Take a good look at the picture below:
Looks like a big ol' pile of junk, doesn't it? To the untrained eyes, it probably is. To those who know, it is a pile of rocks with diamonds hidden underneath. This is the Outlet. I love this place so much and was going so often that I had to declare a moratorium for myself. I have put my limit to once a week. I'm guessing that it's the last stop for 'stuff' before the landfill, but I could be wrong. Stuff is cheaper there than the regular Thrift Store, especially since the cashiers kind of have the final say on price (this could be good or bad).
Of course it's not for everyone. You have to love a good treasure hunt, and not be afraid to dig into possible broken glass or dirty things (that's why it's good to bring your gloves!).
I absolutely love this place. It's a rummager's dream, and I loves me some rummage! I'm so spoiled that I don't even go into the regular thrift stores anymore, unless for clothes...it's not a really good place for clothes, I must say.
I usually need a good hour or so. In the back there's furniture, frames, lamps, bikes, sewing machines, stereos, etc. In the main area there are at least 10 rows of about 10 bins each. The last row has just shoes. I don't generally venture there either. My favorite part though is the main area with all the bins. I start on one end and work toward the other. I know I'm going to find some great stuff if I suddenly feel the urge to go. I guess that's because when you're jonesing, you look more carefully. When I go 'just because', I don't do as well.
Watch out for bin-change! Bin change is when they rotate the bins out and bring in a fresh pile of 'junk'. People act like savages because they want to have first dibs at looking at the bins. Once they see the workers start moving the bins, they start lining up in anticipation. Once the new bins are in, watch out! Stuff goes flying at an alarming rate. I usually stay away from this scene and wait till the herd has thinned. I don't mind not having first dibs because people are looking for different things anyway.
No matter what nice stuff I get, I do sometimes get 'cart envy' while waiting to check out. There's just so much stuff, you will miss something, or someone will beat you to it. For instance, the last time I was there, this lady ahead of me in line had a collection gorgeous dishes! I was so jealous!
The pickins have been so good that I'm considering reselling some vintage items, as is or tricked up my way. I don't know about that though...I'd be tempted to keep everything for myself.
Anywhoo...I'm sure you'd like to know what kind of 'stuff' I've gotten from there. First of all, I usually set my budget at no more than $10 for the whole trip (unless of course, I'm getting furniture.) This tells you how cheap stuff is. I've gotten decorative items, as well as functional ones. Here are just a few things that I've gotten from there:
1. I broke the glass cup to my blender. I found 2 identical replacements (on 2 different trips). I paid $0.75 each. Now I don't have to toss the motor and buy a new one.
2. A collection of milk glass and hobnail glass dishes and lamps. $0.39 each.
3. A brand new bathtub corner organizer thingy unopened with all it's parts intact: $2.
4. A brand new 3-bin laundry sorter, unopened with all the parts intact: $3
5. 4 Gorgeous red dining chairs: $8 each.
6. Gorgous side table: $4
7. A pair of funky chairs that I tricked up below: $5 each.
8. An assortment of dishes (brand new): $0.39 - $$0.69 each.
9. A nice bike for my husband: $15
10. All the metal tins I'm using to store my craft supplies (which I will blog about someday soon, hopefully)
These are just a few of the things I've picked up from there. I'm so excited, I get to treat myself and head out there tommorrow! I wonder what treasures await me.