5 things you’re not looking for at the goodwill.

4 02 2010

it’s been a pretty dry couple of weeks at the good ole goodwill. whether it’s the ebb and flow of donated goods or just bad timing, i had every intention of putting together some hot discount outfits for a little fashion show- but nothing. however, all was not entirely lost. as i was scanning every rack in the house, i made a little mental list of things that i feel are totally awesome but completely overlooked at thrift shops.

1. hand rolled silk scarves. i feel like nobody ever hits the scarf area.  sure, there’s tons of stupid eyelash scarves, nascar bandanas, and shiny poly-satins. but if you just close your eyes and feel around, almost invariably you will find a high end silk number with hand rolled edges tucked in amongst the drek.  i haven’t found an hermes yet (although i won’t give up), but i did find a pretty amazing vintage diane von furstenberg last year.

2. cashmere. using a similar technique to the silk scarf diving, run your hands along the sweater racks and practice your fiber guessing skills. stuffed like little time bombs within the shrunken wools and acrylic xmas sweaters, you’ll find the odd cashmere gem tucked away.  if you’re really lucky, you might actually find something wearable, although they generally tend to be of the “big ole boxy” varitey.  buy them anyway! with a few remedial sewing skills, you can make them into scarves, pillows, blankets, or if you’re slightly more intermediate, you can cut them up and make them into cuter sweaters.

3. mix tapes. that is, if you still have a tape deck. whether taped off of the radio in the early nineties- or made to woo a high school biology lab partner crush, discarded mix tapes from days gone by are nothing short of amazing. with a going rate around $.99 (i generally find the salvation army has a better selection than the goodwill), even if they turn out to be a bette midler/josh groban mastermix- it’s totally worth the price for the adventure.

4. classic books. at any given goodwill in the universe, you’ll find at least 4 copies of “divine secrets of the ya ya sisterhood”. push those out of the way (way out of the way). for every 20 crappy harlequin romance/oprah book/cat who mysteries that clutter up the shelves, there is at least one nearly pristine piece of classic literature (generally cast off by some functionally illiterate college student being forced to take an intro literature class). they’re classic because they’re GOOD people. really good. and for usually about $1.99 (or less), it’s definitely time for you to start building your master library.

5. lingerie. ok, i know this one sounds counter intuitive and kind of gross. i would just like to clarify that i am in no way recommending purchasing USED UNDERWEAR or frankly any lingerie garment with a crotch. yuck. however, because of that ick-factor, the unmentionables section of most thrift stores get much less traffic than the rest of the store. if you’re willing to put away the germaphobia for a second, you’ll find a pretty amazing selection of vintage slips, nighties, and peignoirs dating from the 40s to the 70s. as a bonus, i also routinely find decent looking bras with the tags still on. weird i know, but worth looking!

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8 responses

5 02 2010
Lynn

So are you saying crotchless lingerie is safe to buy used? : )

5 02 2010
bessmarvin

unequivocally yes. actually wait, i mean no (big.gross. no.). although i can’t say that i haven’t found some in my travels. i mean who donates crotchless teddies to goodwill?! no comprende!

8 02 2010
Jen

Underwear, socks and swimsuits are 3 things I will NEVER shop for at a thrift store. No way in hell. Bras however, I have caught myself looking at… just can never find my size or the size is rubbed off of the tag and I’m too lazy to just try it on.

8 02 2010
bessmarvin

all good sensible choices. used socks- ick. like i said, nothing with a crotch. vintage slips and bustiers yes. but only after thorough cleaning.

10 02 2010
Cindy

So, you’d buy crotchless panties?

10 02 2010
bessmarvin

lynn actually asked the same thing! definite no on that one. no crotchless panties for me (new or used really). although i won’t lie- i have seen them there. what kind of insane person donates crotchless lingerie to goodwill!!?

10 02 2010
Cindy

Ha. Crap – I missed that. I need to read the comments before posting me own.

1 07 2011
Thrifting for Vintage Fabric | Goodwill Industries of NNE

[…] moons ago, I wrote a post about the 5 things that you’re not looking for at Goodwill (but you probably should). Somehow in the frenzy of cashmere sweaters and vintage underthings, I […]

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