$econdhand First Class

A thrift store fanatic shares her shopping secrets

Archive for the category “Cookware”

Back to School!

Whether your baby is starting first grade or college, back to school is a great time for shopping thrift and saving cash.

School Clothes

School uniforms at a thrift store

For primary schoolers, some thrift stores have a section for school uniforms. If Tommy or Tanya don’t wear a uniform, check out the racks of pants, jeans, tops, shirts, blouses, and jackets at any thrift store. There’s something to thrill the heart of pre-teens and teens alike and to satisfy a parent’s love of saving money.

With prices so low, your child can have fun mixing and matching outfits with jewelry, hats, and other accessories.

Here are some tips when making clothing purchases:

  • Ask about dressing rooms. There may be just one or two rooms so plan ahead and be courteous.
  • Make sure zippers and buttons work.
  • Look out for stains.

Some thrift stores have a section with crayons, binders, folders, etc. Ask the cashier for help.

Dorm and Apartment Needs

I went shopping with a friend last weekend. Her son is getting his first college apartment. She loaded up on thrift store dishes, glasses, pots and pans, etc. to make sure her son had the basics and her wallet didn’t suffer. She found glasses for $.60-$.80 each and forks and knives for $.10 each.

When buying glassware and dishes, run your fingertip around the rim of the item to check for chips. Hold the item up to the light to look for cracks.

You can also score with inexpensive sheets, blankets, bath towels, dish towels, and nearly anything else an aspiring scholar needs to hit the books at college.

When buying linens, avoid items with pilling, frayed edges, holes, or stains.

Now, if only thrift stores sold the secret for getting them to study!

Happy thrifting!



A Puck pan I got for under five bucks!

Building a cookware set can be expensive and take time. If you don’t care if your cookware matches, buying pieces at thrift stores can take the sting out of filling your cupboard with good quality pots and pans.

There are a lot of conflicting opinions about the relative safety of using various forms of cookware. Before you shop for pots and pans, you may want to research and have an opinion about the dangers of cooking with:

  • Aluminum cookware
  • Non-stick coated cookware. There is a useful article in Psychology Today on whether – pans are dangerous.
  • Glass cookware

Snopes is a great source to do your research for some of these items. They provide objective and factual information about rumors, urban legends, etc.

Once you know what you want and don’t want, you are ready to shop. Here are just a few tips:

  • Check the condition. No matter what type of cookware you buy, make sure it isn’t dented, chipped, cracked, or burned on the bottom.
  • Grab it by the handle. Make sure the handles are in good shape, not burned or cracked. If the handles are loose, make sure there is a screw you can tighten. If the handle was welded or glued to the pan and has come loose, give it up.
  • Put a lid on it. If you find a pot you like and the lid is missing, find one before you leave the store. It can be very difficult to find a lid that matches without the pot or pan.
  • Get the good stuff. Since your thrift store pot costs so little, look for name brands such as Farberware or better. I like a pan with a heavy bottom since I am a forgetful and scatterbrained cook. A heavy bottom (on the pan) gives me a little more time to get to the stove before the house burns down!

Happy thrifting!

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