Tucked away under the parish house of St Alban’s church, at the gateway to the National Cathedral, is a wee shop that sometimes affords big surprises. Since 1955, when the residents of this tiny neighborhood of NW clean out their closets, this is where the donation pile lands. The racks are dense with clothing, shelves lined with bric-a-brac, but perseverance can pay off big. You might score a full-length fur, a set of Waterford champagne flutes, an only slightly moth-nibbled Burberry scarf, or a past-season pair of Louboutins.
The display cases hold the more valuable items and a raft of costume jewelry the likes of which I haven’t seen since playing dress-up in my grandmother’s closet. If, sadly, you find nothing on your wish list, there’s no need to leave empty-handed, for there are shelves of lightly used books which sell for $3 a hardcover, 75 cents a paperback. I’m filling all my bookshelves, Agatha Christie by Mark Twain and Harper Lee. Look for seasonal sales, where everything is half off. You can feel good about shopping here, too, for not only are you sustainably upcycling, but the proceeds (over $300,000 last year) go to charity.