Best Thrift Store for Small Appliances

Savers

We wanted an electric can opener but didn't want to pay full price; we knew we'd be using it only to open the occasional can of dog food. And so we headed straight to the Bell Road Savers in Peoria, because we knew they have practically an entire department devoted to small appliances. We found a nice almond-colored can opener for five bones, and then cruised around admiring all the nice Crock-Pots and Mr. Coffees. Which, of course, led to our purchase of a vintage Mixmaster blender with a glass canister and a funny little pamphlet with fruity drink recipes stuffed inside. Next time you need a little thing that plugs into an electric outlet, head to this thrift.

Assistance League Thrift

We admit it: There's a box in our closet where we keep inexpensive gifts we've scored at Assistance League Thrift, one of the best thrift shops in town for still-in-the-box re-giftables. Recently, we've found a cute box of vintage stationery for a dollar; a still-wrapped-in-plastic potpourri candle; and a neat spice rack (also still in its original box) shaped like a giraffe that we know will make the perfect last-minute hostess gift. This is the best thrift store in town for those of us who don't love a smelly secondhand store jammed with clothing and piles of junk. Assistance League's merch is all neatly displayed and turns over quickly — so get there, pronto, for nice gifty stuff priced to move.

Indian School Thrift

We secretly hate those glass cases in thrift stores, where the "good stuff" has been locked away because someone in a backroom has decided that a headless Shirley Temple doll with a torn dress is valuable and should cost $40. And there's never anyone around with a key to show us the thing we want, anyway. But at Indian School Thrift, we love the glass cases — because they're just one part of a whole department of neatly arranged, actually vintage things for sale. This department is always manned by a helpful clerk who's happy to take stuff out of the cases, or off of the shelf behind the cases, and let us examine them. The prices are more than fair, and we've never seen junk from the '80s being pawned off as "antique" here. Instead, we find honest-to-gosh old stuff, all of it fairly priced and accessible. The thrift store itself is also full of cool bargains, but the real finds are to be found at the special section over in the corner, which you won't want to miss checking out.

It's the glassware that we love the best. No, wait. It's the stunning selection of hardcover books for sale here. Or is it the whole roomful of vintage record albums that keep drawing us back, over and over again, to this cute little best-kept-secret of a thrift shop? We can't decide, so we keep going back, and once there, we pile up on used housewares and books and dishes . . . and we can't help noticing that the room full of nice, clean clothing is always full of shoppers, too. Three nice-size rooms full of impossibly low-priced stuff, tucked away in a big strip mall on the west side — that's Eve's Treasures, a place worth digging through. Don't miss their half-off Saturdays and their Senior Discount days; we never do.

Modern Manor

If you spend considerable time on Craigslist employing search terms like "teak," "Danish," and "Eames," pause your rapidly moving fingers. Now, instead of compulsively hitting refresh on that shady search page again, redirect your eyes to Ryan and Kylie Durkin's website for a look at their mod treasures. Nice, right? We thought you'd like Modern Manor. Once you manage to get yourself over to their mid-century furniture boutique, in its warehouse-style building, you'll find pieces in brilliant condition dating from the 1940s to the '70s, many of which would pop up with your preferred search terms. Except instead of stalking garage sales and risking creep association, you're ready to inject some major personality into your home.

Sweet Salvage

Every month, we strive to make a little more room in our apartment in hopes of squeezing in a new vintage find from Sweet Salvage. The décor shop opens its doors every third Thursday through Sunday with a new theme (the second-ever, held around Halloween, was "mad scientist") and fresh merchandise. To its sprawling Seventh Avenue space, shoppers flock to find globes, signage lettering, metal lockers, a vide-poche or two, and large pieces like reupholstered couches and chairs, tables, desks, and, well, just about anything else you might desire. Items fly fast, so be sure to get to the store as early as possible if you want first dibs on the decorative wares. We can't promise we'll be able to tame our competitive nature when it comes to old-timey chemistry sets and massive world maps.

Antique Gatherings

What we wanted more than anything was a pair of gigantic vintage Drexel china cupboards to cram all of our dishes into. Alas, everyplace we saw them (they're pretty common but still very lovely), there was only one and it was way too expensive. Then we headed over to Antique Gatherings for its semi-annual Spring Parking Lot Sale, because we always find something there that makes us want to scream with joy. And there they were: two big Drexel cupboards with teeny tiny price tags on them. If you haven’t been to this twice-a-year sale (April and November), go! Eighty vendors from far and wide set up camp right in front of this venerable antiques mall to sell everything from glass doorknobs to vintage linens to high-end furniture — and all for discounted prices. It’s the tag sale of the season for antiques lovers, and one you’ll be addicted to after just one visit.

Brass Armadillo

We're clumsy. And so, when we recently knocked over and smashed a vintage Dr Pepper bottle while visiting a friend's very vintage home, we were mortified but not surprised. We also weren't worried about replacing this rare article — we just grabbed our phone and dialed Brass Armadillo, because if anyone had one, we knew they would. They did, and they set it aside for us. When we went to pick it up, we ended up buying a nice boomerang coffee table — even though ours is perfectly fine. We couldn’t resist either the minty beauty of this vintage piece or its unbelievably low price. We ran for the door, though, because we knew if we lingered we’d buy so much more — because this antique mall outdoes all others in the valley, with more than 200 vendors who sell gorgeous and fairly priced antiques, vintage, and Midcentury Modern stuff we just love.

Antique Marketplace

It just keeps growing, like Topsy. Antique Marketplace, which savvy shoppers remember as the old Historic District Antiques on Seventh Avenue, continues to gobble up the other storefronts around it, expanding more and more every time we drop in. That's a good thing, because we always find something amazing, at an amazingly low price, when we do. For our friend who collects vintage pressed glass, we picked up a still-boxed Anchor Hocking creamer-and-sugar set from 1946, for peanuts. For our dad, a set of ancient wooden golf clubs, for next to nothing. And for our very own, a like-new cherry wood French Deco bedroom suite that was practically free. Set up like a museum of gorgeous antique décor, lighting, dishware, and everything old and pretty that anyone could ever want, Antique Marketplace is an ever-growing colossus of antiquing pleasure.

Phoenix Lamp Repair

We know where to go for fancier antiques for our great old house, and now we're going to tell you — in good part because you may not know that this wonderful old shop even sells antiques. They do — and good ones, besides. We recently dropped in for a lampshade and ended up staying for an hour to ogle the amazing old lighting fixtures, breakfronts, and side tables. We scored a hundred-year-old cherry wood library table, a lighted lectern ripped from the lobby of an old Deco Miami hotel, and a '20s oil lamp chandelier, too. We're planning to go back next week for that Regency tea cart and perhaps the framed Turner prints, too. Maybe we'll even have a lamp repaired, while we're at it.

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