Where to find the best thrift shop deals

By Theresa Goffredo Herald Writer

“Thrifting,” otherwise known as buying stuff at second hand, consignment and thrift stores, is a well-established way to save money.

And, oh, the deals you can find.

But, you may ask, what are the really best deals and where can you find them in Snohomish County?

Here’s an unscientific survey of several popular thrift stores in the county and the best deals they offer:

Value Village, 6220 Evergreen Way, Everett; 425-355-8320; www.valuevillage.com; 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday.

In addition to being a hot spot for Halloween costumes, Value Village has these top bargains:

• Jeans across the board. Whether for yard work or an after-work function, there are lots of jeans to choose from.

• Women and men’s clothes, along with a wide range of kids clothes, from newborn to junior sizes.

• Women’s sandals are a good deal right now.

• Kids toys. Beck said parents can find gently used toys for as low as $3.

Value Village also offers a range of off-season clothing so you’re always able to buy a winter coat in August or a pair of shorts for a trip to Mexico in December, said Sarah Gaugl, head of marketing.

Goodwill, 3002 Hoyt Ave., Everett; 425-252-6163; 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.

Goodwill sells new stuff too. Customers may not realize that Goodwill carries new items, many of which are seasonal items, said Katherine Boury, Goodwill communications manager.

Goodwill provides special costume consultants before Halloween to help all ages put something together.

Fashion Focus is a special section of Goodwill that highlights clothes and accessories that are in style for the season.

Goodwill has special color tag sales. Go to the website at www.seattlegoodwill.org.

“You can get some amazing deals,” Boury said.

Women’s Assistance League of Everett, 5107 Evergreen Way, Everett; 425-252-3011; assistanceleagueofeverett.org; 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Women’s clothing and men’s clothing. There’s a section called Etc., with high-end brands such as Chico and Nordstrom.

The store gets high-end shoes such as Munro, Clarks and Dansko.

“One gal came in recently and bought a pair of boots, hardly worn,” said Margaret Bright, chairwoman for communications. “They were $6 boots and it was half-off that day, so she got them for $3.”

Baby items are plentiful.

Books sell for $1 for paperbacks, $2 for hardbacks. The store has the latest titles and top authors.

“I’m a retired librarian so that’s where I’m at,” Bright said.

The store has Christmas items year-round. This past January, a customer bought seven or eight big plastic bags full of lights for $1 a bag, Bright said.

Assistance League is often the recipient of items that don’t sell from estate sales. Customers can find fine china, dinner ware and beautiful bowls, tables and chairs

Helping Hands, 18722 59th Ave., NE, Arlington; 360-435-2214.

The best bargain is the $3 bag of clothes, manager Lana Lasley said. Customers come in, grab an empty plastic grocery bag and fill it with clothes or shoes. Any kind of clothes.

“You can put a lot of stuff in a Safeway bag, especially if it’s for a baby or a small child,” Lasley said. “And we have some beautiful baby clothing.”

Thrifting tips

If you’re a newcomer to thrift-store shopping, there are certain tips to bear in mind before you embark for bargains.

•Carve out enough time to sift through the selections. Don’t go thrifting thinking you’ll find the perfect blouse in 15 minutes.

“Have a little time set aside because it’s absolutely a treasure hunt,” said Carrie Beck, store manager at Value Village in Everett.

• Be flexible but organized. Go with a list but don’t be afraid to snag a real deal when you see one.

• If possible, leave the kids at home. Remember, it may take time to find the best bargain and little ones won’t put up with this.

• Buy quality items. You are thrifting and therefore saving money from the get-go so look for name brands.

• Shop in comfortable clothes that you can change into and out of easily, or consider wearing leggings or shorts so you can try things on without waiting for a dressing room.

Theresa Goffredo: 425-339-3424; goffredo@heraldnet.com.