Goodwill hunting favorite pastime for poor collegians

ReAnne Utemark

There is nothing better than a treasure hunt through a jungle. Of course, that is to say a treasure hunt through a jungle of second-hand clothes and furniture. It is easy to go to Old Navy or Target and find what one is looking for, but it takes much skill to snag good finds at the local thrift stores.

“Usually, I go into the Goodwill with something in mind,” said Jess Rezac, a senior history major and frequenter of thrift stores and consignment shops in Topeka and Kansas City. “But I will come out with something entirely different.”

The stores Rezac frequents include Branded, Plato’s Closet and the Goodwill. She said she often goes to the Goodwill for furniture but has found items like a Civil War-themed chess set.

“I think its easier to find things that are kind of generic,” said Rezac. “I went shopping for a pair of black pants and a pair of brown pants for work because I knew I could find some for under $40. Generic things like that are harder to find on sale. I don’t like to pay full price for anything and you can get good quality.”

The strangest thing Rezac purchased at a thrift store was a stuffed rabbit that was more than two feet tall. She said she and her friends from high school incorporated the rabbit into a tradition that extended throughout several birthdays.

For those interested in shopping second-hand, an area consignment store owner offered the following tips for those new to the hunt. She said look for name brands because they usually offer higher quality fabric and will hold up better to a second life of wear. Before you buy, check to see how it is cleaned because often, the dry cleaning costs will exceed the purchase price. Check all buttons, zippers, pockets and seams. Check the garment closely for stains. Take the garment by a window to get better light, if needed. For jeans, be sure to check the upper back pockets for wear because that is often where the wear appears first.

For college students the thrift store can be an invaluable place to get their start. At the Salvation Army, 2905 S.W. Topeka Blvd., Washburn students with their WUID get 20 percent off their purchase. There are also special offers on different days of the week.

Good hunting.