Secondhand Savannah

We recently had the good fortune to take a brief but sorely needed vacation to the coastal paradise of Savannah, GA. Much fun was had and many stores were hit. Herein we will briefly report our findings. I have no idea what the above image is, by the way.

Savannah’s a small city, VERY historic and VERY beautiful though. But there’s plenty of information available about it on better, more well researched, less scatterbrained and profane web sites. You came here to hear about the thrift, didn’t you? So what of it? Well, there’s a local chain called Blessingdale’s that has three locations, two of which I visited. The location in the historic district was in a beautifully preserved old house; most of downtown Savannah and the immediate surrounding environs were so gorgeous it made me sick. In a good way.

The store itself was pretty small, as a consequence of the building, but it was adorable and they did a lot with what little they had. Pretty good spread of merchandise, as the unfortunately blurry photographs show:

Definitely a cut above your average “thrift store,” although that’s unmistakably what it was.

I like the way they used the room to room divisions to separate out the merchandise. That’s something that’s missing from your average sprawling, warehouse-sized Goodwill. It felt homey, if a little claustrophobic at times.

They definitely packed a lot of stuff into a pretty small area, too. Well preserved couches, appliances, etc. I didn’t spend a lot of time looking at the furniture though, as I was on vacation and didn’t think to rent a U-Haul truck for this trip. When will we learn?

All in all a very cute store, if a little hard to browse because of space constraints. We’ll visit another Blessingdale’s later on. But now it’s on to:

Savannah GA’s only Salvation Army! This was my favorite store I visited. It was funky, quirky, and chock full of weird stuff. The prices were decent and more than any other store I saw, it had that intangible flavor that sets the really legit stores apart from the imitators. But don’t take my word for it…

(Cue the theme from “Sanford and Son”)

This is an atrocious picture, but I was just trying to give an idea of the spread of clothes, which was big and in pretty decent shape. Ah, the perils of clandestine photography.

Tons of fun, goofy bric-a-brac. I snagged a few choice items as gifts, as is my habit.


My thoughts exactly. At least it’s not horse shirt (we’ll get to that later).

It’s always a little depressing to see these kinds of things get donated, especially when they’ve obviously never been used. Protip: if your relationship needs “spicing up,” Spencer’s is probably not the place you should be thinking of going. “Love dice” indeed.

This thing. Ohhh it was love at first sight. Just take a second and look at it. I could have stood there all day. This was the only point where I actually found myself regretting not renting a U-Haul truck for this trip. I actually started trying to size it up in my head and see if it would fit in the back of my Outback, but I came to my senses after a minute.

Just take it all in with me, if you can. It’s so awesome I can almost SMELL it through the picture. More info available here:

I could start a whole other blog just based around the ridiculous “designer” labels I find in clothes at thrift stores. It’s a topic that I haven’t found time to pay a lot of attention to, but at the suggestion of a good friend, I intend to in the future. Who wouldn’t want to wear a pair of “Spartacus” brand pants?

Why is it the coolest things are never for sale? This is definitely top 5 “Creepiest Mannequin Heads I’ve Ever Seen,” which puts it in some pretty hallowed company.

On the way out I noticed a huge warehouse with about twice as much stuff as they had room for in the store. Just pause for a moment and let that sink in. Moving on:

The other Blessingdale’s I visited was located in a small retail strip on the outskirts of town, and was even smaller than the first one. They make it work though, through meticulous organization and what I imagine must be positively ruthless weeding of merchandise. Their discards on an average day are probably nicer than the stock of a lot of the stores I’ve been to in my life (Shadow of Treasuries, I’m looking at you).

Lots of cute clothes, mostly for women, sadly, which is par for the course in my experience. Ah, well, can’t have it all. Unless you take up cross dressing, of course.

This isn’t the greatest picture in the world, but I was just trying to show how much stuff they’re cramming into a space that’s really only about twice the size of my apartment (which is tiny). They still manage to get across a decent amount of funky charm, too, even if it’s not quite at the Sanford-esque levels of the Salvation Army.

Case in point: this cute little book alcove, which I had to stoop to fit in, but was filled to the brim with books. The kind of place that makes you want to curl up on the floor and take a nap, if that makes any sense. I felt both like a giant and a little kid at the same time. I don’t know if that makes any sense either.

These are the kind of things that always warm my heart, in a way I’m not sure I can get across. Let me put it this way: if you wandered into a thrift store you’d never been into before, in a city you’d never visited, and saw a wicker laundry hamper on the floor full of old sheet music, how would that make you feel? Please give your answer in the form of an interpretive dance, filmed and posted on youtube. The winner will receive a hundred million billion dollars.

All of this – the clothes, the books, the sheet music, and the records you see above – were all in about a ten foot square area. For a mildly OCD person like myself, it really scratched an itch to see everything so tidy. Of course, the fact that they probably got an average of a dozen customers a day probably makes it pretty easy to keep everything in order.

Lest you think it was all just quaint old lady stuff, they had a pretty solid assortment of housewares and appliances and stuff. The usual suspects (Foreman grills, coffee makers, blenders) and some odd ducks, like this thing:

Precursor to the infamous “V-Chip,” perhaps? I could use one of these things for my blogs. Hell, I could use one of these things for my life.

Last but not least, a pretty decent sized Goodwill, out east in the one of the smattering of small “island” communities that lie between Savannah and Tybee Island, where the actual coastline is. There was another Goodwill downtown that I poked my head into, but it was the size of a closet and contained almost nothing of note. It happens. Not to be deterred, though, I made the drive out to Savannah’s other Goodwill, and was healthily rewarded for my efforts.

Bam! This was really the only store I saw that would hold up in comparison to the bigger stores in other cities I’ve visited. It had all the usual hallmarks you’ve come to expect…

(Insert generic “Everything but the kitchen sink” joke here)

And some more unusual finds, like this mini-wine fridge, which I was sorely tempted to buy before it dawned on me that the last time a bottle of wine lasted longer than two days in my apartment was when it fell behind the couch. Let’s be real with ourselves, people. ANYWAY –

I scared up two whole outfits for myself (pants and shirts), which is pretty remarkable considering how narrow my range of sartorial predilections has become. This was a much needed score, too, as I’d neglected to bring enough clothes with me and it was hot as hell most of the time and I was sweating like a hog. TMI?

Look at my horse

My horse is amazing

And, to wrap things up, we have the cutest tiniest desk lamp ever


This thing? I have no idea.

And with that, we bid farewell to the Coastal Empire. We thoroughly enjoyed our time out of mind in this city by the sea, and hope to return soon, most assuredly with a U-Haul truck this time. Now, it’s time to get back into the thick of it in Memphis, crack our knuckles, roll up our sleeves, and get down to business. Keep an eye on this space for future developments. I promise it will be worth your while. Talk to you soon.



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10 Responses to Secondhand Savannah

  1. Christine Schoch says:

    Just left Savannah, and took the same thrift tour you did. Two goodwills, bessinghams [the smaller store] and almost missed the BEST ONE. The Humane society thrift is located on the same compound as the real pound, so you hear occasional dogs barking, and there was a cat sleeping on a rug among the shoppers. Great clean selection,more upscale stuff than the other three and similar if not better prices. Gray tags were a dollar [my favorite thrift category] and I got a pile of dress -for -success items for a friend . Orange tags were 50% and got the clothes Im wearing now. Left with 2 large bags of stuff for $30. Even the dog got a new leash [$1]. Fun afternoon. One caveat tho, the thrift is located up about 10 step. worth the climb on a rainy labor day weekend.

  2. Phyllis Glover says:

    That “globe” thing you have a picture of was an old natural gas tank (just think of how safe that was!) back in the 60’s or so. It had the whole world painted on it very accurately,to try to make it disappear, I guess. It has new owners now & is just for decoration & would be sorely missed as a landmark for the city.

    • oh my god thank you SO much for clearing that up. it’s seriously been bugging me for over 4 years, now. i feel like i’ve been waiting to sneeze and have finally sneezed. god bless you, phyllis glover.

      • Denise says:

        That globe was used as a background in the movie, “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil”, along with my childhood friend, Natalie Hendrix, a TV personality on Savannah’s WSAV and ME-TV channels with her latest show, “The Southern Scene”.

  3. Tricia Vanderheyden says:

    Thanx for this interesting tour! Love the horse shirt & mani head (I need one) visit here next wk

  4. Billy says:

    Thanks for the tour, will check the stores out she I get there.

  5. Found this while looking up addresses for Thrift stores in Savannah. Love this blog!!!

  6. Del says:

    Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil made me want to visit Savannah for the eccentric people. This makes me want to visit Savannah for the stuff that once belonged to those eccentric people.

  7. Tami says:

    Love your blog!

    Found it while looking for secondhand bedside tables this morning. Maybe I need to get off the net and go check these places out in person!

    Thanks for sharing!!!

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