What Skeeves You Out?

by Katy on June 11, 2009 · 29 comments


I like to buy things used. Not only does this save my family tremendous amounts of money, but also makes a statement about the excessive amount of perfectly functional goods that clutter the second hand market.

But there are a few things I will not be buying used.

  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • And now . . . a sun hat.

I’ve had malignant melanoma twice and I take my sun protection very seriously, and I need a new sun hat this year. There are piles of terrific looking sun hats at Goodwill, but the thought of trying them on triggers my gag reflex.

I’ve never had lice, and I’d like to keep it that way. I know that a hat bought new can also be infected with nits, but it’s somehow different.

So I will be making a purchase of a brand new hat.

I’m not going to get any more skin cancer and I won’t be getting lice.

What won’t you buy used? What’s on your skeeves-you-out list?

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Luta June 11, 2009 at 5:02 am

Tennis shoes


Jinger June 11, 2009 at 5:11 am

Your list plus…bedding…somehow, thinking about sleeping on bedding used by an unknown makes me very uncomfortable.


Nancy from Mass June 11, 2009 at 5:42 am

your list plus Jinger, plus bras and Womens Bathing suits…ewww.


Sierra June 11, 2009 at 7:14 am

Shoes. When I was a kid, we mostly shopped at thrift stores and the two things I always had new were underwear and shoes. There’s no reason I know of to buy shoes new, but for some reason I’ve totally internalized my mom’s habit there and won’t buy them used for myself or my kids.

I’ll take hand-me-down shoes from friends though, which is actually where I get most of our shoes.


Clean Simple June 11, 2009 at 7:24 am

Lice, fyi, can’t survive more than a day without their human host. So, hats should be fine. But I understand the feeling!

What I won’t buy…um, panties/underwear. But, I recently bought some great camis with built-in bra at Value Village. If it goes on top, no problem.

I also don’t buy used sheets, but that’s not for gross out reasons. It’s that the elastic is usually shot.


jj June 11, 2009 at 8:29 am

The reason to buy shoes new: lots of people have one foot slightly bigger than the other, or higher or lower arches etc.
Used shoes can be sized in a way to make your feet hurt, even if they don’t look worn, just because someone had different shaped feet than you!

Plus the probability of stinky feet being in them…ewwwww.


GLM June 11, 2009 at 8:32 am

For me, it’s clothing, especially underwear. I can’t buy used shoes, either. But I’m totally with you on that hat thing, too! Melanoma isn’t something to play around with. (And you know that if I wasn’t, I’d say so!) 😉

Have you thought about using an umbrella as a parasol? Or, possibly the UV rated hats? I know they can cost more than you want, but when it’s an actual health issue, I think that it’s frugal to limit your risks as much as you can.


Sandy June 11, 2009 at 8:34 am

All of the above items I don’t usually buy used. As for shoes, I have bought them used before, one pair years ago, that I thought was really cute. Trouble was, they were shaped and worn to someone else’s foot and they never fit right. It also just felt weird. So I learned my lesson. I will buy sheets, but for craft material only. Once I bought some for camping. I figured that if you are sleeping on the ground, then you can’t be so picky 🙂 Underwear and personal items, no. I did buy baby socks a few times, but somehow that seemed different.


Liz June 11, 2009 at 8:35 am

Shoes –> foot fungus, nuf said
Anything with Spandex in it as it is probably half dead already.


Kristen@TheFrugalGirl June 11, 2009 at 9:14 am

I can’t really hang with the idea of a used bathing suit for me. My kids do wear hand-me-down suits, though.


LisaPie June 11, 2009 at 10:07 am

Hmmm, I guess I don’t have the gross-out factor like everyone else on the sheets and bedding. I love vintage sheets, pillow cases, quilts, etc. Wash them really well and hang out in the sun and they are as clean as they can be.

I don’t know where used underwear goes to die because none of my local thrift stores carry them. My husband’s t-shirts and boxers become rags in the rag drawer to use on washing cars, polishing silver, shoes or whatever.

I guess my list would be contained at underwear, swimsuits and that sort of thing.


Kim June 11, 2009 at 2:35 pm

I have to buy my fitness clothes new. I teach fitness classes, and I sweat a lot in my workout clothes. I assume others do too, and it freaks me out. I only feel right if I start off with new. For me, it is up there in the category of underwear, socks and sheets.


Debbie June 11, 2009 at 5:35 pm

*bathing suit

and I am very cautious about furniture, even though my house is used/hand-me-downs. We bought a chair from a thrift store and when we got it home, we discovered it was basically a old person’s pee chair. Out to the curb it went. Because of the funky smell in the thrift store, we didn’t notice it. I now do a sniff test.


Non Consumer Girl June 11, 2009 at 5:52 pm

My list is:
shoes ( unless they are almost new)
pyjamas (jim jams!)

Now I am adding hats to the list. Thanks Katie!


Tara Morrison June 11, 2009 at 7:09 pm

My list includes:
socks, pantyhose, mattresses( how often do you buy one of these), bed pillows, tennis shoes and all the things you mentioned.

I have a shopoholic friend who grabbed a really nice wide brimmed 50spf sunhat off a sale table at a boutique and did not try it on. When she finally did try it on at home it was to small and I am small headed so it recently became mine. yay!


Sarah Williamson June 11, 2009 at 7:18 pm

things I have no problem buying used:

non-personal hard surface items such as home and garden tools, books, hard surface home items such as a desk or office chair.
However, I choose to live my life in such a way that I really don’t require much. The cost per use is my rule of thumb. For example, I have a computer chair that cost $1000, but I have had it for 9 years, use it every single day for hours, and it is as good as new. My friends and family have chairs that have become saggy, are non-supportive and bring about aches and pains. Mine is the better buy.
I would rather have one very good thing than 4 not-so-very-good things. If I had been able to find the chair used, I would have purchased it.


Diana June 12, 2009 at 12:35 am

Underwear is definately on the do not buy list. Bras are just because I need the support only new ones can give.

I love vintage hats, but have the eeww factor. If your worried about lice you could put the hat in the freezer for awhile to kill them.

Don’t usually look at sheets or towels because of the wear factor, other bedding is certainly an option though.

I’m very picky when it comes to shoes, any shoes, new or used. I have bought used shoes and accepted hand me downs. The shoes I usually wear to work are hand me downs and they are incredibly comfortable. The four pair that came with them went to the garage sale box. It really just depends on the condition and how often I think I’ll wear them. Really dressy shoes are great to buy used because I won’t wear them very often. Shoes I’ll wear every day not so much.

I’ve bought lots of socks at Goodwill, but they weren’t used. Goodwill sells quite a few items that are brand new. I think I seen men’s underwear last time I was there. New in the package and cheap. I also like the dollar store for funky bright socks. They seem to last just as long.


Happy Mum June 12, 2009 at 1:48 am

When I was pregnant, I saw a very old, much-mended, HUGE flannel sheet (flat) at a charity shop. I bought it, washed it on very hot a couple of times, and made it into about 8 flannel blankets for the baby. My mum and I sewed the hems together on her machine. I loved those soft, cosy things — so did the baby — and I loved working on the sewing with my mum, and I loved that some thrifty person before us had already taken the time and trouble to repair the sheet. A very happy memory. No eeuw factor for us at all.


Aghavni June 12, 2009 at 4:01 am

Shoes for me are at the top of the list as well as underwear and I agree hats. But when I buy these new it’s always on “SALE,SALE SALE”. Makes me feel less guilty and I buy only when these are falling apart. I recycle the old underwear cleaned and bleached make great cleaning rags for dusting or washing the car. If a hat gets old or out of fashion,decorate the rim and use as a wall hanging or on the garden fence. Shoes can be funky planters.

Have fun with it ****


Cheryl June 12, 2009 at 6:00 am

I would only consider appliances like fridges and stoves if I knew the previous owner because I read that cockroaches can live in the insulation. As well, with the resurgence of bed bugs, I would never take any upholstered furniture and certainly never mattresses! from a second hand store. In fact, the whole bed bug subject has made me feel very uneasy about everything at GoodWill. 🙁


penelope June 12, 2009 at 3:33 pm

i wont buy anything used only if it’s from someone i know if not, straight to the mall


Jen June 13, 2009 at 4:55 am

I got a great fabric sunhat at Coolibar.com for me and my kids a couple of years ago and we still wear them daily in the summer. They were like $25-$30 I think but totally worth it because they can be washed and also they can be rolled up in a bag. You can’t carry a big straw hat around very well. I highly recommend them! Oh, and I am just a mom of pale redheaded children, not a Coolibar spokeswoman! 🙂


thenonconsumeradvocate July 21, 2009 at 1:03 am


I bought a cute sun hat at Goodwill the other day. I simply decided that I needed it.

And I washed it, big time.

Katy Wolk-Stanley
The Non-Consumer Advocate


thenonconsumeradvocate August 27, 2009 at 10:37 am


I actually found a sun hat almost exactly like the picture above for $2.99 at Goodwill the other day. And yes, I bought it.

I guess my rules are not so hard and fast.

Katy Wolk-Stanley
The Non-Consumer Advocate


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