Top 4 Items I Purchase "Used"

Who else is all about saving $$$ when possible?  In efforts to be debt free, plan for retirement, and whatever other motives you may have, we all look for ways to scrimp and save.  There are several items that I like to purchase in a gently used state, rather than brand-new.  Below, I'll share these items, with links, as applicable. 

1. FASHION ITEMS - CLOTHES, ETC!  My parents did me a great service by teaching me that I ought to dress in the way that I want people to perceive me.  My personal style has developed as a result of that ideal.  However, as times change, my size has changed with it, several times!  For this reason, I tend to keep more than one size in my closet.  Rather than spending lots of money on new items (... I wish I could afford that!), I've built much of my wardrobe using one skill, two ways:

THRIFTING!  In person & Online.  In person, I tend to wander toward whichever thrift shop in town has the best items, and online, I use one of my favorite apps called Poshmark (Use my sign-up code and get $5 credit, free! Code: HVOMR). I've scored sweet deals both in person and online such as a gorgeous black evening gown, several pairs of Level 99 denim (one of my favorite jean brands!) for as low as $12, J. Crew silk sleeveless tops, beautiful, bright Lilly Pulitzer skirts for as low as $11, classic pieces from Talbots, and so much more!

Brands I've scored from thrifting:  Kate Spade, Ann Taylor, J. Crew, Banana Republic, Anthropologie, Lilly Pulitzer, Vintage items, Level 99, Michael Kors, Elizabeth McKay, Polo, Ralph Lauren, Vineyard Vines, Miss Me, and so many others.

Things not to buy:  Used undies, bras and swimwear (yuck!), nasty used shoes (they're ok if they look very clean!). 

2. BOOKS!  "Guess what?  I read books now!!"  My husband recently laughed out loud at me when I said this to him.  I used to dread reading, typically because I was forced to read something that I wasn't interested in.  Thankfully, those days are behind me.  Behold-- I discovered Amazon's USED books section... WITH PRIME SHIPPING.  (If you aren't already using Prime, and you want things in a hurry, trust me, you want to sign up.  Throughout the year, it'll end up paying for itself when it saves you gas, shipping, etc.)  I went bananas, searching books of all kinds of topics that I CARED ABOUT, and the used books prices were CHEAP!  I know, I know, I'm late to the game.  But -- what a heavenly discovery!  And... I read books now.  Ha!  I *might* be reading three at a time right now. 

Things not to buy:  Books from sellers that have less than stellar online selling reputations, books that come from smoking homes if you're not a smoker (I'm not, so I look for non-smoker sellers) or that are listed as having an odor, books that report damage that will interfere with reading.  If you happen to be browsing a thrift store, I'd steer away from books that look like they've housed any kind of small bugs... ew. 

3. WOOD FURNITURE AND HOME DECOR!  I cannot begin to tell you how many wood and decor items we've thrifted over the years!  From dining tables to end tables to buffets, candles, mirrors, scentsy items... you name it!  The best luck we've had on these has come from either Craigslist, Bookoo, or Facebook via yardsale pages.  Many localities have yard/garage sale pages on fb... search your area to find one!  Most times, it's been easy to refinish an item, sand, stain and seal, or antique/shabby chic to our own personal taste - all for a fraction of the cost of purchasing a similar item, new. 

Fun story:  When we lived in California, we stumbled across a beautiful farmhouse style table with long, matching benches, all hand-crafted by a local Marine.  He listed the table on a facebook page, and as soon as we saw it we knew we had to have it!  After enjoying the table at our own home for some time, we needed to leave it behind (it was larger than we wanted to move across the country).  We listed the table, and it was so popular that it had a "waiting list"!  After a series of comments reading "Next!", an order of ownership was worked out.  I was just tagged in a facebook post this week by the fourth owner of the table, in the same town!!  I love stories like that.  :)

Things not to buy: Generally speaking, it's probably not the best idea to purchase upholstered items, rugs, bedding items, because of the potential that they're housing a colony of undetectable critters, like bedbugs, fleas, etc., as well as difficult to eliminate odors, dust, and dander.  Also, consider the amount of elbow grease you're willing to put into an item.  If it requires more effort than you're realistically willing to put in, it's probably best to look for something that's already finished.  

4. DINNERWARE!  If you're anything like me and appreciate the value in handed-down items, this one is a no-brainer!  Several years ago, I was given some of my great-grandmother's Currier & Ives blue dishes.  We've been able to purchase multiple place settings, thrifted, as well as specialty serving pieces, such as teapot, sugar and creamer, salt and pepper, etc, online.  In the past, we've also found other kitchen items such as crockpots, attachments for our mixer, dessert dishes, etc.  If you have something specific in mind, it's always a great option to check your local thrift stores as well as online options.  In addition to the online resources already listed above, items can be found on Ebay, and Replacements, LTD. 

Things not to buy: Steer clear of items that are chipped, damaged, or otherwise in poor condition.  It's often best to exercise patience and wait for a piece in better condition at a better deal.  Some people recommend you stay away from items that have "crazing".  That's an issue I've seen read up on both sides of the argument on; feel free to look it up and decide for yourself. 

I hope this list inspires you to do some thrifting and gently used shopping of your own! 

What are some of your favorite pre-loved items that you've found?  Please share, below!