Two weeks ago, I took a little vacation with the family and thrifted our way across western and central Connecticut.
Savers Brookfield – “Sticker shock” immediately comes to mind. I’ve been thrifting around upstate New York for over a decade now. The prices in CT by comparison are on the high end of things. For example they had some higher end used jeans in the $19.99 and $24.99 range. I’m used to paying $7.99 tops. After I came to terms with their prices, things went well. It’s a pretty large location. Well organized and super clean. Got several items and was able to find a few good deals.
Goodwill Brookfield – Similar to Savers in Brookfield, a bit on the pricey side. Much smaller location, but jammed to the gills with merchandise. They had lots of housewares and womens clothing. Not much for mens or childrens clothing. One of the only locations we visited all week that had any musical instruments.
Salvation Army Danbury – My favorite location of the day. They didn’t have as much high end merchandise as Brookfield stores, but what they lacked; they made up for it in volume. Two stories of thrifting gold. First floor packed full of mens, womens and childrens clothing. Variety of newer and vintage items. Upstairs had tons of furniture. I like how they had several living space setups; coffee table, end table, lamps and couch with decorated with other accessories. Similar as if you walked into Raymour and Flanigan. The entire store was very reasonably priced. I will definitely visit again next time I’m in the area.
Goodwill Danbury – I wouldn’t call this location a thrift store, maybe a re-seller of unsold Target merchandise. Very small location, little to no furniture. I got the kids some Target blowouts and that was about it. If I was in the area again, I would probably skip it over.
Red White & Blue Waterbury – Giant location, Walmart of thrift stores! My first time visiting a Red White & Blue. One color is 75% off and another is 25% off. Those 75% colors must go quick. I didn’t see anything with that color by the time we got there (around noon). They have tons and tons of merchandise. Best overall selection of items all trip. More items than the eye can see.
(They doesn’t always do 75%, they constantly change it up. I went another day and it two different colors were 50% off and a third was 25% off)
They have a very good pricing team working for them. Everything was priced about its going rate online. So any super deals were far and few between, unless it was the color of the day. Again I saw $24.99 pants. I wonder if they price everything so high, knowing at some point it will be 75% off. Definitely a possibility. Great selection, vintage and modern items. There were a few items that were over-priced; I saw a used umbrella stroller for $16.00. I bought a new one at Walmart for $9.99 last year. I did manage to find a few decent deals.
St Vincent DePaul Waterbury – I haven’t been to St. Vincent De Paul’s in years. The location by me closed several years back. This location was ok. Little bit of everything. Almost didn’t notice the second room in the back, where all of the furniture and household items were. Didn’t make any purchases.
Goodwill Waterbury – Slightly bigger than the Goodwill in Brookfield. Didn’t seem to find much of anything here. Got a couple VHS tapes, a Kraftwork record, and some knick knacks for the kids.
Wolcott House Torrington – We unfortunately got to Wolcott House pretty late in the day. By the time we got there, they were closing in 30 mins. Had we skipped the Goodwill in Waterbury and not gotten lost, we would have had more time to browse. I did a quick run thru and got cool set of Pillsbury Funny Face cups and pitcher. They had lots and lots merchandise; two floors of antiques, collectibles and vintage items. One giant room in the back had a bunch of furniture. In the basement there was a second hand clothing store. A little bit for everything. Since it is a consignment shop, prices varied by booth. All and all, they were pretty reasonably. Wish we had a little more time. Oh well.
Goodwill Hamden – Slightly bigger location that the Goodwill in Danbury. This location had a better mix of items. More used and vintage items. Decent selection of womens clothing, close to nothing for mens and childrens clothing. Not a bad store, but I would probably skip it if I were in the area again.
Salvation Army Hamden – This location was selected for today’s agenda to co-inside with the Salvation Army’s weekly “Family Day” sale, which is every Wednesday. All clothing but one color is half off. In comparison to Brookfield and Danbury, this store was so cheap they were practically giving stuff. And that’s before the 50% off sale. I dug deep in the racks and walked away with some cool finds. Lots of vintage items, a decent amount of furniture, but not as much high-end merchandise.
Goodwill Outlet Hamden – I’ve never been to an outlet location before. I’ve read about them online and the madness that ensures, so I was a bit intrigued. Basically, the employees wheel out these large blue bin tables (4×8?) and put four or six of them together. You have to wait til they say “go” and then you can dive in for your treasures (or trash).
My highlight of this was location was watching employees bring out bins of shoes. Customers went absolutely crazy. Elbows were flying. They completely loaded up their shopping carts with everything and anything. Then they slowly sorted out the ones they didn’t want.
You pay by the pound; the rate goes down every 10 lbs. For the amount of items I got, it averaged out to about $1 an item. I think we did pretty well.
Almost everyone there wore gloves here. Some of this stuff was pretty dirty. You also had to be careful of broken glass and sharp items. Anything could be in these bins.
All and all, I liked this place. Had a good time digging, there were some decent things to be found. I live for the “hunt”. You have to go to with nothing in mind and see what you find. I imagine if you spent the whole day there, you could probably find some pretty good stuff at some very good prices.
Salvation Army New Haven – Probably the smallest Salvation Army all trip. I wasn’t expecting too much, being in a college town and all. Decent prices but not a big selection. Very small furniture room. I would stop here again if I was in New Haven but I wouldn’t make a special trip.
I had planned on visiting a few other thrift stores in New Haven but they all close super early, and were closed by the time we got there. If you are planning to thrift New Haven, start first thing in the morning and expect to be done by 3 or 4pm.
Blackrock Bridgeport – Very large, two story antique store. Great selection of furniture, household items, glassware and various accessories. Wide range of eras. Definitely something to be found for everyone. Their prices were pretty reasonable and affordable.
One issue we had was they were sorting items for an upcoming auction, so one giant room on the first floor was closed. Which was a shame, because that room was part of the reason for my trip. It was the odds and sods room.
Another issue we had were that the owners not in town. The person in charge had no authority to do any pricing. Several items we were interested in were not priced, so we couldn’t purchase them. The owner was out of cell range. They took all of our info, but as of two weeks later, we still have not heard anything.
This is a shame. We left with only one piece. Had everything been priced or someone there that could have priced items, it could have been several more.
Goodwill Bridgeport – Similar to the Goodwill in Danbury, this location seemed to be another re-seller of unsold Target items. Though this location did have a little more variety and a tad larger. Not much for furniture.
Salvation Army Bridgeport – Let’s start off by saying this was location is not in a good part of town. When we came back out to our van, there was some guy standing on the corner, “just chilling”. After eyeballing him, he finally walked away. I imagined had it been dark out, our van would have been on blocks or gone altogether.
This location was another two story Salvation Army. The upstairs was a chocked full of clothing. Items were mostly several years’ old and vintage items. I was more impressed with the downstairs. Lots of vintage furniture, all in pretty good shape and inexpensive. Definitely the cheapest furniture we found all trip. I was tempted to buy a vintage writing desk, but it was not going to fit with the rest of bags we already had. I overheard a woman talking about another Salvation Army in the area, so we headed over.
Salvation Army Bridgeport – This was a pretty small Salvation Army. Two or three pieces of furniture in the back. There was no real order to the clothing. Their children’s clothing on both sides of the store. There was no sense of where one section ended and another started. Probably the most disorganized location all trip.
This was the only location we visited all week, where the cds and dvds were locked up. Maybe because the neighborhood. Considering, they a pretty decent selection of cds and dvds.
Goodwill Danbury (again) – I come to eat my words. We accidentally went back to this location. We thought we were going to another location in the area (there was no other location). Which was ok, we found a few new things that were not out when we visited on Monday. Again, not worth the trip.
First Congregational Church of Danbury – We had to make the trip out to Danbury worth it, so we searched for another place we had not visited yet in the area. We found basement of The First Congregational Church, it was chock full of goodies. Only open on Fridays and Saturdays. Three decent size rooms, items were very reasonably priced. Especially in comparison to the other thrift stores in the area. Mostly clothing, linens, household items and children items; no furniture (no room for furniture).
The old ladies shopping there are fast so keep an eye on them! I was looking at a gumball machine, blinked and it was gone!
My only real complaint is they are cash only.
There were two consignment shops we stopped at on the way back, on the NY side. Putnam County Humane Society. Place was no bigger than a closet. Didn’t see any for us, left empty handed. Next was Curious Combacks in Carmel, quaint little consignment shop. Interesting mix of antiques and vintage items. Didn’t make any purchases there either, but would stop here again if in the area.
Goodwill Wappingers Falls – I have visited this location several times over the years and it can be pretty hit or miss. Today was a miss. Kids found some knick knacks. It’s a good size location, with some furniture. Decent mix of used items and Target castaways. Large section for children’s clothing.
Dutchess Flea Market (location of the old Dutchess Mall, inside the old Jamesway store) Nice indoor flea market. Had a little bit of everything. Food vendors, antiques, modern items, clothing, video games. My brother loaded up on some monster trucks, kids got some small knick knacks. I saw something, but there was no vendor at the booth. Didn’t bother to go back.
Overall it was a very good trip. Everything back home has seemed stagnate so it was very refreshing to get out and see some different items. Kind of hoped we would have hit up a few more stores per day. Next time I think I will try to visit a few more “antique malls” if possible. But considering, I think we did pretty good. We did a lot of planning ahead of time, mapped out our days, visit towns that were close together. That helped a lot.
Special thanks to www.thethriftshopper.com
Used this site to help plan out our trip. Most of their information is pretty current and to update.