I love acrononyms, don’t you?
They make our life so much easier. They abbreviate our speech so it is not bogged down with long unnecessary explanations and redundancies.
“Kids, I am off to Schoolhouse Community Reuse Action Project. Want anything?”
Let’s try it in a post-acronym world. “Kids, I am off to SCRAP. Want anything?”
Apparently even SCRAP has dropped the words behind the original acronym and go exclusively now by the shorter moniker, and if you haven’t been there before, it’s a beaut.
SCRAP is a smorgasbord of new and used items and supplies for infinite uses. Like any kind of thrift store, this non-profit has a constantly rotating selection of goods for sale, but there are always certain categories that are fairly well-represented: fabric and sewing notions, office supplies, paper products, party goods, wrapping paper, art supplies like pens and paints and chalks, etc., plus lots of doodads, surplus items, and odds and ends.
Vintage cards and maps, unused paper products from a discontinued food packaging line, empty tins — you name it and if somebody somewhere on earth can think of something crafty to make out of it/with it, it has probably sold here.
All prices are dirt cheap — their website claims they aim to sell stuff at one-quarter of retail prices, and that they have salvaged about 150 tons of goods that would have otherwise have gone to a landfill. Now that’s something.
I usually pop in here every couple weeks when I am feeling crafty or my kids are in need of some kind of supply for a school project and I see if I can snag it here first. Over the years, I’ve also personally donated well over 100 pounds of similar goods (odd stationary, gift wrap surplus, excess fabric, etc) and I am so happy to know that someone scored a bargain with my things instead of it rotting somewhere amidst unusable garbage.
Bringing kids here is a hoot — many a time I have ended up with a gaggle of kids at my house and instead of having them wreck my clean house I take them there to browse. I tell them that they can each spend a couple dollars as long as they tell me how they’ll re-use it or incorporate it into a new project. (For those who like their art supplies curated, they carry fun little bundle packs of like-minded/colored supplies, ready to go. )
I let their imaginations run wild as they wander through the aisles. Afterwards, it’s hilarious to watch them advocate for their purchases and try to explain their vision for whatever odd item they have picked up. No matter how many kids I have with me (my record is 6 at one time), I never seem to spend more than ten dollars for all of us and it is ridiculous how excited kids can get about being given free reign to buy and daydream art projects.
And one thing I too have learned is that apparently no one under 13 is capable of passing up a bag of google eyes and there are nearly infinite suggested uses for such.
Here is what I scored on my last visit there. I was sans kids, and I had time to look at everything. I didn’t get a lot, but I love what I did end up with: almost 200 of those very crisp, non-wrinkly plastic bags (used by jewelers and such, I pack snacks in them and love their fold-over seal, only a dollar here for all of them and they would have been about $10 or more retail), retro- looking contact paper for Valentine Mason Jars lids, brand new highlighters (my kids are always losing them), and an adorable vintage birthday card for a dear friend whose birthday I just missed (card was unused and in perfect condition). My cost for all this? $1.95. How cool is that?
Next time you go, be sure to check out the room in which local artists have picked up supplies from here and re-purposed into something different, better. Everytime I go here I walk away speechless at how creative people can be. Who would think you could make a retro-looking wall hanging out of old CD’s –and one that looks so nice that you could get all kinds of compliments on such? Also be sure to check out the bathroom in the back — I found this sign right over the sink alongside the fabric towels for handwashing.
I understand that there are now several of SCRAP stores around the country (including DC and LA) but Portland’s was the first one.
No big surprise there — PDX is Ground Zero for crafty, thrifty, DIY goodness.