Saturday, December 10, 2011

Mad Thrift

It's no secret that I love thrift stores. Even in the US, my preferred supplier of things like coats and hats were secondhand, though that was mostly because I like men's hat--at least, unusually-styled hats--and thrift stores were the only places I could find such things at prices that I liked. In Maastricht, Tuesday nights would find me more often than not at Mattie's Kringloopwinkel, where I procured my furniture. Nijmegen, though, hid her thrift stores well, and it took me a while before I learned enough about the city to find all of them:

By far my favorite is the Ideƫle Kringloopwinkel. It's well-hidden, but it has by far the most interesting--and most buyable--stuff. I've bought something almost every time I've gone there, which says a lot considering how far out of the way it is from everything, and how small the shop is. Despite its small size, it boasts a good selection of stuff, and I've managed to find such diverse objects as laundry baskets (matching style and color with the one we already had, even!), a wine rack, a trenchcoat--and all at reasonable secondhand prices, too. You cannot pay with a PIN pass, alas, so make sure you have cash before you walk in.

Het Goed is a chain of thrift stores, and as such it has by far the most stuff and the biggest selection, arranged across four floors. It is actually pretty spacious, unlike most thrift stores, and you can look around and poke into stuff without incurring the wrath of a grumbly clerk. I like to buy books there--they have an ever-changing selection of English-language books, and most of them are gently-used. I usually pick up small household items in Het Goed, things like baskets or spray bottles. They have an impressive selection of electronics, which is how we came by our speakers. However, Het Goed almost never has anything truly wonderful, which is why, as useful as it is, it's not my favorite.

Amaretto is a little tiny shop that bills itself as an antique store, though in reality it's another thrift shop. It's where I purchased our Galileo thermometer, and I'm still considering buying a ye-olde otoscope kit that's been sitting in a display case for ages, as a gift for Karel. However, the shop is impossibly tiny, and incredibly cramped--it's a bit evocative of Olivander's Wand Shop, wehere every last nook and cranny is occupied by something or other, to the point where the proprietor has taken to sitting in a chair by the window rather than at the cash register so he can read his newspaper. The prices are a bit higher than you'd expect, but on the other hand, many of the goods are one-of-a-kind, or at least very difficult to come by anywhere else in the city.

The Habbekrats is better known as "the place you get your fireworks from", as every December half the store is cleared of all its stuff to make room for a massive display of explosive projectiles. They have a bit of everything--I bought my binoculars there, a massive set of 8 x 50 lenses with coated glass, and of a surprisingly high quality glass, too. Most of the time, the stuff there is crap, but every now and then you find something good. We bought our coffee table there--their delivery policy is similar to that of Het Goed, in that you arrange with the store owner when you can be there, and he shows up within those times with a truck and your furniture. Unlike most kringloopwinkels, the Habbekrats does not carry clothing, although just across the street is a consignment shop in case you really need a clothing fix.

It's important to remember this cardinal rule if you're thrifting: if you don't absolutely love it, don't buy it. You don't save money if you spend it on something you'll never use/never wear. Happy hunting!

No comments:

Post a Comment