Thursday, August 21, 2014

Glorious Bargains: Poppin' Tags in Southwest City.

Here’s a post for all you budget-conscious folks out there: first time apartment renters, college students pinching pennies, recently divorced dads and of course, hipsters. We’ve all gone through tight times, and sometimes there’s not money for everything. So I’m going to share with you the secrets of Southwest City… the old Geyer Springs area of Little Rock. That’s right, we’re going thrift shopping.
Got twenny dollaz in my pocket.

I've been checking out these places over the past couple of decades, and they're the four places I'll start with on any Wednesday thrifting trip. There are plenty more where that came from.

Let's get started. Cue Macklemore – wait, this is a friendly, safe blog. Cue these folks.

All right, the soundtrack is set. Let’s head to four destinations where you can find everything you need for a cool pad. All it takes is a little elbow grease and twenty dollars or so in your pocket.

*Note – For this exercise, I recommend the following: water, sweatband, clothes you don’t mind getting dirty in, a pickup truck, allergy medications (if you need them), an open mind. Also – most of these places aren’t air conditioned.

The challenge: like the song says, I got $20 in my pocket. This is freaking awesome.

Bargain den #1: Arkansas State Surplus

Open only on Wednesdays, this is the place where agencies around the state of Arkansas send their used stuff when they’re done using it. Items vary regularly. What you can always count on – there will be desks and chairs and file cabinets. Whatever else is fair game.

$20 item: 
Wooden storage lockers, vintage with lift-out shelf. Crafty much? These would be perfect for whatever crazy project you’re preparing to start.

Real steal: 
Five dollar six-foot-long.
This $5 couch. No, I’m not joking, it’s a five dollar couch. You know how quick that’d have made it into my college hovel, er, apartment? Don’t laugh, I grew up in a time where those big electrical line spools were acceptable dining tables.

What the heck is this chair for? No, don’t tell me.

Also, creepy CPR dummies.

I'm not so bothered by his weird grin as I am the fact that his lip has
apparently been stitched.
Chairs everywhere.
Also, chairs.
Details: Arkansas State Marketing and Redistribution is open to the public only on Wednesdays from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The first Wednesday of the month, there’s also an auction. Sometimes auctions other
Vehicles, boats, tanker trucks - State Surplus has 'em.
Wednesdays. Some items appear for bid online here: Items must be picked up by 3 p.m. the next day. The guys will load your vehicle.

6620 Young Rd, Little Rock, AR 72209 * (501) 565-8645 *

Bargain den #2: Goodwill Clearance Center

Forget buying by the item. At Goodwill’s Clearance Center, items are purchased BY THE POUND. For $1.39 a pound, you can take all the clothing, books, toys, home items and linens you can carry. Mind you, these haven’t been washed or cleaned in any way, just sorted. The “good stuff” goes to Goodwill Retail Stores. However, if you’re willing to put your purchases through the dishwasher or laundry when you get home, you’re probably going to do fine.

$20 item: 
It took me about an hour to determine what I’d take home (we have a no crap arrangement at my house) but I finally came up with these items. My basket included a Capture Arkansas book in excellent condition, a copy of a Star Wars: Clone Wars kids book for Hunter, a Magnolia, AR church cookbook, a Styrofoam head, six matching Martha Stewart napkins in great condition, a 108” by 54” dusty pink tablecloth with ten matching napkins, a square green tablecloth with eight matching napkins, a Queen cream flannel sheet, two medieval-esque Halloween costumes, a Rarity Equestria Girls doll with no clothes on, a long red chiffon scarf, a purple knitted scarf and a white apron.

Real steal: The six Martha Stewart matching napkins weighed a grand total of six ounces, which puts their sale price at Goodwill Clearance Center at a whopping 52 cents.

I must admit, I don’t keep up with fashion, but lingerie made from upholstery fabric seems counterintuitive.

Pinocchio was nosey?  Damn straight he was!
Details: Goodwill Clearance Center is open Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. I was told by a woman who called herself a regular (!) that it’s best to go earlier rather than later – the last outsorted bin is put on the floor around 3 p.m. You can also go to and bid on sorted items… such as 29 pounds of Legos. I kid you not.
7400 Scott Hamilton Road Little Rock, AR 72209 * (501)372-5100 *

Bargain den #3: Habitat for Humanity ReStore

Located in the former Cliff Peck Chevrolet dealership on South University, this place goes on and on and on. I’ve
been to other ReStores and this one takes the cake – combining the crazy stuff you’d find in a Savers or Goodwill with home improvement items. The deals can be significant, especially if you’re searching for ways to upgrade your domicile.

$20 item:
Working TV sets. Okay, that’s not weird, except there were maybe a dozen there, all in working order and all plugged in, showing The Weather Channel.

Real steal: 2450 ceramic tiles for $400. That’s about 17 cents apiece. Three pallets. DAAAANG.


Want some wool? This big box of wool, fur and leather scraps is in the carpet room for $4 a piece. All my re-enactor friends are now looking for their car keys.

Look at all that stuff!
Bonus soundtrack:  This will probably be in your head now when you go in.

Details: Habitat ReStore is open Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can learn more about Habitat for Humanity’s mission at
6700 S University Ave, Little Rock, AR 72209 * (501) 771-9494 *

Bargain den #4: Carrie’s

Unlike our other stops, Carrie’s is an old fashioned flea market/consignment shop. Opened in 1991, it’s become my favorite Little
Rock stop for crazy stuff and decent stuff, too. I have furniture from the place, and antiques, and jewelry, and scarves. It’s very random. It’s also very clean and the air conditioning works, and there are buggies and if you get thirsty there are beverages for sale up front.

$20 item: 
This Exit emergency sign. There are more random things, but this one was exactly $20. I almost went with the stuffed four foot long Weinermobile, but it was a little more.

Real steal: 
Massive $20 cases of toilet paper. Hey, if you’re reading this article because you’re needing to furnish an apartment on a budget, this is the sort of stuff you’re actually going to need.

This kitchen set… I don’t even.

Details: Carrie’s is open Monday through Thursday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and 1-6 p.m. Sundays.
8717 Geyer Springs Rd, Little Rock, AR 72209 * (501) 562-8088

Check out more photos from my August thrift shopping expedition in this album on Facebook.

For more suggestions and your general questions, feel free to Tweet me @TieDyeTravels.


  1. I HAD THAT CHIPMUNK PUNK ALBUM!!!! Every time a song comes on the radio that this album "covered," I tell the husband, "I learned this from the Chipmunks first." Hooray for the 80s!

  2. Some new places for my to check—woo hoo! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Wow! Thanks for all the pointers! I love flea marketing but I seldom stray from the flea markets in Benton and Bryant because I just really didn't know which places to hit in Little Rock. Great post!
    Amy @

  4. Veerryyy Interesting, Kat. I never even knew any of those places were there! Thanks for sharing your finds.

  5. Love a thrift shop! You definitely found some treasures.

  6. Thanks from the employees of Carries Flea Market....Hopefully this will bring in more customers....

  7. Anyone have old road signs?


Be kind.