I’ve officially become an expert on Austin thrift stores.
You wanna know why?
Because I’ve been to every single freakin’ one in search of a dresser.
Though I ended up empty handed (most furniture fell under the “Oh my God! Is that covered in rat poop?!” or “What!? This floral golf bag is worth more than my car!?” categories), I did come across some other great finds and colorful characters.
Forget Cream or Feathers, this is your down n’ dirty Austin thrift store guide:
1.) Thrift Town- 10 stars out of 10
Thrift Town is my absolute most favorite thrift store in Austin. Located down south at Stassney and Manchaca, this store not only has the best selection of clothing and shoes, but it’s clean, the staff is friendly, and they boast terrific daily and monthly specials. Sign up for their VIP email list to hear more about it. Thrift Town rocks because it has the perfect mix of contemporary and vintage clothing and the absolute best selection of shoes. Prices are relatively low. If you wait for the specials, they’re even lower! The shoes below I bought for $2.99 and $3.99 respectively. Whomever is the shoe buyer at Thrift Town deserves a big bonus! Here are some of my favorite finds:
2.) Savers- 9 stars out of 10
Though Thrift Town will always hold the number one place in my heart, Savers on Burnet and North Loop (there is a second location at S. Lamar and Ben White) is definitely a close second. Savers is a popular thrift store destination spot in Austin and I can’t believe I had never been until this weekend! What organization! What cleaniness! What service! And to top it all off, Savers selects quality brand name clothing (this is not the place to go vintage hunting). I saw beautiful Banana Republic slacks for $7. What impressed me the most was their great selection of cheap furniture and housewares. I spotted a record player for $10, a desk for $25, and a mirror for $2.
I bought this thing below. I have no idea what the hell it is, but now it’s a home for my jewelry.
3.) Room Service- 8 stars out of 10
Though I wouldn’t call this a thrift store per se, I just couldn’t leave it off the list. This store takes the cake for the best quality retro furniture/housewares/clothing that is not ridiculously overpriced. Room Service on North Loop and Avenue F sits comfortably somewhere in between thrift and vintage. They have a large selection of mid-century furniture, lighting fixtures, magazines, telephones, ugly ass wall paintings, you name it! Every month they run a different special. This month is 20% anything with flowers on it (which was primarily everything I tried on). Room Service has a wonderful collection of carefully hand-selected vintage clothing (especially 50’s/60’s/70’s dresses), most of the prices ranging in between $15-$30, but definitely well worth it.
4.) Treasure City- 7 stars out of 10
I discovered this little gem recently and have become a fan. Treasure City, located on E. 12th west of Airport, does not have the best selection of anything, really, but the stuff is dirt cheap. Also, it’s kind of a art collective/art space/volunteer outreach spot which is cool in my book. They have clothing, books, housewares, and furniture. I wouldn’t put all my eggs in this basket, but it’s definitely a fun place to poke around.
5.) Texas Thrift- 6 stars out of 10
Last time I went in here, it smelled like baby poo, but I spotted a wall-size photograph of shirtless men high-fiving and that made my day. Texas Thrift, located off of I-35 past 51st, is not the most up-lifting of the thrift stores. However, with some perseverance, you can definitely find some great steals. I typically don’t have success in the clothing department, but have come across some cheap furniture and housewares. A friend of mine got a 35mm camera for $10. This is a good place for cheap fixer-upper odds and ends….or giant photos of shirtless men.
6.) Goodwill- 6 stars out of 10
Goodwill thrift stores are located all over Austin. I have yet to go to one that has blown me away. I’ve found that Goodwill is not good for clothing and is typically messy. Most clothing is over $10 and not of great quality. I mostly have luck in the book department, often finding myself scavenging their book selection for over an hour. This weekend I went to the infamous Goodwill Blue Hangar on Springdale where they deposit all the leftover clothing from the area Goodwills. Even reading Yelp reviews before going did not prevent me for f’ing up the protocol of waiting for the workers to finish sifting through the clothing. As I wandered aimlessly through the giant hangar, a kind employee told me that I was in the wrong section and pointed to the line of people waiting at the front of the building. Thinking that thrift shopping should not be this difficult, I left and vowed never to return.
Here are some books I’ve purchased over time at Goodwill. Hey, don’t judge!
7.) Top Drawer- 6 stars out of 10
Everything about Top Drawer on Burnet and 49th is great: the prices, the cause (proceeds go to AIDs community outreach), and the staff. However, when I went there just really wasn’t anything there! As I recall there was a sign stating that they were renovating, so I will have to go back in the future and give it another shot.
8.) St. Vincent de Paul- 5 stars out of 10
It took me a long time to warm up to this South Congress thrift store. At first, it seemed like I could never find anything I wanted. Then over time, little gems started to pop up occasionaly. I’ve had a lot of success with dresses at St. Vincent, but really nothing else. Their shoe collection is subpar and their furniture overpriced. The staff there is not very talkative, but I guess you can’t blame them. When you’re over eighty years old and volunteering at a place where a bunch of hipsters shop, I wouldn’t want to talk to me either. I got this dress below for $10 or $12.