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As all of you know, I’m a thrift store junkie. And I’m a frugal, green-lovin’ mama. My husband gets one role of paper towels each year for Christmas, and I buy used whenever I can. But there are some things even I won’t buy from the thrift store.

There was such a big response to my post on the Five Things You Should ALWAYS Buy from the Thrift Store, that it was only natural to follow up with the five things you shouldn’t buy. So, with a great excuse for another thrifting trip, I headed out to snap some pictures and take some notes. I came home with a cute new outfit and a list of five things you should never buy from the thrift store:


1. Clothes that don’t fit. 

Sounds like a no-brainer, right? Wrong. When you’re shopping for thrifted clothes the odds are not in your favor. Finding a shirt/dress/skirt/whatever that’s your size can feel like hunting for a needle in a haystack. And you’ll be lured by that name brand flower print that’s just a size too small. Or you’ll convince yourself that you can handle taking in that dress that’s four sizes too large.

Unless you’re an experienced seamstress–or can afford to hire one–resist the temptation and put it back on the rack. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve failed to do this myself and bought clothes that ended right back up in the donate pile (or ended up with a really bad alteration job). Hold out for that $6 pair of jeans that’ll fit like a dream–it might take a couple stores, but you’ll find them!


2. Plush items (think pillows and stuffed animals). 

My kids are always drawn to the giant pile of smiley-faced stuff animals in the kids section at the thrift store. And who wouldn’t want to take home an over-sized teddy bear holding a heart? You. Stuffed animals have a way of creeping into your home and becoming your child’s eighteenth best friend and not leaving until you pull a stealth attack when the kids aren’t looking. And then they all gang back up at the thrift store. Plus, Mr. Teddy is sure to bring along some extra friends hitching a ride in that fluffy belly of his.

Pillows are a trap, too. We ladies love our decorative pillows and buying new ones can really add up. So that giant pile of fifty-plus pillows for $2.00 each starts to look really appealing. Sure, I guess you could wash and then recover them, but do you really want to risk bringing extra pests guests home?


3. Electrical items that you can’t test. 

Most thrift stores have a testing area with extra outlets that you can plug electrical items into. But what about a lamp that doesn’t have a light bulb? Or a store that doesn’t have outlets for testing? Unless it’s dirt cheap and you’re a whiz at wiring, or the store offers refunds on electronics, don’t fall for it. 


4. Broken items. 

There have been numerous times when I found an awesome whatchamacallit that I’ve been on the hunt for forever, only to pick it up or turn it over and find it chipped, broken, or missing a crucial piece. I feel completely disappointed and stand with it in my hands seriously thinking about still buying it. Put it down and walk away. You’ll find another whatchamacallit another time. You don’t want to pay for something that’s going to sit in your garage taking up space. Ten dollar basketball hoop with no hoop? No thanks.


5. Underwear.

The big yucky no-no. Need I explain more?


A few other things I’d steer clear of? Plastic ware and wigs. With BPA concerns I wouldn’t buy thrifted plastic for food items. And wigs? Well, I’d never buy those new, either!

What’s on your thrift store no-buy list? Do you disagree with anything on mine? I’d love to hear your thoughts!