Today is my absolute FAVORITE day of the year, I mean right up there with Record Store Day favorite (how many times do I say this? EVERYTHING is my favorite), so you KNOW it’s serious…happy National Thrift Store Day everyone! To celebrate the occasion I thought I’d give ya the scoop on some of my favorite local thrift stores, and a few not-so-local places you should definitely check out if you’re in the area! I bet you can guess what I’ll be doing on my lunchbreak AND after work today, haha.
This is my home away from home. I live ten minutes away, work five minutes away (happy thrifting lunchbreaks!)…I mean. And every time I go, there’s always something new. Product is constantly in rotation, and I love it. Prices have gone up in the past year (but I’ve noticed that across the board…it’s hard to find things below $1 anywhere anymore!) but they’re not unreasonable. Each day, certain colored tags are half off, etc. If you’re in a digging mood, you can find namebrand clothes (I’ve found a lot of Gap and Banana Republic stuff that actually fits) and, like most thrift stores, there’s plenty of crazy-patterned vintage for the buying/altering!
Best departments: books (for art journaling; .25 paperbacks/.50 hardbacks! yesiDO), women’s dresses/leotard section (I used to buy neon spandex there when I was 14), men’s suit jackets, linens (cheap floral fabric guys), shoes, seasonal Christmas ornaments, furniture (depending on the day) and KITCHENWARE. Mainly glasses and MUGS. That’s one thing about this place…I never leave without at least one vintage mug to add to my collection.
Come prepared for no dressing rooms or bathrooms (typical)- I always wear something I can try clothes on over in front of the mirror. No shame.
2127 E. Southmore Houston, TX 77506
Pretty similar to the one by my house, just a little further out and about twice the size. Dresses and mugs are a must. They also have a larger selection of vintage wall art and suitcases.
Alamo Thrift Store 2215 Spencer Highway Pasadena, TX 77504
My SECOND home away from home! Haha. I really wish I would’ve gotten a chance to photograph the sign…it’s basically my favorite. I’ve been a little disappointed recently with their crazy book price hike ($4 for a hardback? In a place that smells like someone’s moldy garage? No) and their vinyl selection. THOUGH when I was about 15 I found the entire Aerosmith discography, ON VINYL...and my mom wouldn’t let me buy it. Not a single album. I’m still sore about that.
Best departments: women’s dresses, kids’ tshirts, misc section in the middle (knickknacks to housewares to wallpaper to expired film…you never know), vinyl (sometimes), handbags. AND they have fitting rooms.
Best score: 10 Nancy Drew books I bought for my little sister (they had a whole slew of Hardy Boys books too but with those prices…eesh).
Sand Dollar Thrift Store 2535 Spencer Hwy Pasadena, TX 77504
This place is really tiny so you can skim through each section pretty quickly. I don’t usually find much here anymore, but it’s nice to check back every so often. When I was 13 I found The Partridge Family's self-titled LP (the last one to complete my collection!) for .25 and about had a heart attack (I was THIRTEEN GUYZ; DAVID CASSIDY WAS MY BOY BAND). I made a stop here in June while scouting out supplies for Kara’s Summer ofLove art journaling class and found abajillion vintage sewing patterns for way too cheap, so there’s that. I’d only recommend swinging by if you’re doing a full-on thrift day (it’s two seconds down the road from Alamo..and there’s a Salvation Army two seconds down the road from Sand Dollar too).
FamilyThrift Center 112 Southmore Ave Pasadena, TX 77506
It’s been awhile since I’ve been here but when my mom would take me thrifting, we’d start here. Best selection of clothing for kids and adults, quality and brandwise, that I’ve seen for really cheap. My mom still goes and my little sister comes back with the coolest stuff. Certain locations run specials throughout the week, and they have fitting rooms.
Goodwill 10998 Fuqua Road Houston TX 77089
Growing up, this was a Kroger, then it was abandoned, and now it’s a Goodwill! Isn’t that the natural order of it, or something? Anyway. I typically shy away from GW or Salvation Army because of their prices (just because it’s cheaper than retail doesn’t make it cheap enough for me…brokecollegekid), but this one has a LOT of great offerings. I actually found my Summer of Love art journal here! And someone’s wedding tape (on a giant film reel). And a giant glass cookie jar with ‘Munchies’ printed across the middle in classic ‘70s script and color.
Best departments: books, office supplies, kitchenware, seasonal Christmas ornaments
Almeda Antique Mall 9003 Almeda Genoa Rd, Houston, TX 77075
This was the place that planted the seed of my vintagelove when I was a kid. I remember going here with my grandma, and once I was in jr high I started buying vinyl there. Over the years, half of the giant warehouse has shut down (SAD DAY) but the space that remains still has such a fantastic collection of vintage and antique items. Some vendors are a bit overpriced but every now and then you find a gem worth the extra buck (though the clearance stall is always my favorite!). Also it’s right down the street from my office. So, you know.
Best departments: everything. You can get lost in there for hours. Be sure to talk to the owners who usually chill near the front counter in antique chairs. They’re hilarious and so so nice.
Ok so, here’s the deal. I worked here for 2 ½ years as a cashier, buyer, and later, assistant manager. The clothing selection all depends on your area, and what that particular location will buy from you depends on what they’re stocking up on or have too much of. Every store is different. From a selling standpoint, it’s great to make an extra buck if you’re just trying to get clothes off your hands. But if you’re looking for a better return, I recommend Blackbird Vintage (across the parking lot), Buffalo Exchange (downtown on Westheimer), or TaxiTaxi (also on Westheimer). Those places can be a lot more picky on what they take, though. Brand, style, and condition is everything.
Bottom line, Plato’s is better from a consumer standpoint (in my opinion…though I do sell there pretty frequently out of convenience. Oops). This is definitely classified as resale; name brand only, and usually only styles from within the past 3-4 years. Downside: no vintage.
Best departments: women’s dresses, shoes (sometimes), tanks, dress tops, tshirts, jeans (sometimes), men’s tshirts (if you dig/get lucky)
Best value: if you’re a fan of Old Navy or Target, those two brands are some of the lowest price pointed items in the store. As in, I buy Target tanks for $3 and dresses for $4-6. But again, this all depends on location.
ICM 118 W Bay Area Blvd Webster, TX 77598
This shop is hidden away in the corner of an overcrowded strip center where Bay Area Blvd meets Hwy 3. Some of my greatest new author discoveries have come from there (again, back when books where like .10 apiece). I’d buy random books with cool covers and they were all, I mean ALL, reallyREALLY good. Their selection continues to impress, and they usually have a decent stock of office supplies too (sucker for that shit) but I’ve never really gone through their clothes. They recently remodeled and expanded it so there’s more to browse, which is great.
Best department: books, definitely
I’ve already mentioned this place (see Galveston trip) but MAN. If you’re in the area you NEED to go. Galveston has this whole guide to antiquing available at pretty much any touristy-type attraction or the visitors’ center (ha) if you want to seek out more places around town (def picked up the brochure and plan on devoting a Saturday *hopefully soon* to going through that list). In the meantime, this antique shop is my number one recommendation. Some seriously great treasures hiding out on the island. Be sure to chat with the owners while you're there; they're some of the sweetest people I've ever met. PS you can find them on Etsy, Facebook, and Twitter! Five outta five stars, y’all.
Thrift Town 5726 Manchaca Rd. Austin, TX 78745 @ Stassney across from Crockett HS
This place forever has a piece of my heart. It’s one of the few true ‘thrift’ stores left (that I’ve been to), where prices are cents on the dollar and there’s a great selection of almost EVERYTHING. When I first moved to Atx I bought a giant floor lamp for $4 (still have it), an end table ($5-repainted/still have it), and a necklace that I’ve worn every day since (TEN CENTS). That was four years ago. During my time in Atx I frequented that place when I wasn’t working/in class. It was right over the highway from our apartment, so again, gotta love the convenience! The clothing selection is great, and you can usually find a few working typewriters as well as some pretty decent tables, cabinets, shelves, frames, and vinyl. For cheap. They also mail out a coupon every so often, which is always a plus.
Salvation Army 4216 S Congress Avenue Austin TX, 78745
This is the best SA I’ve ever been to, and the only one where I didn’t feel completely robbed. Bought my heavy oak dresser ($20), giant bookshelf ($10), and lace curtains ($3) when I moved, and it quickly became another Atx go-to. Also, I found my typewriter there and I will never forget that day. Ever. In my life. Also, half of my current vinyl collection is from here. Amen.
Best departments: VINYL, clothing, furniture, shoes
Goodwill 1005 Highway 80,San Marcos,TX78666
Our apartment was less than five minutes from this Goodwill location, so it stands to reason I spent a lot of my time there (it was also in the same strip as Hastings, Hobby Lobby, and Walmart, and across the way from Half Price Books. College kid heaven). Mildly pricey depending on the item, but the store is clean and well-stocked (and I bought my blender, VCR, and plates there. SO).
Best thrifting moment: my friend Rachel and I were invited to a redneck themed party soooo we hit this place up. I found a shirt that I chopped up and shorts that became daisy dukes, and RACHEL found an AMAZING shirt that said “Shootin’ Deer & Drinkin’ Beer!” I still can’t get over how PERFECT that shirt is.
Vagabond 317 N LBJ Dr,San Marcos,TX78666
Trendy vintage resale shop off the Square. Kinda pricyish, but a really great selection for guys AND dolls. I bought a rare tshirt there when I visited San Marcos last December (one of my favorites!). And also tried on some mob boss wife fur coats. Serious bi-niz. The staff is friendly and it’s definitely worth checking out if you’re in town, or, you know, live there.
Have some more local thrift store recommendations for me, or even general recommendations should I just so happen to visit your lovely city? Let a girl know! Find something INCREDIBLE on your thriftventure? Tell me all about it! I love comments and emails. You guys are the best! Have a great weekend, and happy thrifting!