Is it the best thrift store around? No. Does it always yield something wonderful? Certainly not. Is it big? Nope. Do I like it? Yes.
When it comes to Salvation Army, sometimes proximity is what matters most. My local version of this classic charity shop (Toronto Central -- Wychwood) is smallish, relatively dingy, and like most thrifty places located in major city centres, often picked fairly clean of the very best items. You will always (ALWAYS) have better luck thrifting in a small town than you would in the Big Smoke. But nonetheless, I find this Sally Anne to be a fairly solid budget-friendly shopping alternative.
In my opinion, this location is strong in two ways and weak in one:
1. Strong: Furniture
They seem to get in an abundance of dressers, wardrobes and chairs. All could use a bit of spit and polish, but they get more solidly made pieces that old Ikea, which is always a good thing. And of course, like every SA, they sell brand new mattresses, boxsprings and metal frames at good prices.
2. Strong: Tableware
I don't know if it's because the neighbourhood just ins't as interested in entertaining as I am, but this Salvation Army always seems to have a pretty good selection of glasses and dishes of all sorts. I've found some really lovely pressed glass, plenty of milkglass and pyrex, and a variety of pretty mugs and bowls. Every trip yields a different selection, but different pieces are all very well organized by type and colour, which is nice.
3. Weak: Clothes
There are very few dresses, the denim selection is fairly awful, and few shoes are worth a second look. Purses are rarely in good enough condition to consider and there just aren't very many of anything. That said, I think kids' clothes are worth a peek if you have little ones, and I've had a bit of luck with shirt and jackets (stuff that doesn't necessarily have to fit perfectly, you see).
Anyway, shown below is just one furniture find I made at the Wychwood Salvation Army just last week. I didn't buy it, so it may still be available if you're in the neighbourhood.
Toronto ON M6C 1A7