Although the pandemic will be the chief reason that 2020 will go down in history as one crazy year, it prompted a surge in other events. One of these was the explosion in home improvement projects.
Lockdown taught us a lot about our homes: what worked and what didn’t. If refurnishing and re-accessorizing the home was last on your to-do list, consider getting to it this spring.
It doesn’t need to cost a fortune, especially if you shop wisely and consider buying used.
Still social distancing? Good for you. The safest place you to shop for your bargain-priced home goods is online.
Craigslist is a good place to start. It’s a local sales platform so you won’t need to calculate shipping costs into the price of your purchases.
You’ll find home goodies in the following areas of the For Sale section:
- Garage sale
Facebook marketplace offers both local shopping and shipping options. If you want to shop local, navigate to your Facebook home page and click on “Marketplace” in the list on the left side of the page.
On the new page, enter a search term in the box located on the left side of the page. To restrict results to those items for sale locally, click on “Delivery Method,” and then “Local Pickup.”
A newish addition to the online marketplace list, OfferUp was created to compete against Craigslist. The main difference between the two is that, in an effort to keep users safe and feeling more comfortable using the platform, the former offers reviews of buyers and sellers.
Navigate to offerup.com and at the top of the page you’ll find two search boxes. Enter the item you’re searching for in the first box and, in the second, your location. Click “Go.”
Refine your search by clicking on “Pickup” on the left side of the page. This restricts search results to only those items located near you.
eBay sellers offer just about anything you can think of, as long as it’s legal. If it’s been awhile since you’ve perused eBay merchandise, you may be in for a shock—the prices have skyrocketed.
We rarely use the platform as we find items much less expensive on the aforementioned sites and we don’t have to pay for shipping.
You can find items with free shipping at eBay, but we’ve found that sellers mark up the items’ prices to compensate for absorbing the shipping charges.
It is possible, however, to shop locally on eBay. Enter a search term at the top of the home page. On the results page, scroll down until you find “Item Location” on the left side of the results page. Then, tick the circle next to “Within.”
Choose how many miles away you are willing to drive to pick up an item and then choose your location. Finally, click on the right-pointing arrow.
Shop in Person
Several brick-and-mortar stores are ideal for the bargain home goods shopper, especially when they’re running sales. These stores include:
- Ross Dress for Less
- Hobby Lobby
- Home Goods
- Michael’s (great for picture frames)
- Cost Plus World Market
Most of these retailers also offer online shopping.
Garage/yard and estate sales
Typically, you won’t find better on-the-cheap shopping than to buy used home goods. Treasures abound at estate and garage/yard sales.
It’s important to understand the difference between estate sales and garage/yard sales. The former typically take place because of “… divorce, downsizing, debt or death,” according to the experts at estatesales.org.
“An estate sale is when someone opens up their estate (usually a home or condo) with the intent to sell all their stuff quickly and for the most money possible,” they continue.
The garage/yard sale, on the other hand, involves the sale of selected items from the home that are no longer wanted or needed. The sale is held either in the home’s garage, yard, driveway or other suitable location.
Prices are typically lower at garage/yard sales.
Thrift and consignment stores
A consignment store holds items that are for-sale-by owner. The operator gets a cut of the sale price. Like homes for sale by owner, these stores rarely offer bargains.
Goodwill, Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore, Salvation Army and Savers are all examples of thrift stores. They are often time consuming to shop but the rewards can be huge.
Tip: Goodwill Industries, in an effort to compete with online resellers, has started holding back the best merchandise to sell at its online auction site. That, in turn, has caused Goodwill’s in-store prices to hike so the bargains are now few and far between.
Flea markets are the ideal place to shop in a pandemic infected world. Typically held outdoors, it’s a far healthier experience than masking up to shop indoors.
And, since haggling is the norm at flea markets, you’ll often get better deals than at any of the aforementioned shopping options.
Spring and a spruced-up home may be just the thing to lift your spirits.