Things you should never buy from a thrift store

Thrift stores can be a bargain-hunter's paradise, especially when budgets are tight. Where else can you stock up on furnishings, household goods, and clothing for just a tiny fraction of the original price? Not to mention, they make a great place to ditch last year's fashion faux pas. As every smart thrift shopper knows, though, not everything that's for sale is going to be worth purchasing, no matter how low its price may be. 

Money Talks News interviewed a number of frugality bloggers and other consumer advocates to determine which items should never be purchased secondhand. Many of these non-recommended items fell under three main categories: appliances and electronics, bedding, and baby items.

Avoid thrift store electronics and appliances

Small electronic items such as computer monitors may (or may not) have been checked to determine whether they'll power on when plugged in, but that doesn't mean they're problem-free. Any thrift store electronics may have frayed cords or internal wiring issues which could lead to poor performance at best, or a genuine safety hazard at worst. Appliances could also have similar issues, and there really isn't any way of testing their performance to any extent before purchasing. Not to mention, all such items are likely to be out of warranty. Even if the items are relatively new, though, it may be hard to claim warranty protection without the original proof of (first-time) purchase, and what thrift store donor is thoughtfully going to include all of the necessary paperwork along with the donated item?

Don't buy bedding or mattresses from secondhand sellers

This one should be a no-brainer. Anything people have been sleeping on, or in, could be a source of bedbugs or lice. Sure, people are supposed to clean their items before donating them, and a thrift store may reject items that are obviously soiled, but there's no guarantee that seemingly clean sheets will have been thoroughly sanitized after use.

Mattresses are particularly icky in that they really can't be adequately cleaned at all. Buying someone else's mattress means that, even if you get lucky and escape insect infestation, you'll still be sleeping on their old skin cells, dirt, and other unnamed ickiness.

Ban thrift store baby gear from your nursery

Used cribs? No, no, no, no. Older ones may not meet modern (post-2011) safety standards, and even newer ones may have been subject to product recalls. Used car seats are also a must not buy, as any car seat that has been in an accident (and how would you know whether it has or hasn't?) is no longer considered safe. In addition, a used car seat, like a crib, may not live up to current safety guidelines, and some of its straps and connectors may have degraded and no longer function as they must. Even used toys are to be avoided, as they could be soiled or have missing or broken parts that could render them unsafe for a child. In fact, there's a chance that thrift store toys, too, may have been recalled for posing a danger to kids.

Thrift stores may be a great place to buy cute, barely worn outfits for your rapidly growing bundle o' joy, but when it comes to where your child sleeps or rides, or what they're going to be snuggling or chewing on, you may be better off sticking to good old Walmart.