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Best Thrift Store 

Goodwill Industries

You can take your pick of loads of new and used furniture at Goodwill. Go on Friday afternoon right after Target makes its weekly delivery. You can find new trendy desks, bookshelves and patio furniture for 75 percent off Target's price. Plus, Goodwill has plenty of used, but clean, couches, chairs, dressers and tables for less than 50 bucks. Check out the entire aisle of dishes -- some are pretty cute. You can eat off them or break them into a million pieces and make a mosaic atop a cheap used coffee table. While you're at it, check out the clothing selection -- the clothing racks at Goodwill tell many tales. A '90s power suit speaks of closed-door meetings and carpeted offices. The green minidress whispers about wild parties. And what's up with the Victoria's Secret red camisole and matching garters? An unappreciated gift from a spurned lover? Discovered in a philandering husband's shirt drawer and thrown out along with him? While most of the merchandise here is mundane -- average knock-around clothes, casual jeans and shirts -- there are treasures to be found. A cashmere sweater hiding between the polyester V-necks just happens to match the suede boots displayed nonchalantly next to the foot-worn sandals and scuffed Keds. If you're browsing for kids' gear, you hit the jackpot more frequently: Most of the children's duds are fairly new, stylish and in good shape. The atmosphere is fluorescent lights and beige walls, the smell is Febreze. Of the many local Goodwill stores -- each one an adventure in its own right -- the Forest Park flagship store comes out on top for breadth of stock. But are you brave enough to take a chance on previously owned lingerie?

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