I love Goodwill.
And no two Goodwills are the same.
My favorite thing about thrifting in general is getting to know the character of every store I visit. Whether it’s a high-end consignment shop or the bins, each has something special to offer. Goodwills are especially fun to figure out. Because they might bear the same name and sometimes the same lay-out, but no two stores are alike.
I’ve come to discover in my time as a high-class Thrifter that each individual Goodwill has its own charm. Each location has one or two things that it does really, really well. So when I’m in a bit of a time crunch or looking for something specific, I know exactly where to start my search.
The Goodwill Superstore in SE Portland, for instance, always has excellent blazers. I have four–FOUR–blazers from this Goodwill. At the same time, I have never purchased a dress from this location, although I have one or two skirts. And none of their household stuff has ever found its way home with me.
The Goodwill Boutique in downtown Portland has THE BEST jewelry and household knickknacks. It’s a perfect place for gifts for quirky friends. Just last week I picked up a silver tray for my bathroom and a couple of candlesticks. And last summer I bought this fantastic necklace.
My luck with clothes at this location, however, is kinda meh. I have a skirt, a blouse, and a jacket–but each was picked up at a different shopping trip and each was ONE find out of MANY disappointments that came with me into the fitting room.
Wandering around a thrift store looking through every single thing is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon. However, sometimes there is no TIME to devote to a painstaking search. On those days, it’s nice to know exactly where to go to stack the odds in favor of finding a treasure.
I can (and will!) give you my go-to list for my favorite thrift places in Portland and what I expect to find there. But ultimately, it’s something every Thrifter has to work out for themselves. A Thrift-Store Go-To List is a personal thing that must be cultivated with care and inviduality. Each person gets a different feel when they visit a thrift store. And where one person is lucky another may be disappointed. My list is just that–my list.
But, for funsies, here it is.
Sarahphina’s Thrift Store Go-To List
1. Goodwill Superstore (SE Portland): blazers
2. Boutique Goodwill (downtown Portland): jewelry, household items, handbags, gifts
3. Bombshell Vintage (E Burnside): dresses, train cases, gloves, slips, coats (definitely coats)
4. Buffalo Exchange (SE Hawthorne): dresses, skirts, jackets
5. Red Light (SE Hawthorne): summer dresses, costumes, embellished slips and jackets
6. Salty Teacup (not a thrift store but priced like one) (St. Johns): skirts, jewelry, hair clips
7. Magpie Vintage (downtown Portland): jewelry, dresses, costumes
8. Rays Ragtime (downtown Portland): handbags, jewelry, tees, pants, shorts
9. Ether (not a thrift store but priced like one) (NW Portland): shoes
10. Salvation Army (Vancouver, WA): jewelry, household items, furniture
As I said, these are my favorite places. But as every good Thrifter knows, and every wannabe Thrifter must learn, finding your go-to spots is a personal search. Your body will play a part (some shops are better for smaller bodies, some for larger), your style and interests will play a part, as will your “eye” and the mysterious force known as Clothing Karma. It takes time and it takes effort, but it sure is a lot of fun. So as the rains set in, get to know your Goodwill (and other local thrift stores). Happy Hunting, Thrifters!