My Top Tips For Shopping Secondhand

Get my top tips for shopping secondhand, plus all the places I love to search for amazing new home finds!

It’s no secret that in this waiting stage while our house is being built I’ve been passionately filling my time with secondhand shopping.

I’ve always enjoyed searching for new home pieces that help create a unique-to-us home, but lately, I feel like that has been multiplied a few times over.

Maybe it’s because we’re currently shoved inside a tiny house that’s too small for the three of us, but I find myself daydreaming (a lot) about the new home we’ll be building.

A picture of my breakfast nook with secondhand items.

And since we’ve had way more time than we originally planned on or thought possible (we’re hitting our one year mark really soon), I’ve had plenty of time to browse and search for those unique pieces I know we’ll be needing for our house build.

I’ve shared one post already, with another one coming soon, but I’ve been able to find some really amazing secondhand things for our home.

My Top Tips For Shopping Secondhand

Because of that, I wanted to share my top tips for shopping secondhand… and why exactly I love it. I’ve learned a thing or two over the years and I’ve definitely narrowed down what exactly my ‘secondhand shopping’ style is! So let’s get started!

To go with these tips, I’ve also created a helpful download for all of your secondhand shopping adventures! Get it right here:

Why Shop Secondhand?

I get such a rush from finding an amazing secondhand find. Whether it’s from the thrift store, antique mall, the flea market, Etsy or Facebook Marketplace, I love finding that perfect item I didn’t necessarily know I’d been missing.

Now, not all secondhand shopping is budget friendly, but I’ve found so many amazing pieces that are.

I’ve searched and thrifted so much that several of my favorite items are secondhand and I often don’t have specific sources for several items throughout my home. 

  • My large and beautiful dish collection? Most of it is thrifted. 
  • The majority of the lamps throughout my home? They’re thrifted and given an easy makeover. 
  • My slightly embarrassing, but completely cherished collection of baskets? Found them on Facebook Marketplace.
  • My growing obsession with copper pieces? Found them on Etsy!

I could go on and on and my list would be long… and still growing, because… #can’tstopwon’tstop.

A picture of our breakfast nook with secondhand finds.

I also love that by shopping secondhand I’m creating a unique-to-our-story home. Our house doesn’t look like everyone else and it’s specific to who we are and what we like.

Needless to say, it’s worth it to shop secondhand.

Shopping Thrift Stores

I can remember the first few times I went into our local thrift store. I was new to the whole thrift store scene and I can remember wandering down the aisles taking it all in and examining all the potential “treasures” I could take home and make special again.

That’s really what secondhand shopping is all about. You’re there to search for potential treasures that have either been neglected, tossed out or completely forgotten. 

A picture showing one of my thrifted lamps.
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And there are some good finds to be had. 

Thrift stores constantly have a revolving door of new merchandise and I’m almost always greeted with an entirely new collection of items to browse through. You really can’t beat it… especially when you’re decorating on a budget. 

When it comes to thrift stores, I like finding really good dupes of not so budget friendly items. Time and time again I walk out of the store feeling like I just stole the item and should probably run! 

I’ve found the secret to finding good things at the thrift store, is to stop in often. Most times I go just to browse, but sometimes I’m looking for specific things- and in that case, I like to keep a list of things I’m on the lookout for, and any specific measurements I need to remember.

A picture showing some of my thrifted dish collection.

One of my favorite local thrift stores, if I should even call it that, is our local Heirloom for Hospice store. They set up their store beautifully and all of the items are in great condition. If shopping secondhand is a new experience for you, I’d say find a local Heirloom store and start there!

Shopping Facebook Marketplace

I don’t spend a lot of time on Facebook, but when I do, I like to look at the Marketplace listings. There are often several amazing finds local to me, but you can also look at items outside of your area.

Just in the last several months, I’ve purchased the hutch we’ll be using as our the linen closet in our master bathroom…

A picture showing our linen cabinet.

As well as a huge collection of amazing baskets…

A picture of my large basket collection.

It pays to pay attention to Facebook Marketplace. Both of those finds were exceptionally affordable. And while the furniture piece needs a little bit of love, it’s exactly what I was hoping to find for our bathroom.

If you are shopping on Facebook Marketplace, take someone with you to meet the seller. Safety first.

Shopping On Etsy

I must admit, my latest obsession comes in the form of secondhand shopping on Etsy. I’ve used it for other types of purchases, but the secondhand game/ antique market is strong.

I have boards saved with many unique items I absolutely love and need to file away for later purchases. Even if they sell before I buy them, and many of them do, I still have the item tucked away so I can look for something similar later.

We have so many amazing home items that have come from Etsy. For one, my copper jam pan. I cherish this item and its history.

A picture of my copper jam pan.

I also just purchased my second historical copper piece from the 20th century… A copper planter that I’ll be using in my big kitchen window to grow herbs.

A picture showing my antique copper planter.

Shopping Etsy has been such a great way for me to add really unique finds into our home.

Shopping Vintage Markets/ Antique Malls

When it comes to shopping vintage markets or antique malls, I’ve never found one I didn’t love. There’s always something unique to be found… but… the price points aren’t always the best.

Yes, there are times where you can find some really unique items that definitely afford the price they’ve been given, but I really hesitate to spend large amounts of money on something unless I’m certain what the “normal” cost of the good usually runs.

Do I purchase items from these places? ABSOLUTELY! In fact, many of the items we’ll be adding into our new home are from these types of sources.

  • Ania’s new antique ‘big girl’ bed is a beautiful antique from a local vintage market.
  • The chandelier we’re hanging over the tub in our master bathroom is from the same vintage market.
  • The large pendant glass shades we’re using to build the pendant lights over our kitchen island are from an antique mall.

All of these items are amazing, but it’s helpful to know what a good price for these items would be so you’re not overpaying…. unless you absolutely have the funds to buy it and you can’t imagine your home without it, then, by all means… go for it!

Secondhand Shopping Tips

Now of course, there are several things to take into consideration when you’re shopping secondhand…

  • You find a lot of junk and nicknack items, especially in thrift stores or at flea markets and garage sales, and you often have to search through shelves to find the good items. They’re there.
  • Not every piece is a good deal. You’ll learn this the more you do it, but if a piece needs a lot of work, it’s sometimes not worth your trouble. Only you will be able to figure out where you want to draw the line.
  • Shopping secondhand requires vision. You’ll often find things that require a little elbow grease… and paint! The makeover is part of the fun. 
  • Know your limit. It’s easy to get secondhand finds, but if they just add up to a project pile taking up most of your garage… maybe it’s time to finish some of those projects before adding more to your pile. 
  • Keep a list of specific measurement throughout your home for when you find an amazing furniture piece. Knowing room measurements makes these big furniture purchases much easier!
  • Shop secondhand regularly… call it a hobby or passion, but by stopping into secondhand stores regularly, you’ll have a better chance at finding the missing piece you’ve been searching for!

Decorating secondhand takes time! Your house won’t be decorated overnight. Shopping this way is part of the journey of creating a home you love, with pieces that tell your story. 

I could go on and on about secondhand shopping, but hopefully this gives you a really good idea of what can come from searching your local secondhand stores. 

If you find something amazing… be sure to share it with me! I always love seeing your great finds! And just know… I’m right there with you on the hunt!


  1. This was very helpful! And I love your ability to know what is worth the effort and/or the cost. I can’t wait to watch your journey of building your dream home and curating your story. It is a blessing!

    1. I’m so glad this was helpful for you! I’m enjoying the search for secondhand finds and I can’t wait to add them into our new home! I’m so happy you’re on the journey with us! 🙂

  2. Heirlooms for Hospice is the best! We’ve found some great pieces there and it’s always fun to see what they have. It’s a wonderful store and supports a great cause.

  3. Your copper jam pan is lovely, but I am worried about it. If it is copper on the inside (which is what it looks like) it is unsafe to cook in. Copper must be lined with another metal to use safely. Otherwise, you may be sickened with copper toxicity. I am wondering if that pan was meant just to be pretty but not to use. Sorry, to be the bearer of bad news if that is the case!! Blessings!

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