Bargain Hunting
Tips for Finding Secondhand Home Decor

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It’s said that patience and perseverance pay off. This is especially true when bargain hunting to decorate your home with used furnishings.

From local brick-and-mortar consignment stores such as Kismet and Refashion Consigned Furniture & Clothing to thrift stores including Goodwill, Savers and the Rochester Area ReStore, there are lots of options for secondhand shopping in Rochester.

“I don’t buy anything new,” says Brittany Baker of Pine Island. Baker remembers traipsing around Gold Rush Days in Oronoco with her friend Danielle, while three months pregnant with her second child, Maverick. Amid the packed used goods marketplace, she found the perfect lamp for her entryway. The cost? Thirty dollars for the lamp and $10 at Goodwill for a shade. Another exceptional bargain Baker found was at the Rochester Area ReStore, where she got a washer and dryer set for $200 because it was dented.

Baker describes her sense of decorating style as eclectic but adds that her mother-in law “might say salvaged.” Whatever the case, it’s working for her. Area reseller experts offer an array of advice to help newbie bargain hunters find, buy and bring home the perfect home decor items. Everything from furniture to art to rugs and appliances can be found used in Rochester.

Finding great deals
Each store varies when it restocks its floor with new merchandise, so following them on social media is a great way to stay up-to-date on what’s available. The ReStore posts a “Tuesday Teaser,” which outlines the store’s best weekly finds. On Wednesday mornings, the crowd at opening can be 50 people or more, says Amanda Kintzi, ReStore sales floor manager.

Another tip is to come early and come often. Because stock is rotated so frequently, some serious bargain hunters stop in as often as two or three times a day to see what’s new and scoop up the latest great finds.

“Visit often as inventory comes in spontaneously,” says Alisha Arguello, co-owner of Refashion Consigned Furniture & Clothing. “Watch our Facebook or Instagram, as we update when a new furniture piece is in.”

If you’re searching for a particular hard to-find item, you can tell the Refashion staff what you’re looking for, and they’ll keep an eye out for it. “We do house visits weekly and often pass on a lot of items because we don’t have room, but if we come across something that someone is looking for, we text them right away and send pictures. It’s a free personal shopping service we provide.”

A newbie might not get something they like right away,” Kintzi says, urging shoppers to set aside an item they like if they think they might buy it. “If they are interested in something, they need to buy it or put it on hold. The likelihood that someone else will buy an item you’re interested in is high.”

Constantly changing inventory
“We count on people walking through our doors to do business,” says Penny Bracken, chief curator at Kismet. “Every Monday while the store is closed to the public, all of the merchandise is completely flipped. New merchandise is integrated and each and every piece has a specific place and purpose. The fun aspect of this kind of business is that each and every day, new things appear and we have no clue what’s going to show up.”

At Savers, they commit to a broad selection of items, putting out about 10,000 new pieces daily. “We offer great value for used items, and keeping a clean and organized store is important to us as well,” says Michelle Verna, store manager.

Kintzi of ReStore urges shoppers to know what you’re shopping for and to be decisive. “Be ready to walk the entire store,” she says. “You never know what you might find.”
ght find.” “At thrift stores you need to be spontaneous and impulsive,” says Bracken of Kismet. “So you should avoid taking your time to think it over. I’ve heard many, many people comment that they should have bought something when they first saw it because if you wait, it will get snatched up and not be there when you return.”

“Things go quickly at Savers,” echoes Verna of Savers, “especially home decor and furniture. So if you think it will work in your home, get it because oftentimes the person right behind you shopping will pick it up if you don’t.”

Fair pricing practices
While pricing is firm and haggling is discouraged at area resellers, prices drop frequently, with items typically getting marked down the longer they sit in the store.

Some items may still seem expensive, but many older items will last longer than a similar item bought new today. “Focus on quality not quantity,” says Arguello of Refashion. “How is it made? What is it made of? How long will it last? We focus on reselling quality made solid furniture because we want sustainability for our planet. By reusing quality pieces, the environment is better for it and, ultimately, so is your bank account.”

“We work hard to get the right price on the right item,” Verna of Savers says. “We value price items based on condition and quality. We have specialized pricers that we train daily to make sure we price things accordingly.”

Home decor resellers also frequently run special days, like the Super Savers Club at Savers or the special discounts at Kismet. “We always welcome offers on items we’ve had for at least four to six weeks,” says Bracken. “The last 30 days items head to the sale room where they are 50% off the original price.”
“Pricing is based on current market trends and what the market will bear,” Bracken says. “I encourage people who are looking for specific items to come at least once a week and check our Facebook page on Monday afternoons, as I post pictures of new merchandise. A word of advice is ‘See it? Like it? Buy it!’ If you see something you like, bring the tag to the counter, even if you’re just thinking about it, because you could go back to it and it will be gone! Items get sold that quickly.”
At ReStore, prices drop monthly, and there’s a color-coded chart at the entry door showing customers what each price tag color stands for.

At Rochester’s two Goodwill stores, treasure hunters have luck when they shop frequently to get access to refreshed product. “It’s good to sign up for email or loyalty programs with thrift stores,” says Melissa Becker, director of marketing and communications for Goodwill, “as they often offer exclusive savings and sales only for VIP members. And our VIP members get text messages every month with sales exclusive to them. There are many ways to save on our already low prices.”

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About Author

Renee is a mom of two teenagers and a freelance writer in Rochester. She has no at-home office but dreams of one day having one.

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