The Benefits of Thrifting: Ultimate Guide to Secondhand Shopping
You may have seen the popularity of thrift shopping on the rise, and there’s a good reason for it. Not only are many people saving money by hitting the local thrift stores, but it’s also a lot of fun, “the thrill of the bargain” as it’s commonly referred to. Homemakers through the ages have used secondhand and antiquing as a skill to decorate their homes on a dime.

I love thrifting, in fact I even used to sell thrifted finds on Etsy as a hobby to make a bit of extra cash. Today there are so many resources to find a good deal on vintage and second hand items from places like Facebook Marketplace to your local antique or vintage store. The thrifting deals are everywhere, you just need to know where to look.

My Experience

I’ve decorated my entire home from second hand stores and online markets. Living on one income as a full time homemaker it would have been impossible for me to buy brand new furniture and head off to Target or Ikea for all my home décor. I wouldn’t have been able to afford 80% of the things in those big box stores, and to be honest I didn’t really love the generic style that so many of those stores had in stock. It seems like everyone ends up with the same décor style when you purchase from Hobby Lobby.
Not to mention accidents happen, many of us have kids and pets and if you buy an expensive couch from Article just to have your kids or pets have an accident, it can be downright frustrating to spend a lot of money on these things just to have them ruined by daily life’s messes.

Knowing that a secondhand item has been well loved and lived a long life will really give you some relief if something happens to it. Buying second hand can give some much needed peace of mind when you have pets and young kids. Because accidents are bound to happen and that’s okay.

You Can Find Good Quality Items Secondhand

My favorite reason to shop secondhand is that you can find name brand, high quality, and antique items for fractions of the original value. We live in a consumer driven society where people are always buying. Often people have only lightly used their items or never used them at all when they choose to get rid of it. It does take time and you may have to wait to find just what you’re looking for, but patience is rewarded when you are shopping secondhand.
Just because you’re buying secondhand doesn’t mean that what you bring home won’t be good quality. In fact, I have found amazing things on Facebook Marketplace and at local antique stores. You don’t have to sacrifice your personal style or desire for quality just because you shop secondhand.

My favorite furniture piece in our home is a farmhouse-style vintage dining table that was refurbished by one of my favorite local antique stores in Spokane, WA called Tossed and Found.

It Saves Money To Buy Secondhand

This is the obvious benefit for opting for secondhand, it’s simply cheaper! We all know the prices are skyrocketing and inflation is on the rise. Even if your income allows for you to live comfortably, the ability to save money and live frugally is an asset to your household. I managed to furnish our entire dining room with less than $300.

Secondhand shopping is the frugal choice. If you are trying to be smart with your money, maybe even get out of debt but you still need clothes and furniture (which we all do) then thrifting is a great option for you. Being frugal doesn’t necessarily mean always going with the cheaper option, but it does mean weighing your options and finding what works best for your financial situation.

Older Items Are Usually Better Quality

We all know that things used to be built to last, tables were sturdier, bed frames were real wood, and most everything was handcrafted. You can come across some well built long lasting furniture when you opt for secondhand. Secondhand shops are filled with items that have lasted generations and estate sales often give up their items to secondhand shops, which means thousands of dollars worth of treasures end up being donated.
I’ve seen antique dressers, professional paintings and 100 year old books worth hundreds just sitting on the shelf. This is how some people make full time incomes reselling. Although it can be a challenge searching through thrift stores to find the hidden treasures, it can also evoke a sense of adventure.

I recently decided to change up my home décor style and was surprised how much the items I bought second hand were worth when I looked them up. Now an item is only worth what someone will pay for it, but just because something was only $2 at the thrift store doesn’t mean that’s the actual value.

Your Home Will Be Unique

Your home won’t be a carbon copy. This happens often in today’s society, where you go to someone’s home and most of the décor you have seen before in the aisles of Walmart a million times before, like those signs that read “Live, Laugh, Love.” Many people have the same couch from Ikea and the same décor from Walmart or Hobby lobby. Before you know it, those of us who have similar styles end up with almost the exact same décor, and no one wants that. It’s like showing up to realize you and your friend are wearing the same outfit but instead it’s your whole home.

It’s Better For The Environment

Reusing furniture and décor or even taking something old and making it new is one way to lessen our footprint, and to be a good steward of the resources that God has given us. While it may not save the world to buy a used table from a thrift store or Facebook marketplace it certainly makes a small difference not just for the planet but for your pocketbook.


Plus shopping secondhand is a good way to push back against a society that’s driven by cheaply made products and instead reuse vintage and custom made items.

In today’s culture, we are so used to instant gratification. When you buy second hand you might have to wait to find exactly what you want, it may take a couple trips, and if you are looking for bigger pieces it could take a couple months of waiting to come across it. The practice teaches us to be thankful for what we own and be patient.

Tips for Thrifting

Tip 1 : Have an ongoing list of things you need.
I keep a large thrift list which includes two categories. A list of household items that I need, or that need to be replaced, and a list of clothing items that my family needs. Create a couple lists or one large running list to keep yourself focused.
Tip 2: Go with a set budget.
You can avoid overspending and stick to a list of what you actually need! It can be easy to get swept away by buying all the cool items at local thrift stores so try to go in with intention and have a set amount that you can spend.
Tip 3: Try to find small, locally-owned thrift stores.
Goodwill, UGM, and Value Village are fun places to check out but if you want to find the real gems, especially when it comes to furniture, you need to search for small locally-owned vintage and antique shops for the best finds. You will also be supporting your local community and can often find custom built pieces.
Tip 4: Flea markets and estate sales are your best friend!
Some of the best quality and most unique vintage pieces are going to be found at local events. Estate sales can be hit or miss, but sometimes they are shocking. It’s like walking through someone’s life history, you get to see the things they loved and collected over the years and take a walk through someone’s life. It can be a sobering and inspiring experience.
Tip 5: Take your time & go often.
Thrifting is something you definitely want to set enough time aside for in the day. I usually set aside a couple hours if not the whole day to be able to slowly pass through all the items. When you’re thrifting you have to be willing to get your hands dirty, literally. You might have to get down on your knees to check out the back of the shelves or even dig through bins to find what you want.
So take your time, be patient and comb through everything. You shouldn’t sacrifice what you really want and pick up the first thing you see. It may take time but finding what you want for a discounted price is worth the wait.
Tip 6: Check every item you plan on buying for damage.
Check for any holes in fabric as well as stains. When buying furniture be sure to open every drawer, check the legs, and always check kitchenware for cracks or chips. You don’t want to spend your hard earned money on damaged goods.
Tip 7: Be intentional about what you buy and know your style.
I made this mistake early on. I would see something unique or cute and buy it thinking to myself that I could find a place for it or make it fit my style, but instead I ended up with a lot of mismatched stuff that didn’t have a cohesive look, so be sure to know what you’re looking for.
I personally like to create a Pinterest board and have a specific color palette that I can refer to. That way if an item doesn’t match what I intended on finding then I choose to leave it behind. Sometimes it’s best to admire the beauty of something and still leave for the right person to come along and discover it.
Tip 8: Always clean everything you bring home.
Throw the clothes, fabrics and blankets in the wash and give everything a good scrub.

P.S. You can use lemon essential oil and a good soak to scrub off price stickers.

Things To Buy

  • Wood furniture
  • Picture frames
  • Mirrors
  • Clothing
  • Household décor
  • Kitchenware
  • Serving ware
  • Artwork
  • Brass décor
  • Wooden bowls, cutting boards, utensils.
  • Glassware
  • Vases
  • Canning jars
  • Lamps
  • Books
  • Baskets

Things To Avoid

  • Fabric furniture
  • Undergarments
  • Appliances
  • Hardware
  • Lawn tools
  • Tech/electronics
  • Car seats
  • Stuffed animals
  • Mattresses
  • Shoes
  • Cribs
  • Pet beds
  • Toys
  • Throw pillows & inserts
I hope after reading this you will consider buying secondhand more often. The key is to be intentional about what you want, and don’t be afraid to do a little research so you know that what you’re buying is quality and that it will last.
Just because something is secondhand doesn’t mean we shouldn’t care for it and maintain it. It’s better for the planet and your wallet, and can give you some much needed peace of mind.
Don’t sacrifice quality, just take your time and find what you truly love and curate what you bring into your home. Before you know it you will have a home that reflects your personal style and feels authentic to you.
Take care, Danielle from The Homebound Hippie