Do you love Value Village as much as I do? I couldn't help but make it the first store visit for my new series CRAFToronto where I'll be sharing what I've learned about art, craft, and party shopping in Toronto.
One of the best (and sometimes worst) things about Value Village is that you never know what you're going to find. You literally can't count on anything for sure, even things you've seen there every other visit. Not only does the selection change day by day, but I've found that the variety in different locations can vary quite a bit as well. For this post, I visited the Value Village near Bloor and Lansdowne which I've been told is one of the best stores in the city. After checking it out a couple times, I agree that the turnover there is quick, but the location near Victoria Park and Finch has a better glassware department (which is where I always dart to). Get to know the different locations in your area - likely each one will have better or worse departments.
You can almost always find glass mason jars at Value Village. I like looking at the jars here because if you want to mix and match for a more interesting look, you aren't forced into buying a huge group of identical jars like at department stores. You can also find unusual sizes and some gorgeous vintage jars as well. If you do want a huge group of identical jars, don't expect that at Value Village - go to a department/hardware/grocery store and buy a tray there (the price per jar will likely be better too).
Another one of the fun sections in Value Village is the miscellaneous housewares wall. It can be overwhelming at first, but if you have a bit of time of your hands you're almost guaranteed to find a treasure. Because the items are grouped in plastic bags, you might end up buying something you don't want to get the thing you do - I found a box of used tea lights grouped with a pricey scented candle I'd seen in store a few months back, all for $1.99. You can sometimes find craft supplies too - like the candle wax pictured above, fake flowers, candles, party supplies, paper supplies, knick knacks, sewing notions … you never really know.
Value Village also has a section of table linens, which (like everything else) can be hit or miss. Before buying anything, check carefully for stains or tears. If you're looking for vintage fabric, you can also look in the bed linens section for sheets with unique designs. Keep in mind that most fabric items have that uniquely Value Village perfumey smell, so if that isn't something you want to deal with then stay away from the fabric items. (I've almost always been able to get the smell to go away after a few washes though.)
Some Value Villages even have a small craft section. In my experience it's usually made up of yarn, outdated sewing patterns, and knitting needles. Once I did get really lucky and score a linocut carving tool for just a few bucks though, so I always check it out just in case.
I hope this first CRAFToronto post has been helpful! If you have any questions or comments about it, I'd love for you to comment below! And what have been your best art, craft, and party finds at Value Village?