Thrift store

The do’s and don’ts of second-hand shopping

Buying used items is a fantastic way to save money and take care of the planet. It helps to breathe new life into favorite things and keep them out of landfills. If you’re new to thrift stores or second-hand shopping, we’ll explain which used items are worth picking up and which you should probably skip.

Thrift stores like Value Village or Salvation Army and garage sales are great places to buy a variety of used items. Don’t forget to also take a look at Facebook Marketplace, as well as online classifieds sites like Kijiji. If you’re lucky, you can often make great finds for free!

The Dos and Don’ts of Second-Hand Shopping

Toys and sports equipment

Toys and used sports equipment are wonderful items to collect. If they’re made of a hard surface, like plastic, that’s even better because they can be easily wiped down and disinfected. Often toys and sporting goods are quickly outdated or only used for one season before being thrown away, which means many of them are in like-new condition when they find their new home.


Clothes are always a good thing to get second-hand. Let’s face it, kids grow like weeds and having to buy a whole new wardrobe every few months can really break the bank. You can often find designer labels at a fraction of their original price. Examine the fabric and look for pilling, stains, tears or other damage.

School supplies and equipment

During the back-to-school season, look for gently used items like backpacks and lunch bags. If you’re lucky, you can sometimes find brand new school and art supplies!

Furniture and accessories

You can get used furniture in many different and unique styles. If the colors aren’t totally to your liking, consider painting or staining the items to match your home decor. Look for unique antiques, dressers, tables, chairs, sofas, wall art, china, TV consoles, ceiling fixtures, home accents and lamps.


Books are great things to get used to. Many people will read a book once and never pick it up again. If you find a book that interests you, be sure to flip through the pages to see if it’s in good condition. Watch out for water damage, tears, creased pages and stains.

Electronics and technology

Don’t forget the electronics! Things like televisions, watches, cell phones, smart devices, video game consoles, printers, cameras, tablets, laptops, and stereos get significantly cheaper as they get older. . You can often get a slightly older model that’s still in great working order at a fraction of the cost it would cost to buy a new one.

Baby items

Babies are expensive! Before heading to the store to buy anything new, try to collect your used baby items first. Items like lightly used strollers, playgrounds, rocking chairs or gliders, exersaucers and baby monitors are ideal. When buying used baby items, it is important to research and see if there have been any recalls or changes in safety measures and standards.

Avoid items like mattresses, pillows, crib underwear, teethers, pacifiers, feeding items (bottles, spoons, sippy cups), breast pumps, diaper pails, and seats of car. It is best to buy these items new for safety and health reasons.

Are you an experienced steward? Let us know what your favorite items to buy used are.

Tagged under: shopping, thrift store, shopping with children, second-hand shopping

Category: family-finance, green living, mom-101, home