If you love to buy secondhand home décor but find yourself always defaulting to the same charity shop, don’t despair! There are several options you can explore that will help you re-ignite the thrill of the hunt and increase your odds of finding great stuff at great prices.
Here are my ten favorite second-hand venues for finding all the goodies!
Outdoor flea/antique markets – I love, Love, LOVE outdoor market season! There is just something about walking in the gate of an outdoor market that fills me with optimism and anticipation! I never go away empty-handed!
Auctions – Don’t be shy, just go! There’s bound to be an estate auction near you on almost any weekend, so don’t fear the fast-talking auctioneer. If you pay attention as the first few items sell, you’ll soon catch on to the auctioneer’s rhythm. I’ve scored amazing deals at auctions, including service for 12 of a very popular Haviland china pattern for $11 and a whole pile of picture frames for just $1.
Consignment shops – Remember that consignment stores are a little different from thrift stores in that the business and the item’s previous owner are splitting the proceeds from the sale. In my experience, this has meant that consignment prices are higher than in the thrift stores. But they’re still below new-item pricing and can save you significant money.
Online marketplaces – I’ve had huge success buying and selling vintage items on the online marketplaces such as Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, eBay, OfferUp, and LetGo. There are also vintage shops on Etsy and even Instagram. These work best for me if I know at least generally what I’m looking for, instead of just browsing like I would at an outdoor market.
Network with friends or family – Looking for a specific type of piece? Put the word out to family and friends, and see who has what. Maybe you can even arrange a creative barter or trade!
Garage/yard/estate sales – Get in the habit of checking out the local sales each weekend or even one weekend a month. The latest variation on this seems to be the highway sale, where properties all along a particular highway or within a specified geographic region host sales on the same weekend. The World’s Longest Yard Sale was the first of these that I had heard of, and here in Iowa we have the Central Iowa Junk Jaunt, the Highway 141 Sale, and others. Be sure to also check listings for local church bazaars, because trust me: church ladies know how to price to sell! (And if you’re looking to host a garage or yard sale, check out my e-book… it’ll help you have an EPIC sale!)
Antique shops & malls – Antique stores, of course, have been around forever. They run the gamut from tiny hole-in-the-wall shops to large indoor malls featuring dozens of individual vendors.
Curb picking – Keep your eyes peeled as you drive around your town, because you never know when you’re going to spot a bit of treasure that someone else has put out with the trash. Some of my favorite items both inside and outside my home were curb finds!
Your own house – If there’s a specific item you’re needing for a space in your home, you might try shopping your own rooms to see if you already have something that will work. For example, I was recently needing a table in my spare bedroom to use as a printer stand. I thought it was going to be hard to find because it had to be a specific size, and also had to offer a way to store the scoop and plastic bags I use to clean my cat’s litter box. As it turns out, I had the perfect piece right under my nose in the kitchen!
And of course, thrift stores/charity shops – The venerable thrift store is always going to be a mainstay in the vintage-shopping toolkit. From Goodwill to Salvation Army, from hospital auxiliaries to animal shelters, there are shops everywhere that offer used merchandise at great prices and work to support the local community in some way.
Even if you live in a very small community, there are bound to be some of these options available to you either locally or within a short drive. And if there aren’t – well, you might consider initiating something because chances are there are others nearby who are also seeking options!
What are your favorite venues for scoping out the goods?
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