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Things Gently Used
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There’s something about second-hand shops, yard sales and consignment boutiques that draw me. I’m sure it’s because I grew up during America’s Great Depression. Shopping-on-the- cheap proved to be expedient. “Gently used” is frugal shopping.

Purchases from a Neiman Marcus aren’t a part of my shopping dreams but I did browse through one once. Boredom engulfed me. Yet I’m in my element with consignment clothing stores. It’s fun to find something that someone else paid top price for last year that I can wear now for a pittance.

However, there’s a caution to shopping-on-the-cheap: don’t buy in a hurry. Browse, enjoy and examine the item(s) carefully. Check tags, seams, backs of pictures, under tables, look through books, etc. Haggle the price. Often you can get your treasure for less. Most resale shops and yard sales are “Final.” Even when you find something that requires a bit of help, like sanding and spray paint, there’s a delight in making it look just right for you.

Quality Stuff

Most second-time–around items are quality stuff. Often people simply are overloaded with too many things and need to thin out. Or they move and find they must get rid of things. They gain or lose weight and need to clean out the closets. Of course, sadly, there are always the estate sales that some families need to resort to in order to sell Great Aunt Bertha’s belongings. You’ll probably find more junk in outlet stores than you’ll ever find at a resale shop, yard sale, or estate sale.

I always wanted an armoire with European style. I figured I’d never be able to afford one. I got mine by default. After my husband and I downsized from our home  to an apartment, I discovered that we didn’t have enough cupboard space. We went to a consignment store advertised for its “fine used furniture.” There it sat in a back room—a beautiful, very affordable armoire. Like a puppy up for adoption, it seemed to clamor for my attention. It’s doubtful that I’d find an unappealing put-it-together-yourself cabinet for the price I paid. It had my name on it.

Shopping for “gently used” also allows me to be a good steward of the income that God provides. The prophet Malachi wrote that we are thieves if we don’t bring our tithes and offerings to God. I find that when I return to God his due first, He provides me with His blessings. I’m sure that includes finding the affordable when shopping. And I feel like a queen, not a pauper every time I take something out of my armoire—even though one door sticks a tad. One day, it may be sold again at a resale store or an estate sale but not by me.

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By Betty Kossick Copyright © 2012 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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