Local Focus: My Favorite Suburban Thrift Stores

As I’ve gotten more into thrifting as of late, I figured I’d share some stores I shop at regularly here in the ‘burbs.  These stores are pretty much regular haunts for me, and many of them have pretty fast turnarounds on items, which means that every time I go in, there’s something new.  The pricing at all of them is pretty reasonable as well, which is always awesome!

The Shelter Inc. Thrift Shop
The Shelter Inc. Thrift Shop is a store I discovered a few years ago, and have been shopping at since.  I visit at least once a month to check out what they have, and have purchased numerous great items there.  The Shelter Inc. Thrift Shop benefits the Arlington Heights-based organization of the same name, which provides help and support for children who are abused, neglected, dependent or in need of supervision.  The organization provides 24-hour emergency and longer-term care, creates community awareness and provides education to prevent such abuse and neglect, and promotes healthy families to reduce child abuse and neglect.  Shopping at the thrift store, located in Schaumburg, helps fund the organization.

I’ve had the best luck with clothing and jewelry at Shelter Inc., though they do have furniture, housewares and home decor, books, and electronics sections.  Much of their items are reasonably priced, and they have regular sales (which they both email out and post on their website).  They also have a frequent shopper card, which they stamp every time you spend $10.  They have a good variety of items, ranging from new to vintage, and have a pretty decent turnaround on things, so going there even fairly often, results in seeing new items out on the floor.  The staff is always extremely pleasant and helpful–you can tell they really enjoy volunteering there–and the store is always clean and organized.

Having shopped there so often and for so long, I have a great stash of items that are from there.  In fact, minus shoes and undergarments, I can put together an entire outfit from Shelter Inc. easily!  Possibly even two or three.  This isn’t everything I’ve gotten from there, but a decent selection of stuff.  The floral print shorts were actually really dated flare jeans that I cut, and the ombre shirt I bleached myself.  Some of these, you’ve seen before.

The Shelter Inc. Thrift Store is located in Weathersway Plaza at 622-626 S. Roselle Road, Schaumburg, IL.  You can visit Shelter Inc. online at www.shelter-inc.org.

Wings in Schaumburg & Niles
Wings is an organization that boasts numerous thrift stores in the area, and the two I’ve been to are the Schaumburg and Niles locations.  Wings is another locally-based organization that does good for the community by providing homeless and abused women and children with integrated services that meet their needs for shelter, education, guidance, and support.  Wings provides safe living environments that allow women to work, go to school, and achieve financial and emotional independence.  Shopping at the thrift stores helps fund the organization.

The Schaumburg store is a very large standalone store, and I first went there in search of furniture, which they have a lot of.  They also have a significant amount of apparel and dishware.  The Niles store is much smaller and is in a strip mall.  They have a decent amount of women’s stuff and furniture as well, but not near as much as the Schaumburg location.  Both places have pretty decently priced stuff, and very unique stuff.  The Scaumburg location always has a ton of women’s formalwear and wedding dresses.

Here are a couple items I’ve gotten from Wings, which you’ve seen before.  I have a few other pieces, but couldn’t seem to find

The Schaumburg Wings location is at 855 W. Higgins Rd, and the Niles location is at 8349 W. Golf Road.  There is also a location in Palatine (a different one from the location that burned down a couple years ago) in the Park Place Shopping Center at 1315 N. Rand Road.  I haven’t been to the Palatine location, but I plan to check it out sometime this summer.  For more info on Wings, visit them online at www.wingsprogram.com.

Sparrow’s Nest Palatine
I used to frequent the Palatine Sparrow’s  Nest a little more when I lived in Lake Zurich, as it was sort of on my way home from work.  Now it’s a little out of the way, but I do go there every so often to see what they have.  It’s a little smaller of a shop, but it’s full of all kinds of stuff.  It can be a little daunting to go through, especially if you’re in a hurry or looking for something specific, but that’s part of the fun when thrifting, isn’t it?

The Sparrow’s Nest thrift stores are run by Home of the Sparrow, another local organization.  HOS is a transitional shelter program providing housing and supportive services for homeless women and their children in McHenry County and Northern Illinois.  You may recall the name because I worked with them on the New To You Clothing & Accessories Swap.

While I’ve gotten a few things from Sparrow’s Nest, most of them were for shoots or costumes, and have since been re-donated because I didn’t need them for anything else and didn’t want to hang on to them.  I do have a very pretty slip, which eventually I plan on wearing as a dress one way or another, and a fast-favorite oversized GAP Body sweatshirt (which was buried in the laundry when I was taking pics yesterday).  I’m sure at some point you’ll see that GAP sweatshirt, so here’s the slip for now.

The Palatine Sparrow’s Nest is located at 275 E. Northwest Highway.  They also have locations in Cary, McHenry, and Woodstock, and plan to open up another store soon in Algonquin.  You can visit Home of the Sparrow online at www.hosparrow.org.

Salvation Army in Roselle
The first time I set foot in the Salvation Army in Roselle it was on the way back to work from Shelter Inc.  I’d driven past it a couple times and figured I’d swing in and check it out.  It’s huge, and I took a quick walk through the store and left… I didn’t have nearly enough time to browse through everything.  There is an extensive amount of clothing at this store–men’s, women’s (which is the largest), and kids–as well as a large shoe section, a lot of housewares, a fair amount of furniture, and jewelry.  My only beef with this store is that there are no fitting rooms, which means you just kind of have to hope whatever you’re buying fits.  I’ve been lucky a few times, and have some altering to do on other items I’ve gotten.  It does sort of force you to be picky (or wear clothes that make trying stuff on out in the open easy), which is kind of nice.

Of everything I’ve gotten at the Roselle Salvation Army, my Doc Martens are my favorite, and the best deal.  I posted about them the day I got them, here.  I’ve also gotten a great 90’s Contempo Casuals dress, a lovely pleat-back shirt, and a couple of pieces that I need to alter.

The Roselle Salvation Army isn’t on the Salvation Army website for some reason, but it’s located at 821 East Nerge Road near Ace Hardware, on the southeast corner of Plum Grove and Nerge Roads.

Goodwill in Lake Zurich & 2 in Arlington Heights
The Lake Zurich Goodwill used to be my regular haunt, as it was just down the street from me–it was where I donated and where I shopped for quite some time.  It’s large, clean and always has a great selection of stuff, much of it high-end because it’s tucked between Barrington and Kildeer, two wealthier communities.  It’s pretty well-staffed too, with someone always near the abundance of fitting rooms, making trying stuff on easy.  I don’t frequent it as much because it’s a little out of the way now that we’re no longer in Lake Zurich.  I’ve gotten a bunch of random stuff there including a great faux Chanel bag (that is currently put away for the summer, so I didn’t get a pic of it) and my only Bears jersey (which is currently in the laundry, so no pic of that either), as well as a white skirt I dyed teal.

Since we moved, the Goodwill at Golf and Algonquin Roads (which is technically in Arlington Heights) is now much closer and actually rather easy to go to on lunch.  It’s a pretty large store that has a good amount of stuff and a nice, varied selection.  It’s a new store, so it’s very clean.  I’ve gotten a fair amount of stuff there, including 2 great pairs of jeans I was able to dye, a cute tie crop top, and a beautiful Michael Kors blazer.  Oh, and my cute red jumpsuit.  I do feel like it’s a little understaffed, as I almost always have to hunt someone down to get into a fitting room, but that’s a small nuisance to deal with otherwise.  I’d rather have to find someone to let me into a fitting room than deal with a dirty store, that’s for sure.

I haven’t bought too much at the second Arlington Heights store… not in the way of clothing at least.  I have gotten some great home decor stuff, and my friend Chrissi scored a beautiful oversized painting here for $25.  I made really cute candle holders from teacups and candlesticks I found there, and I did get a neat eyelash print top, which I haven’t yet worn but plan on figuring out soon (honestly, I’d forgotten about it until last night when I was going thru stuff and taking pics).  This store is just as nice as the others, with just as big of a selection, I just haven’t found anything that works for me there.

Here’s some of the stuff from the various Goodwill stores.  Teacup candle holders, the eyelash shirt, the cropped shirt, and some other pieces you’ve seen already.

The three Goodwill stores are located at 746 South Rand Road in Lake Zurich, 900 West Algonquin Road in Arlington Heights, and 1551 North Dryden Avenue in Arlington Heights.

I know there are tons more thrift stores in the ‘burbs.
I’m making it my mission to find them, try them, and report back !  Do you have any suggestions?  Leave them in the comments below and I’ll be sure to check out the stores you love!

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