The rewards of thrift

Decorate your new pad for less

From kitchen to toe, area thrift stores can get you and your new digs covered—often for less than a dollar.

From kitchen to toe, area thrift stores can get you and your new digs covered—often for less than a dollar.

Photo By lauren randolph

Welcome to Reno, welcome to college, and welcome to decorating your own place for the very first time. Be it a dorm room or an apartment off-campus, there is something exhilarating and liberating about determining the look of your living space. There are no parents to please or established image to uphold. You’ll feel the high of unencumbered self-expression. You’ll get a shot at total reinvention. If nothing else, you can let your place get as dirty as you want, and no one will make you clean it up. Want everything in your place to be orange? Go for it. Want a fireman pole in your living room? Swing it. Want your motif to be trolls, Star Wars or wizards? The world is your weird little oyster, baby. You probably won’t want to stick to one style for too long, however, so dropping a lot of cash on décor probably isn’t the best idea. But finding your items at Reno’s multitude of treasure-filled thrift stores is. Read on for a breakdown of what to buy where.

Salvation Army Thrift Store
2300 Valley Road; Hours: Mon.-Sat., 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

There are a few Salvation Army thrift stores in town, but this huge warehouse near campus is by far the best. Come here for your furniture needs—they’ve got the best prices and a big selection to boot. I bought a really nice loveseat here for $20; buying a comparable one off Craigslist or at a different thrift store would’ve cost me at least $40. I also scored a set of lockers for $15 that I keep in my bathroom and have houseguests write messages on. What fun!

3800 S. Kietzke Lane or 2350 Oddie Blvd., Sparks; Hours: Mon.-Sat., 9 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sun. 10 a.m.-7 p.m.

Ah, Savers. An institution if there ever was one. In my opinion, Savers is the mecca for two things: costumes and lamps. This is the place to find a polyester suit for a retro party or a reindeer sweater for a holiday get-together. And if you’re looking for illumination, you won’t find a place with funkier, stranger lamps. Insider tip: Shop at Savers on a Monday, when they pick everything that’s a certain sticker color (blue for clothes, purple for furniture, etc.) to be 99 cents, and a second color to be everything 50 percent off.

Photo By

SPCA Thrift Store
903 E. Fourth St.; Hours: Mon-Sat, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun., noon-4 p.m.

This is more than just a thrift store—it’s your chance to do something for a fluffy friend that needs a home. The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) runs this gem of a thrift store, and all the profits go to support the local shelter. This is the first place you should stop if you brought a pet to college, and you want to get them new gear. Pet products, like kennels and toys, are on sale for a fraction of what you’d get in a pet superstore. The SPCA Thrift Store has a decent selection of musical instruments and belt buckles, specifically. And every time I’ve been there, the whole store has been 50 percent off. Can’t argue with that.

Easter Seals Thrift Store
1270 E. Plumb Lane; Hours: Mon.-Sat., 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun., 10 a.m.-5p.m.

One word: treasures! When you’ve got your basics down—bed, desk, couch—and you’re ready to let your personality shine by way of random artwork, zany records, and unusual objects, check out Easter Seals. This is where I got my old-fashioned, gold Schwinn stationary exercise bike for just $15, and where I almost got a map-of-the-world coffee table for only $25. (I would’ve had to get rid of my dining room table—just wasn’t practical.) The inventory changes constantly, and it’s never very busy. This is a great place to find your statement pieces, and if you don’t like them after a few months, they only cost you a few bucks.

St. Vincent’s Thrift Shop
500 E. Fourth St.; Hours: Mon.-Sat., 9 a.m.-6 p.m.

Here’s another chance to do something good for others while scoring sweet items. The thrift shop profits help support the Catholic Community Services of Northern Nevada’s many worthy programs. I bought a retro desk with cool 1950s details here for $20, and in addition to furniture, there’s a clothing “boutique” of pretty decent stuff. I got an amazing peach-colored vintage coat for only $15, and there’s a great selection of scarves. Don’t let the overflow from St. Vincent’s Dining Room next door deter you—I’ve overheard the most interesting life stories while shopping here.

College is about trying lots of things until you find what fits. Let the wacky tacky shopping begin!