Friday, September 14, 2012

Calling All Thrifters

There is nothing that I find more pleasure in than thrifting. It's not really the shopping itself that sucks me in as much as it is the thrill of the find. As they say.."One Man's Junk is Another Man's Treasure." If your the type that can look past germs and dirty surprises that are sometimes found sifting through someone else's discarded stuff then read on.

When I first moved to Texas I would occasionally frequent Goodwill or an occasional thrift store but it wasn't until a few years ago when I my met my thrifting buddy Robin that I found out what a treasure trove of thrifting opportunities Austin held. She introduced me to some real gems which I will share here with you.

If you are not from the Austin area but find one of these places listed intriguing, check in your own area to see if there may be something comparable.

My favorite spot is the Goodwill Blue Hanger Outlet Store.  Explaining this store to someone who has never been is a little difficult, but imagine an empty warehouse filled with about 100+ large blue bins piled high with every sort of item you can think of...clothes, fabric, books, toys, furniture, etc.  Most items are priced by the pound around $1.39/lb, books generally are $1.39 flat and most of the furniture items are priced much lower than the general 'Goodwill,' rate.  The best description I can give it is dumpster diving.

Next stop is "The Dump" as we so lovingly call it. The Dump is actually the Texas Disposal Systems resale store. What that means is all the stuff that people put out on the side of the road for once a month trash day pick up is sorted through and they take out the stuff that is still good and sell it in a "store" on the premises.

You wouldn't believe the good stuff that people will put out on the side of the road for the dump. For example, a few weeks ago I got a  nightstand that just needed a little TLC for $1.99!! I threw a coat of paint on it and decoupaged the front doors with fabric and tada!!!    

This next one I have only been to once but I feel it is worth mentioning because it may well be considered the best kept secret in Austin...maybe not anymore, right?! It's the State Surplus Store...everything that didn't make it through airport security and the the final resting place for all retired state owned furniture, filing cabinets, etc.

From Yelp: "You'll find everything from confiscated snow globes (they contain liquid, so it's a carry-on no-no at the airport) to Vietnamese cobra liquor!

If you're in to pocket knives, you'll be in heaven.  They have buckets and buckets full of knives and many can be had in near-new condition for $1-3!

Go through the double-glass doors near the jewelry cases, and this leads to the large warehouse floor.  They have tons of used office furniture (desks, chairs, file cabinets, etc.), fax machines, and even some restaurant equipment too.

The best thing about the State Surplus Store, though?  ALL PRICES NEGOTIABLE!

(It actually doesn't say that anywhere, but keep in mind that this is a clearing house for the state.  They're trying to move stuff out before the next truckload comes in.  Make them a reasonable offer and, more times than not, they'll accept it."

Even if you aren't looking for anything in particular, it's fun to just to have look around.  Who knows what you'll find next."

Last but not least is the Habitat For Humanity Re-Store...another that I have only been to once but feel like it is worth mentioning. It's Goodwill for building materials and an un-told secret of DIY/Home improvement stuff...doors, windows, ceramic tile, appliances, counter name it and it's there for a fraction of what you would pay for it at Home Depot or Lowes.

I wish I could frequent all these places more often but with what little free time I have I have to pick and choose my favorites.

I hope these thrifting ideas will inspire the desire!!!


  1. I LOVE thrifting! It's one of my favorite things to do when I have a moment to myself. I wish I could do it more often, too.

  2. Wow! Who knew? Thanks for the info.