Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Blue Hanger

If you like to go to garage sales then I think you will love the Blue Hanger. It's like a garage sale on steroids. In case you don't know the Blue Hanger is the outlet store for Goodwill in Austin. There are two locations; McNeil Road and Springdale Road. I have not had the courage to visit the Springdale location as it does not have AC and in the hot Austin summers I think that would be the death of me. There are tables and tables of cast off stuff. Some of it very nice and others that should have just been thrown away. I talked my husband into going and he actually liked it (although as we walked out he said "I really need to wash my hands" and this from a man that NEVER washes his hands).
One side of the giant warehouse space has tables and tables of clothes just dumped out onto them and the other side has tables of large items looking ready to topple off onto the ground and smaller items in blue totes. Once an hour or so the staff hauls some of the tables out and replaces them with new tables full of new stuff. That is fun to watch. You are not allowed to go down the "row" where the tables are being replaced so people line up watching the staff pull the tables out to see if there is anything they want to grab when they get the OK. Once the tables are in place there is a free for all with people rushing up to see if there is anything they want. Stuff literally goes flying. You will hear lots of stuff banging, breaking and crashing. There are kids everywhere playing with the toys. Kids on scooters, bikes and skateboards. It doesn't seem that anyone pays any attention to what their kids are doing. Often you will get hit by a small flying object, a kid on a bike or children running down the isles. Today I walked past a young woman that seemed to be somewhat mentally impaired. She tapped my arm and pointed to a couple of kids hanging on the doors that keep people from entering the actual warehouse. They were looking through the windows in the door hanging on by their fingertips. Without thinking I said "hey you need to get down off of there" and suddenly realized I was telling kids that didn't belong to me how to act. Boy I am a mom!
There are several types of people shopping at the Blue Hanger. Many of the shoppers will just grab anything they see, throw it into a basket and then go off into a corner to see if it is really worth taking home. Others pick carefully through piles of clothes to see if they can find anything nice. Some just dive into a bin and start throwing things aside in a effort to find something valuable. I am a "skimmer." I just look over the piles of stuff and if I see something interesting I will pull it out. I don't really like to pick too much of that stuff up. I have found some really nice baby clothes, coats, jeans etc. there. All clothing is $1.25 (probably will go up just like everything else though).
Today I got 2 bundles of fat quarters (brand new) and only paid $1.50 each (both were marked over $7.00 from the retail shop that sold them). I also got a cute wooden magazine rack ($1.50) and a picture frame that was marked $1.75 from Hobby Lobby (that was their sale price I paid $1.00 which might have been too much but it was cute).
So just like the trip to Sam's we made this a family thing. Mom, Ann, Leslie, Les, Emma and I went. Leslie got a really beautiful rug for $15 and it looked brand new. It is about 6ftx10ft, cream and rose. I am sure it was well over $300 new and there was nothing wrong with it. She also got 2 really HUGE balls (the kind covered in fabric like you would play with in the pool), a great porcelain like child's tea set, several skirts, 2 pairs of pants and MORE. Her damage was $37. I spent about the same (seems each time I go there that is what I spend) and got the magazine rack, about 2 yards of bright yellow fabric with flowers, 14 fat quarters, toy duck (too cute), lots of baby clothes and bibs, 2 baskets, 5 cloth diapers (brand new, whew), a pair of shorts, 2 hand embroidered pillow cases trimmed in crochet and a brand new picture frame. I have found lots of things with the tags on them. One of the baskets I got was hand made (had a tag saying so).
Of course the fun is not without pain. Aside from the kids running around like banshees there are random weird smells (like a box that smelled like vomit), all kinds of sticky stuff, tripping hazards and broken glass. You just have to be careful. Some people wear gloves, personally I don't like to dig down deep enough to wear gloves. And there are things that make you sad like a photo album full of pictures or a book inscribed "to Jennifer, happy Valentine's Day love Grandma and Grandpa." Who gives that stuff up?
So to sum it up, if you have a couple of hours to spend and don't mind digging through piles and piles of junk, it is well worth the trip to the Blue Hanger. >ôô<

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About Me

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I love to sew and that is about all I have to say about that. I am not creative but I can follow instructions so I love to re-create all sorts of things. If I am not spending time making "junk" I am hanging out with my family. I also love to take pictures. I will take hundreds of pictures at any event with the hope that I get best picture EVER! >ôô<