that when I could buy this cute little number at Macy’s right now for $129.99?

_MG_23992. Glasses. Water glasses were $1.99 each. I could get a dozen new ones at Crate and Barrel right now for $19.99, or from Target for $9.99, so I find this pricing pretty outrageous.

3. Decorative items. As usual, these were not competitively priced.

Check out all the photos here.

Thrift Store Review, Mobile Edition: Goodwill, La Jolla

11794567_1055219834518460_1084115068019603493_oIMG_20150802_130119294While my boyfriend and I were visiting San Diego this weekend for a falconry lesson, I stopped in at a Goodwill in La Jolla for a little field research. Since a posh city usually means a posh thrift store, I had high hopes for it. Overall, it was IMG_20150802_130135398_HDRwell worth a visit, and I give them especially high marks for presentation.   Overall rating: B

What to buy:

1. Jewelry. All their jewelry was tucked away behind glass cases, which was inconvenient as well as mysterious, since it was almost entirely composed of plastic. However, it was reasonably priced, ranging from $1 to $3, so it’s worth a look if you’re in the market.

2. Clothes. Each item was priced individually, which I always prefer, but the 4-way combopricing did not always take labels into account. Thus, Arizona jeans from JC Penney were $6.99, when you can easily get new ones for a $20 on sale, and yet the Tahari dress was a mere $7.99 — good luck getting a new dress from them for under $200. (It didn’t look super recent, but still.) Similarly, this wrinkled Banana Republic shirt could be yours for $4.99, while this Ted shirts onlyBaker dress shirt could be rocking the world of you and those around you for a mere dollar more.

3. Scarves. Like ties, scarves are a great item to purchase used, because they are typically in excellent condition from infrequent wearing. They had an IMG_20150802_130956775attractive display of scarves priced at $2.99 and $3.99. It’s hard to get any new scarf for less than $15.00, and some of these were from nice makers. If you get a long one, learn from your predecessors.

Things to avoid:

1. Shoes. There are probably a few gems in here, but once I see a pair of used Steve Madden heels at $9.99, you’ve lost me.IMG_20150802_130847289_HDR

2. Decorative items. Places like World Market and Pier One base their entire business on your perceived need to fill your house with useless crap. The vases, statues, and ornaments of the world rarely seem dated, and are always available in the sale rack of any CVS, TJ Maxx or Cost Plus, so use caution when turning to a thrift store for your decorating needs. It’s not at all unusual to see an item like this glass vase priced at $.99 at a thrift store and turn it over (as I IMG_20150802_132338979did in this instance) to see the original price tag of $2.00. Sometimes I’ve actually seen the original store tag be cheaper than the thrift store price.

A comparable version of this nutcracker, priced at IMG_20150802_132324077$4.99 here, is available right now for $10.50, and when they all go on sale right after Christmas, it will be a lot cheaper than that, believe you me.

Similarly, this Lenox China Gilded Garden basket, while very nice quality, was priced at $49.99, while a comparable new one I found is going for $53.99.IMG_20150802_132834227_HDR

All in all: walk, don’t run. P.S. If you’d like to learn how to hunt jackrabbit with a bird of prey or simply have it land gently on your leather-gloved arm, get in touch with Sky Falconry.

View the photo album of this Goodwill here.

Thrift Store Review: Society of St. Vincent de Paul’s, Lincoln Heights

2015-07-26 01.47.02Tucked in an industrial area north of downtown Los Angeles which you’ve probably never been to unless Waze has punked you en route to Dodger Stadium is one of the best thrift stores in the city. St. Vincent de Paul’s in Lincoln Heights is warehouse massive, clean, and boasts great prices. It’s among the most comprehensively-stocked thrift stores I’ve ever been in, containing both a snowboard section and a rack exclusively devoted to dog clothing. I don’t 2015-07-26 02.34.38object to dogs wearing clothes per se, but I do resent it when they’re dressed better than I am, so if you shop here for your dog, all I ask is that you don’t rub my face in it if we show up at a social event wearing the same thing.

Overall rating: A

What to buy:

1. Mugs/Cups. There is nothing special about any of the 2015-07-26 02.26.02dishware I saw here — except  the price. The mugs and cups are .49 cents apiece, which is significantly cheaper than even the cheapest new mug you’re likely to find. If you can’t drink out of a receptacle of the Young Ladies Institute of Fresno’s 1993 class with pride, frankly, I don’t want to know you.

2. Pianos. Most thrift stores don’t have the space to store pianos, so the fact that St. Vincent’s has a piano section at all is an oddity in itself. I am no piano expert, but a quick look on SoCal pianos shows their used models start at $395, while the one made of blonde wood was selling for 2015-07-26 01.52.57$250.00. The one to its right, the George Steck, was going for $495, and it appears to be a respectable manufacturer. (They stopped production in the 80s, though some pianos with the name have been issued from China recently. This one clearly predates that). Here’s a thread I found about the pros and cons of buying used pianos, the upshot of which is that it’s worth having a technician inspect it before you buy it. Also, tuning them typically costs between $75 – $125.

3. Ties. In the history of humanity, has anyone ever worn out a tie? Unless the owner has drunkenly paraded himself through a series of wedding receptions or spilled red sauce on himself during an Italian meal, a new tie looks identical to an old one.  2015-07-26 02.11.12Most of these go for $4.99, including a Van Heusen that I picked up at random. New ties from the same designer average around $40.00. You know you’re only wearing it twice, anyway, so why not save a few bucks?

4. Wedding/Quinceanera/Formal 2015-07-26 02.06.37Dresses. It’s pretty unusual to see a large collection of formal dresses at a thrift store, but this place has them. The wedding dresses ranged from $39.99 to $59.99, and  were all in good shape. We can safely assume they were only worn once, if at all.

2015-07-26 01.55.495. Furniture. The furniture was priced fairly. I saw this super cute Mercury vintage sewing machine in its old wooden case for $49.00 which probably dates from the 1950s or 60s. This floral couch was marked at $75.00.2015-07-26 02.27.25

6. Computers. This is the only thrift store I have ever been to where the computer systems were operational and set up for testing.  Each one also has all the relevant specs listed, so kudos to St. Vincent’s de Paul’s for that. I am not a PC person but they were at 2015-07-26 01.56.43least running Windows 7, which is current. Average price was $175.00 for the whole system.

A few other notes:

I give this place a lot of credit for individually pricing their items. Goodwill, for example,2015-07-26 02.14.16 typically has a flat price for all categories of clothing, like women’s short sleeve shirts. This leads to a number of items being overpriced, as well as underpriced. They have different colored tags so items that have been in the store a while are automatically discounted.

2015-07-26 02.36.39Lastly, if you are thinking about making the move to nude beaches, but want to ease into it, consider these brand new bikini bottoms for only $0.59 each. If anyone notices new bikini tops in another thrift store, let me know, and we’ll combine them and make our fortunes!

Thrift Store Review: Council Thrift, Venice Blvd. location

Want to buy used in L.A., but you’re not sure where to start? Let me help you, aspiring shopper. Each thrift store has its own personality and style, like a slightly worn snowflake that may or may not be wildly overpriced. This will be my first review of L.A. thrift stores, with many more to come.

Council Thrift is a chain run by the National Council of Jewish Women. This Saturday I went to the branch near my house at 12120 Venice Boulevard in Mar Vista. It featured an ‘Under New Management’ banner, which seemed odd, until I read the scathing yelp reviews about staff rudeness. I have been to this store on numerous occasions, and hadn’t noticed any of the staff getting out of line, but honestly, unless someone spits on me (so far, so good), I tend to brush it off, so if customer service is important to you, don’t go by me.

The store is well-organized, and has some good deals. In the past I’ve thought them to be pretty expensive — maybe it’s that new management I’m hearing about! Overall rating: B

What to buy:

IMG_20150718_1644435541. Dishes. Never buy new dishes. Seriously. I found an 88-piece set of dishes for $75 marked Berkeley House, which were decent, though not quite top notch. That amounts to less than a dollar per item. Comparatively, this rock-bottom set of 16 pieces of dinnerware from Target will run you $59.99.

2. Shoes. While the Goodwill in posh Santa Monica sells their usIMG_20150718_163337983_HDRed shoes for $15(!) the shoes here start at $6, and I didn’t see a single pair marked above $10. Every time I’ve been there I’ve seen at least a few pairs of high-end shoes like these low-heeled Paolos. (I hadn’t heard of the brand, but I could tell they were expensive, and they are. This pair was a mere $8!)

IMG_20150718_163818027_HDR3. Purses. They start (and mostly stay) at $6! A purse is a great item to buy used, as they are frequently in mint condition, and these were no exception. Probably because older people donate here, there were also quite a few cute vintage ones.

4. Art. Most of the paintings and prints were unexceptional, but there IMG_20150718_171052964were a few treasures, like this pair of paintings of big-eyed kids that were popular in the sixties. Also, if this were an era when I had less restraint, I would’ve snapped up this baby Pope under glass** for $20 in a heartbeat.

5. FurniturIMG_20150718_171138295_HDRe. I didn’t see anything extra special on this trip, but these pine end tables were available for $20/each, which seemed decent. In the past I have found fantastic mid-century furniture and lamps at very good prices. (Again, because it’s not a hip, young thrift store, I think they do IMG_20150718_170642535not always understand the value of these items.) Several years ago I purchased a pair of 70s lamps with slightly damaged shades for $25/each, which was a steal.

What to avoid:

1. Jewelry. I am an avid vintage jewelry collector, and thrift stores overprice their jewelry without exception. Most eighties and nineties costume jewelry is valueless, and ebay is a much better place to buy.

In short, it’s a decent place to shop, but not extra special. There’s almost always some Judaica mixed in the tchotchke section, if that’s your bag. I’ve also noticed guys swarming the vinyl racks (again, it’s old people stuff!) but I neglected to check out the pricing while I was there. I’ll let you know the skinny if I go back!

**My mom notes this is actually the Infant of Prague, baby Jesus, and my grandma had one. I vaguely remember this.

P.S. If you buy used shoes you should certainly clean and disinfect them before wearing them (see post about this below). For those who fear infection, I’d like to point out that even when you buy new shoes in a store, you have no idea who tried them on before you, so you are running the same risk there.