With the economic recession, shopping at thrift stores in Northern Virginia has become a reliable, and often fun, way to save a bundle by bargain-hunting. The appeal of “recycling” used goods -- those which may be worn but not worn out -- helps many get over the notion of wearing others people’s stuff, yet it’s the substantial cost savings and the sheer variety of still-useful merchandise that seals the deal for many thrift store shoppers.
The two Northern Virginia thrift stores I sampled recently, Act II Resale Shop in Lorton, VA and Village Thrift in Woodbridge, VA provide important services in their communities. These thrift stores accept donations of clothing, household items and furniture, sort and resell many items, then use the proceeds to help those in need. According to the manager at Act II Resale Shop, “There are children living in the woods...with their parents.”
In the case of Act II Resale Shop just off Route 1 in Lorton, extra items (you can only sell so many pairs of jeans in a day) and those not suited for resale (sample toiletries) are sometimes picked up and re-distributed to local children and adults through charitable organizations. Act II Resale Shop directly benefits the Lorton Community Action Center (LCAC) which is housed nearby and has an outreach and training center a few doors down the sidewalk. LCAC hired its new Act II Resale Shop manager only about a month ago, and she’s revamping the store’s layout and merchandising. Though this Fairfax South County thrift store has only two rooms, they are filled from the floor to the ceiling with low-priced men’s, women’s and children’s clothes, bags and shoes, dishes and cookware, books, toys, magazines and ready-to-reuse furniture. Bargains are easy to come by, like a fashionably striped, button-down, silk blouse for $5.
Shoppers at Village Thrift in Woodbridge in Prince William County readily find great deals, like new-with-tags clothes from Lands End and nearly new duds from Ralph Lauren, Patagonia, Nike, Banana Republic and Ann Taylor. (A brand-name silk skirt in a fall, fashion-forward plaid was $7.) The volume of items -- many of unquestionably high quality -- is almost overwhelming at this Woodbridge Thrift store: neatly color-sorted clothes for every size (including maternity wear); hats and other accessories; bed linens; plates; candleholders; artwork; and more. To encourage swift turnover of inventory, the good deals get better with select tag specials every Sunday, and even better on Mondays when three colors of tags are 50% off, and other tag colors are at least 30% off the price. There’s a lengthy row of fairly modern computer printers, with CD and DVD players and televisions sharing that shelving; small appliances like microwaves and a spacious area with toys are nearby, too. Just watch out for the little ones who are diligently testing out the toys!
If you’re bargain-hunting for wardrobe or household essentials or just want to to amuse yourself for a while, both Act II Resale Shop in Lorton, VA and Village Thrift in Woodbridge, VA are good bets. A thorough wash or careful wipe from their new owners is often all the goods from these stores need to be put back into service -- and not put into a landfill. These two Northern Virginia thrift stores provide people an economical and enjoyable way to (re)use items while helping their local communities.