This past year, I made more of an effort to look for anything I needed (or wanted) secondhand before heading online or to the store to buy new and I found a few real gems!
1. A 9-tray Excalibur food dehydrator! Along with buying secondhand, I'm also trying to eat more locally and that means I needed to find ways to preserve the harvest for the long winter months that didn't include the use of my small refrigerator freezer. I was shocked to find such a nice dehydrator at the beginning of summer and for a great price too! I snapped this up off a seller on craigslist, gave it a good cleaning and promptly put it to work drying local produce! I'm planning even more trips to the farms next summer! =)
2. A hand quilting stand! Another craigslist find and at a fraction of the cost of a new one. I started learning to quilt this past year and really want to try my hand at some hand quilting. I'd only seen the larger wooden stands for sale previously and while I'd much rather have wood than PVC, this one will happily break down and store away when not in use and I won't have to use it in the basement or garage since it's not massive. lol It's an older frame as well so any off-gassing it had to do is hopefully done. I've yet to put it to use for its intended purpose but you'll soon see it has found another job...
3. A new (to me) loom! Ahhh, this one took so much patience! At the beginning of summer, I decided my floor loom (bought secondhand last year) needed a new home. It wasn't being used because I didn't love setting it up so weaving was only happening on my tiny 8" rigid heddle loom with any regularity. The loom sold to a very nice lady who planned to use it for classes. I broke even on what I'd put into it, but that left me with only a tiny loom to weave on. It took me a good 6 months of checking craigslist ads periodically to find the killer deal I was looking for. And then, this popped up! It was listed as smaller than it is and the extras weren't in the description so when I met up with the lovely owner, I was very pleasantly surprised to find it's a 32" wide loom and had two different heddles (rather than the one I expected)! So my deal was even better than I'd hoped. I'm still in awe that I found this for less than 1/3 of the new price. Around here, used craft equipment and supplies aren't hard to come by, but most people know exactly what they have and are asking almost what one would pay for new! This seller just wanted it to go to someone who would use it. I've already woven up a nice shawl/wrap that I'll be donating next Fall and have plans for many more! And hey, there's that stand again! With a few pieces of rubbery shelf liner and velcro cord minders to secure it to the stand, I have a perfectly usable stand for my new loom that's just the right height for standing while weaving. I can also rearrange the legs and make it a suitable height for sitting, but I've found I enjoy standing to weave. A stand for this loom runs over $150 (plus tax) new! I love multi-use items! =)
4. Feather duvet and cover for only $5! I've seen Goodwill often overpricing things, but occasionally, there are some really, really good deals to be found if your timing is perfect. I was glancing through to see if there were any good larger pieces of fabric (sheets, etc) to be repurposed as quilt backs and spotted this shoved in the back corner on the rack. I'm always a little leary of anything fabric covered that's too big to fit in my washing machine. I have no sense of smell... so I asked another customer if she'd smell it. LOL Yes, I really did! The best part? She did! And with only a brief odd look. It passed the smell test and is residing in a bin in my craft room awaiting its next life as fluffy, warm dog and cat beds for my critters. =)
5. Fabric! A lot of fabric. I think the craigslist ad said 250 yards? The seller said it was cotton knit... it's all woven cotton perfect for quilting, clothing, bags, pillows... I could go on and on. And it was a steal! Well, it was once I made a crazy lowball offer not expecting her to accept. She did! It had been listed for a month or so and she'd already cut the price once. I've sorted it all by color and have already been using it for various projects. It was such a steal that should I decide it's no longer serving a purpose here, I'll happily donate whatever is left to the lovely ladies who make quilts for charity. I plan to start going back to help with that myself. It was so much fun helping to create blankets that will be so appreciated by the recipients.
Honorable mention goes to the the two skeins of Malabrigo yarn I happened upon during a trip to Goodwill. Yep, that's $0.99 each! These are the only higher quality yarn I've ever happened upon at a Goodwill. Couldn't pass that deal up! These are also the only two skeins of yarn that entered my stash this year... my own handspun doesn't count! ;-)
My goal for next year is to skip the regular stores altogether and find what I need secondhand... or make do without. It'll take some creativity and a little luck, but I know I can do it!
What great secondhand items have you sniffed out this year?