They say one person’s trash is another person’s treasure, and that’s certainly true when it comes to Austin’s thrift stores.
Thrift Land: You’ll have to dig here, but you can find some pretty great bargains if you take the time to really look around. A recent visit found $7.99 Levi’s, $12.99 Cole Haan flats and various other name brands such as Talbots, Nine West, Chico’s and Old Navy. With some sequins, bridesmaids dresses, costume fare and high-heeled flip flops thrown in for good measure. Open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday; noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. 512 W. Stassney Lane Suite 107A; (512) 326-1510; www.familythrift.com.
Thrift Town: As opposed to the instant frenzied feeling I typically experience upon walking into this type of store, I was instantly put at ease when I walked into Thrift Town thanks to the Eagles “Take it Easy” playing on the speakers as customers quietly sang along. This place had some great selections though, and made it easy to find more desirable items by separating them on their own racks and labeling “better clothing.” With more than 4,000 items, include a very nice baby selection, you’re certain to find something here you like. Added bonus: An excellent selection of jorts (aka jean shorts). 5700 Manchaca Rd. Suite 240; (512) 442-7200; www.thrifttown.com.
Buffalo Exchange: This was my go-to spot in college, for both shopping and selling. You can find some wonderful deals here, from Seven for All Mankind jeans to hot Express clubbing shirts to random paintings of bison to decorate your guest room. What’s even better is that when you decide it’s time to clean out your closet, you can take all of your garbage bags full of clothes here and walk out with cash or credit to use at the store. The selection is brand name, the quality is top notch and the variety is impressive thanks to the legions of poor college students who come here to pawn off their favorite designer jeans and jackets. 2904 Guadalupe St.; (512) 480-9922; www.buffaloexchange.com.
Goodwill: The selection here can be hit or miss, but because several of the stores are brand new, I tend to have clean, pleasant shopping experiences here. Come here for costume items, vintage T-shirts or even a classic fur coat – just keep your expectations low. You never know what you’re going to find, or if you’re not going to find anything at all. Multiple Austin stores; (512) 442-8802; www.austingoodwill.org.
St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store: In addition to traditional thrift store items, this cool shop also sponsors more than 30 local artists who provide the store with handmade jewelry, soaps, photos and gift items. Owned and operated by the Ladies of Charity of Austin, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and the Diocesan Council of Austin, the shop runs on donations and benefits those who are less fortunate. This is another shop that’s very hit or miss – you won’t always find something you feel like buying – but it’s definitely worth a visit. Check out the Web site for a coupon for 20 percent off your next purchase of $10 or more. 1327 S. Congress Ave.; (512) 442-5652; www.svdpstoreaustin.org.
Top Drawer Thrift Shop: This store is open to the public and benefits people who are living with HIV and AIDS. When you shop here, you are helping to fund the Project Transitions’ programs, which serves the HIV and AIDS community by providing important store vouchers for people in need. The shop has previously been named the Austin Chronicle’s Best Thrift Store. Open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. 4902 Burnet Rd.; (512) 454-5161; http://projecttransitions.org/services/top-drawer.html.
Treasure City Thrift: At this cool little thrift store you’ll find cheap prices, a wise selection and a refreshing community minded attitude. The owners recycle everything they can and try to throw out as little waste as possible. They also support a variety of community organizations and are completely volunteer run. “Treasure City is not a charity in that we only give support to projects that empower people towards the goals of community culture, education, resistance, or infrastructure,” it states on its Web site. The store is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. 2142 E. 7th St.; (512) 524-2820; www.treasurecitythrift.org.