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Do you like thrift stores? I sure do! New clothing really isn’t in our budget, and sometimes there are new or barely worn clothes there for a fraction of their retail value.

But not all thrift stores are created equal. You are probably familiar with big chain stores like the Goodwill or the Salvation Army. But when it comes to thrift stores, big isn’t always better. Sure, a bigger store might have more variety, and a chain store will likely rotate items among local stores, but neither of these factors necessarily make for a better shopping experience, in my opinion.

Enter Deseret Industries. This medium-sized thrift store on 82nd Ave in Clackamas, OR appears as unpretentious as any thrift store from the outside, but inside there is a world of difference. I’ve only been there twice, since it took me several times of driving by to break out of the habit of stopping where I was familiar (comfort zone, you know) and drop in. But I was so impressed that I vowed I would be back nearly every week (I shop thrift stores using many of the ideas I learned at Large Families on Purpose, one of which is shopping weekly), choosing this store over the Goodwill without a second thought.

From the outside, it looks just like any other thrift store: gray walls and a sign pointing to the donation center in the back. But inside is very different. The first impression you’ll get upon entering the store is one of order and organization. They have opted for circular clothing racks instead of long round ones, and these seem to make the clothes easier to browse–at least for me. And everything is organized by color, which is not only pleasing to the eye, but easier to browse.

Closer inspection proves that not only are the clothing items organized by color, but also by size. And sizes are more consistently found in the correct location than at the other two big name thrift stores nearby. They even organize maternity clothes by size. This might seem like the obvious choice, but both the Goodwill and the Salvation Army just put all their maternity clothes on the same rack without bothering to sort for size. This makes looking for maternity clothes a rather trying experience. I mean, how discouraging to find the cutesy top–in a small, when you really must wear a large! At Deseret Industries, the maternity rack is organized by size, tops separate from bottoms within each size, and each section is color-coordinated besides! So if I’m looking for a large pink top, I just have to look in the large section where I see pink. That’s it. No hunting through the whole rack, checking the size of every pink shirt! And it only took me a few seconds to verify that they didn’t have an appropriate turquoise shirt in my daughter’s size this last visit (I’m looking for a specific color to go with a summer sleeveless dress I got a while back).

The next thing you’ll notice is the prices. For one thing, they are all round dollars. No $4.99 in this store! The second thing you’ll notice about the prices is that they are lower than the other major thrift stores. I have not checked any adult clothes other than maternity yet–my husband doesn’t need clothes right now, and I’m 7 months pregnant–but so far I haven’t found a piece of clothing over $5-6, and some are less. Children’s t-shirts and shorts range from $1-3. In general, it seems prices are consistently one third to one half less than Goodwill prices for the same quality. Sure, they don’t have specials on specific color tags like the Goodwill does, but with prices so low, it doesn’t really matter.

An interesting and logical feature of the store is that girl’s clothes are located on the same side of the store as women’s clothes, while boy’s clothes are located near the men’s clothes. I’m used to the toddler and baby sizes being lumped together, but this makes so much more sense. It does take some getting used to, though; I forgot to look for shorts for my son, because my mind told me that I had already looked at kids’ clothes by the time I got over to that side of the store. But I’m sure I’ll adjust quickly!

If you are into crafts and sewing, you’ll love the craft aisle. Skeins of yarn are available, many sold individually instead of in big bags with random colors and textures mixed together. And sewing patterns are sold individually, priced $.50 each! And on my last visit there were scores of patterns!

So let me tell you what I got on my last trip.

  • Nice maternity top, $5
  • Green polo shirt for my daughter, $2
  • 3 shorts for my daughter, $1 each
  • A pair of Sketchers sandals for my son, $2
  • Two matching gauzy curtains for our master bedroom that go perfectly with the color theme, $2 each
  • 5 sewing patterns, $.50 each
  • A clothes dresser, solid wood (not pressboard) that needs some minor repairs and a new coat of paint, $20

My total for that trip and all that stuff? $38.50. I think I would have paid over $50 at the Goodwill for the same items.

I give this store 5 out of 5 stars! So next time you go up 82nd, stop by Deseret Industries and check out what they have to offer!

This review is simply my personal opinion. I was not asked to write it or compensated in any way for posting it.

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