August 17th is National Thrift Shopping Day. Most thrift stores celebrate with significant discounts.
Why shop at thrift stores? According to the U.S. EPA, a whopping 85% of all discarded textiles – 13 million – end up in landfills every year. Plus textiles and decomposing clothing release methane, not to mention the dyes and chemicals in the fabrics that can saturate the soil. Let’s recycle folks, donate to local thrift shops, your local Goodwill, Salvation Army, Humane Society, local hospital or church thrift shops– there are so many GREAT charities that NEED your donations. The money that these charities raise through their thrift shops help countless others gain a better quality of life and protect out little four legged friends. I think that is one of the best reasons to donate along with reducing our carbon footprint. Plus think of all the people that are able to clothe themselves and their families at a deeply discounted price. I think it is a win-win.
I just happen to LOVE thrift shopping for so many reasons. I love helping the environment and I like trying new styles at a fraction of the cost – if I don’t like it, I just wash the clothes and donate them right back. The key to thrift shopping is patience. If you have some time and go through the racks, you would be surprised at what you can find. You can’t go to a thrift shop think I need a little black dress and expect to find one in one visit BUT if you go to the RIGHT thrift shops, you may just find one. For example, I always say if you want something formal or fancy, try City Opera and Vintage Thrift East in the 23rd St area of NYC. With these two stores, there is a good chance especially with a freshly stocked store – you can put together a great outfit. If you are in the Connecticut area, Stamford Goodwill is one of my favorites as well, their dress section is fabulous. Don’t be afraid to ask when they put out the “new” stock – it sometimes is Wednesday/Thursday in preparation for the weekend. I am also learning to create my own styles. I once found a beautiful black ankle length sequined duster and I paired it with straight legged pants and a clingy top and I received oodles of compliments and it was something that I might not have necessarily worn in prior years. It ended up being a favorite outfit for special occasions.
Life is complicated and chaotic at times and I find when I go thrift shopping I get such enjoyment out of finding that very special addition to my wardrobe at quite the price. I find it calming and relaxing and a great way to emerge myself in something that brings me great joy. I have also met some pretty incredible people along the way.
I look forward to telling you about my thrift shop visits – I have visited quite a few over the summer and I can’t wait to share my findings with you.
Vintage Thrift East is a must visit. They have such a wide array of women’s clothes along with shoes, accessories, housewares and more. The store setup is spectacular and the displays are eye catching. There is so much to love about this shop especially how organized it is. The clothes are in excellent condition and priced accordingly (translation reasonable). If you like to create your own style, this is the place to shop because there they have such an eclectic selection of clothing especially in the women’s section.
I was impressed with the setup of the housewares section. I actually saw quite a few gift quality platters and dishes and vintage serve ware which was quite nice.
The window displays are striking but the pleasant surprise is that the there is much more “window quality” pieces when you continue to browse.
The men’s section is not as extensive as the women’s but certainly worth a look.
There is just so much to this store; it is going to require a few return trips 🙂
Vintage Thrift proceeds benefit the United Jewish Council of the East Side which is another good reason to shop there. Of course, donations are tax deductible.
My dream blog has become a reality. It has been an amazing year (plus). Thanks to some great publicity from the very popular blog, Struck By Wanderlust (https://struckbywanderlustblog.wordpress.com), my blog has been read in over 26 countries including Australia, Israel, and Greece to name a few. Outside of the U.S., the UK folks seem to be reading my blog the most :). My blogs have been viewed well over 4,000 times and the numbers keep growing. The most popular blog was on the Humane Society of New Rochelle. They posted my blog on their Facebook page and it went through the roof. The most popular day to read my blog is Tuesday and the most popular hour is 9 p.m. (Thank you WordPress for all the great stats.) Please note I am posting on Tuesday but not at 9 p.m. 🙂
Thrift Shopping has been steadily increasing over the past few years for many reasons. People who want to have a unique/individual style start thrifting to create these styles. Vintage clothing is hugely popular right now and trending. People are very cost conscious as well especially when it comes to clothing and they find thrifting a good alternative. Most importantly, by reselling and recycling clothing, you are helping the planet.
Goodwill has been evolving and introduced “boutique shopping” and opened their newest boutique in Union Square last year. Reselling websites like Real Real, Tradesy and Thred Up are thriving. Consignment shops are more popular than ever especially in the high end handbag and accessory category. The luxury handbag category is an exceptionally competitive market. In 2014 alone, revenues for the thrift store industry were close to $9 billion
I know a couple of people that buy used items at thrift stores and resell on eBay. They buy top brand name shirts, blouses and jeans at shops like St. Bart’s for a few bucks and then resell on eBay for anywhere from $10.00 to $20.00 depending on the quality, brand, etc. and what they paid.
I take great joy in finding new thrift shops, visiting my “regulars” and buying new outfits or something for the house. So whatever you desire, whether to shop for yourself or shop to make money, I hope that you enjoy my blogs; they are truly a labor of love.
Westchester County is an oasis of thrift shops. From Pelham to Bedford to Tarrytown, up and down the Harlem and Hudson line, you will be delighted to find some of the most notable thrift shops. There are shops more spacious than New York City but equally as impressive as their NYC counterparts. The consignment stores are numerous as well and new ones are opening all the time. You can spend a day just hitting the shops in one or two towns alone and I highly doubt you would go home empty-handed. There are wonderful estate sales in Westchester County every weekend and I know I have come home with some amazing treasures from these sales. If nothing else, it is always enjoyable just to browse.
The focus of this chapter is Mount Vernon;
Some quick history on Mount Vernon– In 1850, a merchant tailor from New York City by the name of John Stevens set out to create a property that would help improve the condition of the working class in the city. To this end, he founded the Industrial Home Association No. 1 of New York which enrolled 1,017 due-paying members. This land went on to become the Village of Mount Vernon. It was then a part of the Town of Eastchester. The community was named after George Washington’s estate in Virginia. (Mt Vernon info from CityTownInfo.com website.)
Treasure Trove’s Thrift Shop’s motto is “Where Lost and Hidden Gems Are Found”. I cannot understand for the life of me why Treasure Trove in Mount Vernon is not on everyone’s radar. They do have lots of gems. I understand that this place is off the beaten path, but on the upside it has tons of parking (which we all know can be a major issue at times in many places). The place is humongous; they have a couple of thousand feet of everything you can imagine not to mention the owners are incredibly nice.
Parents, if your kid is going to college, this is the place to find some great dorm room pieces and accessories. For those getting their first apartment, this is the place that you should go to get started –they carry so much and have so many options for your decor. If you are looking to change-up your home décor a little, they have quite the selection. They have racks and racks of clothing in the back and shoes as well.
This place should not be kept secret; it has quite a lot to offer – just check out the pictures.
Treasure Trove Thrift Shop
152 South Macquesten Parkway
Mount Vernon NY 10550
Monday-Saturday from 10am-6pm
The next place up is The Blue Door Thrift Shop at the Community Church at the Circle. This shop hopes to provide a source for stretching the family clothing budget for people in the community. Proceeds from the shop provide a resource for church programs and maintenance.
It is a pleasant little shop and everyone that works there is so wonderful. They have mostly women’s clothes and some men’s and tons of books, CDs and videos. The housewares section is right when you walk in and there are some other things all along the back wall along with kitchen items. It really is worth browsing because you never know what you are going to find there from one week to the next.
They have 1/2 price Thursdays every week where selected items of a certain color will be half price. It is definitely worth shopping there on a Thursday.
The Community Church at the Circle will be holding a Flea Market on Saturday, June 6, 2015 at 7 East Lincoln Avenue, Mt. Vernon between the hours of 10:00am – 3:00 pm. There will be a wide selection of new and used crafts, jewelry, cosmetics and clothing. The event is in-doors. Admission is free and parking is available.
Tables are available for $25 for the day. Call 914.668.8989 for additional information.
The Blue Door
Community Church at the Circle
7 E Lincoln Ave
Mt Vernon, NY 10552
I found this great website that I wanted to share with you; find garage sales, yard sales and estate sales in your area by viewing a map. Plan your next weekend bargain hunting trip on www.gsalr.com.
If you are into repurposing furniture or like DIY projects, no better place to start than the flea market.
You can turn a $25 coffee table into a repurposed center piece. Find items to create one-of-a-kind wall décor and repurpose furniture to give your home an inexpensive makeover. Just watch “Flea Market Flip” on HGTV. I have gotten so many decorating ideas from that show and they demonstrate great ways to repurpose many different types of items. It is a great show and I highly recommend especially if you are handy and like DIY projects.
With that in mind, let me tell you about a GREAT flea market I visited last weekend;
GreenFlea Market on Columbus Ave between 76th and 77th Street
The market is made possible through the support of the NYC Department of Education. The proceeds from the GreenFlea Market benefits four public schools: PS 87, The Computer School, PS 334 (Anderson Program) and PS 452.
Money generated by the market is used by the Parents Association to provide enrichment opportunities for the schools. Since 1985 GreenFlea has provided the schools with more than $7,000,000.
I really enjoy going to GreenFlea. There is just so much to see and browse through. Absolutely anything and everything that you can imagine and then some. Jewelry, clothing – new and vintage, accessories, antiques, lighting, vinyl records, soaps, candles, too much to list. And as an added bonus, they have awesome noshes while you are there. You must go to the right when you go in and have a piece of spinach pie, baklava, mini mushroom pastry or any of the delicious treats they are selling – the prices are more than reasonable and the food is absolutely scrumptious. The mini spinach pastry ($1.50 each) was almost sold out by 12:30pm and the flea market opened at 10am. And they have a whole space indoors that you should also check out.
One in particular vendor that I loved the merchandise was Latifs Designs. He has the most beautiful lighting fixtures and chandeliers, both traditional and a bit funky. I fell in love with them all.
The jewelry is unique and there are many different types from ethnic to funky and so many unique designs so you are sure to get noticed. You will never find your run of the mill items at GreenFlea. The antiques are extraordinary (or they were when I was there) and they also carry a few modern pieces.
The merchandise for the most part is above average. What I like most about GreenFlea is that they actually have an approval process for a vendor which includes submitting a bill of sale for designer merchandise. All counterfeits and knockoffs are prohibited. They even have a moratorium on items so the market is not repetitive. I have been going for years and I loved it back then and I still love it now.
While we are on the subject of flea markets, here are a few others that you must visit:
Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market
39th Street between 9th and 10th Avenues
Sunday: 9am – 5pm (weather permitting)
It is on the uptown Side of West 25th Street between Broadway and Sixth Avenue,
(Near The Flatiron Building, Eataly, and Madison Square Park).
Every Saturday & Sunday, year-round (weather permitting)
Chelsea Market and the Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market is most definitely worth a visit –you can spend hours just looking at some of the items on sale here. Even if you don’t buy anything, I can guarantee that you will have a blast just browsing. Again, lots of unique and interesting items just like GreenFlea. I particularly love checking out the vintage jewelry especially brooches. I just love brooches; they dress up everything, a denim jacket, that little black dress, so many different ways to dress up any outfit.
$1 admissionat both
I would have loved to recommend the Antiques Garage as my most favorite flea market in the city, but unfortunately, it closed last June after twenty years. I found so many unique items there; I will treasure them more now that it is closed. I am sure some of you remember it.
Now let me get back on track;
While I was at GreenFlea, my next stop was Housing Works on Columbus Avenue. We all know how much I love Housing Works but this one was insane on the day I was there and it was early in the day. It was jam-packed and there was quite a selection of furniture. I thought that the furniture was reasonably priced but the housewares were a bit overpriced. You could barely get by the racks of clothes so many people were browsing. I am not sure if it always that crowded or if the gorgeous weather had something to do with it. J But I am sure that the furniture I saw is sold and long gone.
Just a FYI – Housing Works has membership packages – here are just two —– (please check the website for exact information and other membership packages).
$60 Friend membership gets you 10% off books at the Bookstore Café, a Housing Works tote bag and other special perks.
$120 Advocate gets you all the above plus special member discounts and 25% off on Sundays (exclusions apply). (That could explain the large crowd on Sunday.)
306 Columbus Ave. (At 74th Street)
New York, NY 10023
Right nearby are not one, but two Goodwill stores;
The West 79th Street store is small and I think clothes are the specialty here. Nice variety and setup well for a small space. Being this is spring cleaning season, now may be the time to go. I have seen some beautiful suits, dresses, jeans on the rack and the pricing for the most part was reasonable. The housewares get an honorable mention here.
Goodwill West 79th Street
217 West 79th Street
New York, NY 10024
The West 72nd Street store has only two dressing rooms which can be a pain when there is line of people waiting BUT I do like the clothes selection here and I thought the dress section was above average although the pricing a bit steep for certain brands. I thought it had an excellent men’s section. This shop is definitely worth a trip.
Goodwill West 72nd Street
157 W 72nd St
New York, NY 10069
When you find a thrift store that you like, make sure that you sign up for their email notifications and like their Facebook page when available, it is a great way to find out about sales and promotions and even see a preview of merchandise . And if you are very lucky, an occasional coupon!!
I thought I would cut right to the chase today and let you know about an abundance of thrift shops on 23rd Street and the surrounding area. Sort of like a pub crawl but for thrift shops. 🙂
There is such a great array – City Opera, Cauz for Pawz, Housing Works, Vintage Thrift (off 23rd St.), Unique Boutique (3rd Ave and 29th), Goodwill and Salvation Army.
So here we go;
City Opera Thrift Shop
222 E 23rd St
New York, NY 10010
Mon-Wed-Fri – 10am-7pm
You have to love City Opera; it is a great thrift shop with lots of character. It has high quality clothing and not at exorbitant prices. They have a wonderful women’s selection with lots of dressy styles (fun to browse through) and I have seen some top brand men’s shirts/suits at reasonable prices. Upstairs is the artwork, books and assorted items. The costume jewelry is always fun to look at in the front of the store and you can find great buys in the shoe department if you are lucky. As far as furniture, I have seen some extraordinary furniture but it is gone as fast as it comes in. Join their Facebook page so you can see when they are having special events which are worth going to. City Opera is one not to miss!!!
Cauz for Pawz
212 E 23rd St
New York, NY 10010
Mon-Fri – 10am–8pm
Sun – 11am-7pm
Cauz for Pawz provides animal welfare organizations, rescue and no kill shelters with financial funds and supplies – they host animal adoption events and even run a community pet food pantry for animals in need. What is their not to love about this – I definitely want to help this cause!
They have two floors with the better quality clothing upstairs and the big markdowns downstairs. The housewares are downstairs as well as well as the majority of shoes. They have a fine selection of costume jewelry in the front of the shop and they are having a 20% off sale on it from May 8 – 10th just in time for Mother’s Day. PSA – the elevator is a bit rickety but don’t worry J.
I like this Housing Works (I like all Housing Works). The clothes are great – both a men and women’s section with a good variety and a nice sized shoe department with bags and accessories. They have a decent book section and I have never seen housewares jump off the shelves like this Housing Works so there always seems to be a limited supply. They have a sale rack which is worth going through and as in most thrift stores on 23rd Street; furniture has a short “shelf life”. The window displays are always fun to look at but the items are only available through auction. Another not to miss!
286 3rd Ave. (between 2nd and 3rd)
New York, NY
Mon – Thur – 10:30am-8pm
Friday – 10:30am until dusk
Sun – 11am-7pm
Saturday – Closed
Purchases from the Vintage Shop benefit the United Jewish Council of the East Side which operates three senior centers. They have also developed and now manage 170 units of low income, elderly and special needs amongst many other programs. I salute UJC for helping the senior citizen population.
The sales here are great when they have them and it is just so much fun to browse through this shop. The displays are charming and have been set up quite nicely. There is just so much to see. I think that there are some great finds to be had here. Vintage Thrift – Another definitely not to miss!!!
402 Third Ave. (between 28 & 29)
New York, NY 10128
Mon – Sat – 10am–9pm
Sunday – 11am-8pm
This is a great shop just have a little patience. Sweet book selection – the hardcovers are $2 and the paperbacks $1 with some new releases (obviously they don’t last long). The clothes selection is good but not extensive. They carry some good name brands but look over the clothes closely before purchasing. I think this is one of those places where you may find that “buy” but it will take a little work. The prices are reasonable and it is definitely worth a trip especially if you are in the neighborhood.
220 E 23rd St
New York, NY 10010
Mon – Sat – 9am-9pm
Sunday – 10am – 6pm
206 East 23rd Street
New York, NY 10010
Mon, Tues, Thur and Friday – 10am-6pm
Wed and Sat – 10am-7pm
The Salvation Army operates over 7,475 centers in communities across the United States. These include food distribution, disaster relief, rehabilitation centers, anti-human trafficking efforts, and a wealth of children’s programs. Their work is funded through kettle donations, corporate contributions, and the sale of goods donated to our Salvation Army Family Stores. Eighty-two cents of every dollar we spend supports various missions across the country.
I will touch upon this Goodwill and Salvation Army briefly.
I like this Goodwill and Salvation Army, I do — but you really have to go through the racks to find something. I just don’t seem to have much luck clothing-wise in this Goodwill although I have found a few nice things in the housewares section and very reasonably priced. I will say both have decent tee-shirt sections and both have vintage tees at times which are fun. FYI – This Salvation Army does not have a dressing room. I will say this about both stores – they both have heavy foot traffic and always have long lines at checkout so there is some good merchandise to be had and they are cheaper than the others on the block but the quality is not always as good.
PLEASE NOTE – all constructive criticism is welcomed and appreciated and let me know if there is a specific shop in mind you would like to know about!!