By LEIGH ZALESKI for Smart
Pam Miklaucic recently wandered through Re-Source York’s Carlisle Avenue store clutching a 50-cent vegetable steamer and rainbow-pastel ceramic bird salt-and-pepper shakers for $1.50.
Miklaucic of Dover thrift shops for fun and to take her mind off things. She said the selection improves this time of year. She works as a chef and finds a lot of like-new cake and pie pans at secondhand shops.
“It has to be something you actually need,” she said, before she was lured by a stainless-steel flatware set. “I might have to buy that.”
Nikki Hunger, manager of Re-Source York, said the heaviest donation time starts around Easter and tapers off in the fall when kids go back to school and people become preoccupied.
She said the influx could be anywhere from two to three times more than the rest of the year. It increases the store’s need for volunteers and requires more time to sort, clean and prepare the items to sell.
Crystal Hulse, a donor service representative at the Goodwill Store and Donation Center in York, said she sees more drop-offs on Saturdays and Monday mornings after people hold yard sales. She said the store gets about 20 donations on a normal day and about 60 on Saturdays and Mondays.
Hunger said Re-Source York receives a lot of antiques and other high-end items, and generally cuts prices by half after researching the products.
“We just sold a wool rug worth more than $1,000 for a couple hundred,” she said. “I’m looking at a $800 refrigerator and $1,000 washer and dryer sets.”
Hunger said there’s a secret to finding good buys: “Check often.”
Aside from helping your wallet, thrift shopping benefits the environment.
Re-Source York focuses on recycling and providing a retail outlet for low-cost building materials and home-improvement items at its store on Beaver Street in York.
“We want to keep York clean,” Hunger said. “There’s a lot of good products out there that aren’t new. The stuff that people pass away…what do you do with it?”
Where to find deals
Where: Goodwill Store and Donation Center, 1120 Roosevelt Ave., York; Penn Plaza, 1017 Baltimore St., Hanover; Cape Horn Square, 621 Lombard Road, Red Lion; Market Square Center, 535 S. Main St., Shrewsbury
Who benefits: The nonprofit relies on donations and aims to provide economic stability, and build strong families and communities. It offers job training, employment placement services and other community-based programs for people who have disabilities, lack education or job experience, or face employment challenges.
Details: Visit yourgoodwill.org
Where: Re-Source York, indoor yard sale and furniture warehouse, 405 Carlisle Ave., York; building and renovation materials & supplies, 235 N. Beaver St., York
Who benefits: The nonprofit relies on donations and aims to fund charities and provide employment to low-income disabled people to help develop vocational and socialization skills.
It donates to:
Bell Socialization Services
York Cancer Patient Help Fund
York Helping Hands for the Homeless
Neighbors Helping Neighbors
Habitat for Humanity
York City Police Department Community Service Division
Details: Call 718-3182 (Carlisle Avenue) or 852-7574 (Beaver Street) or visit resourceyork.com
Better to buy new
Personal care items and razors
Large exercise equipment
Anything that wires into the ceiling
Sources: Crystal Hulse, donor service representative at the Goodwill Store and Donation Center in York; and Nikki Hunger, manager at Re-Source York
10 deals under $10
Here’s a sampling of items we found for a fraction of the everyday prices.
1. This Everbrite Stainless Deluxe flatware set costs $10 at Re-Source York. A few pieces were missing, but it had 10 complete settings. It might need a little polish before your next dinner party. A similar used set cost $99 on eBay.
2. Tired of scrubbing soap scum off your vinyl shower curtain? Try one made of fabric. This new Room Essentials cotton curtain costs $6.99 at Goodwill and $9.99 at Target.
3. Pfaltzgraff dishware sells for 50 cents each or three for $1 at Re-Source York. A new 16-piece Pfaltzgraff dinnerware set costs $49.99.
4. Choose from drivers, putters and irons for $3.50 each at Goodwill in York.
5. Stock up on seasonal greeting cards for 40 cents each or three for $1 at Re-Source York. Cards sell for about $2 to $4 each on average, according to greetingcard.org.
6. To rid any remaining winter dust bunnies, grab this Oreck XL handheld vacuum for $3.97 at Goodwill. Dirt Devil sells a 10.8 volt Gator Series Hand Vac for $31.99.
7. This new American Kennel Club chain collar costs $3.99 at Goodwill. Petco sells similar collars for about $4 to $9 each, depending on size.
8. Bumpits aren’t just for politicians or the cast of the ‘Jersey Shore.’ This new three-piece set costs $5.99 at Goodwill and $9.99 at Walgreens.
9. Feel the music with this HoMedics MP3 Cush for $5 at Re-Source York. The cushion connects to iPods, MP3 players and other audio sources, while offering five heated massages. Amazon.com sells it new for $48.99.
10. Holmes snow cone maker for $2 at Re-Source York. A new Holmes snow cone maker costs $36.