Hints for shopping a secondhand style


I love the depth and interest that secondhand items bring to my home. I also enjoy the process of finding those items but I know that for some people the prospect of rummaging through secondhand stores, garage sales and market stalls can be pretty overwhelming. Those places are crammed full of stuff. Where do you start? Here are 3 tips to help get you started.

IMG_13041. Have an idea of what you are looking for

Keep a running list of items that you want to find (Pinterest works really well for me). This gives you a starting point so you don’t end up wandering aimlessly up and down the aisles. I find browsing can be really frustrating if I cant see the point of why Im sifting through everything. But if I’m on the hunt for, say, hand-thrown pottery style mugs then I save myself the frustration and go straight to the crockery department.

With a shopping list you’re able to apply the ‘don’t-buy-anything-that’s-not-on-the-list’ rule. This can help you stick to your plan so you don’t end up carting stuff home only to have it take up residence as junk in the spare room.

That said, if you find something that’s not on your list but you absolutely love it, at least give it some consideration. Ask yourself ‘Is it just a passing fancy or will I regret it if I don’t buy it?’ Be honest and act accordingly.

Not a mug

2. Develop a criteria checklist for different types of items

Understand what your criteria is for each type of item. Are you looking for a particular style/colour/size? Must the item fulfill a particular function? Is the condition acceptable? Your criteria can be whatever you like, just make sure you refer to it before you buy anything.


If the item I’m considering is a close enough match to what’s on my Pinterest board I go ahead and buy it, if not then I walk away. Being able to access Pinterest on my phone when I’m in the store makes the process easy.

3. Take your time

Allow plenty of time for shopping. Oh, and don’t try to visit too many places in one day because it can be pretty exhausting. I usually visit a few secondhand stores in one day and leave the garage sales and markets for a different day.

Also, understand that it takes time to build up a collection. You probably won’t get everything you want in one visit. In fact there will be periods when each visit sees you leaving the store empty-handed. Don’t be discouraged. Collections have a habit of sneaking up on you. Focus on careful curation rather than speed and before long you’ll discover that you’ve built a collection that feels right for you.






Author: homemade and humble

Hi, I'm Ana. Welcome to my blog. I live in Wellington, New Zealand with my partner in a little cottage on a hill. We are working to build a life free from the rat-race, where we get to design our days around spending time together, enjoying good food and hunting for treasures for our home. We are both homebodies and prefer homemaking and cooking to outdoor pursuits and sport. This is where I share stories of our experiences as we set our course for a life full of warmth, comfort and beauty. I hope you enjoy it.

4 thoughts on “Hints for shopping a secondhand style”

  1. I really enjoy second hand shopping. Great tips. And I agree, sometimes if you really “love” a find that’s not exactly what you’re looking for you should get it. You’ll find a place for it. I have a few odd little pieces that didn’t seem like they’d fit, but I love them every time I look at them, and they find a perfect place.


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