(First off, for anyone who was living under a rock during the summer, reference this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QK8mJJJvaes)
One of my favorite weird, old lady-like pastimes is to go thrift store shopping. I love the treasure hunting, I love the deals and, most of all, I love reusing things that others cannot. I am huge proponent of repurposing. So much in fact, I make it the main ideology behind my craft business (shameless self-promotion: www.etsy.com/shop/lovelyducklingcrafts). One man’s trash is this duckie’s treasure. I have gotten some great things for cheap or free by using some great online/local resources.
So what, you ask, are these great resources? Well, that is the point of this post! I can only speak for what I know of in the Baltimore area, but these are some places I seek out when I want to get my shop on:
1. Goodwill: This one seems obvious, but it really is a great resource for just about anything you are looking for. Plus, Goodwill really does do good in the community through job training programs. When you make donations they are tax deductible. Make sure you get a receipt from the employee who takes your donations, there is a coupon for something like 20% off your next purchase of $20 or more! What’s better than getting things cheap? Getting them cheap with an extra discount! I frequent a few Goodwills in the area and here are my favorites, my least favorites, and the best resources for certain items.
- Crofton: 1690 Riedel Rd. Crofton, MD 21114. Best place for furniture and household items. Be mindful though that they will only hold items for 24 hours, so have a means of pickup lined up.
- Catonsville: 850 S. Rolling Rd. Catonsville, MD 21228. This store is huge! Mostly clothes and a lot of small sizes. Didn’t really find anything for big girls like me, but they do have a very large “boutique” section of brand-name clothes, if you are into that sort of thing.
- Glen Burnie: 6401 Ritchie Hwy. Glen Burnie, MD 21061. Very friendly staff, but not the greatest store. I have picked up some great pictures from here, but nothing really stands out. Some of the seasonal items are overpriced.
- Pikesville: 6999 Reisterstown Rd Baltimore, MD 21215. This one sucks. Very rude staff, small, overpriced and always very full of people, who are also generally rude. Unfortunately, this is now the closest one to me 😦
2. Second Avenue Value Stores: Have popped some serious tags here. The store used to be a TJ Maxx, just to give you an idea of the size of the place. Great selection of clothes and in general size order, which is a rare treat. A lot of housewares and such, too. I got a vacuum and a set of dishes there for good prices. Some things are a bit overpriced, but most are nice and cheap. There are several locations in Maryland, but I frequent the one in Columbia at 6515 Dobbin Road Columbia, MD 21045.
3. Value Village: another chain of thrift stores that I like to go to. They are a bit pricey on certain clothing items, but their furniture is dirt cheap. I got this great trunk there for $15 and I made it into a Hogwarts chest!
If you go in on any day other than Thursday, make sure to sign up for the store card they have because on Thursdays you can get 10% off your entire purchase. I go to the one in Brooklyn Park 5604 Richie Hwy, #3 Brooklyn Park, MD 21225.
4. ReStore: The ReStore is run by Habitat for Humanity and is a thrift store for home improvement nuts, like myself. They sell everything from furniture to paint to cabinets, all for very low prices. They even have large appliances, like stoves and air conditioners. Everything is really cheap. I got a vanity light for my bathroom for $2! (More on this when I post about those improvements!) They sell doors and such there too for something like $10. A must-go place for redesign on a dime. There are four in the Baltimore area, but I have only been to the one in Pasadena(ish) so far: 8101 Fort Smallwood Road Curtis Bay, MD 21226.
5. Overstock Outlet: If you need furniture, come here! They are a warehouse that buys furniture from hotel chains when they remodel and sell for cheap cheap cheap. They also have new overstocked merchandise for decent prices, but the real value is in the used stuff. I am going over there today to pick up a night stand for $19. 2811 Sisson Street Baltimore, MD 21211.
6. Craigslist: Not just for some shady hookups! I have bought and sold furniture on Craigslist before and it works wonderfully. Yes, there are scammers, but use your common sense. Don’t take checks, CoDs, or give more information than you would give when buying from a store. I have gotten a lot of wonderful things from CL, including this desk for $30 last week. Make sure to check the free section of the site too and see if you can score big with a free couch!
To quote Macklemore: “This is fucking awesome!”
7. Freecycle: This is a gem for seekers of free swag. I have given away and received so many items from Freecycle. How does it work? You go to http://www.freecycle.org to find a group near you. Sign up for that group and check your email. People in your area will post things they are getting rid of, or things that they are looking for. If you see something you like, shoot them an email and set up a time to pick it up. It is that simple. Want to get rid of something? Post it and someone will email you asking for it. It is a great way to share local resources. I have gotten everything from moving boxes to plants to furniture here. I have seen people post offers for beds, furniture, building supplies and more. All you need is some patience and the will to drive to someone’s house to pick the item up, usually from their porch.
8. Baltimore Free Store: Their motto is “Give what you can, take what you need” and that is pretty much the Free Store in a nutshell. They are a guerilla thrift store where everything is free- on specified dates and places, they have an open market. People drop off stuff to donate in the morning and it is given away in the afternoon. All free. A wonderful way to share resources and connect with the community. Their next open market is on November 16, 2013 at 301 South Beechfield Ave. Baltimore 21229. You can find their calendar and more information about this awesome organization here.
So that’s all I can think of right now. Know any more places for cool swag on the cheap in and around Baltimore? Add it to the comments!