4 Apartment Accessories You Should Buy Secondhand, According to Goodwill Extraordinaires

updated Jun 1, 2021
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Thrifting is a great way to source one-of-a-kind accessories for your pad. And if it’s your first time renting your own apartment, you can take solace in the fact that thrifting is also a budget-friendly (not to mention eco-friendly) method of outfitting your new digs.

Heading to your local Goodwill or another thrift shop is the perfect place to start. While you can score amazing finds in everything from furniture to appliances, there are some overlooked items you may have never thought about buying secondhand. Ahead, some thrifting pros share their takes on those under-the-radar gems you should seek out at the thrift store, especially if you’re a new renter in a small space.


Design influencer Kate Keesee considers herself a “curbside ninja” and loves finding diamonds in the rough at her local Goodwill of Orange County. Her 1950s-style home is filled with treasures she’s thrifted, which she shares with her followers on Instagram.

Keesee feels that there’s pretty much nothing you can’t find at Goodwill, but some of her favorite unexpected picks include industrial pieces and vintage pottery, which can add flair without taking up a lot of space.

Check out her awesome outdoor space, which utilizes a section of an old tractor, plus a cool ceramic bowl on top of some stacked books:


Strategically placed baskets are a great way to keep things organized in a small space, and they also double as decor. 

Buffalo, New York-based interior designer Michael Helwig says that the designer baskets priced between $50 and $100 at department stores often go for $5 or $10 at Goodwill and the Salvation Army.

DIY Projects 

While perusing the thrift store, don’t shy away from items that look like they could use a little TLC. If an item has “good bones,” but only needs minor cosmetic upgrades, a little elbow grease could result in something something spectacular.

“I found a beautiful, mid-century china cabinet for less than $25,” says Helwig. “It was the perfect piece for my home office. Open storage on the top, closed on the bottom. After a coat of white paint, it matches my other two bookshelves perfectly. I was able to replicate the look of built-ins I saw on Pinterest for about $75 total.”

Dishes and Glassware

You can get coffee mugs, dishes, and glassware for just a buck at the dollar store, but according to John Linden of Mirror Coop, you’ll pay the same for much higher quality counterparts at Goodwill. 

If you’re worried about the ick factor, social media influencer Hayley Segar says as long as you give them a thorough scouring, you’re good to go. She notes that people often drop off complete sets of dishware, so you won’t even have to settle for a mismatched set.