Broward County thrift storeby Strawberry Jam

Shopping for secondhand items can be an exhilarating experience at the right store, but that is typically not the case in Broward County. Relative to other areas of the US, South Florida thrift stores are all too often filled with clutter of household items and half-broken appliances that probably have not been cleaned since their last use. In the meantime, shopping wearable items can usually subject you to high prices due to an increase in the popularity of vintage items. Sure, some rare pieces might cost you a buck as a collector’s piece but just because something is more than a few years old does not necessarily mean it should cost you an arm and a leg. Here are six thrift stores in Greater Fort Lauderdale where you are bound to find something not only unique but affordable as well.

ABC Thrift Store (Dania Beach): Where you’ll buy your next favorite thing

This store gets my vote for most interesting. This is your neighborhood thrift store where years worth of collecting, from around the country and maybe even world, gets dumped into a living room sized place. If you’re looking for something cool yet totally unnecessary, this is your spot. My three finds this trip were a hard-cased vintage travel carry-on with handle and snap locks for $15, a Ziploc bag of six assorted paring knives for $3, and a like-new gasless, indoor mini grill for $5. Clothing, handbags, and shoes are 50% off “when they feel like it” (really).

Povarello (Wilton Manors): If they don’t have it, you don’t need it.

Povarello Center has a little bit of everything you could possibly be looking for. Here you will find an extensive selection of home goods such as couches, TV stands, electronics, plants, and framed art. Though their books could be a bit more organized, they have enough to fill a small library at prices you can’t beat- 50¢ paperbacks and $1 hardcovers. They also have an impressive selection of gently worn belts starting at just $2. Thrift store donations and food pantry items go directly to assisting those with HIV/AIDS.

Salvation Army (Broward Blvd): Your go-to thrift store

The Salvation Army of Ft Lauderdale is pretty much what you’d expect to find in a commercialized thrift store. I would call it the Wal-Mart of thrift stores. Situated off of Broward Boulevard just east of I-95, the large store has rack after rack of adult and children’s clothing, shoes, purses, and home goods. Though far from being a goldmine of thrift stores, there is a decent variety of the same, current merchandise. Meaning if you’re looking for your everyday clothing or household needs you’ll find it here, ten times over. Though I would not call most of the full-priced items a steal, deals can be found if you dig deep enough.  Drop by on Wacky Wednesdays for 50% off all clothing and purses. Proceeds from the store and four other locations benefit the Salvation Army’s adult rehabilitation program.

Goodwill (Hallandale Beach): The Mecca of thrift stores

There’s something for everyone at this huge, newly renovated facility. This store would have to be one of my top picks for reasonably priced semi-vintage clothing. What makes it’s selection so good? Maybe its close proximity to Aventura; maybe the plethora of snowbirds and retirees in Hallandale are the major contributors to what seems to be a steady flow of cool, old person-yet-stylish clothing. Check out their sweet selection of miscellaneous $1 mens t shirts.

Out Of the Closet (Wilton Manors): “The World’s Most Fabulous Thrift Store”

Out of the Closet, with eighteen locations in California and two in Florida, plays a monumental role in raising awareness and funds for the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. Three of their locations offer on-site HIV testing and consultation, one of which being their Wilton Manors Store. Keep an eye out for a 7,000-square-foot store set to open on E. Sunrise Blvd. by the end of this year.

Faith Farm (Ft Lauderdale): The department store of thrift stores.

The first of this two-story facility contains discounted, like-new,showroom-style furniture while the second floor has, well, everything else. Upstairs you’ll find aisles of books, dishes, electronics, clothing, accessories, luggage, and appliances. I counted twelve Crock Pots on my visit. Faith Farm Ft Lauderdale is one of three locations which solely fund nine-month addiction recovery programs for men and women.

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