10 items better bought secondhand


Although most people would like to shop more sustainably, they don’t know how to go about it.

One of the best ways to shop sustainably is by buying items second hand. Second hand is sometimes viewed as being somebody’s trash or leftovers, but I’m going to tell you about 10 items that are actually better bought second hand.

1. Books

Secondhand is better because…

While ereaders have become popular in the last decade for their convenience and environmentally

friendliness, many readers agree that nothing can replace tangible books. When buying books secondhand, readers are being environmentally conscious without compromising on their reading experience.

And if you’re concerned about a lack of current selection… don’t be! People who buy books brand new often give them to secondhand stores as soon as they’re through. 

Where to buy secondhand:

Fair’s Fair Books in Inglewood

Secondhand book stores boast an extensive selection of well organised treasures. They’re also a dream to walk through with walls of brightly coloured texts. 

My favourite secondhand book store I have visited in Calgary is Fair’s Fair Books in Inglewood. I had a dream of a time walking through their endless shelves, and even walked away with a Gilmore Girls cookbook!

If you’re looking for a cheap deal and you don’t mind putting in a little effort to find it, most thrift stores have decent book sections. Usually everything is around $3 regardless of popularity or novelty. 

Calgary also has an abundance of “little free libraries” which are an excellent resource for keeping reading sustainable

2. Clothing

Secondhand is better because…

These days, vintage clothing is trendier than ever, and for good reason. 

With trends going away and coming back decades later, it’s important to keep high quality pieces in circulation. Not only does it keep items out of the dump, it provides incentive for secondhand shoppers to keep on hunting. 

It is certainly a rewarding feeling when somebody asks you where you got your item and you proudly proclaim “I found it thrifting.” While everyone else is in their $5 Shein pieces, you’ll be rocking a one of a kind item. An item that has a story behind it rather than children’s sweat. An item that has and will stand the test of time, rather than one that is designed to fall apart within the year. 

Aside from vintage, there’s many near brand new pieces that end up at thrift and consignment stores. There could have been an issue with the return, or the original owner simply didn’t wear the pieces as much as they thought they would. 

When fashion is moving at today’s pace, it is important we do what we can to keep fashion sustainable. 

Worn Studio in Inglewood

Where to buy secondhand:

There’s three main types of businesses to visit when vintage shopping: Vintage shops/boutiques, consignments, and thrift stores.

Vintage shops/boutiques are great if you want to go straight for the vintage without searching through the rest.  

My favourite vintage store I’ve visited recently is Worn Studio in Inglewood. It is a brand new store with a truly impressive collection. I recently chatted with one of the owners and bought some vintage business wear there. I can’t wait to go back. 

Consignment stores are great if you are looking for a specific aesthetic. These store owners generally curate the selection themselves, so if you happen to have a similar style to the owner you’ll find your new go to spot.

Danielle’s Consignment is my favourite spot for consignment. Danielle is a lovely lady with a keen eye for her casual and trendy aesthetic. She works tirelessly to make sure her selection is carefully curated for her customers (including me!).

Thrift stores are the place to go if you don’t mind getting your hands dirty. You’ll work harder to find what you want, but you might come out with a better deal!

3. Accessories

new/ish, Downtown

Secondhand is better because…

Accessories are key to styling outfits. Put a different purse, jewelry, and belt with your outfit and you’re giving off a whole new vibe.

People’s aesthetics change and grow, and sometimes perfectly good accessories no longer suit their style. So, their perfectly good items are ending up in consignments, vintage stores, and thrifts just waiting to be found by you! 

Accessory shopping is so much fun at these stores because you’re curating your one of a kind aesthetic by combining the aesthetics of previous owners.

Where to buy secondhand:

Most consignment, vintage, and thrift stores have an accessory section. Each location will have an eclectic collection of options.

A great vintage store for accessorising is new/ish in downtown Calgary. It started off as an Instagram page and took off to become a whole store!

4. Music

Secondhand is better because…

This one is a little tough because vinyl records are extremely delicate and CD’s are somewhat obsolete, but hear me out. 

We’ve all witnessed the absurd movement back to vinyl amidst the digital age. We have Spotify at our fingertips, and yet we choose to listen to a chunk of plastic.

As one begins to develop their vinyl collection, they’ll find many vinyl records are no longer in production. This means the only option is to buy them second hand. 

Secondhand vinyl is a little scary when you consider the meticulous care that is required with records. However, when you have trusted record resellers, you can rest easy knowing that they’re selling you something good. 

CD’s are not quite as popular as vinyl records, but they too have a charm. There’s something special about being forced to listen to one album. You get the pure, unshuffled experience that the artist intended.

There’s also the thrill that you might find a rare/collectable vinyl or CD while browsing the thrift store!

Recordland in Inglewood

Where to buy secondhand:

There are a few record distributors around Calgary, and one of my favourites is Recordland in Inglewood. They have been around for over 40 years, and boast a large collection of new and used vinyls. I bought Taylor Swift’s Platinum Edition “Fearless” and it was in excellent condition.

There’s also usually a vinyl and CD section at any thrift store. It will take time to look through, but you just might find yourself a treasure!

5. Furniture

Secondhand is better because…

Furniture trends are constantly changing, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find timeless pieces. When you find vintage furniture that has stood the test of time up to now, you can feel confident that it will continue to. 

When shopping for secondhand furniture you get to be really creative with your interior designing. There’s no predone IKEA template, it’s all up to you and your own preference. 

Much of the furniture available at secondhand stores also has great potential for refurbishing. This means you get to customise the piece to your specifications and have a fun project to work on… or get someone else to work on for you…

Of course, there’s always the joy of having a story behind the pieces that fill your home and getting to proudly tell people about the adventure you had thrifting and refurbishing this piece.

BEX Vintage, just off 17th Ave

Where to buy secondhand:

One of the coolest places I have seen vintage furniture is at BEX Vintage on 17th Ave. Becca Black carefully curates their selection, and let me tell you it’s beautiful. They have a lot of teak furniture which is extremely popular right now, and also has that timeless appeal.

Of course there’s always thrift stores if you don’t mind putting in some extra elbow grease in searching and fixing up.

6. Sporting Goods

Secondhand is better because…

Now you might be thinking: “Ew, gross, I don’t want to use somebody else’s sweaty, stinky sports equipment,” but hear me out.

There’s a number of reasons why people donate their used sports equipment. Sometimes they grow out of it, quit the sport, upgrade equipment, the list goes on. In all these scenarios, there’s a good chance the equipment is still in excellent condition. 

Sports equipment is only going up in price due to the increased number of outdoors people the pandemic created. So, to the average buyer, it’s becoming more important to shop frugally for sporting goods. 

Where to buy secondhand:

I recently visited a new and used sporting goods store called Switching Gear YYC in Inglewood. They have an excellent understanding of the necessity to shop for the gear that allows us to enjoy nature in a sustainable fashion.

Thrift stores generally have less selection of high quality sporting goods, but sometimes you find a diamond in the rough.

7. Picture Frames

Secondhand is better because…

You get a bonus piece of artwork! Next time you’re looking for a picture frame, take a look through the artwork section at a thrift store and you would be surprised what you find. 

While the artwork that comes with the frame might not be ideal, if a frame is what you’re looking for it doesn’t matter. 

You might even get caught up in the artwork you’re looking through and find a new painting for your house! There’s a certain charming mystery in thrift store frame/art shopping. You never know if it was made by a full time artist, a hobbyist, or someone who just picked up a brush one day.

Where to buy secondhand:

For frames, you are best off heading over to your local thrift store and going on a treasure hunt.

On the topic of second hand art, however, I want to direct you to Artesano Galleria. The basement of this store is full of one of a kind treasures. From sculptures to glasswork to funky mirrors, you could spend hours walking through the unique artwork.

8. Home Decor

Secondhand is better because…

Who wants the same generic house decor everyone else has? Not me! 

Buying secondhand home decor is another one of those things you kind of need to have an eye for. When you do it right though, you take an amalgamation of eclectic pieces and unify them in a space that screams YOU. 

There’s so much to be discovered when shopping for home decor secondhand. From high quality items that no longer fit in someone’s house, to the curio that you can’t take your eye off.

Where to buy secondhand:

For this one, my best recommendation is to head over to your local thrift store and just search around for a while. It may be tough to see how something can fit into your house in the fluorescent thrift store lighting, but think a little outside the box and you’ll be surprised what you come up with. 

I’m also, once again, going to direct you to BEX Vintage on 17th Ave and Worn Studio in Inglewood. Both these places are so cool to look through and I guarantee you’ll find something that catches your eye.

9. Kitchenware

Secondhand is better because…

Kitchenware is something that exists to fill a purpose, but has grown into another piece of home decor. Because of this plenty of perfectly good items end up in thrift stores because trends are changing. 

Kitchenware is also very expensive when bought new. When people are throwing out perfectly good items just because they don’t match the style of their kitchen any longer, you’re guaranteed to find some steals of deals. 

Where to buy secondhand:

I’m just going to direct you to the good old thrift and Facebook marketplace for this one. You would not believe the amount of Le Creuset I have seen on Facebook.

10. Craft Supplies

Secondhand is better because…

When you are just starting out in a crafting area it’s tough to invest a lot of money in equipment when you’re not even sure if it’s a passion. That’s why it’s nice to start out with some second hand equipment and upgrade when you reach a higher skill level. 

A lot of high quality equipment can be found in second hand stores because people upgrade their equipment and no longer need items that are perfectly sufficient for beginners. 

Where to buy secondhand:

We’re bringing this home with another situation where your local thrift store is your best bet. There’s often items like sewing machines that’ll end up in these places, and they’re in excellent condition. 


Next time you’re buying one of the items I listed above, consider buying sustainably. You’ll be contributing to a global movement that is ensuring our world is healthy for years to come. 

When you buy from the places I described, you’re also supporting real people with real passions. That’s something to be proud of. 

If you want to learn more about the people behind the businesses I described, and so many more, visit our homepage here!