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Summer Second Hand Bonanza: Fleas, Vintage Garb and More

The bustling Brooklyn Flea in Fort Greene. (Photo courtesy of the Brooklyn Flea)

If it’s true that one person’s trash is another’s treasure, this is good news for humanity, indeed, because there sure is a lot of stuff changing hands all over the place. From stoops to yards to your Internet browser, there are year-round, 24-7 opportunities to buy and sell everything vintage, used, left behind and repurposed. Here are some thrifty opportunities you can check out this weekend. 

The World’s Longest Yard Sale

For the most part, you can shop yard (or stoop) sales every weekend no matter where you live, but if you’re hardcore into this classic American commercial enterprise, a trip to the 127 Corridor Sale, a.k.a. the World’s Longest Yardsale, should go on your life list. Headquartered at the Fentress County Chamber of Commerce in Jamestown, Tennessee, the sale runs 690 miles long, on rural roads from five miles north of Addison, Michigan, to Gadsden, Alabama. You could spend this weekend prepping a trip to — and your wish list for— this year’s sale, which runs from August 7-10.

Second Hand Online 

(Photo courtesy of ThredUp)

If you’d like to try a second hand online shopping experience that’s a step above eBay, here are some cool options.

Twice is an online store that buys and sells second hand clothing and handbags for women. You can sell your own clothing and handbags to Twice or shop popular brands for 70-90% off retail. At ThredUp, send in a “Clean-out bag” and they’ll give you a credit for items in their store. Their standards are high for clothing quality, though. They say they accept less than 50 percent of what is sent to them, and they only accept specific brands, so this is definitely for the more discerning second-hand reseller and shopper.

Besides a seemingly endless supply of handmade crafts and artwork that I had no idea I couldn’t live without, Etsy also houses a healthy selection of vintage clothing, books, toys, and more, because they didn’t have enough of my money already. Modcloth, the online shop filled with all kinds of cool women’s clothing, also has a vintage-inspired section. I’m afraid to look because I’m sure I’ll want it all. You go first.

Used Books

(Photo courtesy of the Alameda Point Antiques Faire)

There is nothing I love better than spending an afternoon in a used bookstore. My favorite one near me is run by Friends of the Library in my county, because not only do I get to shop for used books, but any money I spend is helping the library, too. Libraries are also great places to donate books you want to ditch some of your old reads. I can’t think of a better home, especially if you’re having trouble parting with them in the first place. If you’d like to find a sale near you, the online, aptly named Book Sale Finder will hook you up if you click on your state.

Hit a Flea Market 

(Photo courtesy of The Flea Market at Eastern Market)

You can find one of the U.S.’s most eclectic secondhand shopping experiences in most cities, but there are some standouts nationwide. If you’re in New York, it’s Brooklyn Flea all the way. From April to Thanksgiving, they happen on Saturdays in Fort Greene, Sundays in Williamsburg, and both days in Park Slope.

In D.C., check out the Flea Market at Eastern Market. Open every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., it features arts, crafts, antiques, collectibles and imports from all over the world.

The Austin Country Flea Mart is yet another reason besides queso to head to this fun Central Texas city

In San Francisco, the Alameda Antiques Faire, held on the first Sunday of every month, features more than 800 vendors, and all items sold are at least 20 years old.

Head South, and you can hit the Melrose Trading Post in L.A.

Happy thrifting, folks!

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Laurie White

Laurie White is a writer, editor, photographer, and occasional college professor and counselor. She found the internet in the late 90s and has not emerged since. A contributing editor at BlogHer.com, pop culture writer for Babble.com, and community and communications manager for Mom2.0 Summit, she is a professional aunt who lives in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C. You can find her at LaurieMedia (lauriemedia.com), on Twitter @lauriewrites and on Instagram @laurieanne.

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