Thrifty is Nifty: How to Make Smart Thrift Store Purchases

Second time around doesn't mean second rate. Have fun with your thrift-shop finds.

| March/April 2006

Shopping for used merchandise can be overwhelming. The stores may be less than organized, the finds unpredictable in price and quality. A few simple guidelines will help you make smart purchases—and turn them into one-of-a-kind treasures.

Digging for green

If your number one desire is to recycle a home furnishing, heed these bits of shopping advice.

• Unless you have an environmentally friendly dry cleaner nearby, avoid items such as pillows, upholstery and linens that can’t be thrown in the wash.

• Steer clear of older painted pieces if you have children or pets. Lead-based paint, common before 1970, is a serious health risk.

• Consider upholstered and other “stuffed” items carefully; they’re difficult to sanitize. You may need to completely refill and re-cover them to eliminate allergens and pathogens.

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