I am a serial thrifter.
No seriously, I have an addiction. I love thrifting so much, I routinely post things for sale online because I have a constant rotation of things going in and out. This is primarily due to my rule of “one in, one out.” Whenever I bring something home, something has to go. Also, while I do buy things with the intention of keeping them, sometimes after a few dates out with the clothing in question, I realize I don’t love it as much as I did or my body changed and it no longer fits right. So I thrift it. I live in a tiny space, which means my closet and dresser storage is at a premium and cannot support my love for unique or new finds, hence my one-one rule. My solution to a sad day? Go thrifting. Having a day date with my husband? Ooh, there’s a thrift shop across the street, let’s go check it out. Too broke right now? Sell some stuff. Then go thrifting.
You see what I’m getting at.
Thrifting is not only big with me, but pretty much everyone I know gets a buzz from finding something they love at a steep discount. It’s gotten so big, it’s started to dominate the online space with Facebook Marketplace, Bidding Wars, websites such as ThredUp, and apps like Depop and Poshmark. The only thing I don’t like about those is having to drive all over to pick up, or pay shipping, and I can’t really get the look and feel of the item. Plus, the physical shopping experience of thrifting is an important part of the process to me. The feeling of browsing things by hand, feeling textures, and the vague scent of must from some of the older shops are all irreplaceable. I hail from New York City, land of top notch pizza and thousands of incredible thrift and consignment shops (quick sidebar: thrift is donation-based with no profit to the goods giver, and consignment is an agreement wherein the shop gives a percentage of the sale to the giver). Consignment is typically pricier because the shop isn’t paying the giver a slice of profit, but it’s still significantly cheaper for consumers than buying new.
Because of my spoiled thrifty past, I still find myself happiest when thrifting back home, but that’s not to say the Valley and Lower Mainland don’t have some awesome shops going for them. And since it’s not exactly sensible to hop a plane to New York when you want to thrift (or is it? Kidding… sort of), it’s important to support local shops and I was determined to find some really great ones as my go-to for shopping. So in no particular order, here they are:
20450 Logan Ave, Langley
Talize shines when it comes to offerings and affordability. This store is huge and prices are typically in the $0.50 – $9 range, the mark of a true thrift shop. They have a wide range of offerings when it comes to literally every category, from homeware to clothing for all ages and gender, to furniture and jewelry. In fact, Talize has so many things, it might be worth blocking off two hours of your day to fully browse it all. It can be overwhelming, but when patient, you might find yourself with some pretty amazing scores without coming close to breaking bank.
20500 Logan Ave, Langley
Conveniently located in the same parking lot as Talize, Mission Thrift is probably my favorite in terms of unique items found. Again, things are priced in the very generous $0.50 to $9 range, with furniture often under $100. I once scored a beautiful, mint-condition, floral vintage chair for $25. It’s still one of the best pieces of furniture I own. If you spend an afternoon walking around Langley’s downtown core, you will find a lot of tiny hole-in-the-wall thrift shops that have clothes in the standard thrift price range, plus that same great thrift-store smell that almost all of them have. It’s nostalgic. What can I say? I love it.
2B – 34150 South Fraser Way, Abbotsford
Plato’s Closet is definitely geared toward the younger crowd, somewhere between thirteen and eighteen years old. I don’t go in too often, but honestly, even at almost thirty years old, I can’t help but love some of their graphic tees and shoes. A lot of trends from when we were in our teens are coming back, and Plato’s Closet is a great place to go when you want to find some nostalgic pieces to cycle back into your wardrobe. If you’re a little older than I am and have teen kids, this place is perfect for your family. It has a ton of inventory and pays you cash on the spot if you have items to bring in, yourself.
6233 200 St #5, Langley and 45575 Keith Wilson #6, Chilliwack
I was torn on including this in the list, but only because I’m not a huge fan of their prices and did have a troublesome experience with customer service last year. The issue was resolved, however, and I still find some really great pieces here, so I still want to recommend it for shopping. The Langley location is almost twice the size as Chilliwack’s, but they both offer a lot of good pieces that are still priced lower than retail cost. Unika has a combination of new items and consigned, with consignment typically hovering around $18-22, dipping below or much higher depending on brand (I found a North Face winter jacket that was probably valued around $350, but I still couldn’t afford Unika’s $199 tag). But still, I have found some really cute tops for $12-16, and some nice jeans for under $30, and that is pretty great when thinking about the bigger picture of longevity and keeping clothes out of landfill. Unika typically scans clothing for quality, stays on top of trend, and is selective about what comes in, so the nice thing is the shopping experience is usually great. Plus, they showcase a lot of merch from local jewelry and soap makers, so I give them props for that. All in all, though I’ve been on the fence before, I still think they’re worth visiting.
Various locations, including Yarrow
I love MCC Thrift stores. They are volunteer-run, accept almost any donation as long as it isn’t broken or too damaged, and they do sweet deals like “yellow tags half off today!” When 50 cent items become a quarter. I have gotten a gorgeous sweater for $3, a pair of discontinued $95 Vans for $8, and random kitchen items I needed to replenish. Yarrow, my hometown, is tiny and not exactly a hotspot for shopping, but the fact that we have an MCC fills my heart with joy. I love walking to the park and popping in to see what neat stuff came in that day. And, since Tidying Up with Marie Kondo hit Netflix, thrift stores have been poppin’ with some amazing finds. MCC reminds me of how much I love to thrift for the experience.
The Book Man
2630 Bourquin Cresc W, Abbotsford and 45939 Wellington Ave, Chilliwack
The Book man is not a clothing thrift store, but one of – you guessed it – books. While the Abbotsford location is lovely, I’m a huge fan of the Chilliwack shop on the one-way downtown. The floorboards groan when walked on, and there’s nothing I enjoy more than browsing books in narrow passages while the wooden floor creaks beneath me. There’s a token shop cat who can often be found snoozing on one of their vintage arm chairs, and there’s an entire section turned into a makeshift fort full of kids books and a table with beanbag chairs for kids to enjoy with the family. My daughter likes to hole up in their while I browse books, or their vast Harry Potter memorabilia display case. Books can be found for as little as $1, with popular hardcovers only costing around $7 used. If they do not have the book you want, you can request a copy, be it new or used, and bring in your own books for trade-in credit. It is my favorite shop in Chilliwack, hands down.
There are a few other small thrift shops I didn’t mention, but you can find them if you walk downtown Chilliwack’s one-way street, past The Book Man. And if you don’t have any luck with the thrift shops, keep an eye out for the various markets Langley, Abbotsford, and Chilliwack host throughout the year. My personal favorite is The Vintage Barn Market, held twice a year in Chilliwack. There are local vendors selling new items, sure, but also a ton of vintage and thrifted finds and I have luck every single time I go. If I missed one of your favorite shops, feel free to sound off below! I am always on the hunt for new finds!