I fell in love with thrifting in college. Every since I found out I could thrift an entire apartment and wardrobe in a work-study budget I never looked back.
Well, that was over 20 years ago and I’m still an avid thrifter. In the past I have thrifted everything from couches to shoes but today there are just some things I wouldn’t thrift.
Below is a list of things I refuse to get from the thrift store, with a couple of exceptions of course.
Why vacuums? A couple reasons, the first being that I think it will be a waste of money. A lot of things aren’t made to last like they used to and vacuum cleaners are no exception to that rule. This is according to Consumer Reports.
Another reason is that vacuuming picks up a ton of ghings including dust mites, bed bugs and other critters which can unfortunately live for quite a while in these conditions and be released into your home.
So, for these reasons I refrain from purchasing them at thrift stores and would much rather get them new.
If the vacuum was NIB or new in box, then I would consider purchasing it.
So, I’m not going to lie. I’ve purchased candy at the thrift store before but any type of food stuffs I normally pass up.
Most likely, it’s expired or soon will be and really do you want to buy groceries at the thrift store? A lot of thrift stores have a certain smell due to the mixture of items, dirt, and debris. Since my appetite is heavily dependent on scent I just couldn’t get passed it!
I would make an exception if I were shopping at a thrift grocery store. Yes, they do exist!
If you’d like to know find a salvage grocery store near you, Extreme Bargains has a directory here.
3. Blenders & food processors
Have you ever used a blender, cleaned it, put it away, only to find dried fruit or food left over the next time you pull it out to make a smoothie?
I’ve had it happen to me, those things are sometimes quite difficult to clean and that’s pretty much all I think about when I pass these items at the thrift store.
Plus, unless you have access to an outlet nearby there’s always the chance it doesn’t work once you get it home.
Of course if I found a food processor or blender new in the box, I would jump on it!
Most people know that there’s a great chance that that iPod you found in the thrift store won’t work properly. Plus there are a ton of things that can be wrong with electronics.
It’s a thrift store so there’s no warranty and if something goes wrong will you really want to pay to get it fixed?
There are actually two exceptions that I would make for electronics besides being new of course. The first is if the price is just too good to pass up, I may take live on the edge and purchase the $2 radio.
The second is if there is a plug somewhere nearby and I’m able to check the functionality of the product.
But, I would keep in mind that just because it works in the store doesn’t mean it’s in perfect working condition. Things happen like shorts in wires and for that reason, I know that it could work in the store and as soon as I get it home I get nothing.
5. Old halogen lamps
Did you know that the older halogen lamps, or the bulbs rather can cause fires. This is why they have been slowly phased out. So, if you purchase one make sure you change the light bulb.
If I wanted to use these Items for decoration then I would go for it.
6. CRYSTAL DRINKING GLASSES
Stay away from old crystal as well. Crystal drinking glasses and containers made prior to 1969 could contain up to 32 percent or more of lead oxide, which can pose serious long-term health risks.
Again, these are beautiful items and make for gorgeous decorations. Just don’t drink or store anything in them.
If you must use them to eat on or drink out of get a lead test to ensure you are’t at risk for poisoning.
7. Baby Items
In general, you want to stay away from cribs, car seats, high chairs, and bottles. This is mostly due to safety reasons, there have been tons of recalls on these items. If you do purchase one of them make sure you check for recalls at the Consumer Product Saftey Commission.
In 2011 the federal government implemented new safety standards for car seats. So, you especially want to refrain from purchasing a car seat from prior years.
Also there’s always the possibility that the item could have been recalled, especially in the case of cribs.
Think about putting your baby in a car seat or high seat and it falling apart with your child in it, I just don’t think it’s worth the risk.
Baby’s grow like weeds, so buying clothes would be an option for me. You can find a large assortment of clothing for babies and young children. Also, baby bouncers and playmats are usually okay as long as you can thoroughly clean them or ensure all the safety features are in place.
8. Hairbrushes & WIGS
Hairbrushes can be breeding grounds for bacteria and yeast. There are usually strands of hair and buildup left in the brush. So why risk your health when they are cheap enough to purchase at most local stores, I wouldn’t run the risk. Wigs are along the same lines.
I have purchased vintage hair brushes because they are generally crafted to perfection. However, it will never touch a hair on my head and I use it for decoration. This would be the only exception I recommend.
9. Pots and pans
Specifically aluminum or non-stick cook wear.
While aluminum is a great conductor of heat (it heats up 16 times as fast as stainless steel). You never know what the previous owner cooked in an aluminum pot and if it was a lot of acidic foods, this could have damaged the pot allowing leakage of more aluminum into any food being prepared.
The flakes from non-stick pots can get in your food and release PFOA or perfluorooctanoic acid which can remain in your body for a while.
Of course I would go for new items, but unless I could verify if an aluminum pot or pan was anodized I would pass. Honestly, I would pass either way.
10. Mattresses & Head Boards
Bed bugs, do I need to say more?
Plus you never know how the mattress was treated in it’s prior home. Some people don’t put sheets on their mattresses, sweat a lot during the night or even soil themselves.
It could be a breeding ground for germs and as I mentioned previously Bed Bugs
But I also would refrain from purchasing wooden head boards as those can be a haven for bed bugs as well.
There are no exceptions for purchasing a mattress from the thrift store in my book. This is probably whey most thrift stores have stopped reselling mattresses.
If you are willing to take the risk with the headboard and make sure it is bed bug free then go for it.
11. Anything upholstered
While I have purchased couches and chairs in college, I doubt I would do so today. This is because of the bed bug boom! Bed bugs have been heavily on the rise since 2017 due to the reduction in really harmful pesticides, and also the increase in cheap global travel.
And while you probably won’t want to pick up a mattress, for this reason, they don’t just live in beds. They can live in just about anything including other upholstered furniture.
If there is just one or two on the item you decide to purchase you probably will have a difficult time detecting them.
In addition, upholstered pieces created prior to 2010 often contain harmful fire retardants that you don’t want in your home.
If there was an upholstered piece of furniture I wanted that was made after 2010 I would purchase it only if I was prepared to get it cleaned, sanitized, and debugged prior to bringing it in my home.
Unfortunately, a lot of make-up products don’t carry expiration dates. By using expired or pre-used make-up you can put yourself at risk for infections like pink-eye, breakouts, and skin rashes. Plus makeup that has been allowed to sit out for a while, especially lipstick, can build fungus and bacteria.
I don’t think a fifty cent tube of lipstick is worth risking your health over.
Goodwill gets items from some cosmetic stores and Targets clearance quite often. Usually, these items are still within the use date and sealed.
Yes, perfume and cologne do go bad and people have gotten allergic reactions and skin irritation due to them.
The amoutn of time it takes for perfume to expire depends heavily on the scent’s chemical composition. Scents with heavier base nots seem to last longer like patchouli and amber. While those with floral or light citrus scents expire quickly.
If you like to live on the edge and know what it is supposed to look and smell like then see if you can check the scent appearance prior to purchasing.
Luckily, a lot of perfumes have expiration dates, so if it’s still in the box you can check it. If it’s prior to that date I would say go for it!.
14.towels and linen
This of course is a personal choice as both towels and linen can be easily cleaned. But I would refrain from purchasing large comforters that could easily hide a bed bug or two.
If they are white and can be bleached for sanitization reasons then go for it.
15. Used underwear & swimwear
This is for obvious reasons.
Even after washing some of the bodily fluids can be absorbed into the material and remain after washing.
In a study published in the Journal of Infection, it was noted that the average pair of clean underwear still contains about 0.1 grams of feces and could hold up to 10 grams,
So, just don’t.
New and in a sealed package is the only way I would consider purchasing underwear or bathing suits from the thrift store.
Are there any items you would add or take away?
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