Updated on 09.15.14

Secondhand Stores and Consignment Shops

Trent Hamm

I vastly prefer to buy items at secondhand and consignment shops if I can.

There, I said it. I love going to secondhand shops and consignment shops. My wife and I stop by such shops all the time in our area, particularly for a few specific items that we go through at an amazing rate. There are many, many non-consumable items that we prefer to buy secondhand because, frankly, buying new doesn’t add much to the product other than the “new,” and that’s something we don’t want to pay for.

Here are twenty things we usually look for used before we even consider buying new, along with some reasons for doing so.

Things to Shop For at a Consignment Store

Children’s clothes

Do I really need to say more? Children can be very hard on clothes at times, plus they outgrow their clothes very quickly. The end result? We don’t want to invest much in individual items. Luckily, children with plenty of clothes will often wear specific items only a time or two, so you can often stumble upon used children’s clothes at very good prices. We are (very) regular customers at the excellent Duck Worth Wearing in Ames, Iowa, a store we recommend to any parents of younger children in central Iowa.

Holiday attire

As with the children’s clothes, any items that are rarely worn are good candidates for purchase at consignment shops, and the figurative “Christmas sweater” is a great example of this. There are certain colors that we tend to only wear during the week or two before Christmas and I can usually find great clothing in those colors at consignment shops.

Maternity clothes

Another example of clothes that are only worn for short periods are maternity clothes, something we’ve learned a lot about over the past five years. My wife has used Me N’ Mommy to Be in Ankeny, Iowa in the past, with good results.


I don’t directly mean full-fledged costumes, but instead elements for more creative costumes. Rather than going out there and buying a prefab “zombie” costume, for example, just head to the used clothes shop and pick up some worn items that you’re fine with ruining. We’re doing this very thing for our children’s Halloween costumes this year.


It’s often easy to come across complete (or nearly complete) silverware sets at secondhand shops. Take it home, clean it thoroughly, and you’ll find yourself with all of the dining utensils you need without much of a bill.


Similar to silverware, dinner plates, saucers, and cups are often easily located at secondhand stores. The set I used in college and before my wedding came from such a secondhand store (we received a really nice set as a gift, so we started using those because we only had about five plates left from the old set).


Small appliances like hand mixers and blenders, plus common tools like spatulas, pots, pans, and rolling pins are often easily found at such shops, particularly items left over from an estate. If you hunt around, you can stock a kitchen quite well from secondhand stores and consignment shops.

Sports equipment

The Play It Again Sports in Clive, IA is my first stop for most sports equipment. In fact, I plan to take my son there next spring to look for his first “real” baseball glove and first “real” bat for backyard use. In the past, I’ve found soccer balls and other such material there (and at similar stores).

Exercise equipment

Such stores aren’t just a good source for sports equipment. Exercise and training equipment, like free weights and exercise bands and pedometers, can often be found at secondhand shops. Even bigger items, like treadmills and ellipticals, can easily be found secondhand if you search a bit (they’re equipment that people buy and sometimes never use).


I’m including this separately from exercise equipment because, quite often, there are stores devoted solely to secondhand and refurbished bicycles, particularly in college towns where they buy abandoned or forgotten bicycles from the college, repair them, and sell them at very reasonable rates. BicycleSurplus in Ames, IA is a great example of this, but they themselves have quite a bit of competition.

Video games

I’m almost exclusively a used video game buyer. I shop at both GameStop and Gamers, both of which buy and sell used video games with a strong return policy, and I’m in the trading club at each store, which gets me a 10% bonus on trade-ins and/or a 10% discount on purchases. Careful trading gets me new games to play for just a few bucks.


Used bookstores abound, providing a great place to pick up books at a very low price and also trade off your already-read books for new reading material. Aside from moments of weakness, the only books I acquire at this point are used ones.


We often pick up toys for our children used, either at consignment shops or at yard sales and the like. A used toy is just as good as an old toy – a toy’s value comes in whether a child plays imaginatively with it. Just take such toys home and wash them carefully before using them (but that’s true of any item bought used).

Hand tools

Everything from screwdrivers to hammers and drills can be found secondhand if you’re patient and shop around for it. My screwdriver set is a mismatched lot, with many of them coming straight from secondhand shops over the years.

Musical instruments

Many music stores sell more used instruments than new ones. In fact, they often act as brokers in a way. Go in, tell them what you’re looking for, and wait for a while, and they’ll often come up with a great used version of what you want at a very nice price. I’m waiting for some electronic piano models right now.

Home decor

The best home decor isn’t stuff bought at the Pottery Barn or at IKEA. It’s used stuff, stuff with character and a bit of wear which reflects your own tastes. The best places to find such things are secondhand shops and consignment stores, where all sorts of interesting things pop up.

Gardening supplies

Hedge trimmers? Weed trimmers? Hoes? Rakes? All of these things pop up secondhand on a regular basis. Sometimes you’ll find a shovel that needs a bit of work, but when you can pick it up for a buck and it does the job, that’s good enough for me!


Almost all of the furnishings in my home up until about 2003 were secondhand – and we still have several items of secondhand furniture in our home. It holds up well, looks good, and does what we ask of it, so why spend a mint on a “perfect” bed for the guest bedroom?

Art supplies

I wouldn’t have believed this myself, but I’m constantly running into brushes, paint sets, and other such items at secondhand shops, perfect for picking up for my children’s art projects. I picked up a 128 count box of crayons that looked as if it had been used once for a quarter a while back, for example. I’ve also found easels and oil-based paint sets, plus countless magazines and such that are perfect for collage work.


So many people are out there going from lease to lease or trading in their new car every four years that there’s always a big pile of late model used cars on the market, often very well maintained and at a strong price. Don’t overlook them when you’re car shopping. (And, yes, a used car dealership is a secondhand store if I’ve ever seen one.)

For every item on this list, the same idea holds true: shop used first, and be a little patient. If you really can’t find anything that meets your needs by buying used, then consider new items. Sticking to that policy will save you a mint.

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  1. Kathryn Fenner says:

    My husband is losing weight very rapidly, so I checked out Goodwill for the first time in a long time, and scored like new pants for him for $4.25 each– Jos. A Banks, Savane—instead of cheapo ones for three times that.

    I am very tall, so shopping for pants for me is likely out, but tops–awesome. Cashmere sweater–$4.25. Washed it up and shaved the pills and it’s like new!

    One tip–measure clothes that fit you with a tape measure (chest, waist, hips-whatever), and then measure the clothes at the shop–saves a lot of trying on.

  2. Matt says:

    Yard sales (often advertised ahead of time on Craigslist) are a good source of used stuff for me, and often cheaper than Goodwill/Salvation Army – plus you can haggle! I’ve contacted people in advance to ask about particular items as well – it can prevent wasting time on a bunch of yard sales and not getting anything.

    I will say that with tools/gardening supplies in particular I’ve had mixed luck in finding used stuff. I moved into my house (after living in an apartment) last summer and needed a bunch of stuff quickly. Some I found used, but I had to buy a bunch new because I couldn’t wait any longer. Now that I have the basics I can afford to wait for used stuff… but I also have to watch out as I often don’t really need the stuff I see!

  3. Justin says:

    The only one I have a problem with there is the video games. Gamestop keeps all the money for used games and gouges you on the price. Whereas if you shop at Amazon or elsewhere online you get it almost as cheap for older games and the developer gets money to keep making games you like.

  4. L says:

    Thanks for not listing bathing suits in there, Trent! :)

  5. JJ says:

    While not technically a “secondhand store”, you can find good deals on used musical instruments on many of the big internet retails such as Musician’s Friend and Guitar Center. They get returns and trade-ins that your local music store may never see.

    For example, I picked up a “scratch ‘n’ dent” accordion from MF that turned out to be like new. Saved hundreds.

    Just as with new items, the internet expands the universe of used items, which can mean big savings for those willing to poke around a bit.


  6. Martin says:

    I’ve had good luck getting ties at thrift stores / secondhand stores. Instead of $15-$30 for the cheap ties from department stores, I’ve picked up ties for $.50-$1.50 that were essentially new.
    One thing to add – If you’re going to buy used clothes, make sure you get them laundered/dry cleaned before you wear. You never know how clean the clothes are.

  7. Jon says:

    While I am also a fan of secondhand/thrift stores, I think the ‘furniture’ entry needs a caveat. Bedbugs are on the rise in the United States, and they can travel in/on used furniture. They are almost impossible to detect visually (by non-experts) and can live up to a year without feeding. So, don’t believe that used furniture ‘must’ be safe just because it looks clean or has been in the store for a while.

    Not everyone reacts to bedbug bites, but an infestation can be a hellish ordeal for those who do. Furthermore, they cannot be killed by over-the-counter products or home remedies (don’t believe anyone who says otherwise) and professional extermination is time-consuming and expensive.

    If bedbugs have been reported in your area, I urge you to think twice about buying/claiming/salvaging used furniture or mattresses.

  8. Nick says:

    Trips to the local Goodwill during college were amazing for kitchenware, utensils, glassware, etc that you don’t mind the risk of losing/breaking due to careless visitors and cooking experiments. And assembling Halloween costumes from secondhand clothes was (and still is) a fun challenge.

    As for hand and gardening tools, secondhand is good for “temporary” purposes in my opinion, but if you need them for the long haul, finding a lifetime warranty on tools (e.g. Craftsman) is a good purchase to save up for. Buy once and only once. Of course, if you find secondhand Craftsman tools you get the best of both worlds.

  9. Kim at MMI says:

    I’m also a huge fan of thrift store shopping, especially for things you don’t use that often. For example, if you’re having a lot of people over for Thanksgiving, it might be a good idea to pick up needed serving pieces from the secondhand store instead of buying new.

    Some of my best buys have been a set of wine glasses (one missing) for $2, a new pair of snowshoes for $10, and a bike rack for our car for $15.

    If you buy clothing, I wholeheartedly agree with Martin’s recommendation to launder appropriately!

    Kim at MMI

  10. Marilyn says:

    I have only shopped at yard sales and second hand stores for many many years. My house is decorated in what I call “Early American Yard sale”. Have an old Victorian so the “old” stuff looks great! Love second hand clothes as I know they will not shrink ( especially pants as I am tall). What you see is what you get. We live a frugal lifestyle and have been mocked about it on several occasions. But, we save our money and go on a cruise every two years. That is our vice. Funny how the ones mocking us are always the ones unable to vacation and are not sure they will ever be able to retire…..
    Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without!

  11. Leah says:

    One of my favorite things to buy at thrift stores is jeans. I haven’t bought a new pair in over 4 years. Since jeans are ubiquitous, there are so many at the thrift store. Sometimes I have a problem finding the right length, but I can always find the right size (I’ve found a number of “tall” length jeans but sometimes have to hunt for shorter ones). I save the nicer ones for casual dressy situations and use the longer ones for work and yard work — I work with kids outdoors, and no one cares if I have cuffed jeans there.

    A great present for the unique teen in your life is a bunch of thrift store shirts. You can find all sorts of interesting gems in the t-shirt section.

  12. Almost there says:

    Used car lots are secondhand stores indeed. Lots of used Prius models (and Pilots). :)

  13. Alice says:

    I’ve had great luck getting glassware at Goodwill or Value Village (which I think is now Value World?). You can easily get sets of matching wine glasses (in pairs or sometimes 4 or 6 that match) and build up a collection of not totally eclectic but unique glasses. Sometimes they have scum, but you can get that off with vinegar. And the glasses are usually $.99 – $1.99 each.

    One other nice aspect of shopping at secondhand stores is that it doesn’t add to the demand for new objects, when there are already plenty. We’re all about recycling cans and cardboard boxes and stuff like that (okay, on the West Coast it’s ingrained), but it’s not as normal in people’s minds to “recycle” objects like housewares. Buying at a thrift store could be your ethical choice for the day, like walking instead of driving.

  14. jill says:

    I love garage sales, and am lucky that my university has a furniture exchange. That, plus craigslist has mostly furnished our apartment.

    I say *mostly*; because we bought upholstered items new: between the fact that we sit or lie on them for hours and hours; and the real threat of bedbugs, makes me only want new beds, futons, couches, etc.

    also- in terms of books, we sell a lot of ours to powells (powells.com; over the internet), and then use the credit to buy new books. it’s about 4 or 5 books to 1 ratio, but we get rid of things we don’t want; and then get free books back we do want; it’s a really good deal.

  15. Joe says:

    I love Thrift Stores, I get so many good items there that I would never buy many items new.

  16. Chad says:

    My four year old had been saving for a Buzz Lightyear. We found $150 Ultimate Buzz Lightyear for $25 at Goodwill. He didn’t fully appreciate the savings, but he did understand that he could buy toys at Goodwill that he couldn’t afford at Toys R Us.

  17. AndreaS says:

    I have a blanket term for all stores that sell used stuff. I call them “junk shops.” In this I include thrift shops, consignment shops, pawn shops, used-book stores, flea markets, and antique shops/malls. Each place has it own unique character, offerings and prices. Even antique malls may sell some things reasonably. One in my area has regular sales on used books. Antique malls often sell used CDs and DVDs. Pawn shops tend to be overpriced, but there is one near me that has good values, such as a $2 Bob Dylan CD in perfect condition. Of course yard sales usually beat any shops, and curb-side shopping beats all.

    I scope out all shops in my area to know what they have to offer at what price. Since in my family we exchange secondhand items as gifts, after the yard sale season is over, I take stock of the summer finds, then hit all the junk shops before Christmas. I have certain routes I do, where I know I can hit at least six places in an outing, so that I can minimize gasoline. One of these routes includes a health-food store that sells bulk foods very inexpensively, so I buy a several-month supply, because I might not get that way again for another year.

  18. Jennifer says:

    After two pregancies I can say that I felt shopping second hand for maternity clothes completely sucked!!! I am a huge fan of second hand stores and yard sales but with maternity I found that most was outdated (perhaps people hold on to it for a long time just in case) or worn out (you tend to not buy much and wear it a lot). At nicer consignment type stores it was slightly better, but over priced. I ended up mostly buying on clearance at Old Navy and Gap since you can get a lot of basics to mix and match. I had to dress particulary nice because I had an office job at the time.

  19. Gretchen says:

    I wish I could find matching flatware sets!

    I’ll buy pretty much anything used except underpants and shoes. The latter is mostly because they never fit right.

  20. Johanna says:

    I love used bookstores. But in my recent experience, they don’t always save you that much over buying new. In the last few months, I’ve bought four books in a series, all of which retail for $7. The first I got used for $2 from a charity bookstore, the second I got new for $4.20 from Borders (with a 40% off coupon), and the third and fourth I got from a for-profit used bookstore for $3 and $3.50.

  21. Rebecca says:

    One place many people don’t think to try for used items is their local University system. Most have a clearing house of some sort to off load old computers, furniture etc. From every building on campus from dorm furniture to hospital exam tables. My husb gets “old” computers from them and they are really only 2 years old and work great. My sons have old dorm furniture in their room. You know that stuff can handle the wear and tear of little boys. We even scored an old chalkboard and dry erase board, each 4 by 6ft, for our playroom. Each was $10. To buy those new would have been $80 for each. The biggest sales each year are for computers which sell out in minutes after they open, we go early and stand in line; and the athletic dept sale. You can get old jerseys and all the athletic wear all the college teams wore last year that no one kept. Awesome!

    In Wisconsin, the UW SWAP shop is located in Verona, WI, about 10 min south of UW Madison.

  22. Des says:

    I have had some great luck with secondhand shoes. I have two $100+ pairs of hushpuppies that I got for $10 each at thrift shops. One pair looked like it had never been worn at all. I’m guessing shoe-a-holic women (myself included) buy shoes, wear them a few times, let them sit in the closet for years, then donate them. I know I’ve done that with shoes I *thought* I would wear, but then turned out not to match any of my clothes.

  23. partgypsy says:

    Don’t forget thrift stores are great for making Halloween outfits!

  24. prufock says:

    Not married, have no kids, and don’t buy “holiday attire,” so those 3 are out. However, I do buy certain clothing items for myself at ValVil or SA. Sport coats/blazers are often good finds. I recently got a 100% wool, custom sport coat (that just happened to fit like a glove) for $16 or so.

  25. Brandon says:

    Estate Auctions are also a great place to find stuff at cheap prices. You can pick up furniture for as little as $10-15 dollars sometimes depending on the sale. I highly recommend estate auctions for stuff not easily sold online like furniture, cars, etc.

  26. Marsha says:

    Recent purchase: 100% cashmere coat, $10. Similar coat at Nordstrom, $1700.

  27. Briana @ GBR says:

    I have shopped for costumes at Goodwill, and it came out great. Books are always a score at thrift stores too; some great reads there. I’ve also found some great video games (the oldies but goodies). Some of the other things I’m a little more picky about, like furniture and silverware.

  28. WendyH says:

    Don’t forget about estate sales as well for household items, furniture and artwork! I find that they often have better quality items and will often have full sets of flatware and dishes since typically they are someone who is downsizing from a house to apartment or some sort of senior care center. Not as inexpensive as the thrift stores of course, but I’ve found many useful items in full sets.

  29. JRae says:

    Watch out for bedbugs, especially in clothing and furniture. After our experiences with bedbugs in NYC I would never now get used furniture.

  30. AndreaS says:

    Johanna, you are absolutely right about the overlap in prices between new and used books. The retail store in the mall often has wonderful discounted books that are often, hands down, way nicer than I see in virtually any used-book store. In this case, I will pay $10 for a really nice new book. Your point is really good; we ought not assume one type of store is better than another. You have to scope both out.

    I’m shopping for gifts four adult kids and significant others who all have jobs and can afford what they want. Since they were teenagers and could drive, they became infinitely more familiar with retail stores in our area than I could ever be. So whatever I could possibly buy them retail, they have already seen and chosen not to buy. Either the item doesn’t interest them enough, or cost more than it was worth to them.

    So take books, for example. Although a retail bookstore might have thousands of titles on its shelves, it has a very small number of books on a given topic. Of my kids who like books, I know with absolute certainty they have already seen the retail titles that cover his or her interests.

    But retail stores have only a small percentage of all the books ever published on a given topic. Used-book stores have random offerings of books published over a period of decades, and many of these are rare, as they are out of print. The selection may be less interesting and less reliable, but still there is a greater chance I am going to find a great book that my kids have never seen retail. So if I am going to surprise them with something really unique, it is more likely the book will be secondhand. An example is a softcover with about 1000 nice illustrations of costumes throughout history. I think it cost me $1, and was perfect for one of my kids. Granted the odds of such a coup are low, but when I am out junk-shopping for Christmas presents, I’m shopping for a dozen people in my life, and I never know what I am going to find.

    This concept plays out into other areas. In clothing, retail offers a limited selection of clothes, though always has something that will fit me. Thrift shops sell clothes from different fashion years, and I might prefer the way they made jeans ten years ago. If you are looking for cookware in the retail market, often you are limited to this year’s colors which doesn’t include your favorite cobalt blue. A couple years ago, two adult kids wanted Dutch ovens for Christmas. (A Dutch oven is a large covered casserole dish, usually metal.) I was really dismayed at the colors, quality and prices in the retail market. But we found vintage cast-iron Dutch ovens for about $10 at a flea market.

  31. The Goodwill in our town is very high priced. Since moving here I’ve switched over to consignment shops where I can turn in items for trade or consign them.
    I’m actually off to a few today- we’ve been doing a bunch of cleaning out around my house!

  32. valleycat1 says:

    Goodwill has an online store too, similar to ebay. Shops mostly list their best stuff in a number of categories, so it isn’t really discount shopping (& price bids can get out of hand). They usually have a lot of musical instruments that often go for good prices. Constant turnover & a smaller inventory than on ebay.

  33. Meg says:

    I love second hand also. For clothing. luggage and furniture – clean thoroughly when you get home. Bed bugs have skyrocketed. The CDC and EPA issued a joint warning last month. I would be very careful with upholstered furniture I couldn’t expose to high heat.

  34. deb says:

    Is anyone else concerned about bringing home bed bugs in used furniture? They’re spreading very quickly, especially in larger cities. The cost to grid your house of them can be in the thousands of $$, and is a major life disruption. Frankly I’d rather live with my old (bug free) furniture or buy new than take the chance.

    I do occasionally buy used clothing, as that is easily washed/dried (heat kills the bugs) immediately after purchase.

  35. Lisa Wilson says:

    As to the comment on bedbugs, the bedbugs in New York City were spreading in NEW clothing stores, specifically Abercrombie & FItch. How does the New clothes get bedbugs??

  36. Tara C says:

    Yes, I would not buy furniture or mattresses second-hand nowadays due to the bedbug problem, and I would immediately launder any clothing in very hot water and lots of detergent, but I am happy to say I found a nice fur coat at a Canadian Salvation Army store for only $100 a couple of years ago.

  37. Michelle says:

    I found 3 Calphalon pots at the Goodwill for $3 each. The exact same set was listed new on Amazon for $150. I think I got a good deal! I also found my daughter the Sketchers she just *had* to have at Once Upon A Child for $8. Before that, we had told her she had to save up $10, then we would make up the rest of the cost of the shoes. But with that find, she bought them with her money, with some left over, and we didn’t end up paying anything! And she learned that she can save money by paying less for something used.

  38. Allen Zhu says:

    I have recently bought a flute for my enjoyment. I had spotted a very good one for about $800. But I decided to wait a bit and the staff found me a used flute in very good condition of only $400! And it works fantastically.

  39. Jessica says:

    I would check out Craigs List for some good deals. I have also shopped in thrift stores because of I was on a very tight budget.

  40. Michael Westbom says:

    I have to say I disagree with you regarding used games. As much as you can actually save money at Gamestop buying used games, you’re not supporting the Video Game industry at all. You’re supporting Gamestop. Gamestop pays out very little for used games and charges twice what they paid. Used games comprises a large part of Gamestop’s business. If you buy a game from them, play it for a couple months and sell it back, they put it back on the shelf, essentially double- or even triple-dipping off the same disc. Again, none of this money goes to developers beyond the initial sale. I would suggest you buy your games when the price naturally reduces or look on eBay. That way some of the money from the sale either goes to the developer so they know you bought it and liked it and can continue making new games or to another gamer, not Gamestop.

  41. Michael Westbom says:

    To be more correct, Gamestop charges something near what they believe the market rate to be; and buys used games for about half that. What this means is you can usually sell games directly to other players for close to what Gamestop would charge. Craigslist is free and eBay only charges a dollar or two. Much better than the 50% markup Gamestop charges.

  42. Leah W. says:

    WOW. Surprisingly, I agree with every stinking thing you say in this article! That is a first!

  43. Amy K. says:

    I have had luck shopping for secondhand clothes on eBay. I lost 20 pounds this spring and it was great for the “in between” clothes. Right now I’m 5 months pregnant, and the mixed lots of clothes are a good staring point for a wardrobe. The individual pieces are searchable/filterable by size color and style so I find it much easier than shopping in a store. After shipping it’s definitely not as cheap as Goodwill or Salvation Army, but can be on par with a consignment shop.

  44. ML says:

    @#4 L
    You gave me a good chuckle!:)

  45. Mari says:

    My 17-year-old, 12-year-old and I have a great time shopping for used clothes – also a great learning opportunity, because we discuss wht cannot or cannot be easily repaired, what wore well and what didn’t, and why someone else might have given it away. I agree it all takes patience, but frugal shopping doubles as a fun hobby for us. It encourages flexibility and creativity in how we look at clothes (and perhaps other things.) Great family time.

    i know some people think “ew” when they hear this, but I have had excellent luck from time to time with women’s shoes. My last purchase was two pairs of mint condition peeptoe pumps — attractive, comfortable and perfect for work — for $4 bucks each at Goodwill. (In this area our Goodwills give away 20 percent off coupons every times you donate.) You have to examine carefully for any wear and soil, but sometimes another woman’s “oops” purchase turns out to perfect for you! (Tightwad Gazettes’s Amy D. did a good piece on wheher it is safe to buy shoes — the podiatrists she consulted said yes.)

  46. deRuiter says:

    Great post! Buying preowned saves money, and with savvy shopping, provides a much better quality of items, designer clothes, real wood furniture, luxury items which, if YOU bought them new, would be considered “used” after one use. This is also grand for our balance of trade, because the money doesn’t go overseas. Great for the environment too! Also good because the money goes directly to Americans, not to foreign workers. Kudos to Lisa #33. for pointing out all those expensive Manhattan stores selling NEW things which have the bedbug infestations.

  47. Chris says:

    I love finding ‘deals’ whether it is at an auction, a yard sale, second-hand shop EBay, Half.com or on Craig’s List. CL is my favorite spot for finding crafting supplies. It is amazing how many people decide to try a craft, get all geared up for it and then simply give up after dallying in it for a few months. Their ‘stuff’ is virtually brand new and can be had for a song.
    DO BEWARE OF BEDBUGS. Infestations are becoming an epidemic and you really do not want to go there!

  48. Callie says:

    Those with odd body types should not give up on buying used clothes. My husband is very tall. We don’t find stuff for him all the time, but we keep going back enough that we keep him well dressed. We have to search more, but the money we save more than makes up for the time invested.

  49. zoe says:

    After my bedbug experience the last 6 months(which is probably not over yet), I’m down 1400$ in extermination fees, plus related costs (new vaccuum, mattresses, throwing out items that couldn’t be cleaned) and hours and hours of unavoidable time and stress which was probably worse than the money. Not to mention exposure to several rounds of nasty chemicals.

    Be aware that they can and DO live on wooden furniture (even without padding) – especially but not exclusively beds and bedside tables- for up to a year without feeding, and even if carefully inspected for bugs and vaccuumed, the eggs are cemented on and essentially invisible, particularly within cracks.

    While I love second hand stores and shop for clothes often (to be washed in hot water), I’ll never buy furniture there again (or yard sales). Even if it’s a small risk depending on the prevalence in your area, the result can be devastating mentally and financially. I’d far rather have the planned expense of new furniture than be forced to spend thousands unexpectedly on extermination….

  50. Carole says:

    When buying used, one should have an open mind. Usually a specific thing is not to be found. For instance a blue, size 14 sweater. Just to get the right size is the first thing to go after. When looking for some dish in a certain pattern, it may take years to find. That is part of the fun. Often end of the season sales in retail stores are better buys than used. One needs to be willing to try all avenues if there is time.

  51. Lora says:

    All these deals! I live in a very small community with only one second-hand store that is poorly stocked.

    I always look forward to going to the city, where my sister has a terrific store near her and constantly finds deals. She’s decorated her entire house this way! It looks really good too; it’s truly amazing what can be found.

  52. Teresa says:

    I love thrift stores! My 4 year old son loves to go with me, he gets new to him books and toys. He has a great time digging through their toybox to find something. I work at a bank and today my complete outfit, jumper, shirt and shoes came from a a thrift store. My co-workers are amazed at the stuff I find. Some stores will even have NWT items for a fraction of what the original tag says.

  53. Marie says:

    Most of my furnishings came from either thrift stores, family hand-me-downs or sometimes the curb. They have all been repaired, refinished, reupholstered and from the “free” couch from Goodwill to the kitchen island I made from a used cabinet and the dining room chandelier (rewired and painted) from Habitat Restore I love them all.

  54. Jamie says:

    I only buy those above items used (RECYCLE, YAY!), and while thrift stores are great for some things, I am totally against buying furniture from thrift stores for one reason: THE PRICE (nope, not the bedbug factor!).

    I adopt mangy furniture and fix it up as a hobby, and everything I acquire is either from Craigslist (the “Free” section is a goldmine) or the side of the road. Occasionally I’ll splurge up to $10 for an item at a flea market or yard sale.

    At our local thrift stores, I see ugly couches priced in the 100’s and nickel-n-dime bed-side tables for 40 bucks. In fact, once I donated a couch to Salvation Army (which I’d had on Craigslist for free for a month) and later saw a woman buying it there for $175!

  55. LP says:

    Seconding Amazon for used videogames. Gamestop gives you 10-20% off of the new price for used games, and you get an additional 10% as a member. So you end up with only about 23.5% off on average? Amazon Marketplace will almost always beat that, even with shipping included.

    Also, try it for used books. Almost any book of any degree of popularity is on there for pennies. You’ll pay more for shipping than for the book itself. $4.01 for a book that the used bookstore wants to charge $5.50-$8.50 for? Easy choice.

  56. Analise says:

    I’ve bought maternity clothes consignment stores. I’ve also bought a lot of nice maternity clothes at tummystyle.com. They have really good prices for new items.

  57. Karen says:

    I’m a “seasoned” secondhand shopper & can’t list all the stuff I’ve been able to purchase over the past 40 years!

    If we buy something that’s over 35 years old, we may call it an antique & pay big bucks for it. But, if we tell our friends that we’re shopping secondhand, then we get weird looks & comments.

    Since bedbugs are an epidemic right now, do we need to be concerned about used vehicles, too???

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