store review: assistance league thrift shop

high plains thrifter // al thrift shopThey say good things come in pairs, and if you need evidence, just drive down to the 64th block of Penn Avenue where you’ll find two wonderful thrifts—my beloved ARC’s Value Village and the star of this post, the Assistance League (AL) Thrift Shop—separated by just a stone’s throw. Though it’s more modest in size and lighter in  inventory than Value Village, there’s plenty of good reasons to not skip over it!


Art work: There’s a reason the volunteers at the AL Thrift Shop put the artwork right up at the front of the store…it’s usually really freakin’ good. Curated (and priced) by a retired art teacher turned volunteer, everything from gorgeous oil landscapes to one-of-a-kind screen prints to vintage posters to beautifully framed photos is priced fairly (which doesn’t always mean cheaply).

Designer labels: I’m not a huge label scout, but as some of you probably are, you may want to consider the array I noticed during my last visit: Burberry, Lilly Pulitzer, St. John, Ungaro, Ann Taylor, Dayton’s (vintage, obvs), J. Jill. Generally speaking, the clothing, in both style and size, skews to a more mature audience, as in, my mom would have a freakin’ hey day shopping here.


Dishes & drink ware: Slim selection overall and what’s there seems a tad overpriced. (That said, if you’re on the hunt for quality crystal, there always seems to be a pretty set or two there.)

Table linens: Another category with a surprisingly slim selection.

Furniture: It’s just no their wheelhouse. While I’ve noticed a couple cherry pieces there over the years, this wouldn’t be my go-to spot if I was after a dresser, bed, bookshelves, etc.

Take a peek around!

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In a nutshell…

Selection/Variety:  ♥ ♥ ♥

Quality: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 

Pricing: ♥ ♥ ♥

Organization: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Customer service: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Where does money raised at this store go? Staffed entirely by volunteers, proceeds from the store support the Assistance League’s philanthropic programs, which include providing new school uniforms for disadvantaged kids, one-on-one tutoring for second graders who are struggling with reading and providing assault survivor kits to emergency rooms around the metro area. Also, donated merchandise that doesn’t wind up for sale at the shop is given away to people in need via a partner non-profit. You can learn about all nine of AL’s charitable outlets here.

Do they take credit cards? Yes!

Do they accept donations? Yep, and you’ll get a coupon if you do!

Do they have a mailing list? You betcha, and it comes out each week. Don’t miss the 30%-off coupon good on any one item up to $50 that’s in each one. They’ll honor it if you pull it up on your phone! Sign up here or in-store at the laptop next to the checkout.

Pro tip: Clothing at the AL Thrift has a 12-week lifespan, meaning that if you wait long enough, whatever item you’re coveting will inevitably drop in price. Throughout the floor, you’ll find discount racks, but if you head all the way to the back, that’s where the 75%-off section and $1-10 bargain racks are.

While you’re in the area: Head across the street to ARC’s Value Village of course! And on the weekends, keep an eye out for estate sales happening in the ‘hood. I’ve had good luck in that little nook of the city!

Where it is: 6416 Penn Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55423

Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursdays; closed Sundays

Contact: 612.866.2135, Facebook

If you pay the Assistance League Thrift Shop a visit, I’d love to hear what you think.

Happy thrifting!



recently thrifted

high plains thrifter // brass candle holders

high plains thrifter // brass candle holders I’ve been a teensy bit obsessed with brass as of late, so I was pretty stoked when I happened upon this set of seven candlesticks at the New to You Thriftique. I immediately imagined them together on top of my piano, and when I noticed they were staggered in height…well that clinched the deal for me. All of them together cost $4, i.e. 57 cents a piece.high plains thrifter // juice glasses

 Juice glasses are the just-right size for wine (and, I guess, juice), so when I spotted this set at the Salvation Army Family Store in St. Cloud, I had to bring ’em home. The bonus is that they match the other set in my cupboard wonderfully! (They were 49 cents a pop.)

high plains thrifter // lars syberg pottery I paid 25 cents for this Lars Syberg planter at a neighborhood church rummage and I’m just smitten with it. Hopefully the crocus bulbs I’m trying to force into bloom appreciate their pretty mid-century home!

Processed with VSCOcam with p5 preset I stumbled upon this stash of beautifully embroidered, 99-cent hankies at Bibles for Missions in Crystal and had to buy them all. They’re just so sweet!

high plains thrifter // betty crocker microwave cookbook While I’m always on the lookout for new-old Betty cookbooks to add to my stash, this copy of Betty Crocker’s Microwave Cookbook is actually for my pal Cindy. (Of course I already have a copy, LOL obsessed much?) She makes all kinds of delicious magic both on her blog and for and I can’t wait to see what ideas this book inspires. (I have no doubt they’ll be awesome!)

Have y’all found anything worth raving about recently? If so, I’d love to hear about it!



heads up: discounts for donations at ARC’s value village

high plains thrifter // discounts for donationsIt’s no secret that spring cleaning is good for the soul, and now through May 15th, ARC’s Value Village aims to reward your labor with one heck of a deal. Simply bring in a paper grocery bag (or box-sized equivalent) filled with clothing, household items, books and the like, and they’ll hook you up with a 30%-off coupon!

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Value Village Thrift Stores accept donations seven days a week and all four locations have convenient, drive-up drop-offs where they’ll help you unload your stuff and hand you a tax receipt on the spot! It’s almost too easy. (If you have something funky you’re curious if you can donate, here’s a handy A-Z list of items they’ll accept.)

Let the closet clean-out commence!



store review: new to you thriftique

new to you thriftique // high plains thrifterBoy, do I love a good mid-day thrifting break. While most workdays I maintain the bad habit of eating my lunch at my desk, for sanity’s sake, I try to get away at least one day a week to hit one of the nearby thrift stores. It’s so refreshing! And luckily, just three minutes up the highway from where I work, is New To You Thriftique. Since it’s so close by, and so modest in size, it’s become my favorite spot for quick, lunch-hour pop-ins.


Furniture: I’m constantly surprised (and delighted) by New to You’s furniture selection. (Like this chair I posted on yesterday, which was snapped up by my pal Dana!) Every time I visit, I spy at least one or two pieces I’d be proud to have in my house…well-constructed designer pieces, many of them vintage. I’ve never once seen a piece there I’d describe as shabby or beat-up, which is quite remarkable for a second-hand shop! The prices are also quite fair, with dining sets running around $60, armchairs around $30-40, dressers $30-40 and desks $20-30.

Dish sets: By now you’re probably familiar with the fact that vintage china is one of my greatest weaknesses, which sometimes makes visits to New to You difficult. Every time I go, there’s another set of pretty china that screams my name. Yesterday I was taken with a gorgeous earthenware set with black rims and pink rose accents (shown in the slideshow below)…there’s always something to tempt me!


Clothes: While I’ve had luck in the shoe department, scoring some sensible Liz Claiborne pumps and a sweet pair of sandals last summer, I’ve never once been tempted to take home a single item of clothing from this store. The selection is pretty small overall, which is fine with me. More room for furniture!

Take a peek around!

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In a nutshell…

Selection/Variety:  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ (for furniture) ♥ ♥ ♥ (everything else)

Quality: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 

Pricing: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Organization: ♥ ♥ ♥

Customer service: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Where does money raised at this store go? Staffed by friendly volunteers, all proceeds from the store go to provide scholarships for students and to support Calvin Christian School. Items that do not sell get donated to other charities such as Goodwill, Bridging, Recycled Wardrobe and Community Closet in Eden Prairie.

Do they take credit cards? Yes!

Do they accept donations? Yep, and if you’re in the area and your load is big enough, they’ll even schedule a pick-up.

Pro tip: Get familiar with their daily specials. I like going on Wednesdays, when housewares are half-off.

Where it is: 8030 Hwy 55; Golden Valley, MN 55427

Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursdays

Contact: 763.546.9820 (store); 612.296.5481 (donation hotline)

If you pay the New to You Thriftique a visit, I’d love to hear what you think.

Happy thrifting!


heads up: christmas clearance sales

tumblr_mxpxt2I0Nn1s011meo1_500Ready for a quick game of good-news, bad-news? The bad news: Christmas is officially one week away and I still haven’t finished decorating. (Oops!) The good news? Almost all of our local thrift stores are having massive Christmas clearance sales this week! So whether you’re on the hunt for more cookie tins, hostess presents, gift-wrapping supplies or that perfect finishing touch to your holiday decorating scheme, here are the places to hit for a heck of a deal.

Thrift stores offering 75% savings on all Christmas merchandise:
Bethesda Thrift Shop,now through December 23rd.
New to You Thriftique, now through December 21st.

Thrift stores offering 50% savings on all Christmas merchandise:
ARC’s Value Village Stores
Unique, today through Thursday, December 26th.
Bibles for Missions Thrift Center, now through December 21st.
Savers, now through Thursday, December 26th. (Excludes red tags!)
Salvation Army Thrift Stores, now through December 24th.
Hidden Treasures Thrift Store, now through December 21st.

Thrift stores offering 25% savings on all Christmas merchandise:
Steeple People Thrift Store, including all items in their sweet new holiday expansion!

Happy (holiday) shopping!!



Photo c/o: La Dulzura

first impression: ARC’s value village in new hope

ARC Value Village // New HopeIt was the first day of last week’s cold-snap when I decided to drive over to ARC’s Value Village store in New Hope after work. I didn’t really know what to expect, except honestly, not a whole lot. I’d been underwhelmed when I last visited the store (four years ago, at least). Couple that with the fact that I’m a Richfield location die-hard, I was prepared to be unimpressed. However, after hearing about the store’s expansion and re-opening early last month, I figured it was time to give this shop another shot. And I am so glad I did!

Here’s the scoop: After 20 years in the same location, ARC’s store leadership decided to stay at their existing location and grow the store there, keeping the community of shoppers, donors and volunteers very happy. The subsequent growth is HUGE, expanding the store from 8,000 to 17,500 square feet. Every single department grew (doubling or in some cases, tripling in size!), and to make shopping even more enjoyable, aisles were widened, additional checkout lanes and fitting rooms were built, bigger carts made available and lighting improved. There’s even a donation drive-thru at the back of the building and room for a Merry Thriftmas boutique (two of my favorite features at the Richfield location). Walking in, I truly felt like I was entering a brand-new store!

ARC Value Village expansion

Right off the bat, I was majorly impressed with how organized the departments are. In the book section, for example, all the non-fiction is organized by topic. I love buying books second-hand, but sometimes can’t commit to combing shelf after shelf after shelf, so being able to hone in on whatever section I’m interested in (typically cookbooks, travel and auto-biographies) is a big plus. I went home with Secret Ingredients: The New Yorker Book of Food and Drink and this fun travel book on Minnesota, both in mint condition!

ARC Value Village New HopeOver in the crafts area, instead of everything in a jumble, things are separated by category in bins. So helpful for people like me who thrift for project or craft supplies on the regular!

ARC Value Village New Hope Craft SectionAlso impressive was the selection of framed art. It pains me when thrifts pack art tightly together on shelves, as it’s hard on the frames, but also so annoying to shop. I loved how there were a lot of pretty pieces hanging up, which makes it so much easier to appreciate. This beauty was so tempting!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetSome other nice pieces…

ARC value village new hope The housewares section was spacious, but the selection was pretty slim at the time of my visit. I was looking for containers for candle-making, and I did find a couple, along with a cute little vase.

value village new hopeAlso worth noting is the retro section, comprising a few racks of clothing and some shelves of toys, books, knick-knacks and housewares. The clothes were really picked over and some really iffy in quality, but still, nice to have it separated out, right? And how adorable is this teal Suzy Homemaker play-oven?

Arc Value Village Retro RackBreezing through the clothes, I appreciated the fact they were organized by size. Just another example of how this store is set up with shoppers in mind! The shoe section was big, with lots of options for men, women and children.

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 presetAll in all, I’m super excited to add this store to my regular shopping route, especially considering how close it is to my work. Check it out at 2751 Winnetka Avenue North in New Hope. Like the three other Value Village stores in town, this store is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Happy hunting!



christmas gift wrapping with goodwill goods

Gift-Wrapping with Goodwill // high plains thrifter

They say presentation is everything, and when it comes to Christmas gift wrapping, that old adage rings especially true. Instead of looking at wrapping presents as a chore, I like to think of it as an extension of the gift-giving ritual…an opportunity to put even a little more love into the gift, in addition to flexing a little creative muscle.

When the holidays start creeping on the horizon, I make a point to look for wrapping supplies during each and every trip to the thrift-store. There’s always an abundance of fun stuff to play with (in both the craft section and holiday aisles), and by shopping second-hand, I know that I’m not only saving money, but that my gift-giving presentations are going to be one-of-a-kind. To bulk up your wrapping stash on a dime, keep your eyes open for…


Wrapping paper: I have a soft spot for vintage paper, but most thrift stores will also have brand new rolls in stock. (Also keep on the lookout for old maps or mags, both of which make for great wrapping paper!)

Boxes: Craft-paper, plain or blinged-out, decorative gift boxes, you’ll find it all.

Gift bags: Good to have on hand, always. I like to my eyes open for wine bags, as I’m frequently toting bottles to dinner parties and it feels more special when presented in a bag.

Jars: Perfect for edible treats, reusable jars are a staple in my gift-wrapping routine.

Ribbon: Fabric, metallic, raffia, paper, yarn, vintage…pick up a few different kinds so you can mix, match and layer.

Fabric: My go-to for wrapping odd-sized presents.


Ornaments: Fabulous present-toppers and can also be a memorable part of the present.

Jingle bells: Cute to look at, easy to attach and oh-so-very festive!

Tinsel garlands: A glittery stand-in for ribbon.

Bows: Big or small, bows add a sweet finishing touch. I look for multi-packs of the twist-tie velvet bows, as they attach to gifts quickly and easily.

Doilies: Any size and any color!


Gift tags

Rubber stamps

In need of a some visual inspiration? Here are a few ideas for presentations that’ll make your packages stand out under the tree, using materials thrifted at area Goodwill stores!

From cocoa to cookie mix, who can resist a tasty treat packaged up in an adorable jar? The addition of jingle bells, tied on with twine, takes this patterned canning jar from everyday ho-hum to stocking-ready in mere minutes.

Gift-Wrapping with Goodwill // high plains thrifter

Layered gifts, like this mix for oatmeal-chocolate chip cookies, look lovely in tall jars. A Christmas-light ornament, homemade pom-pom and candy-cane colored washi-tape tagged card add a home-y touch.

Gift-Wrapping with Goodwill // high plains thrifter

Goodwill is stocked with many holiday themed jars and tins too. All this baby needed was a curlicued ribbon to make it pop.

Gift-Wrapping with Goodwill // high plains thrifter

Brown craft-paper boxes are blank slates when it comes to packaging. I used craft glue to affix red, green and white pom-poms (another craft section find) to the small box on the right, while the larger one got topped with vintage ribbon and a bottle-brush tree, clipped in place with a glittery mini clothespin. So easy!

Gift-Wrapping with Goodwill // high plains thrifter

Hate wrapping paper? Switch things up and wrap a few presents in fabric this year! I used a vintage scarf and tinsel garland to doll up the package on the left. (Recipients can choose to wear or display the scarf, depending on their style.) On the right, a bit of scrap fabric, edged with pinking shears, tied shut with vintage ribbon (and more ornaments!) secures this package.

Gift-Wrapping with Goodwill // high plains thrifter

When I found some plain, white, flat-packed gift boxes, I knew they had big potential. I embellished the box on the right with gold star stickers, and then followed this tutorial from Mineco for the wrapping, using tinsel-trimmings and yellow gold cellophane, for a suspended confetti kind of look. Fun right?

Gift-Wrapping with Goodwill // high plains thrifter

Bells and whistles aside, sometimes a roll or two of festive wrapping paper is all you need to get the job done. I was so charmed by the vintage cookie and Santa papers, I snatched them up in October! The brown packages are grocery bags turned inside out, finished off with a paper doily, velvet bow and vintage ribbon. Affordable, easy and oh-so-pretty!

Photos by Julia McMahon // LB Jeffries

Photos by: Julia McMahon // LB Jeffries Photography

Have you hit the thrift for wrapping supplies? If you haven’t before, I hope you’re feeling inspired to give it a try now! For more pretty gift-wrapping inspiration, head on over to my Pretty Packaging pin-board, where I save my favorite ideas for Christmas and beyond.



A version of this post first appeared on the Goodwill / Easter Seals Minnesota blog.

first impression: goodwill in st. louis park

Goodwill St. Louis ParkIt seems that lately, not a month goes by without a Goodwill grand opening happening somewhere in the Twin Cities metro. From Fridley to Roseville, Champlin to Lakeville, new stores are cropping up everywhere, with the most recent addition being a 17,600-square-foot location in St. Louis Park. Opening in mid-November, it didn’t take me long to find a reason to pop over there to take a look around.

Like all the freshly built Goodwill stores, the St. Louis Park location is big, bright and oh-so-very clean, with well-marked, neatly organized sections for men’s, women’s and children’s clothing, housewares and the like.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetThough my budget for spending was slim, I spent a good hour or so poking around. The selection at this store definitely skews to the high-end side, with lots of nice labels on the racks (Ann Taylor, Adrienne Vittadini, Ralph Lauren, etc.) and quality books by the boatload. While it was a little lighter on the housewares, accessories and shoes than I expected, more than a few things that caught my eye during my visit. Here are a few of them!

A sparkling, glam ’60s maxi dress (unfortunately sized 10 sizes to small), a mint-condition Donna Hay (the Australian Martha Stewart) cookbook, a sweet-faced ceramic Mary and baby Jesus…

goodwillslp-2Lots and lots of Mara Mi for Target party goodies including garlands (pictured), printable invites, cupcake liners and toppers, photo-booth props, etc. all brand-new in the box, decent-sized sets of both Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys mysteries, a half-set of Johnson Brothers china in a floral pattern (I think it was Floral Bouquet, but I’m not certain)…

goodwillslpcollageLots of games and toys, some disposable mini loaf pans (perfect for holiday gifting!) and one of my favorite vintage Bisquick cookbooks.

goodwillslp4Besides being well-stocked and nicely organized, I can’t wrap up this post without commenting on the incredibly kind and patient customer service I both witnessed and experienced at this shop. It staggers me how some shoppers (regulars, no less!) can be so incredibly rude, brusque and unkind to thrift-store employees. During my visit, I saw two instances of not-so-nice behavior on the part of shoppers, and in both occurrences, the employee on the receiving end maintained a helpful, positive and oh-so-very patient attitude. I can’t speak for all of the store’s 30 employees (many of them participants in career training programs), but Torrance, if your boss ever reads this, I hope she or he gives you a big pat on the back (and maybe even a raise).

The St. Louis Park Goodwill is located at 3575 State Highway 100…in layman’s terms, that’s directly behind the SLP Target off of Highway 100, right next to the LA Fitness. The store’s orientation is a little wacky, but this map may help you out. Like all area Goodwill stores, they are open seven days a week: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

To be the first to know about future Goodwill store openings, sign up for their weekly email newsletter!



heads up: black friday thrift-store sales


Truth be told, I’m not big into Black Friday. Yes, I love me some bargains, but I also love me some sleep, especially on a rare Friday off. And the thought of getting up at the crack of dawn to bust down the doors of some mega-chain store? Not appealing in the least. But since a fair amount of thrifts have hopped on the Black Friday bandwagon, I feel it my duty to tell you what’s the haps in case you’re out and about shopping on Friday and are looking to save some moola.

Salvation Army Family Thrift Stores
Enjoy 50% savings on clothing at all Twin Cities and Saint Cloud stores. Keep an ear out for special deals like half-off books, housewares, etc. announced every hour on the hour. Hours: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Super Savers Club members will save 30% on all used merchandise. Hours: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Second Début Pick a black licorice you’ll get 15% off your entire purchase, while a draw of red licorice gets you 10 percent savings. Sweet! Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

VIP Unique card holders take 30% off all used merchandise at all six Twin Cities locations. (More info on Unique’s VIP program is right this way!) Hours: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Hidden Treasures Thrift Store
Take 40% off EVERYTHING in the store, including Christmas merchandise and furniture! Hours: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

ARC’s Value Village Stores
All items with a green tag will be 50% off. Be sure to check out the Merry Thriftmas boutique while you’re there! Hours: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Hope Chest for Breast Cancer Stores
Early birds arriving between 10 a.m. and noon will get a big ole’ 50% discount on their entire purchase!

Have fun shopping!



Photo: source

heads up: weekend linen sale

linen1To say I’m linen-obsessed is an understatement if ever there was one. So you can imagine my delight when I heard the downtown-Minneapolis four metro-area Salvation Army stores (downtown, Bloomington, Burnsville and Fridley) are having a 25%-off linen sale tomorrow and Saturday. Unfortunately for us vintage-linen lovers, only fabrics in the new-goods basement will be on sale at the downtown store; at the other three locations, linens both old and new will be discounted. I’m planning on swinging by Friday in hopes of picking up a tablecloth and some napkins to polka dot.

For a list of store locations, hours and contact info, click here.

Happy hunting!