Thrift stores are treasure troves of unique, affordable and unexpectedly high-quality items. From clothing to shoes to furniture you can almost find everything you need in a thrift store. However, there are a few things you need to know if you want the best selection, the best deals and the safest used goods. Become a savvier thrift store shopper and enjoy the bargains without any of the drawbacks.
Second Hand Furniture Isn’t Necessarily Clean
Perhaps you love the idea of an eclectic collection of furniture in a room. Maybe you luck out and find an entire matching set. Perhaps you’ve been furnishing a room bit by bit by finding pieces that go well together during multiple thrift store trips. The first thing you need to do whenever you buy upholstered thrift store furniture is contact COIT as soon as you get the furniture home.
Secondhand furniture may look clean because many thrift store owners try to surface clean everything they sell so the goods don’t appear soiled. However, furniture can come from homes with smokers, pets or excessive dust, which means invisible allergens get rubbed deep into the fabric. They could also be stained under the fabric. Luckily, you can make secondhand furniture as clean, sanitary and allergen-free as new furniture with the assistance of professional upholstery cleaners.
Store Location Makes a Difference
If you’re tired of going to secondhand stores and finding junk you’re not interested in buying, you might be shopping in the wrong locations. Thrift stores near more affluent neighborhoods are more likely to have brand name and top quality items. If you’re the type of thrift store shopper who loves labels, you have to shop where the people who pay full price for brand names are more likely to donate. See if there are any reviews of the specific stores online or use an online thrift store directory listing to get an idea of the types of items a certain location sells.
Season Changes Mean More Stock
Keep in mind when people are most likely to donate en masse: when they undertake big cleaning projects. “Spring cleaning” is a regular activity for just about everyone. People are most likely to tackle big cleaning projects when seasons change, especially when winter turns to spring, but also when summer turns to fall and fall to winter. You might find more goods when spring turns to summer, but remember, the better the weather outside the less likely people are to want to stay cooped up indoors cleaning. If you visit your favorite thrift stores at least twice a week as seasons change, you’ll likely find new goods for sale every time you go.
Toys Could Be Dirty — and Dangerous
Kids burn through toys fast — they use them once and then move on to the next thing. If you bought brand-new toys every time your kids asked for them, you’d have to devote even more of your income to placating your children. Thrift store toys can save your family money, especially since your kids likely won’t be interested in the toys for long.
However, secondhand toys have dirt, germs and allergens on their surfaces. They might also contain lead, the dangers of which were not known until recently. Before you give a thrift-store toy to your kids, research the toy to make sure it wasn’t recalled for lead-related concerns or produced before lead-based paints were outlawed for use in children’s toys. If it’s safe, clean it thoroughly with anti-bacterial cleaner or soap and water.
There are plenty of deals to be made at a secondhand store. The National Association of Resale Professionals claims thrift stores and other resale shops earn a combined $13 billion in profits each year, all from previously owned items that could be yours for a fraction of the original sticker price. However, don’t be so hasty to buy whatever you happen to find. Plan your thrift shopping experience to get the best quality items and keep your family safer by thoroughly cleaning and researching your buys.