Happy Thrifted Thursday, y'all! Today's post is one that I've been meaning to write for a few weeks, but, unsurprisingly, have been too busy thrifting to get around to it (it's really a hard life, isn't it?).
I know you're reading the title and thinking, Wait, aren't you in LA? And the answer is yes, yes I am. But long before I moved to LA, I was born and raised on Portland thrift stores. When I was back in Oregon visiting a few weeks ago I had the chance to revisit some of my favorites, and thought I'd do a quick post giving you the inside scoop on the best thrift stores in the Portland-Metro area:
1. The Goodwill Outlet Stores, aka "The Bins"
1740 SE Ochoco St
Milwaukie, OR 97222
2920 SW 234th Ave
Hillsboro, OR 97123
The Portland area has two Goodwill outlet stores, and they've definitely earned their spot at #1 on this list out of sheer cheapness. That being said, a word to the wise: These thrift stores are not for everyone. They're not even for most people. They're really only for hardcore thrifters who don't mind getting their hands dirty. Literally.
The Goodwill outlets are giant warehouses filled with huge blue bins on wheels The bins are stacked three wide and two deep to form large rows. They're filled with everything imaginable--the leftovers and rejects from "normal" Goodwill stores. Some of the bins are sorted to contain only books or only shoes, for example, but most are a total hodgepodge of random crap. If you're a big-time treasure seeker, this place will be your mecca.
Items are priced by the pound, with different rates for textiles vs. glass/hardware items, and separate pricing for books as well. There are also large furniture sections in both stores (though I generally see more and better furniture at the Milwaukie location) and you can find amazing deals on everything from vintage sofas to electric organs. Yeah.
Bring latex or garden gloves and don't be afraid to really dig in--you WILL find something cool if you give yourself some time and ignore some of the more frightening sights (my "favorite" so far is a half-wrapped McDonald's hamburger hidden within a pile of clothes). And nothing beats the feeling of buying 5 things for like $2. Here's my haul from my last trip:
That's a super cute exercise top, a Steve Madden pillowcase, a brand new makeup bag, a vintage Nashville tee, a sailor top, an adorable black and white paisley dress, two little boys' button ups, a gray short sleeve sweater, and a FANTASTIC pair of Gap 1969 stretch skinny jeans that fit me PERFECTLY. All for $6.93. So, yeah, the Bins are a little bit gross. And smelly. But for an average of $0.70 an item, I'd say it's worth it. And hey, you may even like it!
2. The ReBuilding Center
3625 N. Mississippi
Portland, Oregon 97227
The ReBuilding Center isn't your typical "thrift" store in that you're not going to find cheap clothes or books there. But you are going to find amazing deals on home improvement and decor items and furniture. I'm talking flooring, tubs, ovens, shelves, countertops, desks, chandeliers, etc., etc. My parents picked up cabinets for their bathroom remodel for like $15 the last time they went.
The Center accepts donations and also travels to pick up materials from buildings that are being renovated or demolished. They bring in new items every day and offer them at up to 90% cheaper than retail. The money they make goes to support their nonprofit, Our United Villages. In other words, this should be your first stop if you're planning any home improvements in the near future. And, if you're not, it's still just a super cool place to browse through if you've got a half hour to kill in Northeast Portland.
3. William Temple House Thrift Store
2230 NW Glisan Street
Portland, OR 97210
When I think NW 23rd, I don't normally think thrift, but William Temple House Thrift Store is just around the corner from Portland's famed boutique shopping avenue. So if you're window shopping on 23rd and tired of overpriced stationery and jewelry, pop in here--you won't be disappointed!
Its proximity to the wealthy Northwest neighborhoods of Portland means that this place gets plenty of quality donations. But, despite being so close to the high end (and high priced) side of town, William Temple House Thrift's prices are totally reasonable, especially when you factor in their tag sales. Their women's clothing and shoes and furniture sections are particularly worth a good long look.
One of my favorite things about this thrift store, however, is the great work they do for the disadvantaged community in Portland. Their services include a food pantry, mental health counseling, a children's clothing closet, a dental health van, and many other programs designed to help those in need. This is a gem of a place where you'd least expect it.
707 NE Fremont St
Portland, OR 97212
Rerun differs from the other thrift stores on this list in that it's a consignment shop. Normally I'm distrustful of consignment stores because they have two entities trying to make a profit from every sale and the prices generally reflect that. But Rerun's prices actually manage to be pretty well in line with other thrift stores, and since their employees only accept higher quality items for consignment, you don't have to sort through as much gross junk as at, say, the Bins.
Definitely worth popping in if you're in Northeast Portland with some time and cash to kill. I will say, however, that if you typically try to avoid Portland's angsty hipster crowd, this may not be the place for you. It, in contrast to the other stores on this list, definitely has a "we're trying really hard to look like we're not trying really hard to be cool" kind of thing going on.
5. Value Village
12060 SW Main
Tigard, OR 97223
Alright, alright you caught me--Value Village isn't really in Portland Portland. They used to have a couple of locations closer to downtown but they've closed down and the only one in the Portland Metro area is in Tigard, near the Washington Square Mall. But it had to go on the list because it's where 90% of my teenage wardrobe (and all of my Halloween costumes from ages 10 - 20) came from.
Value Village is the same company as Savers, and is a North American thrift chain. I've probably been to 10 different Savers/Value Villages in my day, and some are better than others, but this one is fantastic for women's clothes, shoes, and accessories, toys, and children's items. And, my mom actually bought my sewing machine here for $25. Older model, but perfect working condition and I use it all the time!
The selection is huge, prices are on the low end for thrift stores, and they have 1/2 off sales for most "bank holidays" (Memorial Day, President's Day, etc.). The aisles will be crowded and the lines loooong on 1/2 off days, so I suggest doing what I do: wear leggings, a tight tank top or tee, and flip flops so that you can try things on without waiting for a dressing room. Yes, it's shameless, but once you get over it, you'll be laughing at all the other suckers waiting in the dressing room line for 45 minutes as you walk out the door with your awesome goods.
Well there you have it! My picks for the best thrift stores in the Portland, Oregon area! Did I miss any? Let me know what your faves are, in Portland or elsewhere! I'm always looking for good thrifting opportunities when I travel!