Second Hand Shopping: What Are Your Rules?

thrift store

Second hand shopping is quite popular right now; so much so that on one of the daytime shows this week the hosts showcased a variety of clothes and accessories that were found in a thrift shop.

When I graduated from college oh-so-many years ago, I needed a new wardrobe to use for teaching, STAT. Since I was poor and broke and scraping by just to pay rent, I did what any struggling future teacher might do: I headed to the local Salvation Army thrift store with forty bucks in my pocket, which got me at least two weeks’ worth of new outfits!

I’ll never forget how excited, and relieved, I was to have clothes I could teach in but still enough money in the bank to eat dinner that night (which consisted of Ramen noodles, but still).

I grew up second hand shopping. When my mother and I needed something for the house, like a new sofa, our first thought wasn’t ‘buy new’ but, let’s see what they have at the local thrift store. We shopped flea markets, too, and, I must admit, once or twice in my twenties I *may* have picked up things that were set curbside for trash collection. (Hey, I got a great table this way that only needed a little muscle grease to look new!)

Today I still peruse the thrift stores in our area from time to time. I’ve gotten great furniture for the home this way, and decorations that added a nice touch to our overall decor. I've found items that I took home and used immediately and others that I had to put a little sweat into to fix up. We purchased a super large painting for our living room at a second hand store after wandering the aisles of several of these shops over the course of a day. But I reserve some purchases for first hand shopping. For instance, I have a thing about feet, so while I might pick up a great gently used painting from a thrift store, I will skip over the shoe section every time.  

What about you? Do you second hand shop? If so, what items do you buy the most, and which second hand items do you refuse to purchase?

Image via Flickr/dorena-wm

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Second Hand Shopping: What Are Your Rules?

Kathy Murdock works as a full time writer and web designer. Recently planted in the middle of the deep south from the busy streets of Los Angeles, when she's not coding Wordpress websites or writing about women in business and thrifty motherhood, Kathy spends time photographing alligators, playing with her family, and running. ... More

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4 comments

  1. Gera says:

    When it comes to furniture and baby stuff, I second hand shop alot. I’m also fortunate to have lots of hand me downs for my baby. Most of my furniture and baby stuff are second hand including my bed frame. I draw the line at mattresses and couches – just because these are fabric and tend to be harder to clean. Also for baby stuff I prefer getting it from someone I know. That said – check out http://www.swapetc.com/dbmoms for old baby stuff that I’m trying to get rid of.

  2. jennifer says:

    I love it you can get great furniture and babyclothes but I need to do more second hand shopping. When I’m in the store if I come across a steal I get it. thats only times I buy something when it worth it.

  3. claymomhamby says:

    I love second hand shopping… most time you can end up paying less than 1/2 if not more. Especially with baby clothes and equipment, you may have to rummage through but when kids are that small they only typically wear them a few times. We have a county "yard sale page" on Facebook I find things on often. There is also a county classified website designed for the purposes of selling/trading within the area. However, there are few things I would not buy second hand but not many 2 name a few bottles, sippy cups, toiletries, and NEVER for sure UNDER GARMENTS of any kind!

  4. for appliances/ furniture craigslist is the only way to go. we got a 2004 fridge in perfect condition for $30!! a lot of people are scared off but for big items you’re going to need to bring several big men with you anyway.

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