Buying Used in CR

Buying Second Hand in Eastern Iowa

I am frugal. I refuse to buy something new when something second hand works just as well for often less than half the money. Here are the sources I can think of locally. Please feel free to add any I missed in the comments or share any experiences with these shops.

Garage Sales

This is my favorite source for second hand items by far, especially townwide sales.  Can you say DEAL!  I’ve gotten brand new Pampered Chef stones and micro-cookers for next to nothing.  My children wear a ton of clothes from garage sales because let’s face it, who wants to pay $30 for an outfit they’ll outgrow in a couple of months.  And as it gets later in the day, don’t forget to haggle.  Most people don’t want to have to take all their stuff back into their house so a happy to deal.  The worst that can happen is they say no!  I would suggest checking Craigslist and Gazetteonline for listings of local sales.  I love how you can run searches on these, if you are looking for something specific.

Goodwill

 Goodwill has locations everywhere and is known as the place to take items that you are ready to get rid of but aren’t so bad it’s time for the dump.  Although I don’t have much luck finding clothes for me to wear to work, I have had a ton of luck with jeans and pants for my husband.  Most are priced at around $5.50 and are still in great shape.  I’ve found a few items for my children but not many.  I also like looking at their books as they are VERY inexpensive.  The method of pricing is very easy to follow as all women’s shirts are one price, all pants another…  Very easy to figure out what you are spending.  Additionally, they run daily specials depending on the color of the little plastic tag.  I don’t think I would go there to find toys, shoes, or furniture however.  Most of those should probably just be thrown away.

Plato's Closet

I don’t have much personal experience with Plato’s Closet. I have however spoken with one of my friends who absolutely loves the deals she gets there, especially on name brand jeans. Plato’s Closet specializes in trendier clothes, typically for teens but also for those who are more fashion conscious. However they do not carry plus size clothing, offering juniors up to size 19/20 for bottoms and tops to XXL. Guys pant sizes 26-40 and XXXL for tops.

As a consignor you only get 30-40% of what they believe it will sell for but on the up side, you don’t have to wait. After the buyer has reviewed your wares, you will get paid. No waiting until it sells. And the other plus, is no appointment necessary to bring in items. It’s first come, first served. I don’t have much personal experience with this store as I’m most certainly not described as a trend setter in the fashion world and my children are too young to care. So I can’t tell you for sure how much they will or won’t take.

ReStore

If you have a project and need to save some money, I would HIGHLY recommend the ReStore. This is set up to receive new and used building material donations. I have bought doors, switch plate covers, caulk… You name it, they carry it. Last time I was there, they even had some brand new over the stove microwaves. Sweet deals!

On the downside, there isn’t a lot of help available and it isn’t perfectly organized but in general, it is a great place to look for your home improvement supplies.

Salvation Army

 Allow me to just say, EEEEWWWWW!  These seem to be items that even GoodWill said “I don’t think so”.  What isn’t run down is overpriced.  I believe Target takes things that didn’t sell on clearance there and I am disgusted to say that the Salvation Army typically prices above the clearance sticker.  Could they at least take the sticker off so we don’t feel like they think we are stupid???  SERIOUSLY.  I honestly don’t have anything good to say other than it is a worthwhile charity for donations.  I can’t in good conscience recommend shopping there.

Stuff Etc

Stuff Etc has locations in Cedar Rapids, Iowa City and Coralville.  Although they have some nice household items and you can find things ranging from clothes, furniture, and dishes, I have found as late that items aren’t as high quality.  It’s especially frustrating when they won’t take a perfectly good pair of pajamas but then as you go through looking at items for your family, you find stained and pilled clothes and dirty toys.  I also feel strongly that they are overpriced.  I understand that it isn’t a garage sale and there is some overhead involved but I have seen items with the tags on them marked higher than the clearance sticker still on it.  Seriously!

On the side of the consignor, I also don’t think their consignor program is that great. You only get 40% of the proceeds and don’t get paid until they sell it. You need to set up an appointment to bring it in, and they typically send over half of the items you bring in back, regardless of quality.  Last time I tried consigning there, I only brought in things that I would be willing to buy myself – no stains or tears, right season.  They still sent 60% back home with me.  If you are looking for a purge, either have a garage sale or look for the tax write-off and donate.

About the only time I would go to Stuff until they revamp some things about their store, is during their storewide half off sale.  It is about the only time you can get a decent deal.  Watch my blogs for updates on area sales for when these are coming.

Weetail

Weetails is a Seasonal Consignment Sale. Twice a year you can shop for Spring/Summer or Fall/Winter gently used children’s clothing!

Dates for the upcoming 2011 Spring/Summer Sale

March 31st 9am-7pm (all items regular price)

April 1st 9am-6pm (select items 25% off)

April 2nd 8am -2pm (select items 25-50% off)

Weetails has infant sizes through Juniors size three as well as maternity clothes. In addition to clothing, you can find strollers, exersaucers, highchairs, toys, books, games, shoes, décor, Halloween costumes, and coats. They don’t have bottle nipples, walkers, certain baby gates, cribs, car seats or pack and plays.

Weetails is set up and run like a store at Hawkeye Downs Expo South 4400 6th Street SW in Cedar Rapids.

Although I have had some good experiences in the past and will most likely attend again this year, I haven’t found the deals to be as good the last two times I've gone. Many consignors are now marking a lot of clothes w/ ND, meaning they don’t get discounted on the last two days. Combine that with an outfit marked $10, and I’m going to walk out empty handed. I understand it isn’t exactly a garage sale, but these items are used. Sorry… Got off on a rant.


Hopefully I’ll have better luck this year.

Going too far

Are there some things I won't buy used? Absolutely! Used underwear? And if I don't want used underwear, I'm certainly NOT going to make my kids wear it. Mattresses? No way! I just never know what might be on it. I'm starting to feel ill thinking about it. Time to move on.

The other thing I would say comes from my brother who says "Don't buy someone else's junk". I was debating on Wii drumset and the woman running the garage sale was telling me that the wires snapped as they were moving them out for the sale. Looked like a clean cut for a snap. I was studying the set trying to figure out how to fix it. It didn't look good but I REALLY wanted it. If it's not working and you don't know if it can be fixed, don't buy it. Walk away!

Locations and hours

Goodwill 
 
 
 
Reboot (computers)
2000 Scotty Dr SW
5520 Council Street NE
3202 7th Avenue
985 Hwy 6 East
1410 S. First Avenue
Cedar Rapids, IA 52404
Cedar Rapids, IA 52402
Marion, IA 52302
Iowa City, IA 52244
Iowa City, IA 52240
Mon-Fri 9 - 9
Mon-Fri 9 - 9
Mon-Fri 9 - 9
Mon-Fri 9 - 9
T, W, F, Sat 9 - 2
Sat 9 - 6
Sat 9 - 6
Sat 9 - 6
Sat 9 - 6
Thurs 2 - 7
Sun 12 - 5
Sun 12 - 5
Sun 12 - 5
Sun 12 - 5
Closed Sunday and Monday
 
 
 
 
 
Plato's Closet
 
 
 
 
3645 1st Ave SE
 
 
 
 
Cedar Rapids, IA 52402
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
ReStore
 
 
 
 
725 North Center Point Rd
 
 
 
 
Hiawatha, IA 52233
 
 
 
 
Tues - Sat 9 - 5
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Salavation Army Thrift Store
 
 
 
 
717 3rd Avenue Southeast
2504 7th Ave
1719 2nd Street
 
 
Cedar Rapids, IA 52401
Marion, IA 52302
Coralville, IA 52241
 
 
Mon - Sat 9 - 5
Mon - Sat 9 - 8
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Stuff
 
 
 
 
3750 Williams Blvd. SW
252 Blairsferry Rd NE
1027 Hwy 6 East Pepperwood Plaza
2818 Commerce Drive
 
Cedar Rapids, IA 52404
Cedar Rapids, IA 5240
Iowa City, IA 52240
Coralville, IA 52241
 
Mon - Fri 9am-8pm
Mon - Fri 9am-8pm
Mon - Fri 9am-8pm
Mon - Fri 9am-8pm
 
Sat 9am-5pm
Sat 9am-5pm
Sat 9am-5pm
Sat 9am-5pm
 
Sun noon-5pm
Sun noon-5pm
Sun noon-5pm
Sun noon-5pm
 

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Comments 2 comments

cheapsk8chick profile image

cheapsk8chick 5 years ago

What a shame for the CR Salvation Army! QC has an *outragious* Salvation Army! Be sure to check it out if you are ever down here in Davenport!


CRMoneysaver profile image

CRMoneysaver 5 years ago from Eastern Iowa Author

Thanks Cheapsk8t! I don't get to the QC area very often but I'll be sure to check it out if I do:)

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