Thrift Store Treasures

>> Thursday, April 29, 2010

I'm a big advocate of shopping garage sales, thrift stores, consignment stores, and or any second-hand store.  I've found some great stuff there, and I'll even admit that I bought the girls' Easter dresses at our local ARC Store for $1 each.

(What I love about our ARC Store is the random 50% off days they have.  On certain days, certain colored tags are an additional 50% off.  50% off in a thrift store??  Yep!  That's how I got the Easter dresses for $1!)

However, when bargain shopping, how do you know what to buy and what not to buy?

Here's my little tips:


Baby/toddler books - More than likely these have been mouthed, chewed on, spit up on, and covered in slobber.  My only exception would be some padded books or board books.  If I can wipe those down with Clorox wipes, then I'll pick some up.

Stuffed animals and hats - There's something a little icky about purchasing used stuffed animals in a thrift store.  Even the most adorable hats and animals can be a haven for germs and lice.  Sometimes you luck out and can find a hat that's washable and then I'll give it a good soaking in the washer with some bleach.

Cutlery - Unless I'm using it for a craft or I can guarantee that it's stainless steel, I won't buy it because I don't want the chance of having myself or my kid ingesting rust.


Craft materials - Lightly used crayons, pencils, paints, coloring books, pads of paper are just as useful gently used as they are new (and a fraction of the cost)

Baby, kid, and adult clothing - I can't say enough about buying clothing at second-hand stores.  Kid's clothing is a bonus because they are often in great condition since they grow out of their clothes so fast.  Before wearing, I always give them a good soak in the washer with detergent and OxyClean.

Plates, bowls, and mugs - The past Christmas I made cocoa cups for the moms at my MOPS table.  I bought plain white coffee mugs at various thrift stores, ran them through the dishwasher, and then hand-painted them with Christmas designs.  I'll pick up some plates or casserole dishes as well and use them when taking a meal to a friend - along with a note saying no need to return the plate.  Bonus because they get a meal AND a serving dish too!

Board games, puzzles, some toys - Right around the holidays are a great time to shop because parents are clearing out their kids' stuff to make room for new.  I found some great puzzles for Nani at .50 or .75 a box.  I found a brand new 80s Trivial Pursuit still sealed for $2.  However, be sure to find out the store's policy about returning items if the pieces are missing.  And any toy that can be washed or wiped down is always a good deal!

Fabric - If you're a sewer, sometimes you can find nice fabric for pennies - compared to JoAnn or other fabric stores.

So, that's just a few of my tips!  Do any of you have any tips for shopping second-hand?


Sandy April 29, 2010 at 5:43 AM  

WOW_ never thougth about fabric...I always hit my targets and get out of the I'll need to keep an eye out! Thanks!

Jodi April 29, 2010 at 6:59 AM  

I love going to garage sales and thrift stores. Some garage sales you can get some great stuff. But yet, there is some that has not so great stuff. But it is a way to spend time with family/friends. lol

~City Love... now, forever, always~ April 29, 2010 at 7:50 AM  

I don't do much garage sale-ing anymore because I don't have time to go to many and it's so hit or miss, I don't have time to spend half the day searching and not find much.

But I am a regular at our local consignment shops and Salvation Army!! It takes a while to sift through the disorganized chaos at the Salvation Army, but it's more than worth it to find name brand clothes in great shape for the kiddos for a couple bucks each piece. I also go on half price day... even though it's a used store, why pay 'full' price when you can pay half?!

A tip about searching for used kids clothes... always pay extra attention to the areas around the bottom of long sleeves and the area right under the chin/neck, as those areas tend to get stained more often. Take a tiny flashlight with you to look up close in good light if you have to! Also, pay attention to the way/area the price tag is fixed to... sometimes they ruin the clothes by using staples that leave small holes no matter how carefully you remove them when you get home!!

I buy 90% of my kids clothes used at this point... after going 'thrifty', I look at new stuff in the store, with it's new price, and I just can't make myself pay it!! My only real exception is when I need matching clothes for the kids, like at Easter or for pictures.

Great tips!!!

It pays to be thrifty!

the thrifty ba April 30, 2010 at 7:35 AM  

yours are more helpful than mine!

Denise April 30, 2010 at 8:13 AM  

Stopping by from The Girl Creative’s New Friend Friday. Already a follower. I have gotten new sheets to use for items. I recently got brand new Tommy HilLfiger sheets!

MarthaE May 2, 2010 at 11:09 PM  

This is a sweet picture of your girls! I shop more often at Goodwill and Habitat than anywhere else! Good tips you gave! Thanks.

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