Hello! I'm Suzannah, a serious DIYer and mom of two little ones. Follow along with my DIY fixer upper house renovations, sewing and crafty projects, real food recipes, and de-stressing goals.
I believe you can love your home just the way it is, AND have the power to design and make big changes to make it better.
I'm also the author of DIY Wardrobe Makeovers!

Funky little thrift shops

I am very lucky to live in a place with many thrifting choices--Goodwill, Salvation Army, St. Vincent de Paul, and, of course, my favorite, the Goodwill Outlet.  But I do think it's fair to sometimes gripe about the ridiculous pricing strategies at Goodwill--it's obvious their items are priced by a mish mash of employees, many of whom do not recognize the differences between good and bad quality, new and old, vintage and old, and brand name and cheap name.  Sometimes it is more expensive to buy something at Goodwill than at Marshall's, or Dollar Tree (for small items), or even sometimes Target!  So I like to go to Goodwill Outlet, where everything that didn't sell in its overpriced state at the smaller Goodwill gets sent, where everything is equal (in bins) and priced by the pound.

But, I do love to shop at little thrift stores and buy things on shelves and hangers, so when we were out of town last weekend I had to stop by a small, local thrift store in the coast town of Port Angeles.  It seems like a small town to me, but I think there's something like 25,000 there, and it's on the peninsula with some other towns, including Forks.  Actually, several scenes in Twilight and New Moon were filmed in Port Angeles, and the rainforest feel outside town is very Twilight-ey.

But I digress.  I wanted to show you all the stuff I found at this little thrift store in an old church building in Port Angeles.  Run by volunteers, stuffed to the brim with clothes, housewares, books, etc., this place was very fun for a selection of items way cheaper and more diverse than the suburban Goodwills I frequent.  Here's my haul, to show you:

I got seven embroidery hoops (I have plans for the circles of cute fabric hung on the wall), a very cool 60's vintage plate (the words mean "Thanks so much" in some Scandinavian language, nice blurb on the back), a cute real leather belt, nice quality, and a pair of real kid leather gloves (for my mom's historic reenacting business and fashion shows).  Here's my receipt:
That's right, I spent $9.54.  Including tax (Oregon residents don't have to pay sales tax in Washington, but I didn't have the heard to ask the volunteer behind the counter to hit the right cash register button to remove it).  All that stuff at Goodwill would have cost waaaay more!  All those embroidery hoops were $0.10-0.50/each, and the kid gloves were the most expensive, at a whopping $2.50!  Those are at least $20 in antique stores, especially if they're large enough to fit modern human hands.

Anyway.  My advice to you all is to check out the little neighborhood thrift shop that looks sort of sketchy and depressing, because it will likely have super duper deals on random, unique stuff!

After last weekend's thrifting success I'm tempted to visit the nonprofit thrift store down the street from me, which I somehow haven't been to after living here for more than 6 months already...  but their hours are like 10-4 Tuesday-Saturday, and I'm never in the right mood...

Do any of you have any great thrifting stories?  Have you had similar experiences or good or bad luck at the smaller places, or do you prefer paying a little more at a more organized place like Goodwill?


  1. Great post! I love seeing the deals others score at thrift shops. While we don't have Goodwill outlets in my part of Canada...I love going to them in the US when I travel there (because everywhere I travel includes trips to the local thrift stores of course!!)

  2. Gasp! I had no idea Goodwill outlets existed, I'll have to see if there are any nearby. We have a great Goodwill, but I'm with you, sometimes their stuff is priced outrageously. For a while I was looking for beat up cashmere to make a quilt - they obviously just anything with a cashmere label on the fancy rack and charged $10 and up for them - and some of these sweaters had holes and other major flaws!! I often think if I had the time I'd check out all the hole in the wall thrift stores around town...but they tend to smell and I just can't do it..plus I never really get the time. My most amazing finds have been at yard sales - but again its a time problem. Great post!

  3. I totally agree that GW is getting a little ridiculous with some of their prices - they often charge more for new items than they would have been sold for on clearance at their store of origin.

    I only frequent one small non-chain (on Lombard in Beaverton) - I never walk out with a huge haul, but their prices are unbeatable! Have any other hole-in-the-wall recs?

  4. Oooo! I just did the fabric in the embroidery hoops thing and I just love it. It's such a great way to display fabrics for a non-sewer (yes I follow your blog and can't sew!) But I was able to find a bunch of hoops at thrift stores and enjoyed picking out fabrics for them. They're in my latest post if you want to check them out.

    And I think GW is ridiculously overpriced. :0)

  5. I love the little depressing ones...and I the people who staff them usually so nice!

  6. I have stopped shopping at Goodwill for just the reasons you mention. You can get most of the stuff cheaper at almost ANY store. Why would I buy used things when I can buy new cheaper. I like to support this type of organization, buy not when they are ridiculously high.

  7. I have some hoops that I want to fill with fabric too - I've been meaning to get to that project for a year! I love thrift shopping, and I agree that for non-clothing items it's best not to shop at Goodwill. We don't have a lot of independent thrifts here, but I love when I find one!

  8. We have a small local thrift store that I like to shop at because it benefits our community; the shop employs and money supports programs for adults in the community with mental disability. Except that it's pretty gross! People are jerks and tend to "donate" their trash, so the place has done some advertising to encourage better donation practices and it's starting to be able to shape up. Before they had to put so much effort into getting rid of junk; one year alone their trash costs were over $40,000! Now that they're being pickier about how they collect donations, it's starting to get cleaner. Some of my best vintage bedsheet finds have been there, although I sometimes have to dive headfirst into the pile to dig out the good stuff!

  9. SO JEALOUS!! I wish we had goodwill's here in UT but we don't :(, I totally agree that they hike up the prices on the weirdest stuff!


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  10. I love the little thrift stores, full of treasures if you're willing to look. I've definitely had more luck in them than in GW. Like you said, GW is often more expensive than regular stores.

  11. Thanks so much for your comments and stories! I'm glad to hear we've all realized that Goodwill has turned into a ripoff. Also love to hear from fellow Portlanders--I actually live in Beaverton, too!

  12. I did not know about the Goodwill outlet! I'll have to check it out.



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