Most of us have either donated to or purchased items from a thrift store at one time or another, but we may not all realize just how extensive the opportunities are for purchasing used items and for making donations. For example, consider the following array of options:
“Used” Shopping Ideas:
Appliances: Major appliances are large expenditures, and may sometimes strain our budgets. A good way to stretch our dollars further is to purchase appliances that are used or reconditioned.
Books: What is more fun than finding low-cost treasures in a used book store? There, you can find not only traditional novels, texts, and reference books, but also first editions, manuscripts, gift certificates, maps, posters, and prints.
Bridal and Formal Wear – Rental: Shopping used first for wedding dresses, bridesmaid gowns and decorations will help you save money as you prepare to start your new life, and will also help save natural resources.
Building Materials: Many shops offer materials, such as banisters, beams, buffets, columns, doors (garage and home), fireplace mantels, lighting fixtures, plumbing supplies, hardware, and windows (stain glass or clear). Purchasing materials that have been removed from buildings often allows you to buy high quality for substantially lower prices.
Clothing: Wearing used clothing can be an inexpensive way to dress well and look great. Many of these stores sell on consignment and are selective about what they accept for resale—the garments are often clean, fashionable and in excellent condition.
Compact Discs, Tapes and Records – Music: The next time you want new music, try shopping used first. That way, the music you love is yours at a significantly lower price. Most stores that sell used music will also buy back your empty CD cases.
Kitchen Supplies: There are two stores in the Twin Cities that sell used kitchen supplies. Whether you run a restaurant, catering business or just cook at home, you can find almost anything used. Also, try goodwill stores and garage sales. Palen Joseph F Food Service Consulting Used everything 300 6th Ave. N. Minneapolis, MN 55401 612-338-709 Palm Brothers Restaurant Equipment New smallwares and used equipment 1031 Madeira Ave. Minneapolis, MN 55405 612-871-2727
Thrift Stores: Shopping at stores that sell used merchandise is a great way to obtain quality household goods and clothing at reasonable prices.
Furniture – Used and Antique: High quality used furniture can be purchased at significantly reduced prices at garage and estate sales, or via want ads and used furniture consignment stores.
Miscellaneous – Rental: This is an especially smart option when you simply need to use certain equipment or tools only once for a specific project. By renting, you avoid making a large cash investment on a short-term need.
Parenting Resources: Toys, learning tools (such as video and audio cassettes), and adaptive equipment (such as car seats, walkers and swings), can be purchased or borrowed, at these delightful stores.
Sporting Goods: Sporting goods can be expensive–which is of particular concern when you are first trying out a new sport, and not sure how much time and money you are willing to invest. Buying or renting used goods is a lower cost way to experiment, and can even be a wise longer-term investment!
“Used” Donating Opportunities:
Most or all the above used item stores have convenient donation programs, via which you can donate or sell your own used items. Deserving special mention in addition, is the opportunity to donate used eye glasses to VOSH, who redistributes to those in underdeveloped countries. Contact Volunteer Optometric Service of Humanity (VOSH) 763-537-3213. Given that donated items can involve either re-sale value or a tax break benefit to you, you gain more savings this way. Perhaps more importantly, you can feel good about contributing to those in need, and participating in an environmentally sound cause.
The Twin Cities Free Market www.twincitiesfreemarket.org. This online catalogue has 12 categories from appliances to musical instruments. You can list items you have available and items you’d like to find. When you see a listing that might be what you’re looking for, Free Market allows you to contact the person who has the item to set up a meeting and then take the item home if it is what you want.
Yellow Page Hints
Generally go to item listed and see if a used section is available. Sometimes listings indicate that they sell used.