Searching for secondhand goods is an adventure. To procure the perfect find, steadfast shoppers will travel to places they'd probably never have reason to visit otherwise. Suburban and rural areas are often the best places to score a great haul, since they are largely untouched by cool-hunting city dwellers. Amassing a collection of go-to thrift stores, flea markets and wholesale vintage distributors can take years of practice and an intimate knowledge of the city. Here are some of the best secondhand shops in Philadelphia, plus some tips to help you make the most of them.
Village Thrift: This spot a traditional thrift shop in every sense. It's huge, overwhelming, badly lit and slightly musty, but it's also well organized and can be a gold mine at times. If you have enough time to spend, it's worth a trip. Look for designer purses, leather jackets and beautiful home goods and kitchenware. Pro Tip: Sundays and Mondays are half-priced days.
7533 South Crescent Boulevard, Pennsauken, NJ
Retrospect: Retrospect is one of the few South Street stores that still has a slightly punk rock vibe. It's a bit more of a boutique than a thrift store, but the prices are low, and a visit is far less time consuming and exhausting than a traditional second-hand store. Best of all, Retrospect's buyers have done the hard work for you by mining Goodwill thrift shops for their kitschy vintage tees, flannels, cowboy boots and leather jackets. Pro Tip: Afterwards hit up the larger, cheaper Philly Aids Thrift at 710 South 5th Street.
508 South Street, Philadelphia, PA (267) 671-0116
Salvation Army, Roxborough: Philadelphia is home to many Salvation Army stores, but the Roxborough location, a major distribution center, is a standout. The store is massive, cheap and stocked with everything from clothing to furniture. Afterwards you can hit up the many consignment shops on Main Street in Manayunk, which is just a short drive away. Pro Tip: Wednesdays are half-off.
4555 Pechin Street, Philadelphia, PA (215) 483-3340
Bryn Athyn Thrift Shop: This little-known thrift shop is housed in a gorgeous two-story Pennsylvania barn near the historic Bryn Athyn Cathedral. It's an incredibly cheap place to find books, jewelry and home decor, though the clothing section is a bit lacking. Whether you score a great find or not, the space is simply awe inspiring. Plus, it's just a short drive to a some larger shopping options, including a Goodwill on Buselton Avenue and Impact Thrift Store on Feasterville Road. Pro Tip: Bring cash, Bryn Athyn Thrift Shop doesn't accept credit cards.
510 Tomlinson Road, Bryn Athyn, PA (215) 947-7647
2nd Ave Value Stores: Located just across the street from the mega outlet mall Philadelphia Mills, 2nd Ave Value Stores definitely warrants a visit when you're in the area. This giant thrift store can be very hit or miss, and it's clean, well organized and slightly pricey. Pro Tip: This shop has one of the best home goods sections you're likely to find.
199 Franklin Mills Boulevard, Philadelphia, PA
Sazz Vintage Warehouse: Sazz Vintage Warehouse offers a truly unique shopping experience that's not for the faint of heart. The store is literally overflowing with garments dating from the 1930s to the 1990s. Shoppers dig through cardboard boxes and purchase items by the piece or the pound. The inventory includes an abundance of ironic and ancient threadbare t-shirts you'd pay an arm and a leg for on eBay. Pro Tip: Bundle up, the warehouse is unheated and often frigid.
618 South 6th Street, Philadelphia, PA (215) 923-7299
Vintage Furniture Boutiques and Wholesale Warehouses
Jinxed Clothing and Tuckers Digs: Jinxed started out as a boutique on South Street for street art and clothes, but since it moved to the Piazza at Schmidt's, the store has evolved into one of the best yet affordable places to buy antique furniture. The shop's buyers bring in gorgeous items daily from a source they refuse to identify, and prices are often shockingly low. Their Northern Liberties Store was such as success that they recently opened another boutique off South Street called Tucker's Digs.
Pro Tip: If you don't yet have an Instagram account, get one and follow "jinxed store." They post new items as they arrive creating a frenzy of interest. If you see something you like call into the store and buy it, they good stuff goes fast.
The Piazza at Schmidts, Philadelphia, PA (267) 978-JINX, and 611 4th Street, Philadelphia, PA (267) 858-HELL
Midcentury Furniture Warehouse: Though it's more expensive than a thrift store, the prices at Midcentury Furniture Warehouse are still below retail, and the furniture selection is fantastic. The warehouse primarily sells to dealers, retail stores and interior designers who markup the prices, but it's open to the public just two Sundays a month for a couple of hours. The inventory is modern vintage, mostly from the 1960s and 1970s, but is also timeless. Each piece is unbelievably chic and well made.
Pro Tip: Hours are erratic so check the blog or call ahead.
1701 North 2nd Street, Philadelphia, PA (267) 934-4218
To find used furniture, consider logging onto craigslist.com, where what you see is what you get. Person-to-person shopping cuts out the middle man, which means deep savings for buyers. Beware: treading the murky waters of craigslist can be daunting, and there are lots a scams and creeps out there. If something seems off, it's best to walk away from the deal, and if you go to a stranger's home to make a purchase, bring a friend. If you think an item is priced too high, it probably is; do some google research for comparable items to get an idea of how much to spend.
Pro Tip: Start by entering your neighborhood into the search field and see what's available in your area.