Now that people have more access to thrift stores and different online marketplaces, buying home items secondhand such as clothes and furniture is becoming a common practice. It’s also a practical solution for people who are on a tight budget as used objects often come at half the price of their brand-new counterparts. People who care about the environment also take advantage of the thrift economy as a way to reduce the waste that ends up in landfills.
However, some items are still best to buy brand-new due to hygiene and safety reasons. It can be very tempting to resist the reduced prices on these items, but here are 5 things you’re better off getting in mint condition.
Big-ticket appliances like refrigerators and air conditioners can come at a hefty price tag when bought brand new. This is why many people consider buying used ones. However, all appliances have a life expectancy and it may be difficult to determine how many years an appliance has left if you purchase it secondhand. This may also lead to requiring repair or replacement sooner than you expect.
For example, regularly-maintained air conditioners can efficiently run for 15 to 20 years. Beyond that, the appliance will start to deteriorate and show signs of problems. Additionally, buying a second-hand air conditioning unit means you won’t enjoy the manufacturer’s warranties so you will have to shoulder all repair costs. You could also end up with a unit that has been recalled due to safety issues.
So, if you’re thinking of getting a split type air conditioner, it’s best to buy a new unit. Check stores for the best available deals and consider getting an energy-saving model. Inverter technology may not be easy to find among used and old aircon models, so while buying a new air conditioner may initially cost you more, it can potentially help you save more money in the long run.
Another household item you should never buy second-hand is your mattress. Just think about it: sleeping on a used mattress means you’re also sleeping with a stranger’s bodily fluids and bacteria. Also, mattresses are a potential breeding ground for molds, dust mites, and bed bugs. These microorganisms accumulate in the mattress material over time and can cause itching and trigger seasonal rashes or allergies. Buying a second-hand mattress exposes you to these harmful elements.
Similarly, skip buying secondhand beddings like sheets and pillowcases. Even if they have been washed, soap and water may not be enough to completely remove bacteria and dust mites. If you don’t want to wake up with itching or allergies, stay away from buying secondhand mattresses and beddings. Instead, purchase new ones so you’ll be assured of a clean sleeping environment and have a more restful sleep.
Welcoming a baby is a joyful experience but taking care of an infant can also be costly. Some parents choose to get secondhand baby items such as clothes and furniture to save some money. This is also a practical approach given that babies outgrow their stuff so fast and won’t be using items like cribs their entire lives. However, you need to be very cautious about purchasing used children’s furniture as these items can be unsafe for your baby to use.
From 2007 to 2011, there have been many baby crib recalls in the United States. These products are sometimes found to be faulty or even hazardous. For instance, selling drop-side cribs is prohibited as infants can get strangled if their clothes get caught in these types of cribs. Due to the changing safety standards, it will be harder to verify the safety of the used product and if no manufacturer information is available, you might end up with furniture that has been recalled. For your child’s safety, purchase a new crib from a reputable store to be certain that the furniture adheres to current safety regulations.
Buying secondhand cookware may seem like a good deal but used pots and pans can be harmful to you and your family. Over time, cookware gets rusty, scratched, and burned. When this happens, the coating in the pots and pans also degrades, which may cause compounds to leak into your food during the cooking process. To ensure you leave out any toxic chemicals from your family’s meals, stick to purchasing new cookware.
Apart from the everyday items you use at home, there are some wearable items you need to purchase brand new such as footwear. Since you won’t know the hygiene practices of the previous owner, you can end up developing hygiene-related issues when you wear someone else’s used shoes. There may be a transfer of fungus or mold, which can lead to infections like athlete’s foot.
Additionally, secondhand shoes can be too worn to use. There’s a higher chance that they don’t fit you very well or have adequate cushioning to support your feet. These factors can make pre-owned shoes uncomfortable to wear and even lead you to develop conditions like Achilles tendonitis. If you want to have healthy feet and walk comfortably, stay away from secondhand shoes.
Buying secondhand items is a great option for those who are working on a tight budget. It’s also one sustainable practice to reduce landfill waste. However, the risks can outweigh the benefits for certain home and personal essentials. Considering the potentially harmful effects that these used products can have on your and your loved ones’ health, buying brand-new items is the better choice.