PORTLAND - What a Portland mom has learned shopping thrift stores could save you some money.

Everything here is pre-owned, Katy Wolk Stanley said as she gestured around her Southeast Portland home.

From her free piano off of Craigslist, to her full set of Fiestaware plates, Katy believes she has saved thousands.

I estimate a savings of $10,000 every year, Stanley said. She writes a blog and calls herself the Non Consumer Advocate. There s nothing I haven t found at Goodwill.

She has company in the aisle. There seems to be a new eagerness to buy used.

The non-consumer advocate

We are up double digits from last year. People are buying more and showing up more often, said Dale Emanuel of Goodwill Industries.

Clothing leads the list of what s most often donated. You can be a 'fashionista' and still buy used clothing, Stanley said.

With donations highest on weekends, the best shopping days are Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.

Every store in the system changes up 6,000 items each day, said Emanuel.

A cookie jar turned utensil holder is one of Stanley s favorite kitchen finds and there are plenty of others.

This is our $40 dishwasher from Craigslist. People are always remodeling their kitchens and taking out perfectly good appliances.

Goodwill doesn t have appliances, but housewares are the second-most donated items.

The last week of December is like our Christmas. We just get mobbed because of that tax receipt, Emanuel said.

If you re buying older stuff, it s already sturdy, said Katy as she pointed to her many used pieces of furniture.

She s bought chairs from a front porch, end tables from Goodwill and a couch from a vintage shop.

Goodwill s best selection of furniture is at the end of the month since most people move at the beginning of the month.

Consumer Reports does have a list of what you shouldn t buy used including cribs, car seats, mattresses and pillows. Stanley does have her own limits. She won t get used underwear, socks or personal care items but still she has a tough time remembering the last thing she bought new.

I think it was a Netti Pot when I had a cold, she recalled it s just so much more fun to buy used. There s that thrill of the hunt.

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