Ain't no shame in second-hand!

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By Arlene Jones

Columnist

Last week I wrote about all my unfinished projects. The main reason I have so many is because I'm addicted to second-hand shopping. Be it thrifting, garage sales, eBay, or local derivatives like Letgo, Craigslist, Offer up, Facebook Marketplace, demolition auction sales and Habitat for Humanity resale stores, second-hand is the only way to go.

The majority of people know about Goodwill and Salvation Army. They are the two oldest staples of thrift stores. I prefer Goodwill over Salvation Army because their stores are newer and extremely well organized. I've also found their prices to be better. Sadly, there is only one Goodwill store in the entire city of Chicago. Why?

This past Saturday, I was searching for a plant stand for my deck. I passed by a Goodwill store and decided to stop in. I didn't find a plant stand, but I did find a whole house attic vent fan. I looked inside, and it was brand new. It had all the paperwork and the price tag said $19.99. I couldn't resist! Another project, yes, but knowing I need to have an electrician come in and do some work anyway, I will add this to the list of what he can perform.

I doubt there's anybody who doesn't know about eBay. I was looking for nails for my nail gun, and after going to four hardware stores and wasting precious gas, I gave up. A quick search on eBay, and not only did I find the size of nails I needed, but the price was very acceptable. I ordered two packages that will last me years.

One of the reasons I needed so many nails is that I had used a local online resale site to purchase cedar paneling for my basement closet. The woman's description was kind of vague, but the price was too good to pass up. I ended up with 11 packages of tongue and groove cedar planks for $60. And they were not the small box of planks but the ones that are 9 feet long! I have slowly been using them to line the closet and it is coming along nicely.

Recently a man advertised a set of power tools. I had been looking for a battery operated reciprocating saw and couldn't believe my eyes when I saw that he offered it, plus a circular saw, a drill, along with two batteries and the charger for $40. I quickly messaged him; we agreed to meet in a very public place. I now have those tools and they work just fine.

When it comes to things for the house, nothing beats Habitat for Humanity resale stores. Whenever I have needed something for the house, I have always managed to find it there. Their prices are very reasonable and with my bungalow now approaching 100 years old, maintenance is an absolute necessity.

Demolition auctions are also the way to go. I needed a new tub to replace the one I already have because it had developed an irreparable crack at the bottom. Fortunately, I found a house in Lincoln Park, less than 20 years old, which was going to be demolished by the new owners. The house had a very nice tub that I could use and all I had to do was get it out. My handyman and I did get it out. Another project, but at least one that can be done in the winter!

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