Dos & Don’ts of Secondhand Shopping

Tips for Secondhand Shopping - SavvyMom
Vintage toned portrait of a young beautiful brunette woman in London second hand marketplace. She is wearing casual Autumn clothes, an olive green parka jacket, browsing through the stuff in the market.

Buying things secondhand is a fantastic way to save money and take care of the planet. It helps to give preloved items a new life and keeps them out of landfills. If you’re new to thrifting or secondhand shopping, we’ll walk you through which used items are worth picking up, and which ones you should probably skip.

Thrift stores like Value Village or the Salvation Army and garage sales are great places to purchase a variety of secondhand items. Don’t forget to also take a look at Facebook Marketplace, as well as online classified sites like Kijiji. If you luck out you can often score some great finds for free!

The Dos & Don’ts of Secondhand Shopping

Toys & Sports Equipment

Used toys and sports equipment are wonderful items to pick up. If they are made of a hard surface, like plastic, that's even better because they can be easily wiped down and sanitized. Often toys and sporting goods are quickly outgrown, or only used for one season before being discarded, meaning many of them are in good-as-new condition when they find their new homes.


Clothes are always a great thing to get secondhand. Let’s face it, kids grow like weeds, and having to buy a whole new wardrobe every few months can really break the bank. You can often find designer labels at a fraction of their original price. Examine the fabric and watch out for any pills, stains, tears, or other damage.

School Supplies & Gear

During back to school season, look for gently used items like backpacks and lunch bags. If you’re lucky, you can sometimes find brand new school and art supplies too!

Furniture & Accessories

You can get used furniture in a lot of different and unique styles. If the colours aren’t totally to your taste, consider painting or staining the items to match your home decor. Look for one of a kind antiques, dressers, tables, chairs, couches, wall art, china, TV consoles, ceiling lights, home accents and lamps.


Books are great items to get used. Many people will read a book once and then they’ll never pick it up again. If you find a book you're interested in, make sure to flip through the pages to see if it is in good condition. Look out for water damage, rips, crumpled pages, and stains.

Electronics & Tech

Don’t forget the electronics! Things like TVs, watches, cellphones, smart devices, video game consoles, printers, camera equipment, tablets, laptops, and stereos get significantly cheaper as they get older. You can often get a slightly older model that is still in great working order at a fraction of the cost that it would be to buy a new one.

Baby Items

Babies are expensive! Before heading to the store to purchase everything new, try to grab your baby items secondhand first. Items like gently used strollers, play yards, rocking chairs or gliders, exersaucers, and baby monitors are ideal. When getting any used baby items it is important to look up and see if there have been any recalls, or any changes in safety measures and standards.

Avoid items like mattresses, pillows, cribs undergarments, teethers, pacifiers, feeding items (bottles, spoons, sippy cups), breast pumps, diaper pails, and car seats. These items are better to purchase new for safety and sanitary reasons.

Are you an experienced thrifter? Let us know what your favourite items are to purchase secondhand.


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