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Tips for Second-Hand Shopping

One woman’s trash is another woman’s treasure. Since the Recession, people have finally caught onto the benefits of second-hand shopping. Obviously, you save money when shopping pre-owned items, but you’re also creating less environmental waste by recycling (or upcycling, if you’re buying something used and re-purposing for something else). Add to that, there’s a certain thrill to second-hand shopping that you just don’t get from purchasing regular retail. A pre-owned object that is cheap, for sale, and provides a solution to some void in your life is certainly something to value, more so than something for which you paid full price.

To get the most out of second-hand shopping, there are certain things to keep in mind. Otherwise,  it can become overwhelming and challenging, which is why many people often avoid it like the plague and would rather spend more money on a new item, simply for the convenience.

Never fear. I am here to help! I’ve got some easy tips to help you optimize your second-hand shopping experience and increase your chances of discovering more treasures.

Tip #1: Be prepared. Second hand shopping requires a lot of patience and energy. You need to have a good attitude, be well-rested, and have a thorough shopping list. If you begin your second-hand shopping excursion already grumpy and feeling fatigue, I can assure you right now that your journey will not end well. You have (smartly) chosen to compromise convenience for bargain prices, so know that endurance is required.


Tip #2: Second-hand shopping is more than thrift stores. Look, I LOVE thrift shops, but smart second-hand shopping also includes: garage and estate sales, Craigslist, swap meets, flea markets, consignment boutiques, charity and church sales, Facebook groups, and, of course, online auction websites. There are even apps for second-hand shopping. Trust me, your second-hand shopping options are pretty endless. So think outside the box.


Tip #3: Second-hand shopping is more than clothes. Again, think outside the box. Need a toaster? How about a bike? Maybe you’re looking for a unique art piece to fill the empty space on the wall above your sofa. If you need it or want it, chances are that you can find it used and in good condition for a lot less than you would pay at the mall. So don’t limit yourself to thinking second-hand shopping is only for those times when you need a fashion fix. Consider second-hand shopping anytime you need to buy something.


Tip #4: Beware of fakes. Whether it’s art, antique furniture, or Chanel handbags, more often than not, replicas wind up at second-hand shops and sales. So be really, really careful. Know the return policy before making your purchase, just in case you find out afterward that your so-called treasure is actually a sham.


Tip #5: Not everything second-hand is actually used. The term second-hand is a broad one that we use to apply to all pre-owned items. However, not all pre-owned items are actually used. Think about all the times you have donated clothes that you never once wore to a nonprofit. There are so many times that I have been second-hand shopping only to wind up with clothes or household items with the original price tags still on them. Heck, I have even purchased vintage (vintage, for crying outloud!) items that were never worn. In retail, old or previously owned items that were never worn or used is called dead stock. And for fashion collectors, dead stock vintage fashion is MAJOR! So, if there is a bit of an “ick” factor for you when it comes to second-hand shopping, keep in mind that you could very well find what you’re looking for in brand-new-never-been-used condition.


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One Response to “Tips for Second-Hand Shopping”

  1. Great tips! Totally agree about checking out estate sales! The BEST Scores are there to be had!

    xox Christie