Vintage shopping
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TRAVELADE ORIGINAL31. May 2017

A Guide to Reykjavik's Thrift Stores

Here's a comprehensive guide to the thrift stores of Reykjavik including a review about each store.

This is actually my first article on shopping in Reykjavik. Shopping in Iceland is usually not a very budget-friendly activity and that might be the explanation for me being silent on the topic so far. 

Luckily for shopping-enthusiasts, there’s a large number of thrift stores in the Reykjavik area. These stores sell all kinds of stuff, ranging from household wares to rare gems of fashionable clothing and jewellery. 

Some of the thrift store featured in my article aren’t located in the city centre so they might not be within walking distance from wherever you are staying. Others are located in downtown Reykjavik, as you can see on the map.

A map of Reykjavik's thrift stores. 1. Hertex, Garðastræti 6
2. Hertex, Vínlandsleið 6-8
3. Samhjálp, Ármúli 11
4. Basarinn, Háleitisbraut 68
5. Góði hirðirinn (The Good Shepherd), Fellsmúli 28
6. Von & bjargir, Grensásvegur 14
7. Rauði krossinn, Laugavegur 12
8. Rauði krossinn, Skólavörðustígur 12
9. Rauði krossinn, Laugavegur 116
10. Rauði krossinn, Mjódd


Hertex

What do they sell?
Hertex’s focus is mainly on clothing and accessories. You’ll find both womenswear and menswear and even childrens’ apparel. Like most other thrift stores, Hertex relies on donations. This means that there are all kinds of clothes, depending on who donated them. My most recent buy is an Aquascutum woolen cardigan that cost me around 20 usd (I got that in the store in Garðastræti, downtown Reykjavik).

Hertex used to be the thrift store I visited most often when I was a teenager, I guess it was because they have always been very cheap. 

On first impression, the shop looks really small but it actually has a spacious basement full of clothes on racks. Like most other thrift stores, you have to count on luck if you are to do any good shopping. Sometimes I walk out of there with bags full of stylish clothes but I have to admit that trying on a ton of clothes without buying anything is a frequent event. 

How are the prices?
Hertex is cheap. They don’t price designer items higher than other clothes, so you might get lucky. The average price for one garment is around 10 usd.

What am I supporting?
Hertex is run by the Salvation Army. By doing business with Hertex, you are supporting the Icelandic branch of the Salvation Army.

Opening hours
Monday to Friday: 11 am to 6 pm.
Saturdays: The store in Garðastræti is closed but the one in Vínlandsleið is open from 12 to 17 pm.

 

The Hertex thrift store in Garðastræti. The Hertex store in Garðastræti. 

White clothes on a rack – Hertex, Garðastræti. White clothes on a rack – Hertex, Garðastræti. 

A very retro red and white polka dot dress in the cellar of Hertex, Garðastræti. A very retro dress in the cellar of Hertex, Garðastræti. 

Vintage menswear at Hertex, Garðastræti. Vintage menswear at Hertex, Garðastræti. 

Vintage menswear at Hertex, Garðastræti. Another glimpse of the menswear section. 

Vintage objects on a shelf in the Hertex thrift store, down town Reyjavik. These beautiful objects cost from 5 to 14 dollars each. 

A metal bracelet. I fell in love with this gorgeous bracelet I found in Hertex, Garðastræti. It could have been mine for only 7 dollars. 

Handknit socks. Handknit socks. 

Pink vintage womenswear on a rack at the Hertex thrift store. Pink vintage. 

Colourful neckties at Hertex. A G-clef patterned necktie. 

 

Samhjálp nytjamarkaður

What do they sell?
Clothing, shoes, household wares, jewellery, toys, art. If you are lucky, you might find both designer clothes and collector’s items. 

The Samhjálp thrift store is surprisingly nice. The store is tidy and just like in Hertex, all the garments are placed on the racks by color. Samhjálp is one of the cheapest thrift stores in Reykjavik. I bought an elegant snakeskin-print blouse for only 800 isk (7 usd) and there were hiking boots there in good condition for 2500 isk (around 25 usd).

The majority of the goods you'll find in Samhjálp are clothes – womenswear, menswear and childrens’ apparel. There were some other goods there too, for instance they had a large selection of jewellery, all under 5 dollars a piece.

How are the prices?
Very low! I didn't find a single thing that cost more than 3000 isk (around 30 usd). You could probably buy five full bags of clothes from Samhjálp for less than 100 dollars. 

What am I supporting?
Samhjálp is a non-profit organization, established in 1973. Its aim is to run rehabilitation centres for substance abusers and alcoholics and provide help for people who have lost their way in life. 

Opening hours
Monday to Friday: 11 am to 6 pm
Saturdays: 12 am to 3 pm

 

Vintage blazers on a rack. These vintage blazers cost around 10 dollars each – Samhjálp, nytjamarkaður. 

White clothes hanging on a rack. The clothes on the racks are color coded. This is the black and white rack. 

A lime-green chiffon shirt.This lime-green chiffon shirt cost around 5 usd. 

Second-hand hiking boots. Do you need hiking boots? These are probably the cheapest in town. 

A price tag hanging from a black and white second-hand tweed blazer. Amazing prices (and some recycled price tags, I'm assuming)!

Vases in a window sill. A grey car outside. The orange vase is 300 isk (2,5 usd). 

A woman with a camera in a mirror. My new shirt!

Various necklaces for sale at a thrift store. There's an impressive selection of jewellery at the Samhjálp thrift store. 

Basarinn

What do they sell?
At Basarinn, you can expect to find books, CD’s, clothing, art, toys, kitchen supplies, household wares and other goods. The book section is very large and I even found some board games last time I visited. It is also possible to buy some handcrafted jewellery from Kenya at Basarinn. 

How are the prices?
Pretty low. I'd say the average price for a piece of clothing is around 10 usd. 

What am I supporting?
Basarinn is run by the Icelandic Missionary Alliance. 

Opening hours
Monday to Friday: 11 am to 6 pm
Saturdays: 12 to 4 pm.

White coffee cups stacked on display. Pretty nice coffee cups, the price for one is 250 isk (a little more than 2 usd). 

Book shelves in a thrift store in Reykjavik. A small fraction of the book section at Basarinn. 

Men's suits hanging on racks in a thrift store in Reykjavik. All men's suits are 5000 isk, a little less than 50 usd. 

Colourful hand crafted jewellery from Kenya pinned on a cork-board. Hand crafted jewellery from Kenya. 

A two-faced sculpture and two owls at a thrift store in Reykjavik. A two-faced sculpture and two owls. 

Asian vases. Asian vases. 

Vintage outerwear. Vintage outerwear. 

Brown second-hand hiking boots. Sturdy leather hiking boots for less than 20 usd. 

 

Góði hirðirinn

What do they sell?
You can expect to find pretty much everything in Góði hirðirinn; Household goods, furniture, electronics, books, antiques, textiles, to name a few examples. I’ve bought some very nice things at a bargain price in this particular store over the years. For instance I bought a very elegant mid-century teak sidebar for around 30 usd and I also got some very cool horse-shaped bookstoppers there few years ago.

There is usually a crowd of people waiting outside Góði hirðirinn before it opens, at 12 o’clock every weekday. My guess is that they are collectors, trying to get their hands on some rare gems before someone else does. 

How is the price?
Well, I can state that Góði hirðirinn used to be cheaper than it is today. Beautiful collector’s items, such as teak furniture and crystal tableware were frequently available for a low price, just like the teak sidebar I bought a few years back. This has changed a bit; now the antiques and collector’s items are put aside in one corner of the store and the price-tags over there show higher prices than in the rest of the store.

Mid-century furniture have been trending for the past few years so these items (especially if they are made from rare types of wood, such as teak or palisander) tend to be quite expensive. 

If the furniture are in bad shape, the price you have to pay for them is usually very low. If you are a good craftsman, you might be able to renovate these furniture according to your own taste. 

What am I supporting?
Góði hirðirinn is a non-profit organization that donates to various charities twice a year. 

Opening hours
Monday to Friday: 12 to 6 pm. 
Saturdays: 12 to 4 pm.

 

At Góði hirðirinn, thrift store. It's always kind of chaotic in Góði hirðirinn, especially right after opening. 

An orange sixties retro sofa at Góði hirðirinn, thrift store. This retro sofa cost only 45 usd. 

A brass napkin holder. At Góði hirðirinn, thrift store. A fabulous napkin holder. 

At Góði hirðirinn, thrift store. A "fish dish". I actually think it's kinda cool. 

Novels by Kurt Vonnegut. At Góði hirðirinn, thrift store. Somebody donated his or her Kurt Vonnegut collection. Each book costs less than 3 dollars. 

An antique piano. The prices at Góði hirðirinn are sometimes random: The set price for this antique piano is 4.500 usd!

 

Von & bjargir

What do they sell?

Von & bjargir opened last year and I will frankly admit that I hadn’t heard of it until I started doing research for this story. I had a hard time finding it too, the entrance is not facing Grensásvegur so you have to drive in between two blocks of houses until you reach a parking lot. By then you should see the entrance of the store. 

When I arrived at the store, I instantly felt like I wasn’t welcome. There were no other customers at the store and for a second I thought I was in some random warehouse instead of a store. I asked two guys that were working in an office in the back of the store whether it was ok if I would take some pictures. “No, you cannot!,” was the answer I got but I managed to convince them that photographing their store was actually in their interest. 

Von & bjargir is a large thrift store and you kind of feel like you are inside of a maze, walking from one room to another. You’ll find everything under the sun at Von & bjargir, from bikes to huge toy horses. The store is extremely chaotic so it might be kind of hard to find the hidden gems you're looking for.

How are the prices?
Well, it's not as cheap as Góði hirðirinn, which is also a thrift store focussing on furniture and household goods. For instance, they were trying to sell the toy horse I mentioned for 200 dollars! A second hand bike cost up to 500 usd, which I think is pretty expensive. 

What am I supporting?
Honestly I'm not sure. The only thing I found about this non-governmental organization was a Facebook page. According to information I found there, Von & bjargir is a charity that "helps those who are wounded and in need". 
 

A second hand bike hanging from the ceiling at a Reykjavik thrift store. A second hand bike. 

An organ, an african mask and some paintings. An organ. And lots of other stuff. 

An Icelandic painting called "Drottinn blessi heimilid". This piece of art used to be found in every home in Iceland.

Stacks of second-hand books at a Reykjavik thrift store. You'll find tons of books at Von & bjargir. 

A stuffed pony. The 200 dollar pony 😱

Second-hand clothing, chaotically displayed. I didn't have the patience to look for nice clothes at Von & bjargir. Just too much chaos.

Random objects and a parking traffic sign on display at a thrift store. What a display!

 

Rauði krossinn (The Red Cross)

What do they sell?
The thrift stores run by the Red Cross focus on clothes, accessories and jewellery. There are three stores, all located in the city centre.

The one in Laugavegur 12 is quite small but has a good selection of shoes and woolen sweaters. The one located in Skólavörðustígur is the most recent one. This one is probably the most glamorous thrift store you’ll find in Reykjavik city. You might be able to find some designer items in this particular store along with some quality vintage clothing. The Red Cross store in Laugavegur 116 is quite big and recently renovated. I haven’t been to the one located in Mjódd for a while but when I did go there some years back I bought a very elegant blouse. 

It's safe to say that The Red Cross stores look way more chic than your average thrift store. I’m pretty sure that they teamed up with some talented marketing people and designers to shape the concept of the stores, you’ll probably agree with me when you pay a visit to one of them. 

I spoke with the saleswoman at the store in Skólavörðustígur and she informed me that the staff of the Red Cross stores carefully select each item that is going to be sold in the stores. If a garment is worn out or stained, it’s not sold at all. I actually think that the Red Cross stores are the safest bet if you really want to find a nice piece of clothing at a thrift store. 

How are the prices?
More expensive then the other thrift stores I've mentioned in this article. A second hand Icelandic woolen sweater can be bought for around 100 usd, a pair of shoes is around 20 usd and other garments may cost up to 50 usd. 

What am I supporting?
The Red Cross. 

Opening hours
Monday to Friday: 10 am to 6 pm. 
Saturdays: 12 to 4 pm.

 

The facade of Raudi Krossinn thrift store. The Red Cross store, Laugavegur 116 (next to Hlemmur Bus Station). 

Inside the Red Cross store in Laugavegur 116. Inside the store in Laugavegur 116. 

A hashtag on the mirror in the changing room in the Laugavegur 116 location. A woman in a mirror, wearing a patterned dress. A hashtag on the mirror in the changing room in the Laugavegur 116 location. 

Jackets on a rack in Raudi Krossinn thrift store. It says on the sign that by buying one children's jacket, the Red Cross could provide healthcare for one individual. 

The Red Cross store in Laugavegur 12. The Red Cross store in Laugavegur 12. 

Wool sweaters hanging on a rack. There's a large selection of authentic Icelandic wool sweaters at the Laugavegur 12 store. 

A Rauði Krossinn thrift store at Skolavordustigur, downtown Reykjavik. The most recent Red Cross store, Skólavörðustígur 12. 

Thrift stores, second hand, vintage, Reykjavik, Iceland, Red CrossThe counter at the Skólavörðustígur 12 store. 

A pair of shoes on display at the Red Cross thrift store, Skolavordustigur. The interior of the Skólavörðustígur 12 store. 

A floral shirt. A floral shirt I found at a Red Cross store. Cost me under 15 usd. 

A pair of vintage Dior stilettos. Dior pumps for 34 usd. 

Red Cross store, Reykjavik. At the Red Cross store, Skólavörðustígur 12.