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The stores we dig (and why) 

Will you stumble upon a treasure? That's a bit of a crap shoot. Some thrift-store aficionados suggest shopping during spring-cleaning season before things wind up in summer garage sales. Calling around usually proves fruitless, especially if you're into weird stuff. You're going to have to get your own hands dirty. A lot of these places don't know what they have or don't consider it as important as you do. One man's junk is another man's treasure, after all. Here are a few places we've found with consistently bodacious yields.

Volunteers of America (89 Canal Street)

Tucked away in an alley is one of the most diverse and well-stocked thrift stores in the area. Always great eclectic and practical finds --- like matching statues of Jesus and Mary or a plethora of hardly worn Hanes Beefy-Ts. Clothes are organized and things on shelves are stacked neatly. A large furniture section in back includes a fine selection of moderately priced antiques.

Volunteers of America (1185 East Main Street)

Great place for luggage (including old school steamer trunks), smaller furniture like end tables and coffee tables, and appliances. This location backs up to the Vietnam Vets New Image Thrift Shop, making this a two-birds-with-one-stone stop.

Hadassah (345 Meigs Street)

Very, very clean store. If it weren't so packed with stuff, you'd swear it was a boutique. Book section has a selection of antique books, and everything is clean, odor free, and in good condition. Not too much "as is" merchandise.

Vietnam Veteran's (1119 East Main Street)

This place is huge, with tons of knicks and knacks. Need a men's dress shirt? Look no further. Wide selection of suits and men's clothes in general as opposed to other places, where the scales are tipped in favor of female fashion. Large furniture selection. Friendly, helpful staff.

Goodwill Fashions, Etc. (Stone Ridge Plaza)

A good one for Kennedy busts, portraits of horses, neckties, old silverware, flannel shirts of an indeterminate plaid, new dead-stock toys, and goods like Tickle Me Elmo and pink fuzzy slippers.

Volunteers of America (571 Stone Road)

Some really cool and inexpensive antique furniture from the 1950s. Big, well-stocked, and well-organized. Wide selection of good jeans, not just the stone-washed crap nobody wants.

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