Things to look for at thrift stores and buy used


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Here are 14 things to look for at thrift stores and that you should buy used instead of new. 

Nowadays, we are all used to buying things whenever we need or want them.

But this comes with a cost: our society’s overconsumption causes serious environmental and ethical issues. 

Thankfully, there is a better, more conscious way to shop.

One that doesn’t kill our planet, its people, and our wallets.  

Thrifting and buying things used allows us to get whatever we need or want for cheaper and without harming the environment.

And the good news is that we can find almost anything at thrift stores

In this article, I write about the 14 best things to look for at thrift stores and to buy used. 

Why should you buy used stuff and look for things at thrift stores? 

Whenever we buy something new, it instantly loses part of its monetary value.

It means that almost everything you have is worth less now than when it was new, at the store. 

If you decide to resell something, you will almost always have to let it go for a lower price.

But there is a benefit to that: you can buy things used and take advantage of that lower price.

You will save tons of money if you buy things second-hand at the thrift store compared to if you buy them new! 

Buying things used is also the most sustainable way to shop.

You are buying things that have already been produced, so you are not creating a demand for new things to be made.

Fewer resources are extracted from the earth and less damage is done to the environment.

What’s more, when you buy things second-hand, you are giving them a new life.

You are reducing waste and preventing them from being thrown in a landfill prematurely. 

If you want to learn more, make sure to read my article about the environmental benefits of buying things second-hand

Here are 14 things to look for at thrift stores and to buy used instead of new.

You can now purchase them guilt-free knowing they are better for your wallet and the planet! 

There are so many things to look for at thrift stores and buy used!

14 things to look for at thrift stores and buy used

1. Clothes

In the Western world, we have consumed so much clothing over the past decades that landfills are full of clothes, shoes, and accessories.

But it is also true when it comes to thrift stores. 

It is so easy now to find clothes second-hand at thrift stores!

They have everything from tops to jeans to outerwear to footwear.

Many of these pieces are from fast fashion brands, but you can also buy unique, quality pieces that will last for ages.

And you can even score big by finding designer clothes and bags! 

Read more: How to make your wardrobe more sustainable?

2. Home decor

If you’re into home decor and like changing how your home looks regularly, forget about Target or Walmart and head to the thrift store instead.

You can find countless home decor pieces there, from vases to small knick-knacks to picture frames.

And the good news is you can get them at a fraction of their original retail price!

Home decor is a huge, wasteful industry, so let’s make it more sustainable by buying things used instead of new. 

Read more: 20 brilliant minimalist bedroom decor ideas you’ll adore

3. Christmas decorations & seasonal decor

One type of home decor that you should buy at thrift stores is Christmas decorations and other seasonal decor (Easter, Halloween…). 

Whether you’re looking for ornaments, lights, garlands, wreaths, or Christmas trees, I’m pretty sure your local thrift store will have them! 

Plus, these are usually made very unsustainably from plastic, and they are not built to last.

So it would be a huge waste of money to buy them new when you can find them used! 

Read more: How to have a sustainable Christmas this year?

4. Kitchen items

There are so many dishes, cutlery sets, appliances, and other kitchen items that have already been produced out there and that nobody uses.

Those often end up at the thrift store, so no need to head to Ikea for brand-new kitchenware.

If you’re afraid that you’ll only find mismatched pieces, fear not because people often donate complete matching sets!

If you love the mismatched look in your kitchen cupboards, you’ll be able to find unique pieces as well. 

You can even find cast iron pans and small appliances, both of which can be very expensive if bought new. 

Read more: 18 minimalist kitchen essentials for simple, efficient cooking

Kitchen items like dishes and small appliances are some of the best things to look for at thrift stores and buy used.

5. Books 

If you enjoy reading, the library and the thrift store are the two best places where you can get books in a sustainable way.

Buying new books helps and supports authors, which is awesome.

But if your goal is to help the environment or save money, buying them second-hand is the way to go. 

Getting them used ensures you are helping preserve forests by not contributing to the demand to produce more paper.

You are also keeping perfectly good books out of the landfill by giving them a new life. 

Read more: 23 impactful ways to save trees

6. Exercise equipment 

Exercise equipment can get pricey when bought new.

But why do that when there is an abundance of it at the thrift store? 

The thing is, many people try out a new sport and splurge on equipment and gear without making sure they will want to do it long-term.

When they get bored of it, they stop using their items and choose to donate them, which is good news for us, thrifters! 

From ice skating to baseball, you can start a new sport and find everything you might need for it second-hand. 

7. Hobby supplies

Similarly, many of us have high hopes when starting a new hobby.

We overbuy supplies and often end up giving up after some time.

This means thrift stores have lots of supplies we can buy incredibly cheap. 

Trying out new activities will be a lot cheaper for us, and much more sustainable!  

You can find used hobby supplies for all kinds of hobbies, including knitting, sewing, crochet, gardening, and camping.

There are also tons of art supplies, not to mention sports gear and cooking/baking stuff. 

Some things to look for at thrift stores and buy used are hobby supplies and sports gear.

8. Baby gear

Baby gear is one of the best things to buy used!

Babies only wear their clothes for a few weeks or months at most.

They also quickly outgrow their toys and baby gear such as bouncers or strollers. 

So it makes financial (and environmental) sense to get things for your baby at the thrift store.

You’ll save tons of money in the process! 

Most things have barely been used, so you’ll have items in perfect condition for super cheap! 

9. Baskets and organizational items

If you’re looking for organizational and storage items like baskets or bins, make sure to head to the thrift store first.

Second-hand stores have tons of them, so you’ll be able to easily find practical storage solutions for your home. 

Your home will be clutter-free, tidy, and organized in no time, and no one will tell you’re using pre-loved pieces! 

10. Toys & games  

Kids always want the most popular games and toys that are currently on trend.

It means that keeping up with their wants can get expensive.

To save money, see if you can get them second-hand or if you can get other toys at thrift stores.

I’m sure you’ll find toys your children will love! 

And if you and your family love board games, you won’t be disappointed either. 

11. Furniture 

Similarly, you can find used furniture pieces at a fraction of their retail price at the thrift store.

Whether you’re looking for modern furniture or vintage pieces, you’ll be able to find what you’re looking for. 

When I first furnished my apartment, I got many pieces second-hand and I’m so happy with them!

They’re of good quality and were real bargains! 

Read more: 8 minimalist bedroom furniture ideas for a simple, peaceful room

12. Wooden hangers

If you’re considering switching all your plastic hangers to beautiful wooden ones, make sure to get them second-hand.

There is no need to buy new ones! 

Wooden hangers last forever, so you won’t need to replace them as often as those cheap, poor-quality plastic ones. 

Try to get wooden hangers second-hand instead of new.

13. CDs and DVDs

CDs and DVDs are quickly becoming items of the past.

Most people now watch movies and listen to music using streaming services, and they don’t even own a CD or DVD player anymore!

As a result, they donate their old CDs and DVDs and you can take advantage of it. 

If you still use CDs and DVDs, know that second-hand stores have an abundance of them. 

14. Tech

While tech items can be tricky to find at thrift stores, it’s not impossible.

Some second-hand stores even specialize in tech items.

These sell TVs, gaming consoles, printers, computers, cameras, and phones. 

If you’re lucky and have one of these nearby, see if you can get your tech items from there.

If not, another great option is to buy refurbished tech online.  

To produce technology, tons of resources are used.

This has a massive negative impact on the environment and people working in the supply chain.

Thankfully, we can mitigate this impact by buying our tech used!

Final thoughts on things to look for at thrift stores and buy used

Buying things used has so many benefits, from being more eco-friendly to saving you a lot of money.

Thrift stores are amazing resources where we can find almost anything we could possibly need.

And we should all take advantage of that! 

However, try not to spend mindlessly on things you don’t need or want.

Ask yourself specific questions before buying them to make sure you are making the right decision. 

What are your favorite things to look for at thrift stores?

What are the best things to buy second-hand in your opinion?

Let me know in the comment section. 

Don’t forget to share this blog post with your friends to inspire them to buy used stuff and show them the best things to look for at thrift stores. 

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