Get Your Thrift On

Where to Shop for (or Donate) Used Things

By Thalia Tringo

When I was a little girl, my grandmother, who raised a family during the Great Depression and lived through two World Wars, used to scrape the mixing bowl so spotlessly clean I couldn’t tell whether it had been used. She lived through hard times when nothing was wasted or thrown away. Items were used and reused until there was nothing usable left.

My generation – the Baby Boomers – grew up under more affluent circumstances. We came of age when disposable was hip and thrift was uncool. Now, the pendulum has swung back. Between the bad economy and environmental awareness, people of all ages and incomes are reusing, repurposing and recycling.
Businesses selling used goods or facilitating the exchange of used goods are all around us:


Time was, we relied on yard sales to find used stuff, or publications posting “for sale” and “wanted” ads. Today, the Internet yields responses from all over the world. The most popular sites are eBay ( and Craigslist ( In addition, you should check out:
Freecycle ( Freecycle is similar to Craigslist but posts only free items.
Somerville Live Journal ( Residents post freebies and items for sale, along with other posts of community interest.

Building Materials and Appliances
If you want to renovate part of your home but don’t have a big budget for materials, these are the places for you:
Boston Building Materials Resource Center (BBMRC) ( This nonprofit accepts donations of new and used building materials. This is a great place to shop for replacement windows, doors, plumbing fixtures, kitchen cabinets, tile, countertops, wood flooring and other basic renovation materials at low prices.
GreenGoat (, . This Somerville nonprofit is similar to BBMRC but they accept a broader variety of items for donation.

Housewares and Furniture
There are many organizations that accept donations of housewares and furniture, and some offer free pickup. Just remember: Due to a bedbug epidemic, many organizations are unable to accept mattresses, rugs or upholstered furniture.
Morgan Memorial Goodwill ( 230 Elm St, . The Goodwill store in Davis Sq. accepts a broad range of donations.
Salvation Army (, 483 Broadway, . The Salvation Army accepts usable furniture, clothing, and household items. Some donations are given directly to people involved in their programs; others are sold through their local stores, including the one in Magoun Sq.
Consignment Galleries, 363 Highland Ave, . This family-owned business near Davis Sq. buys and sells antiques, housewares, furniture, jewelry and accessories.
Office Furniture Liquidators (, 519 Broadway, . This local, family-owned business in Magoun Sq. sells used office furniture as well as some new office furniture. They purchase furniture from organizations looking to liquidate their assets.  Services include: installing panel systems; measuring customer spaces; delivering and removing furniture; and tracking down specific pieces.

Clothing, Shoes, Accessories
Locally, we have great thrift/consignment stores where you can sell or consign clothing as well as buy it.
Poor Little Rich Girl (, 372 Somerville Ave, . PLRG primarily buys and sells trendy women’s clothing, jewelry, shoes and accessories.
Artifaktori (, 22a College Ave, . Artifaktori offers a wealth of vintage treasures, from clothing and accessories to art, housewares and antiques.
Eurobaby, 327 Highland Ave, . Just beyond Davis Sq., this new shop is dedicated to buying and selling designer children’s clothing and toys.
Serendipity Thrift, 231 Somerville Ave, . They sell clothes, furniture and housewares. They rarely buy, but are always open for donations. Part of their inventory is donated to charity.
La Chic Boutique (, 235A Elm St, 617- 821-6229. This shop buys, consigns and sells a variety of goods, including accessories, jewelry, furniture, housewares, instruments and CDs/DVDs.
Buffalo Exchange (, 238 Elm St, . Buffalo Exchange is a national chain with a new location in Davis Sq. They buy, sell and trade used clothing for women and men.

As you can see, Somerville has plenty of resources for people who want to buy, sell, consign or donate used things. Fight the post-holiday doldrums by cleaning out your closets and getting some cash or store credit for your efforts. I plan to do the same. I know my Grandma would approve.

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One Response to “Get Your Thrift On”

  1. The Building Materials Resource Center changed its name this spring and is now called Boston Building Resources. You can still donate good-quality used materials and find great bargains on previously owned items at our reuse center. Our updated Web site is

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