I’ve always loved shopping for other people’s stuff. It goes back to the Berlin Auction Flea Market in New Jersey. When I was a kid, we’d prowl the full length of this massive parking lot searching for garage sale goodies on a regular basis. These days, I haunt the local thrift shops, estate sales and garage sales for stuff – some of which we keep but most of which I resell on eBay for fun and profit.
Thrift shopping has become my new addiction. I actually get anxious and excited when I head into a store and I go out at least twice a week on a hunt. Recently, my husband caught the same bug and now he’s Mr. Thrifter. That’s what led us to attempt our first full day thrifting trip this past weekend.
I wanted to visit the Savers store in Anaheim. It’s the only one in Orange County and everyone I know who thrifts for profits shops at the chain. It’s about 20 minutes from here, so I did a search and found three Goodwill stores in the area and that was our original plan.
I realize now that we should have searched for one off thrift stores. We don’t have many of those down her in south county, but they’re plentiful when you move north.
We began with the Goodwill store on Lincoln. It was a massive building that looked more like an office than a store. It was the biggest Goodwill we’d ever seen but big didn’t mean much when it came to the deals. The store was well-organized. You could see most items without having to dig but neither of us found anything stellar. Another shopper told me that the shelves were unusually empty, so maybe we hit it on a bad day.
We only bought two items, a robot (50% off $2.95) and an F-16 mug. (Tested the robot today and it mostly works. Very cool.)
From there, we grabbed lunch at Farmer Boys then missed the turn for Savers and ended up at a garage sale. Fun lady. We bought a collection of 70’s craft kits and two huge, bound volumes of 70’s film magazines.
Finally, we hit the Savers. Again, we were mostly disappointed. My husband was initially thrilled to find cassette tapes and 8-tracks but he only bought 1 item. They had a ton of VHS tapes but nothing rare. I picked up a promo box set of Lifetime Network. Overpaid $5 for it but it’s a TV promo item so I couldn’t leave it behind.
They had a lot of California souvenir stuff which I considered but passed. I picked up a small plush Yoda for my son ($1.99) and a Nugget the Clown sign language doll in box. ($5 ) and a train car kit ($1.99).
As we headed for the next Goodwill, we spotted a sign that said Anaheim Thrift. We thought it would be one of those tiny, dirty, catchall stores but it was actually a huge, clean, gold mine!
We found all of our best deals of the day at this store. The prices were low. The stock was plentiful and they had a great mix. Lars again hit the music section and came out with a record album, more cassettes and an unusual vertical cassette drawer box.
I bought a Wicked sweatshirt, Mario Kart flat sheet, a religious puzzle from Forest Lawn cemetery (yes, really) and a 3 foot plastic bag of stuffed animals. They had five of these. You can’t tell exactly what’s in them so I picked one that had two visible Disney plush toys.
Guess how much we paid for this:
There are two Disney Cars plush toys, a Care Bear new with tags, Dopey, a Rasta bear, and the real gem turned out to be a plush, understuffed bear that sells for $30 on eBay. Any one of these toys should pay for the whole cost of the bag.
The downside to Anaheim Thrift is that they only take cash. They have an ATM but I refuse to pay an ATM fee to access my money, so we had to stop shopping when we hit $16.
At that point, I was ready to go home but my husband wanted to hit one more store. We stopped for a soda and snack at Anaheim Plaza and the kid at the Subway said the Goodwill we were looking for was gone. I thought, good. Then my husband remembered that I said there was one more on the same street but way on the other side of the freeway.
We decided to go for it but gave up when the GPS couldn’t locate the store. Instead, we chose a one off store on State College Blvd. On the way, we passed another thrift store but we let that one go rather than turn around.
As we turned on to State College, I saw a sign – GOODWILL. What?! We’d given up and still we found it. This final store was very busy. Lots of kids ripping everything off the shelf. Lots of stuff on the floor which is so annoying when you have a cart.
I bought a modern doll dressed in 60’s clothes. She’s not worth much but she was half price (all toys 50% off) and she was cute. I also found a Del Taco / Naugles mug. When I first moved here, Naugles was my favorite fast food place. Unusual local mug, so I bought that for 99 cents.
Lars found the real deal. I thought this mask was one of those cheap decor items but on closer inspection I found a Disney label. Turns out it’s a Venetian mask sold at Epcot Center. Retail was $55. We paid $12 and hope to get more than $50 for it.
As we stood in a LONG line for checkout, I noticed DVD box sets on the counter. Lars took a look and picked out Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 1. They wanted $13 which I thought was pricey but I checked Amazon and it’s the going rate. That was our final purchase of the night.
We got home at 8:30 in the evening and I ached from all the standing and bending and driving. But that was the fun part. On Sunday, we had to photograph and list everything. We got about half of it done. If you’re interested, our store is called Boris’ Basement.
Selling the items for profit is fun, but honestly, I just love the treasure hunt. This way I can buy things but not worry about where I’m going to put them.