Buying Necessities From The Thrift Store: Where Do You Draw the Line?

We all draw a line somewhere. Some of us refuse to buy used plates, others used shoes. I'm sure all of us draw the line at used underoos! (Buy hey, thrift stores wouldn't stock 'em if people weren't buying 'em!)


This article on yahoo advises against buying:  Mattresses, Swimsuits, Underwear, Cosmetics, Stuffed Animals, Rugs, Comforters, Eyeglasses, Wigs, and Hats!

The Lovely Sammy Davis has a very detailed article against buying:  helmets, mattresses and bed frames, old or new make up, children's cribs, stuffed animals, food blenders and processors, used undergarments, baby car seats and carriers, running shoes, and halogen lamps.

I Draw The Line On: Toiletries or make-up (I use homemade hippie crap anyway!), medicine (again, don't use 'em!), used undergarments, icky-looking shoes, helmets, important life or death safety equipment (Like a parachute! Ha!)

I personally am not a germaophobe. I feel like I interact in a world filled with germs and toxins and can't spend too much time fretting about what's been where. I just know to clean what comes into the house. And clean myself. ;)

What do you refuse to buy from the Thrift Store? Where do you draw the line? Let's Discuss!
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36 comments:

  1. This is interesting. People do spend millions of dollars buying those "forbidden" items on ebay and other auction sites. Cosmetics and lotions bring in big bucks. But see it on a thrift store shelf and most would not touch it.

    I am even iffy about buying food products from the dollar store or close out stores.

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    1. I like to buy my veggies from the farmer's market we have at our flea markets so I'm iffy on used foods as well but not completely closed on them.

      Now that I think about it I did buy my friend a certain lotion on Ebay because it's what she wanted for her birthday... :) haha

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    2. My stepfather wouldn't buy food products from the dollar or close out stores.

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  2. I realized the other day i don't own a pair of swimtrunks, and Ive been trying not to buy anything new, but I hate the idea of buying used swimtrunks.

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    1. They're really cheap new at Walmart. Sometimes we can make exceptions, I did break my "buy nothing new" rule to get myself a $6 bikini from "Wallie-World"!

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  3. I would definitely draw the line here too, unless perhaps it's perfume or it's sealed in and has a (non-expired)date on it...

    blueeyednightowl.blogspot.com

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    1. I've heard of people buying and selling vintage perfumes for big bucks. It's just not the niche I mess around in personally...

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  4. I was at an estate sale a few months back and one of the customers returned to yell at the lady running the sale. He claimed she tried to kill him because he'd bought an expired tube of BenGay. I'm a nervous wreck about what's in my cosmetics, lotions, etc anyways and could never imagine buying any of it used.

    I do totally disagree with the eye glasses. I got a great pair of cat eye frames that I got my prescription put in.

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    1. Ha! HE bought the expired tube, I'd say it was his responsibility to check the expiration date. Too funny. I don't see the big deal about buying used glasses.

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  5. I buy food from discard food stores that look like they should be shut down. This includes vitamins, coffee, tampons (which I've recently given up completely), and cereal.

    I always buy used shoes and clothing. I recently bought a new container of baby powder. I buy bras, but not in bad condition, and I NEVER buy underwear. I really went through it a couple years back trying to figure out how to solve the "underwear in thrift stores" problem, but to no avail.

    I buy swimsuits that do not appear to be used. I buy stuffed animals very rarely if they're vintage. Most of the thrift stores I go to are very happy to test items, or mark them as tested, so I would have no problem buying blenders or food processors.

    Now I'm on a roll.

    Rugs can be cleaned. Comforters can be cleaned. Let's reuse instead of buying new!

    Also, I'm a big fan of cleaning products that don't hurt the earth, but clean the stuff I get at thrift stores, because I get a lot of stuff that needs cleaning, and it isn't worth the purchase if it can't be reused effectively, or if it's going to gross someone out or make someone sick.

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    1. I've bought stuffed animals; just throw 'em in the wash! Easy. But then again, I'm not a germaphobe. I can understand why others would be wary...

      I shopped with mom at discard food places as a kid but now I stick to mostly veggies and steer away from packaged food completely.

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  6. I'm fairly relaxed about most stuff - if I can get it at the charity shop/boot sale, I will, but draw the line at underwear/swimwear - unless it is new-and-still-packaged, toiletries - unless they're new-and-boxed & not expired and I would *never* buy a used mattress (ughhhhh).

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    1. It was quite hard for me to think of what I *won't* buy for the list :)

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  7. Hmm....I think i'm only against underwear and swimwear if used. And I'd personally never buy personal hygiene products or foods that could have been opened just because I don't trust people not to put harmful things in them just for meanness. I do think that certain things should be tried out outside of one's house first though - like small appliances in case they catch on fire. I once brought home this metal wind-up toy...a chicken or something....and I wound it up and set it free across the dining room floor and tiny roaches came running out of it - dozens of them! eep. Maybe there should be a kind of purgatory for some things before they come inside of the house. : )

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    1. You would never think the wind up chicken would unleash such evil! My mom took in a used bird cage and that came with roaches too. You're right, thrifters need a little "quarantine" section for many finds before we bring them into the home...

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  8. I've been thrifting for forty years and have never found a roach in anything or had them in my home(s) but now I live in Florida! Yikes. A quarantine spot might be a good idea. I don't buy stuffed toys, underclothing, used or new cosmetics, cleaning stuff or meds. We inherited a bed with a king mattress that we slept on frequently in their home, but when it became ours I insisted on a mattress cover until I could replace it. Weird.

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    1. It's hard to avoid the roaches down here. Both my roomie and I sleep on used mattresses. Works for now!

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  9. My line is somewhere around things that go into my body (medication/hygiene products) and those which have potentially touched others' internal bodies - swimwear/underwear, whistles.

    I'm not big on expired food. While I know intellectually it's probably 'fine', something in me screams that there's a reason the FDA mandates expiration dates and that's not a lottery ticket I'm willing to buy

    I'd say 95% of my toys/stuffed animals as a child were all thrift store/garage sale items. My Grandpa used to reward me (only child/only grandchild) for a good score on weekly spelling tests with $1. Our thrift store used to (key word there...inflation's a bitch, man!) run quarter sales on Friday's for toys. In the summer, they were washed and then hung on the clothesline to dry. In the winter, they were hung on a rack near the wood stove. Common sense. That said, it makes me cringe (literally and figuratively) when I see kids at a thrift store go over and grab a toy, play with it, stick it in their mouths, play with it more, grab a banana and eat it without washing their hands in between, play with the toy more, etc. Not my kids/not my problem but I can't help but think that's what's behind these kinds of articles/statistics - not those who diligently take the time to clean an item before letting a kid lick it.

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    1. I work at a thrift store and it horrors me to no end when I see kids sticking the toys in their mouth. A.) Five other kids have already done that before you B.) We've already picked up that same toy five times off the floor C.) You're going to buy the toy and probably not wash it before playing with it.

      My 5 year old nephew was at the thrift store with me and he wanted some toys. I had him pick it out but he couldn't play with it until I had it home and sanitized it a bleach water solution. Yes, I guess I'm a germophobe.

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    2. HAHA! That's part of childhood, exposure to germs helps increase our immunities? :) http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/243384.php

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  10. I am leery of buying luggage. I'm always afraid some traveler may have used the luggage before and stayed at some bed bug infested motel. Those pesky critters can travel with and stay in your luggage.

    I went to Nicaragua once and stayed in a motel with those nighttime critters. The minute I got back home, I didn't even bring the luggage into the house. It went straight into the trash. The clothes went straight into the hot wash, along with the shoes I could wash.

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    1. I've been lucky enough to never run into a bed bug issue...but perhaps I'm jynxing myself now...

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  11. I'm a mama of three kidlets. After the first born, I'd say most of us who aren't absurdly wealthy get over phobias of used stuff pretty quickly.

    For example, my 3rd kid is a lot bigger than the other two. When he was 3, my step-mom who manages a Gap store, sent him a few packs of underwear knowing that he would potty train soon. So we tried a few times over the course of a year, but he didn't become "journey level" until his 4th birthday (true story - exactly on his b-day).

    There's no way I'm going to throw away expensive, good quality Gap undies just because he peed in them a few times. I mean, geez...it's not like I let them sit in their own filth for days/weeks/months on end...I launder them within the hour!

    I've got a group of friends who regularly rotate out good condition kid clothes to each other - even undies (just while they're still in single digit ages). It saves a ton of money.

    For me & the hubs...I haven't bought clothes full retail (other than unmentionables) for probably a decade.

    Thrift on!

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  12. Ok, that first part only makes sense to me...

    He's bigger than the first two, meaning he had outgrown his 'standard sizing' before he could really use the nice underwear.

    There, now it should make sense to you, too. :)

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    1. No judgement here, you do what you've gotta to save money for more important things. That's the beauty of thrifting and being thrifty, I live for it!

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  13. These lists seem silly. First of all, it's federal law for anything with any stuffing to be sanitized before put on the floor. This means, it's law in all 50 states. If you go into the Goodwill, anything with any stuffing has a note that says it's been sanitized according to federal law.

    I have bought mattresses, couches, rugs, and stuffed animals from thrift stores, flea markets, second hand shops, antique stores, yard sales, and picked things like this up from the curb. There is nothing dangerous about doing it. The thing we fear is bugs, because nothing besides bugs can be transmitted. (Meaning any sort of disease dies before it can come into contact with us.) Have I picked up a couch and found fleas? YES! What did I do? I sprayed it with flea spray which is easy to find and anyone with a pet would have some anyway. That couch has been in our home for three years now.

    As for lotions, etc. I don't really see the point, but I also don't use them. I've yet to see any sort of cosmetic that I would want. But I have seen thrift stores carry runs of them, just like some people at the flea market carry various cosmetics, soaps, or lotions for cheap. I don't know where they get them, but they aren't used. I would happily buy something like that from a thrift store, if I needed it, and if it wasn't expired.

    As for bathing suits, etc. You've never heard of a washing machine?

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    1. It may be a law on the books but unless waving a can of Lysol in the general direction of stuffed animals counts as sanitizing, our Goodwill and other thrift stores don't adhere to the policy.

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    2. I never knew about the federal law with the stuffing! I'm sure many of the "dive" thrift store bypass the rules, but I agree with you, I have a washer and can use it in those instances. I tend to take my chances, if it backfires I'll let readers know, but it hasn't in my lifetime of thrifting...

      The lotions issue for me is that our huge dollar store retail chain, Dollar Tree, has name brand lotions and things for a dollar and most thrift stores are selling them from the same price or more- may as well get the new stuff, it's not expensive.

      But, if the thrift stores are making a profit selling them and reducing waste, it's a good thing. To each their own! I just personally don't like commercial cosmetics.

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  14. LOL! Your postings always crack me up!!!

    I guess there is always something out there for everyone...SEARCH "Well Worn Slippers" on ebay (completed listings)...there are buyers for icky worn house slippers, complete with gray foot imprint too!

    It looks like "WELL WORN KEDS" are going for big bucks these days too!!! {I don't even go bowling, because of the nasty well-worn shoes worn by hundreds of other people, even if they are spritzed with sanitizer!} LOL!

    -pamela ;)

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    1. I've heard of "well worn" keds and converse going for big bucks on eBay! Power to them, if it keeps shoes out of the landfills and makes for a happy buyer and seller, who are we to judge? :)

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  15. i try not to let all these stories about bugs worry me. still, i wouldn't buy a mattress, couch or something that's super fluffy.

    shoes kinda freak me out, but sometimes you can find ones that are lightly used.

    i don't go near toys mostly because i have no need for them and i am not interested in them anyway. i've bought toys for my shop, but only because i happened to spot it from across the thrift store.

    used undergarments and swimwear are just gross. and why would a person buy used medicine? ewww.

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    1. I don't get why they're allowed to stock used meds either. Hmmmz...

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  16. Shoes are a thing for me that I don't like to buy, thou in special occasions when they look practically new and are close to my heart I have get them.

    Besides that I would say underwear, mostly everything that looks suspiciously gross, here I've never seen medicine or things like that but I wouldn't get those either wtf!

    Make up either.

    hmm keep on thinking about more stuff... I'll have to get back on it.

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    1. Suspiciously gross things are indeed, best avoided :D

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  17. I'll buy shoes. I don't feel like I can receive any type of DEADLY disease from them. It might be gross, but warts won't kill me. Mmmk?

    As far as anything edible, or anything that goes on my face... no.

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    1. I buy my veggies for cheap form the farmer's market at our flea market, no need for thrifted eats. I don't see 'em often anyway...

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