Best Things to Buy Second-Hand

Our album collection is heavy to move, it takes up space in our living room, yet we continue to buy old records for a number of reasons. We love the cover art, we love the sound of vinyl, and we love the price. On a recent trip to the record shop, we picked up a stack of great albums for $2.99 a pop. Old records are definitely on our list of good second-hand buys, along with a few other things...

  • Side chairs and tables are fairly easy to find in thrift shops and on craigslist. Metal and wood frames last a long time and tend to stay in better shape than upholstered armchairs. For tips on reupholstering a second-hand find, see AT's upholstery how-to's in our archives.
  • We've had good luck with thrift store dishware. Because we collect white china, it's easy to find a variety of mismatched pieces that still have a sense of cohesiveness.
  • Second-hand books are another great love. If we had a large home with tons of space, we'd line floor-to-ceiling shelves with books. Instead, we settle for a small stack of second-hand monographs and novels each year.
  • Vintage flatware is available in many flea markets, thrift stores, and vintage shops. Look for heavy or sturdy silverware that won't bend or break. A tarnished finish can be cleaned up with silver polish.
  • Many chain thrift stores (like GoodWill and the Salvation Army) have huge selections of clothing. Look for items with your favorite labels, quality materials, and no major holes or stains. Remember to wash or dry-clean anything before you wear it.
  • You can save a lot by buying refurbished computers and other electronics. Our refurbished MacBook cost less and came with a warranty as well. (Just make sure the item is guaranteed by a retailer - used electronics without warranties may end up costing you a lot in repairs.)
  • Decorative accessories are all over Etsy and other online vintage shops. On AT, we've featured vintage wall numbers, artwork, modern rustic finds, vases, and more.
  • Let us know your favorite second-hand buys in the comments below.

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