Take Ten: thrifty shopping

The adage “use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without” is attributed online to the Great Depression, the Amish, pioneers and evangelists. The words are a partial solution to surviving hardships, but don’t underestimate the thrill of the hunt, regardless of income or circumstances.

Underwear and socks are about all that I buy new anymore, and that’s not a complaint because of frugal living. Resale shopping is good for the environment as well as the bank account. Think less waste and more money for other life priorities.

Some musty thrift shops can’t seem to shake their outdated clothing. Others, including these personal favorites, know how to move merchandise and encourage repeat visits.

Agrace Thrift Store, 118 Junction Rd., Madison: Thrifty Thursdays are sales with deep discounts on already low-priced inventory. Each weekly, one-day markdown is different. Example: $2 “bottoms” (pants, skirts). For sale are women’s and men’s clothing, housewares and other items. Proceeds benefit nonprofit hospice services. Agrace’s two other shops are 2043 Humes Rd., Janesville; and 2402 E. Springs Dr., Madison.

Bargains Galore, 810 W. Main St., Waupun: The longer an item is left unsold, the more the price is slashed. That means many $1 and $5 racks and bins, in addition to newer and higher-priced merchandise. Kids can watch movies as you shop for toys to couches. Only open on Thursday, Friday and Saturday (when everybody gets an additional 20 percent off). Proceeds benefit Central Wisconsin Christian School and other local charities.

Bargain Nook, 941 Fountain St., Mineral Point: Sometimes the clothing mix includes Lands End overstocks or returns. Proceeds benefit Hodan Community Services, which provides work and personal development for the disabled. The agency’s smart holdings include a commercial kitchen with product processing and packaging services. Other shop locations are 211 Main St., Darlington; 60 W. Main St., Platteville; and 126 E. Main St., Mount Horeb (fire recently destroyed a fifth nook, in Spring Green).

Bargains Unlimited, 10578 Applewood Rd., Sister Bay: Door County is better known for its many trendy and pricey boutiques, but on the outskirts of town is a roomy haven of clothing, plus furnishings for your next summer cottage. Proceeds benefit Good Samaritan Society – Scandia Village, a residential campus for senior citizens. So stock includes remnants from downsizing and estates.

9Lives Boutique, 835 Geneva St., Lake Geneva: Animal lovers, here’s one for you. Proceeds from the the sale of antiques to designer clothes help the work of Lakeland Animal Shelter. We just missed the annual Coat Tent Sale, whose leftovers were sold for only $5. When other racks get too crowded, a 50 percent off sale is likely in the works. Look for four-legged store greeters.

Hope Gospel Mission Bargain Center, 2511 Moholt Dr., Eau Claire: The mother of all thrift shops is described as the biggest in the Midwest, encompassing 30,000 square feet. Enuf said: It’s almost like shopping a funky department store, only the goods are used. College students know this destination as a perfect stop for furnishing their first apartment. Additional Hope Gospel sites accept building materials to autos. Proceeds benefit the Christian mission’s work to improve life for the area’s homeless and low-income residents.

Nice as New, 2400 Rib Mountain Dr., Wausau: What began as a tiny consignment store in 1984 today has three locations, and this spacious site is between the Wisconsin River and Interstate 39, en route to Rib Mountain State Park. Attached to each item is a colored tag, and at least one tag color earns shoppers an added discount. Students and senior citizens get an extra 10 percent off of purchases on Wednesdays. Other locations are 24 Park Ridge Dr., Stevens Point; and 1731 N. Casaloma Dr., Appleton.

Nikki’s Nex 2 New, 1019 N. Eighth St., Sheboygan: The friendly but choosy consignment shop doesn’t accept just anything, and prices are often beyond fair (in a good way). Don’t ignore the clearance room, where duds for kids to oldsters are 50 percent off. For the deepest discounts, pay attention to seasonal $10 bag sales, which quickly move out the old and make room for the new. An online store struts the best of the best, especially before prom.

Retique, 190 N. Broadway St., Milwaukee: In Wisconsin is no shortage of Goodwill resale shops, but this one in the Historic Third Ward specializes in the nonprofit’s most fashionable donations of men’s and women’s clothing. So the well-organized setting feels like a toney boutique. Pre-owned furnishings are for sale too. Proceeds provide work and other support to the disadvantaged.

St. Vincent De Paul Society, 2551 Jackson St., Oshkosh: Much as I love the edgy St. Vinnie’s on Willy Street in Madison, this resale location trumps it because of my good timing: I hit a 50 percent off everything sale, which happens on the first Monday of the month. Add that savings to racks that are already discounted, and the take-away is ridiculously sublime. Proceeds help the area’s neediest residents.

Twice a year, I peruse closets and drawers for the ignored, the unfit, the impulsive and unwise purchases. My incentive is a whirlwind sale that lasts four days and provides a chance to unload – oops, share – fashionable finds with an audience of bargain hounds.

These Divine Consign events happen during spring and autumn in Milwaukee, Whitefish Bay and Hartland. Two professional event planners rent a big community space, haul in many clothing racks and reward their volunteer workers.

Only women’s clothing and accessories are sold, and sub-par items are rejected. Sellers set their own prices and decide whether to allow a 50 percent discount of items unsold halfway through the sale.

That means a hodgepodge of deals and incentive to shop more than once. What remains at the end is returned to the seller or donated to a local charity.

Get on the email list to keep up with the next sale dates. divineconsignsale.com