I love used jeans, I can't imagine buying new jeans anymore, it just seems wrong to me anymore.

I like to walk into a thrift store and search for the perfect pair of pre-worn jeans, no matter if they are men's or women's sizes. I like the hunt in finding a well made or a formerly high priced pair of jeans that are still in good shape and fit me like a glove. I get a slight high when I walk out of the thrift store knowing that I paid less than $10 for a pair of jeans that probably cost someone else $30- $100. You can almost hear me squeal with delight!

The idea of buying someone else's high priced cast-offs for ⅓ the price or better is a wonderful feeling.

But that is not all, I also love the idea that these jeans have already been preshrunk and all the stiffness has been worn out of them. What you try on in the store is what you are going to get after you take them out of the dryer and put them on at home. No worries.

And I also love that when I walk into a thrift store I am keeping a pair of jeans out of the landfill and my money is going to helping those in need for some of these stores (Goodwill, ARC).

Jeans are my number one purchase at thrift stores but I think the minute you walk into a thrift store, or visit a yard sale, you are saying to yourself and to those around you that you still value the old, forgotten, ugly or cast-off item from someone else. You see value left in that item and it is worth a longer life with you.

To me, finding value in the thrift item says frugal living to the outside world more than anything else because you can talk to people about the $4 dress you bought or the $20 suit that makes you look sharp.

Recently at work, the guys were discussing the best places to buy a cheap, well made tie for some upcoming interviews and I was hearing everything from Dillards to Ross to Burlington Coat factory tossed out as good places to go. Then John, who dresses pretty snazzy when he wants to, piped up saying, "Thrift stores, dude, they are the best. You get some top notch ties for $5!" And after that everyone shut up, because they had to agree. You DO get some top-notch stuff for only a few dollars.

What items will you ONLY buy from a 2nd hand store?

17 Comments

  1. malarchy // Wednesday, April 14, 2010 8:15:00 AM  

    I think it's crazy to buy new furniture. Higher quality, WAY lower prices... why would you buy new?

  2. The Grouch // Wednesday, April 14, 2010 9:01:00 AM  

    Nothing wrong with Thrift stores. A lot of times you can find stuff on the racks that haven't even worn. I'll buy books and clothes from them on occasion if I find something I like.

  3. Dawn // Wednesday, April 14, 2010 9:05:00 AM  

    @Malarchy
    I haven't found any furniture I like from thrift stores, I just have better luck here in the apartment complex with that.

    @The Grouch
    Books are great - picked up two recently that I wanted to read through. I am picky about my clothes and the way they look

  4. NomadRip // Wednesday, April 14, 2010 9:18:00 AM  

    I pretty much only buy clothes from thrift stores now. There is so much new or near-new clothing in the stores now, it doesn't make sense to buy new at premium prices. Unless I need some specialty item I can't find in any of our local places, and I haven't had that need come up in a few years.

    We tend to get things like kitchen appliances there as well. We bought a $5 blender to use for a project, and 2 years later it still works fine.

  5. Dawn // Wednesday, April 14, 2010 10:14:00 AM  

    @NomadRip
    I haven't picked up too many housewares, mostly old tupperware if I can find it. But a blender for $5 that has been going strong for 2 years - that is great!

  6. Anonymous // Wednesday, April 14, 2010 12:16:00 PM  

    I recently did an inventory of my clothes and discovered 98% of my clothes where second hand (exclusive of undergarments).

    jeans are the hardest thing for me to buy used as they are all either torn or dad-jeans

  7. Dawn // Wednesday, April 14, 2010 12:55:00 PM  

    @Anon
    Ok - I have to ask.. what are "dad-jeans"?

  8. Anonymous // Wednesday, April 14, 2010 8:55:00 PM  

    I like to buy shower curtains at thrift stores. I have 2 on hand right now that I can switch when I need a little change to my surroundings. I also redonate them when I am tired of them. It is cheaper than redecorating in the rest of the house.

  9. Karen McLaughlin // Thursday, April 15, 2010 7:54:00 AM  

    There's not much I won't buy at thrift stores - undergarments and mattresses are about the only things I insist on buying new :) Thrift store prices are generally a lot higher than yard sale prices,though. Usually if I need something, I first "put out the word" to my circle of friends that I'm looking for a certain item. I often post an "In Search of" request to Freecycle as well (I've given away many items through Freecycle, so I am often successful when I request something). If it's yard sale season, I'll start keeping my eye out for the item(s) in my weekly rounds. If I manage to anticipate my family's needs well enough, I've usually stockpiled most items we'll need for the rest of the year by the end of yard sale season. I do often need to round out our wardrobes with some thrift store items (especially since my boys have gotten bigger, yard sale pickings in their sizes are slim). I tend to shop thrift stores more in the colder months, or if I urgently need an item and can't wait to find it at a yard sale. I do end up buying most of my pants at thrift stores as I don't seem to have a lot of luck finding good fitting ones at yard sales! There's nothing like a pair of nicely broken in jeans - and you know if it's made it to the thrift store, it's not going to fall apart after one or two washings!
    Karen @ Abundance on a Dime

  10. Kathryn // Thursday, April 15, 2010 4:16:00 PM  

    I have participated in Wardrobe Refashion (http://nikkishell.typepad.com/wardroberefashion/) since January I am signed up until June and the only clothing I have not bought at thrift store was a pair of shoes for my son (Size 11 - hard to find used -used the "Get Out Of Jail Free" card) and underwear. I am a single Mom (no child support as my ex has been out of work nearly 2 years) was out of work for 5 month and only started a job this month and it all of my unemployment to scrape by leaving little to no money for clothes.

    I also save a lot of time by not shopping retail stores, especially the "SuperCenters" when I go to get groceries as I used to always browse both the ladies and mens depts for "bargains" for my son and I, usually not finding anything I could afford anyway.

  11. lauren @ Just Add Lauren // Sunday, April 18, 2010 12:16:00 PM  

    I love thrift store jeans! not only are they a great price, but they are also already stretched and worn in for me! it is the best of both worlds!

  12. Anonymous // Tuesday, April 20, 2010 9:21:00 AM  

    We buy most everything used! One of the best things we buy at thrift stores (we only have Goodwill here) is work clothes for my husband who works in construction. He destroys the clothes about every 6-8 weeks, so why in the world would we buy new stuff for him? I see the "work clothes" section in Walmart for construction workers and think it's just so crazy to spend $20-25 to buy stuff that will soon be destroyed! People do it all the time though!

  13. Victoria // Thursday, April 22, 2010 7:49:00 PM  

    Interesting idea, but what are you, a size 2? In all my years of thrift store shopping I have never, EVER found a pair of jeans that: 1. Have a current in style wash and cut, 2. Don't smell terrible or have some mysterious stain on them and 3. FIT me!!

    Unless I"m buying a costume, I definitely buy first time around (hello Ebay NWT). However, I think thrift stores are great for furniture and decorating stuff!!!

  14. Dawn // Friday, April 23, 2010 8:51:00 AM  

    @Victoria
    I wish... no I take that back, that would make me only skin and bones. I'm a womanly 18.. down from a 22.
    But you are correct, the higher sizes are very limiting until I move down in sizes - and I do buy men's sizes as well (just add 20 to your number)

  15. karrie // Friday, June 04, 2010 9:57:00 AM  

    To the poster above, many people sell jeans on sites like eBay, not only from their closets, but...that they found in thrift stores to flip on eBay!

    FWIW, I'm an 18 tall, and I've found several pairs of nice jeans in my size.I do live in a larger area, with tons of thrift stores.

    OP: I'll buy anything except for underwear 2nd hand. Even socks. I have the BEST pair--two pairs, actually--of handknit wool socks that I bought for 5 cents a pair (really!) in a small thrift store. I don't think they were ever worn--looked like a gift that the recipient did not like. I almost feel guilty though, knowing how much work the knitter who made them must have put into the project.

  16. Dawn // Friday, June 04, 2010 10:01:00 AM  

    @Karrie
    About the wool socks - great find! And their hardwork didn't go to waste, it went to someone who would enjoy them, You!

  17. Anonymous // Wednesday, June 23, 2010 8:20:00 PM  

    I know this is late, but I like to buy sweaters and unravel them for the yarn. (I only unravel the ugly ones or the ones that have been there forever.) You can get the equivalent of 3-4 skeins or more of yarn for 3 bucks.