Successful Secondhand Shopping Tips

The art of thrifting and secondhand shopping can sometimes be tricky to navigate. You may be buying into a steal of a deal that you will brag about for years to come, or it may become the bane of your existence. Read on to learn some basic tips on how to start thrifting, and what to avoid.

Where To Shop:

1. Consignment stores: Consignment stores are a great introduction into thrift  shopping. You have the option of selling items to them in exchange for store credit or (sometimes) cash. Consignment stores are looking to make a profit, so margins will be in their favor, rather than yours. However, consignment stores are a great place to purchase baby items, as they are required to check for recalls before placing items on the sales floor. There are also many consignment websites popping up such as ThredUp.com and SnobSwap.com that offer a chance to specifically search for items, and even have many designer options available. Churches and other community centers will sometimes hold a “Just Between Friends Sale” as well, so keep your eyes out for those in your local newspaper or penny saver magazine.

2. Thrift stores/Goodwill/Antique Stores: Thrift stores are a good option to find specific items. Goodwill often has sale days on certain items, such as clothing, so make sure to actually look at their sales literature. Shopping on those days can save you a bundle, and people donate all the time, so there will be new arrivals on the floor almost daily.

3. Garage sales: The weekends are a great time to scour your neighborhoods for garage and yard sales. Estate sales may also pop up as well. You can find locations for garage sales by doing it the “old fashioned way” and driving around, or you can look on websites such as Craigslist, where people will often advertise, and sometimes even disclose specific items available. Also, keep an eye out for community-wide garage sales hosted by a home owner’s association. Those are great for buyers, because you don’t have to travel far.

4. Craigslist: Craigslist is a great way for people to advertise specific items, without having to pay. Many times you can see photos of the product, and learn specifics as well. Craigslist does have the problem of internet scams, so make sure that you never wire anyone money, and always arrange to meet in a public location, or take someone with you.

5. Facebook Buy/Sell/Trade Groups: This is the newer way to sell your goods, and is great for those who are social media savvy and (somewhat) addicted. Put your closest city into the search bar, and search for any Buy/Sell/Trade groups in your area. Rules will depend on your specific group, but most of the time you will comment that you’re interested in something to “Reserve” the item. Other social media selling exists on platforms such as Instagram, but you’d want to make sure it’s from a reputable seller since those typically require Paypal payment.

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 Helpful Tips:

1. Good quality can be customized to your style. You’d be surprised what a coat of paint can do for furniture. Look for quality wooden pieces that are made of solid wood, rather than particle board. Particle board is harder to paint, and is less likely to last throughout the years. If you don’t want to put the work into customizing the piece yourself, search the internet or Facebook for a local person who will taper the pieces to fit your specific style.

2. If you have a smart phone, apps are helpful. Craigslist has an easy to use app. Check the app throughout different times of the day, as you never know when someone will post something. Do not ever arrange to meet a seller alone. Beware of money schemes as well, and if you feel something is too good to be true, chances are it is. Facebook is also helpful, and you can set your notifications to alert you if someone posts something in a group you’re apart of. Getting your local friends to also participate in the group can also be helpful, as they may see something that you’d love, and can tag you on the post.

3. Garage sale at different times. It’s a common misconception that you can only get good items if you’re willing to be at someone’s house at the crack of dawn waiting. Sometimes, going to yard sales at the end of the day is actually a better deal because the sellers are oftentimes willing to part with it for a lower price. If you’re looking for something specific, plan on arriving early. If you’re just browsing for awesome unique pieces to customize, hold off until later in the day to get a better deal.

Sometimes, all it takes to score a killer deal is a little patience, or some luck. That’s the exciting part of secondhand shopping- the unpredictability. Enjoy deal shopping and involve the family. Teaching your child about the value of thrift shopping may spark a hidden interest in them, while teaching them the value of a dollar.

For more tips on customizing specific pieces, check out this post on Personalizing a Nursery While Renting

 

Photo Credits: The Memoirs of Megan

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Megan

Megan lives in Michigan with her husband, daughter, and son. Her days are spent hanging out and doing family projects on her real-life farm, and spending time on the Great Lakes. She loves swimming, celebrity gossip, University of Michigan and Denver Broncos football, trashy reality TV, and writing. In addition to being a Mommy and self-proclaimed urban-farmer, she owns a photography business located in Southeast Michigan, Memoirs Photography.

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