Thrift Stores: Where to Go for Knockout Buys

Vintage Coach leather saddlebag I recently picked up.

Tired of combing the racks only to find that everything seems out of your price range? If you’re feeling frustrated with mainstream fashion, get your street smarts on and seek out a thrift store. Though it may take a little more elbow grease and patience than your typical jaunt to Urban Outfitters, you can be sure that with a bit of work you’ll find fabulous items at ridiculously low prices. If you’re a relative newcomer to the thrift store scene, hit up TheThriftShopper.com to find secondhand in your area. Below, I offer five stores in the Baltimore area that I’ve found useful:

  • Goodwill: Offering a number of locations throughout Maryland, Goodwill is the classic go-to for thrifters of all stripes. With the majority of items priced well under $10, you won’t find a thrift store that runs much cheaper. If you’re willing to put in a little time, you can definitely find some hidden gems (I’ve found Nine West pumps, a J. Crew clutch, and Seven jeans). Since the quality varies widely from store to store, I’d highly suggest hitting up my personal favorite location, 1753 East Joppa Road in Parkville.
  • Salvation Army: With a store conveniently located just across the street from the Goodwill mentioned above, Salvation Army is another classic thrifting destination. Though their selection is a less extensive than Goodwill and the prices a little steeper (think $5-$15), the quality of clothing is arguably a tad higher. Fantastic finds at this spot include a Dooney and Bourke leather satchel (for $7!), and an Oscar de la Renta dress.
  • Uptown Cheapskate: A relative newcomer to the Baltimore thrift-store scence, Uptown Cheapskate definitely stands out from the pack for it’s unique premise: the owners stock their shop with carefully curated finds by buying back clothes from customers. Though they don’t offer a huge return for items you bring in, their in-store selection is absolutely fantastic. Yes, the prices do run higher than your standard secondhand spot (think $15-$50), but the quality of their goods more than makes up for it. Recent steals include Frye cowgirl boots for $80, and a Coach saddlebag for $30. Bottom line: head to 1830 York Road and check them out for yourself- it’s definitely worth it.
  • Pluto’s Closet: With a concept identical to Uptown Cheapskate, Pluto’s Closet is a slightly less upscale version of the store above. The upside is that they’ll likely be less picky in what they buy back, so you can definitely use them as a go-to spot for those faded Abercrombie jeans you outgrew five years ago. The downside, of course, is that the in-store picks are a little lackluster, but still worth a run-through if you’re in the area. Scope out their goods at 919 Taylor Avenue in Towson.
  • Value Village: Located at 5013 York Road, Value Village lies at the opposite end of the spectrum from the two stores above. With prices similar to Goodwill, you’ll definitely find yourself a bargain, but the quality of what you’re able to get is typically pretty poor. Though the store boasts a variety of items, you won’t find many high-end steals or hidden treasures, and really have to get creative when sorting through this warehouse of shoes, bags, hats, and apparel. If you’re looking for a true thrifter’s challenge, this is the place for you.

Once you’ve decided which stores will work for you, it’s time to get your thrift on. To help get the biggest bang for your buck, check out my how-to guide for savvy consignment shopping.

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