Sunday, June 13, 2010

Salvation Army finds

Chairs that can be given a new lease of life
Wedding dresses
Bridesmaid dresses
Ornate Chinese Vases
Wood carvings of Oriental beauties

The Salvation Army has a number of thrift stores all around Singapore. Unwanted stuff donated by Singaporeans (especially after festive spring cleaning or before house moving) lands up at these thrift stores. It makes good business sense, judging by the fact that the Salvation Army raises over a million dollars each year for their social and community services just through collecting and selling . As they say, one man's junk is another man's treasure.
As I 've always wanted to visit a Salvation Army thrift store, I jumped at the chance just a week ago as I was passing by the branch at Upper Serangoon.

It was quite a large building situated just opposite the yet to open Woodleigh MRT station with two floors and a number of rooms. The sign outside each room was methodically labelled - clothes, shoes, bags, toys, books, vases and paintings, kitchenware and even house plants. They had a wonderful collection of old furniture and the Salvation Army certainly know the value of some of these furniture. A fifties teakwood wardrobe that came traditionally with a drawer for stashing jewellery and money ( my mum has one ) costs $800. These kinds of solid teakwood wardrobes could certainly outlast any furniture made today as no plywood is used for any of its parts. My mum once employed a part time maid who unfortunately stole and we could tell that she tried her best to pry open the drawer with probably pliers, a hammer and a chisel but apart from some dents left around it, the sturdy drawer refused to budge. That 's how well made these wardrobes were .

And someone actually donated a beautiful exquisite mirror piece with carvings that are usually placed on top of a dressing table or a chest of drawers. It was all nicely wrapped in plastic, ready to be delivered to the happy new owner. And amidst the more ordinary furniture, there were also gems like a set of classic Chinese furniture with mother of pearl inlay and a dining table with beautiful classic teak chairs costing only $250 for a set. If I could buy furniture all over again, I would love to restore some of these in terms of varnishing, repainting and refurbishing with nice fabrics. Recycling is the way to go today and tomorrow.

As for clothes, there were racks and racks of them which I did not go through but what stood out for me were the wedding gowns and bridesmaid dresses which seem quite suitable for a theme party or even Halloween. And in another room, shelves of the most colourful Chinese vases. If one took the time, you could probably find one that was should I say..... less ornate . The same room housed a number of wood carvings of oriental Chinese beauties which were actually quite beautiful and probably valuable (it was priced at $169 per piece) beneath that layer of dust. I was deciding whether I should get an old oil painting of Moulin Rouge in France for $30 but decided against it as the painting was quite large and the frame was crumbling.
Looking for treasures amidst the junk is really quite fun and money spent here goes to charity as well ! I may come back for the chairs one day just to have a hand at refurbishing it.

Here is a list of Salvation Army thrift stores around Singapore

Upper Serangoon Family Store
Address: 309 Upper Serangoon Road Singapore 347693
Operating hours: 10.00am - 6.00pm, Mon - Sat

Praisehaven Family Store
Address: 500 Upper Bukit Timah Road Singapore 678106
Operating hours: 10.00am - 6.00pm, Mon - Thu
10.00am - 9.00pm, Fri - Sat

Hope Centre
Address: 7 Upper Changi Road North Singapore 507705
Operating hours: 9.00am to 6.00pm, Mon - Sat

Bukit Merah FTS
Address: Blk 133 Jln Bukit Merah #01-1530 Singapore 160133
Operating hours: 9.00am - 6.00pm, Mon - Sat

IMH Pick & Choose Thrift Store
Address: 10 Buangkok View Singapore 539747
Operating hours: 9.00am - 5.00pm

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