Yesterday afternoon I did some shopping. The “store” was only open for two days, and at 12:30 on the second day everything was marked down to half price.
I bought a set of three white serving bowls and a pair of decorative plate hangers.
A woman in front of me — who was shopping with her two adorable granddaughters — walked out with a mink stole.
Another woman – in what seemed like a scene from one of those Liberty Mutual commercials – gave a silk plant she was holding to another shopper who had been eyeing it.
A smartly dressed couple on their way home from church was packing up a set of dishes to take to the checkout.
Outside, a man inquired if a lawn mower for sale was in working order.
Of course I was at an estate sale. And everything that my fellow shoppers and I were buying was used.
Today’s shopping trip reminded me of all the reasons I enjoy buying used things when I get the chance.
1. It saves money. This isn’t a hard and fast rule, of course, but generally speaking, buying used saves money. And it holds true whether you’re buying a used car, a dining room table, or a pair of overalls for your toddler. Even when the item requires a little TLC on your end – like replacing appliance parts in otherwise functioning machines — it can make financial sense.
2. The items are often unique. I buy lots of home décor, dishes, etc. at garage and estate sales and it means I often find unique items that aren’t in all the big box stores around me. Many of my favorite things have been bought this way.
3. It’s easy on the environment. I always get a special satisfaction when I buy something used because I’m repurposing an item that someone else was done with. It feels very green. I get the same feeling when I see someone carry off something that’s served its purpose for me. I love letting things go as much as I love acquiring them.
4. It’s an adventure. The biggest adventure I’ve had buying used was when my husband and I rented a conversion van and drove three hours to pick up our pine hutch from a Craigslist seller in a small, Missouri town. But every used shopping trip – no matter how small – takes on a feel of adventure because it’s like a mini treasure hunt.
5. It’s a connection to the community. I usually remember where the items in my house have come from. And I regularly pass houses in my community and remember a sale that I attended there. I remember that a pair of wooden wall sconces I have came from a guy who had moved back to the area after closing up his home décor shop in Austin, TX. And the oak library table in my family room came from a house that was on the historic register. I like the local feel of it.
Things we buy used.
I don’t buy everything – or even most things – used. But there are certain categories of items where buying used seems to fit our lifestyle.
- Furniture. I consider my dining room the “Craigslist dining room” because all of the items — a pine hutch, pine table, and eight Queen Anne chairs that have been painted black and recovered — came from Craigslist sellers. I have several other pieces of furniture – tables mostly – that I’ve bought used on Craigslist or at garage sales.
- Home décor items. This is my favorite category to shop for used. I’ve bought picture frames, candle holders, planters, mirrors, books, and much more. When Carla @ My Half Dozen Daily featured The Family CEO, she asked me what my favorite used items was and I told her it was a $1 wreath hanger on my front door. I love that thing!
- Dishes and serving pieces. I like to entertain and also have something of a “thing” for dishes, so sales with these items are a goldmine for me. The day I stumbled on a garage sale being held by a caterer was a verrrry good day.
- Cars. I drive my cars a long time, so they are generally purchased new. But my husband likes updating his car more often so he seeks out good, late model used cars. We also bought a used car for my daughter and plan to for my son soon as well.
Do you buy used? What kind of stuff do you buy? Where is your favorite place to shop for used items?
This post is part of Thrifty Treasures.