Over the last year and a half I’ve spent a decent amount of time wandering around thrift stores & yard sales. With a goal of only buying new when necessary, I have looked to these secondhand venues to supply me with what I’m looking for. Fact is, its amazing how easy it is to find things used. It has actually been quite eye opening to see things I’d once bought new in the past but could have saved myself a whooole lot of money (along with the obvious wasted resources issue) had I just tried to locate it used first. Especially since most of these things didn’t have to be new to get the job done! That’s why I’ve compiled a list of the top things one should never buy new to let you in on the big awesome secret that is the secondhand market. 🙂
There are already so many clothes out in the world, why not create the demand for one less thing and instead buy something you’ll love just as much from your local thrift store. There are many secondhand options for clothes whether it be local shops or online stores such as ThredUp, Poshmark & heck even eBay! Since breaking my closet fast back in May I’ve been having a field day looking for clothes secondhand. I’ve found so many cute updates to my wardrobe consisting of mostly name brand, all gently used and costly me less than $8 a piece!
Kids clothes should be a no brainer, particularly since most kids grow out of stuff before they are worn out. With the exception of a few pieces that were gifts and one I bought when she was very little, all of my toddlers clothes are either hand-me-downs or purchased from secondhand stores. Got a friend with a child older than yours? Offer to take their outgrown clothes if they no longer want them! They may love knowing that a friend is taking them off their hands rather than just donating and hoping they find a new home.
Just as with clothes, kids evolve so rapidly that toys only last for a certain period of time in their development before they outgrow them. This goes for most things baby equipment related: Bouncy seats, exersaucers, walkers, Bumbo seats, high chairs, strollers, baby baths…the list could go on and on. Yard sales are a great place to find kids stuff cheap because often its parents who are officially done with having whatever it is they are selling in their house and just want it gone (particularly toys & clothes). Secondhand stores, like Once Upon A Child, are also great as there is no shortage of toys or equipment in their arsenal and they are open daily year round. I bought one of those activity centers there for like $20 when it would have cost like $50 new. Goodwill also has its fair share of variety as I managed to find a good quality sled there for less than $10.
Toys aren’t limited to the wee babes either. I’ve seen many a bike at yard sales and thats how we found our Thule hitch bike rack for just $20 recently!
Why buy a big expensive piece of cheaply made big box furniture when you can buy a piece costing less or equal to but with more character and higher quality? Even if you simply bought a cheapish piece of furniture previously used and then flipped it, you’d probably still be ahead! I’m always seeing side tables, chairs, desks, bookshelves, dressers, bed frames and more at yard sales and thrift stores. My mom just recently bought an awesome solid wood table for $5 at a Goodwill (it was marked $15 and on sale for 75% off by chance) and she even found another one back last year that made for a great toddler table also for $5!
The other option is to buy, borrow or share with those you know! We got really lucky and were given my nephew’s crib and rocking chair when preparing for the birth of our daughter. Not only did it save us money (the obvious) but I still love to this day that we have something that started with another family member. It has a bit of a story behind it rather than just having picked it up at the store. This is actually the case for at least half of the furniture within our home. 🙂
Unless you have some uncommon size requirement, you can totally find frames second hand. They may require some cleaning up or a little paint if you have a particular color in mind, but there are always bunches of these at thrift stores.
While the chances of walking into a thrift store and finding a specific book you are looking for are more slim, there are multiple options to avoid buying books new: you can borrow from the library, hit up a used book store, ask a friend or check online. If you’re like me and rarely ever read a book more than once there is not much sense in buying a book new (unless you want to support the author) when you can find the same book used for zero/minimal money spent and the exact same, enjoyable experience!
For reals, never again do you need to shop for a brand new Easter basket or something to fill with goodies at the next bridal or baby shower. Just take a step into any thrift store and I promise you will find baskets galore. Many tend to be the standard brown wicker but there are colorful ones as well but if you have spray paint already at home, you could just change it up with a little paint. This goes for plastic organizing baskets too. Though not as heavily prevalent I still see them almost every time I’m at a thrift shop, particularly the small ones.
Things like clear wine glasses, white dish ware, ceramic coffee mugs, silverware, serving platters & cooking pots are all over the secondhand marketplace. Most every thrift shop I’ve been to has these items and a lot of times you can get lucky with sets. Same goes for vases. Seriously guys, a vase should never ever be bought new…ever. They’re everywhere.
I’ve gathered all but 4 of our cloth napkins secondhand. I’ve been more successful in certain places than others but usually it hasn’t taken me long to find them. You can find cloth napkins hanging amongst other linens or some stores have shelves carved out especially for this sort of thing.
One of the most versatile reusables there is. No need to purchase them new either because odds are you can find them scattered amongst secondhand stores or even (gasp!) in your friend’s recycling bin. I used to shop only for the jars with lids until I started finding it “harder” to find jars because they weren’t complete. Once realizing I could buy the lids by themselves, I noticed how many more jars were available. By buying them used (even if you have to buy new lids) you are keeping that glass in circulation. And while glass can be recycled 100%, its still an energy intensive process so its always better to use what’s available then create the demand for something new.
Holiday Tins & Decor
Random I know, but this one had to be added because its a guarantee that I’ll see holiday decor when I’m out at a thrift store whether it be a little or a lot. Cookie tins frequently get donated once emptied at the end of the season as does a lot of other decor so definitely check it out if you’re hankering for a holiday knick knack. It’s not just Christmas either, but lots of fall, Halloween and Valentine’s day stuff too! This can be an awesome if you’re decorating for a party and want some fun, eclectic, seasonal decor, dishes or serve ware for less money than buying the same thing new (or possibly the same amount as the cheaper, lower quality version).
People are always trying to get rid of something. Whether they have outgrown it, never use it or want an upgrade so never doubt the possibility that something you are looking for may be out there secondhand! Many things I’ve set out to get used I’ve been able to find within one or two stops. Or sometimes its been on my mind and I just happen to stumble upon it by chance. Either way, the secondhand market is a great way to keep perfectly usable items in circulation and out of the landfill. You’re also preventing the upstream waste that’s created during the production of new products. So its not just good for the wallet but better for the planet too. Can you think of a better way to kick that buyer’s remorse to the curb? 😉
What’s the best thing you’ve acquired secondhand?
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