I don't go to secondhand thrift stores (Goodwill,ARC,Savers) as often as I would like to but when I get a chance I make sure I check out the entire store and look for certain things but also skip on others. These are the ways I shop in a secondhand store; my hits and skips.

Hit the Gifts - I gather gift ideas throughout the year as I talk with family or if they send me a list of what they want/need for the upcoming year. With this in mind, I search for gifts throughout the year and stash them in one location in the house so I don't lose them.

Hit the Cookware - Looking for good quality pots and pans are always a good investment whether for yourself or to have handy for someone who needs a housewarming gift. The look of the cookware isn't as big of a deal as the quality; I can clean up a pot with some elbow grease. Sometimes the best items found are the vintage items because "they just don't make them as good as they used to" sometimes.

Hit the Rare Finds
- Occasionally I come across an item that is a little more than I would normally pay or it may not be a priority on my list, but I know that it will come in handy in the near future. I pick these items up; some stores have a short-term return policy that helps in the decision if I'm unsure.

Hit up Office Supplies
- I hate all the office supplies I go through and have to buy for both work and home, so coming across a sturdy drawer divider for office supplies or even a decent quantity of packing tape is a hit for me.

Hit the Jewelry Cases
- Secondhand stores don't just keep jewelry in these. I've found some dvd movies and playstation games to give as gifts along with a nice watch or two that would be a fraction of the cost if I bought them at the store new.

Hit the Bookshelf
- I don't recall the last time I bought a book brand new, and there are so many books available for every type of bookworm. I'm fond of 1st editions and antique books along with picking up childrens books for nieces and nephews.

Hit up Lost Items
- I lose winter hats all the time and if I come across some good thick gloves I will grab those as well. The same goes for containers with lids I can take food to work in as I always nuke the lid into a warped disaster.

Skip Your Multiples - If I already have enough dress clothes for work I don't look in that area, however if I am in need of a back up pair of dress pants, I will look but not hard.

Skip the Special Cleaning - I pass by the items that need dry cleaning or heavy duty ironing as I never get to a dry cleaner and rarely like to iron clothes

Skip the TLC
- If I am unsure about getting out a stain on a tee shirt, it won't be worth it to drop $2 no matter. The same goes for some tears on clothes that are more involved and cigarette holes in clothes. Buy according to your TLC skills unless you really are up to a challenge and willing to lose the money if you can't fix it.

Skip Glued, Dented, Chipped - If I find furniture or houseware items that are glued, dented or chipped I usually skip them unless it falls below my TLC skillset. Chipped and glued items I usually don't buy at all. Hairline fractures in a cookie jar are skipped by me.

Skip Projects - If what I find is within my skillset yet will involve a lot of time, I skip it. Unless I can get to it right away, I know it will just sit and get dusty or I will lose interest in getting it fixed.

Skip Holiday Items
- I'm not one to decorate for St. Patricks day, so the cute door hanging will be skipped along with the Santa statue and the Valentine's Day Pillow. There is an exception as that is something that is vintage and I know someone who collects for that holiday.

Skip Safety Issues
- I don't pick up strollers, helmets or baby seats as secondhand because you don't know the history of the item or if it has been recalled. Some people might pick up something that they know to be recalled in the hopes of getting a new replacement from the company, but I don't think it is worth it.


  1. Anonymous // Tuesday, July 21, 2009 2:11:00 PM  

    One thing i always wondered about Good Will clothes. do you think they launder them before putting them up for sale?

  2. Dawn // Tuesday, July 21, 2009 7:43:00 PM  

    Unless the person donating launders them, no they don't.
    But then retail stores don't launder the clothes that people try on either. I'm more than able to do that myself.