The top 5 thrift stores in town
Furnish your room on a dime
We went to five different thrift stores to look for a couch, dishes, cutlery, and a wardrobe. And remember: you break it, you buy it.
Located at the Ulgersmaweg, thrift store What’s In consists of just a single room, which looks a little empty because of the way it’s set up. The store is divided into two sections: the largest section has thrift store items which are cheap, and a second, smaller, section sells vintage collectibles. Here, you’ll find a spinning wheel and a typewriter, as well as a large assortment of small clocks.
The thrift store part has a lot of couches to choose from. Many of them are sets consisting of a large two-seater and a comfy chair, for about seventy euro. What’s In also has a few wardrobes and delivers your purchases for only 12.50.
They also have a surprisingly broad range of fitness equipment. Does anyone need a rowing machine?
After a quick search, we find the smaller items we are looking for; cutlery is neatly sorted in baskets, and the plates have been nicely arranged.
The Ulgersmaweg is approximately a ten-minute bike ride from the Academy building. It’s certainly worth the trip, since there’s another thrift shop on the same street.
Like What’s In, Fairback is located at the Ulgersmaweg. When you buy something here, you’re also supporting charity. The thrift store is located in a large industrial building and makes use of every square centimetre. Management plays cheesy music. The first thing you see when you walk in are shelves packed full of random items: there are plenty of plates, pots, and glasses to choose from.
Farther back you can find clothes, tables, chairs, and wardrobes. There’s also a billiards table for only fifty euro, cues and balls included. Get your roommates to chip in and stage a tournament in the living room.
Next to the billiards table is a small school desk with a white Formica top. The tag says ‘vintage’ in all caps and wants you to pay fifty euro, even though the tabletop is damaged.
A little farther along you’ll find the couches and comfy chairs. There are plenty varieties to choose from. Do you prefer leather, or fabric? Would you like a cute little love seat, or a large corner sofa? The couches all cost around fifty euro, but you have to inspect the merchandise closely. Many of the chairs and couches are damaged or dirty. Anything that’s in perfect condition will cost you more.
If you do find something to your liking, Fairback will deliver it to the ground floor of your house for 7.50.
Vintage Industry is located next to What’s In. They don’t actually sell much furniture, but it’s a great store to browse. They have a wide variety of objects: art pieces, old school chairs, a surgical lamp, toy cars. They also have Formica tables. Army fans can go nuts rifling through the large assortment of military pieces on offer.
Be warned, though: don’t walk through the aisles if you’re wearing a large backpack. Everything is packed really close together; it would be easy to knock something over.
Vintage Industry tends to be on the more expensive side, but anything you buy will be unique. Unfortunately, their opening hours are limited: Thursday to Saturday, from noon to five o’clock. If you have time, drop by and browse to your heart’s content.
You’ll find GoudGoed at the Damsterdiep. The store is large and spacious, plays pop music, and has just about everything you need. Not only will you find furniture, books, and clothing, but you can also pay a visit to the barber. They even have a print shop! Grab some coffee from the machine in the back before you stroll around the store.
The first thing you see when you walk in are the couches. They’re set up around the available coffee tables in groups of three and four, making the space feel like a giant living room. The couches are in good condition; they have no scratches or other visible damage. The quality is reflected in the price: a large two-seater will cost you around seventy euro.
If ordinary couches aren’t your thing, you could always try the massage table that’s for sale. If you’re an artist, there’s an artist’s table that’s only forty bucks. GoudGoed doesn’t have a lot of wardrobes but for 12.50 you can take a Billy bookshelf home.
There’s also a bargain section with discount furniture. Only some of it is damaged – the rest is in good condition. Bargain couches are only about twenty or thirty euro.
Once you’ve found a suitable couch, all you have to do is figure out how to get it home. GoudGoed will deliver it to your house in Groningen for 12.50. They only deliver to the ground floor, so you’ll have to lug it up the stairs yourself.
A few doors down from GoudGoed you’ll find one of the three Mamamini stores in town. The store is well laid out: furniture on the ground floor, clothing and smaller things like plates and cups on the first floor. The radio is on and you can browse for as long as you want.
A fine couch will cost you around forty euro. The only caveat is that it might not always be in the greatest condition. The (fake) leather might have some scratches; the fabric upholstery might be a little damaged. Mamamini delivers your furniture anywhere in the city for 15 euro. There are plenty of nice wardrobes in good condition.
But that’s not all: you might just find a Van Gogh picture or hear someone play some Beethoven on the piano in the store. In the snow globe section, you can dream of faraway places. Why book a ticket to Crete when a few bucks buys you a globe to shake?
Small plates are twenty-five cents. They are sold separately, but you can often put a set together if you hunt long enough. If you’re in need of cutlery, though, best to look elsewhere.