9 Items to Buy Secondhand for a New Home
There is great joy to be found when moving into your first apartment or your first home. You finally have space all to yourself. You can decorate how you want! You can spend your time how you want!
Sadly, that initial burst of joy is often deflated by the realization that you need a lot of little things when you first move into a place of your own. For many people, that means an online shopping spree on Amazon or a trip to the local department store.
Instead, consider making your first stop the local secondhand store. Many of the items you need to set up an apartment or a home for the first time or in a new area can be found at a secondhand shop, which means you'll cut back on that big burst of spending that can really hurt your wallet.
Here are nine items to purchase secondhand for your new place.
Silverware is a requirement for eating food at home without making a complete mess. Fortunately, most secondhand stores have a selection of silverware on hand. You might not have perfect matching silverware, but you'll have more than enough for your needs at an inexpensive price.
Dishes are also a dining necessity. Again, it's easy to find plenty of plates and bowls at a secondhand store for a pittance, though you may not find a matching set. Still, you're far better off buying two or three partial sets for pennies than shelling out the money for a single matching set from a store.
Glasses and cups for consuming beverages are another household essential that's perfect for a secondhand purchase. As with silverware and dishes, you'll likely not find a matching set, but what you will find are many cups and glasses to fill your cupboards at an inexpensive price.
A toaster or toaster oven both perform the task of toasting bread, bagels, English muffins and other such items. A toaster oven goes further, making it easy to make grilled sandwiches and cook small items. Both can easily be found at secondhand stores in working order and can make for a valuable addition to your kitchen to help you with food preparation.
Lamps are simple items that are often found in abundance at secondhand stores. All varieties of lamps, from desk lamps and floor lamps to clip lamps and table lamps, can usually be found secondhand at a very reasonable price.
A dining table is an essential piece of furniture in most apartments, as it provides a place to eat and share meals. You can often find simple dining tables at most secondhand stores, and they often come with simple, solid chairs. The key thing to remember is you can buy an inexpensive starter set, and then upgrade later when you have money to easily do so.
A side table is often a key part of a living room, providing a place to put a beverage, snack plate or remote controls as you watch TV, study or read a book. Side tables can be incredibly inexpensive; it's easy to find one secondhand for well under $10.
A bed frame is a key piece of furniture for those who have moved beyond the "mattress on the floor" style of bedroom decor. Bed frames can be expensive if you purchase them at a furniture store, but there are often many varieties of metal and wooden bed frames you can find at secondhand stores if you shop around. It's important to remember that bed frames are purely functional items meant to be covered with a mattress and other decorative materials, so don't worry about beauty.
Decor might seem like an unusual item to buy secondhand, but it's easy to find things such as picture frames and wall hangings in secondhand stores, particularly in more upscale neighborhoods. If you're creative, you can find a variety of decor items at a very nice discount.
One final suggestion: Don't buy used furniture unless it comes from a trusted source. Used furniture can be a source of bedbugs or other unwanted travelers that you simply don't want in your home. Solid wood items are fine, but be wary of upholstered used furniture.
The thing to always remember when buying secondhand items is that they're replaceable as time goes on. They can serve you for a long time if needed, but they simply provide an inexpensive and functional solution that can significantly trim the costs of setting up a new home.
Trent Hamm is the founder of the personal finance website TheSimpleDollar.com, which provides consumers with resources and tools to make informed financial decisions.