One of the best pieces of advice you’re sure to get when you decide to make the leap to Los Angeles is to save plenty of money for your move. It takes time to get settled and find a reliable source of income, so you want to make sure you have a good financial cushion should things not go as quickly or as smoothly as planned.
Nevertheless, there are things you may need to buy when you get here – everything from a desk for your new apartment to a great outfit for your first audition. While you may be tempted to hit Rodeo Drive or the Beverly Center, unless you have a trust fund or a wealthy benefactor, you’re better off economizing until you get on your feet.
Lucky for you, Los Angeles is a thrift store goldmine. Here’s the lowdown on some of the best places in town to score a great deal, leaving your cash reserves intact.
It’s a Wrap
Shop at It’s a Wrap and you’ll look just like a movie star. No, seriously, all the items in their two locations on Robertson Boulevard and in Burbank are actual wardrobe and props from films and TV shows priced 35-95 percent off retail. You’ll find everything here, from designer dresses to police uniforms. Every item in the store is tagged with information about the show or the production company it came from. You can look good and own a piece of Hollywood history!
If you think of thrift store shopping as a contact sport, then you will definitely love Jet Rag. Every Sunday morning this thrift store on La Brea unloads bales (literally) of clothing into their parking lot, selling every item for $1. Yes, it’s hot. Yes, these are potentially unwashed clothes that may be a little smelly. But you’ll be happy when you dig through the piles and find something amazing. Just be ready to dodge a thrown elbow or two from other serious bargain-shopping fashionistas. And maybe bring some hand sanitizer.
Take a drive into the hippie wonderland known as Topanga Canyon and stop at Hidden Treasures for some funky finds. Some of LA’s most fashionable celebrities shop for vintage clothes and antiques here. The merchandise changes frequently, and shoppers can score treasures for as little as $2.
Council Thrift Shop
Council Thrift Shops, run by the National Council of Jewish Women, are some of the most popular in Los Angeles. While there are several locations, all known for the quality of their items, the one in Studio City was voted as the Best Thrift Store in LA by LA Weekly in 2013 because of its outstanding collection of fine art. Some pieces can be pricey, but there’s always a bargain to be found if you keep looking.
Don’t groan and roll your eyes just yet. While there are dozens of Goodwill locations in the Los Angeles area, they are not all created equal. In many of them you’ll find IKEA furniture cast-offs and last season’s fashions from Forever 21. But in certain neighborhoods, you’re likely to find some real gems — although it may take some digging. The best ones to hit to score designer clothes and cool vintage furniture are on La Brea in Mid-Wilshire, on Santa Monica Boulevard in Santa Monica, and on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Feliz.
Habitat for Humanity ReStore
Like Goodwill, the Habitat for Humanity ReStore is a place to shop where you know your dollars will be used for good. They sell new and used furniture, home décor and building materials that are donated by individuals, companies and even film and TV studios. Check out their locations in Bellflower, Torrance and Chatsworth.
Craigslist Free Section
OK, this isn’t a thrift store, but if you’re really strapped for cash, you can score some seriously decent things from the free section on Craigslist. Yes, there are many advertisements for free clean fill dirt to wade through, but when people move and need to unload something fast, this is where they do it. Check frequently and be ready to pick up items immediately.
Did I miss any? What are your favorite thrift stores in Los Angeles to score the best deals?