Monday, September 28, 2009

Buying Used in Columbus

When I was young I got on this trip about 'status' clothes - my biggest 'find' was a Calvin Klein navy blazer that I got at the 'bargain' price of $200 (and that was in the 80's). Sadly, I soon became sick of it and tried to sell it to my NY roommate who wasn't terribly interested in taking on my prize. At that point it became a $200 albatross hanging around my neck.

Thrift Shops - Since then I've gradually discovered the wonder and wisdom of thrift shops. You tell me you like my outfit I will tell you how cheap I got it. In fact I'm embarrassed when I pay full price cause there's nothing to brag on.

When you get great items cheap it's easy to give back by donating, esp when your closet starts filling up. We're talking all sorts of nice, quality, brand name clothing for $2-5 per item. Thrift stores totally rock! Anyone who thinks they are just for poor people - all I can say is dude, you have no idea how much of your hard earned money is wasted on new clothes. Thrift store clothes = more $$$ for buying organic. Plus if you get tired of stuff you don't feel guilty letting go of it cause it only cost you a few bucks to begin with.

Lest you be new to the whole resale scene I've assembled a few of my favorite places in Columbus:

Ohio Thrift
  • Big selection - some of the best I've found
  • No dressing rooms or restrooms - this means you have to hide yourself amid the racks to try stuff on. For women, wearing a thin t shirt and a skirt works best. Now usually it goes OK although some lady did yell at me once for having a wardrobe malfunction. Very humiliating but I guess that's the price of getting a deal :)
  • On houswares they tend to jack up prices if they think something is super valuable. Usually it's not worth the $$$ they are asking so I mostly use them for clothing.

Volunteers of America
  • Big selection - quality varies according to store
  • Has fitting rooms
  • Great prices

Goodwill Stores
  • Store sizes vary - some of the smaller stores don't have the greatest quality
  • Has fitting rooms
  • Usually does one price for each type of item (shirts, slacks, skirts, etc. unless it's designer)

Plato's Closet
Popular teen resale shop. I don't go in there. It makes me feel really old!

New Uses
  • Housewares and electronics
  • Pays cash for used stuff
  • Selection can be kind of kitschy but hey it's worth a look.
  • Apparently they run a hooty tooty high end store called Ubberhaus (ie rich people who get tired of their stuff) - I met a woman who did a fabulous interior design job with stuff gleaned from that store so it's definitely worth checking out.

To be honest I get my best deals on housewares at TJ Maxx or Marshalls. They have brand new stuff on clearance that rivals thrift store/resale shop prices but is way above and beyond in quality and style.

One could shop here forever. I use Ebay to get a lot of my shoes but they also have great deals on clothing - esp designer brands. They have great search engines that allow you to punch in exactly what you're looking for. My best deal was probably a $175 pair of shoes for $10 + shipping. Or a pair of brand new boot retailing for over $100 for something like $20. That sure beats a $20 pair junk shoes made in China.

I've also decorated my townhome on E-bay. I have several tapestries made from old wedding dresses from the Thar Desert (Pakistan) and India region. Two of them cost me $1 + postage (some antique dealer apparently wanted to get rid of them). The rest were $20-30 each. I've found folk carvings from indie craftsmen, cool porcelain pieces, little bunny figurines from England and China - all for a very reasonable price.

There are so many charming little collectibles - all one of a kind you can find on there. It totally beats paying a ton of money at Pier One or some chain for mass produced stuff that isn't even original.


  1. BIG TJMaxx/Marshalls fan here! A good set of knives is so important to a raw foodie — super duper deals to be found. Like you, first place I look for housewares/cookware.

    LOVE your living room textiles/color scheme.

  2. Girl thanks for commenting - this is the FIRST COMMENT I have ever received. Tx!