FADER online editor Naomi Zeichner crosses boroughs, counties and states to find us fine thrifted and vintage pieces on the cheap for the column, Thrintage. This week in Milwaukie, Oregon, she checked out a local Goodwill Outlet. Read her thoughts and peep the steals after the jump.
Milwaukie, Oregon's Goodwill Outlet, a massive warehouse space just south of Portland's border. Everyone calls it "the bins" because the clothes are moved around in plastic tubs on wheels that emerge from a mysterious factory-size door. But the place doesn't deal just in clothes. The bins are a temporary resting place for all kinds of human waste, island piles of unsorted danger that can be attacked and made usable by creative heroes. It's also a place where people meet: hipsters, rednecks, folks who have no homes, big families from Ukraine, Senegal, central Oregon ranches. Great stories get told. I heard of a girl that cut her hand on glass, a guy who saw a dead snake. Contact with worn panties is almost inevitable. A lot of people wear gloves.
The price to take anything home is a buck-fifty per pound, couches and bikes and art priced separate. To stash a bankable haul, the hard diggers show up for the nine AM open. Thrift is no novelty for them. They show up every morning to build germ tolerance and compete for castoff Carhartts and Pendleton woolens, many of them selling their finds on eBay and Etsy. This shit gets serious! People form lines and push when new bins roll in, rivalries form. If you can't handle the heat, show up after noon with an open heart and clear head, or nothing will come to you. It's best to stay no longer than an hour; you'll get inexplicably itchy after fifteen minutes. I've made the trip plenty of times just to leave almost immediately, empty handed, without enough heart for it all. When you're paying, there's candy and cashiers just as sweet but no hand sanitizer. Remember—no fingers in the mouth after. Wear and show your finds with pride but try not to let them weigh you down. When you've got an attic full of jumpsuits and yarn balls and glow in the dark pillowcases, drop them at a donation center so a truck can take them back to where they came from. Life's cycle!
I had no expectations for this unplanned visit, which clocked about 12 minutes total. Great things happened!
The ALF like figure on this sweatshirt is repping Estacada, the town southeast of Portland you drive through to get to some real magic big-redwood framed hot springs. There's no beach in that forest zone, though, so this "beach club' is a real weirdo gem. I found the supersoft square crop thunder cat tee in a non-clothing bin that was mostly full of broken phone and computer parts.
You can leave the bins feeling okay and call it a success once you've got an obvious god sent signal, a reason for it all. This time I connected with this oversized beauty. No idea how it made to my hands in one piece.
Considered paying JetBlue to let me take it back to Brooklyn, but left it with a friend because it looked good with her plants and I'm not sure how it would impact my self esteem to get flipped off twice by 2pac every time I look up from bed.