Someone asked me recently if I was a “garage sale guru.” I’d answer to that but I prefer “Stylishly Frugal Living Expert” as my title. Regardless, I’m a garage sale, estate sale, second-hand store, free pile type-of-gal! I try and always buy used items, first, instead of buying new and that includes most items except the“unmentionables” which I won’t mention but you can probably imagine.
I do love the finer things in life – lovely handbags, cashmere, finely made clothing, a nicely decorated home – but I don’t like to squander money or resources. Purchasing items second-hand makes the most sense for the environment and my wallet but it does require patience. These are my tips for shopping second hand and they’re all very frugal, fancy and fun – all very Go Gingham!
Buy second hand first shopping tips
- Find out when a sale ends and go back when things are half off. At estates sales, this generally means Sunday afternoon. At garage sales, it can be past a certain time the very same day. When I have a garage sale, I want stuff gone so I usually go half off after 12 noon.
- Go back the day after the sale and see if the people have a dumpster. Sadly, lots of estate sale companies will get a dumpster and pitch what doesn’t sell. Dumpsters are great places to look for items after a sale.
- When arriving at a sale, ask if there are any free items. There’s usually a box of free stuff and it’s filled with broken items that are easily fixed.
- At estate sales, go to the basement for the best deals on tools and broken furniture that can be easily fixed. The first words out of my big mouth upon arriving at an estate sale are, “Where’s the basement?” Estate sales with basements are my favorite!
- Picture frames, sewing notions, craft projects, handbags, dishes, kitchen appliances are all good items to buy at estate and garage sales. A tour of my house with a stop in the kitchen to see my second-hand beauties and you may never buy new again!
- No one should ever buy holiday decorating items and gift wrap new – it’s always for sale second-hand. Yes, when I was a PTA president we had fundraisers that sold gift wrap and I bought some but honestly there’s no need to buy it new. Between the never-been-opened-gift-wrap and old maps, you will find all of your gift wrapping needs met.
- Don’t turn your nose up at “free stuff” that’s on the street corner. Half the furnishings in my home (certainly all of the chairs that are scattered around – but we won’t talk about my chair obsession today!) are from a corner free pile or when we lived in Washington, D.C. from bulky trash day which meant you could put out just about anything for trash collection. We used to call it “alley shopping” back then.
It also helps if you like to shop, which I do! I just shop at garage sales, estate sales, second-hand stores. Find a friend or go on a date with your sweetie and go shopping – second hand, first!
What’s your favorite spot to shop? What extra tips do you have? Do you like second-hand shopping, too?
Go Gingham Related Links:
Shopping at “Goodwill Bins”
Estate sale finds: vintage wrapping paper
Light lanterns for garden – from the “Goodwill Bins”
The claw for the claw foot tub that got traded – even better than buying!
Our library book return basket is also second-hand
Hello handbag – a very stylishly frugal purse bought at an estate sale
Wine charms – from an estate sale