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It all started with a 1960s Drexel Profile Line Series desk. I found it at a church garage sale for $42.50. After opening the desk drawer and seeing the Drexel mark stamp, I knew that it was coming home with me. It was perfect for what I needed and I loved the lines. Not to mention that these desks are often sold on Ebay for between $300-$700, but I didn’t know that at the time. All I knew was that Drexel was a good brand.

My desk was purchased about four years ago and is still in solid condition. Sure it has the “vintage wear” but I love it. This purchase was pretty much what began my love affair with finding solid, quality furniture secondhand.

Here’s why, I started noticing that all the brand new furniture was so expensive and the quality was cheap, cheap, cheap (at most large furniture stores). I noticed that a $300 dresser at IKEA was built much cheaper than a vintage dresser in good condition that I could buy for the same price in a vintage store. Sure, IKEA and I love each other but we have an agreement. If I can find a much better quality piece of furniture secondhand for the same price as the pressed wood items I’d buy at IKEA, I’m gonna.

Also, I buy secondhand for environmental reasons. Often, it’s better on the Earth to scour Craigslist, Etsy, thriftstores, auctions, and estate sales and purchase those things that will just wind up in a landfill. It’s that whole recycle, reduce, reuse thing.

Lastly, the quality and cost ratio is often so much better. Just like my desk that I’ve mentioned. To buy something similar I might have paid three times as much and the quality would have been significantly reduced. Another example, my Lane Acclaim 1963 endtables and coffee table.

This one table cost me $15 and was in not the greatest condition. After some sanding and refinishing it totaled about $40. The same for the other end table and the matching coffee table.

So, over the next few weeks we will be providing you our tips for purchasing secondhand furniture. We hope you’ll give us your tips as we go along! Tomorrow, Jess gives her reasons for buying secondhand.

Happy Thrifting!

I’m linking up over at Her Library Adventures and Apron Thrift Girl. Go and check out everyone’s finds.

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12 responses to “Why I Buy Secondhand: Part I, Mary”

  1. katie says:

    Love your thoughts on Ikea furniture!The thing I love about picking up second hand stuff is theres generally a story about it too i.e who gave it to you, what great legnths you went to to find it etc. A day in Ikea hoever is alomost instantly forgetable!

    • Mary says:

      Hey Katie, that’s so true! IKEA has it’s place but it doesn’t bring as much beauty as the stuff with a story! Thanks! ~ Mary

  2. I couldn’t agree with you more about the Ikea as well as the secondhand stuff. I would much rather buy second-hand quality pieces and retouch them if needed. It’s an addictive hobby!

  3. Janice says:

    Love the desk! I feelthe same way about secondhand! I am on a ‘retail clothing fast’ this year. I am only buying secondhand. Why pay $$$ for low quality when I can get excellent brands for so cheap!

    • Mary says:

      Hey Janice, it’s so true! Btw, I love your blog. It makes me laugh so hard sometimes. Ever figure out where all those creepy Burt Reynolds fans went?

  4. I’ve been buying exclusively secondhand for the last four years and couldn’t be happier– I feel better about my ‘carbon footprint’ and also my warddrobe and furniture have way more character than items found at Ikea or other chain stores. I also know that since the items have already lasted so long that they’ll be around for at least a few more decades!

    • Mary says:

      Hey Leilani, that’s how I feel. I figure if it’s already been around for 50 years then I’m pretty sure it’ll be around for fifty more. ~Mary

  5. SixBalloons says:

    I am totally with you on this. I ramped up my thrifting when it came to furnishing our home. I couldn’t stomach the idea of spending all this money on something from Ikea that is made of particle board! We are the happy owners of solid oak pieces that we love.

  6. ellen says:

    My mother still has the exact same end table! the matching coffee table is long gone but the table with its original finish is still in use.

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So Eclectic is a blog dedicated to great ideas for home design. Austin, Texas-based writer Mary Marcum and Savannah, Missouri-based writer Jess Rezac feature affordable decor, decorating solutions, and inspiration. At So Eclectic, we experiment with design together. So Eclectic posts new content every weekday.

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