Love Flea Markets? Don’t Buy These Things!

Things you should never buy at a thrift store (or flea market, garage sale, etc)…. Unless you want lead poisoning!
Article courtesy of Country Living | authored by Jessica Mattern

The hunt for secondhand or vintage treasures is entertainment for many of us. And buying used is often an easy way to find inexpensive, high-quality, and one-of-a-kind pieces. But in some cases, pre-owned or old items can be unsanitary, more expensive, and, in worst-case scenarios, dangerous. So the next time you scour your favorite thrift shop, think twice about these items and how you plan to use them.


This includes sheets, duvet covers, blankets, linens, and more. There’s no thorough way to sanitize these items, and since you’ll be spending so much time wrapped up in them (at least 8 hours a day, right?), you’re better off to buy new.


Antique Crystal

At least not if you plan to eat off of it. Antique crystal glasses, decanters, and other crystal vessels were likely made following outdated standards, which means they could contain a ton of lead oxide. Purchase for your collection or display, but not for actual use. And never use crystal to store food or drinks over a long period of time

Appliances you can’t test

A word to the wise: Make sure you know it works before you bring it home.

Old china and dishware

They may look pretty, but vintage plates, bowls, cups, and platters could contain lead or other unsafe substances. Yikes! If you’re worried, play it safe and use your vintage pieces for display.




Over the decades, there have been millions of cribs recalled, in addition to improved crib safety standards implemented by manufacturers. Invest in a safe bed for your little one by purchasing one that’s new and up to the latest safety standards.

Anything with old chipping paint

From wood furniture, painted decorative metal, or construction materials (doors, windows, etc.) if they were painted before 1978, the paint most likely contains lead. If you fall in love with a shabby chic window frame at a flea market, ask to do a lead paint test with a quick kit before taking it home.

Vintage hardware

There’s nothing we love more than a distressed knob or pull to embellish a door, dresser, or cabinet, but these items also come with a risk of lead exposure. Always test for lead before you buy.

Mattresses and pillows

Two words: bed bugs. Two more words: buy new!

Used cookware

They may look beautifully distressed, but scratched, rusty or worn-down baking sheets, pots, pans and other go-to kitchen supplies are likely not safe for actual use. Chipping non-stick coatings and rust are not safe to consume food off of, and over-used cookware may seep harmful chemicals into your food. When it comes to vintage kitchen cookware, you may want to stick to just using them for decoration and not for food consumption.


Pre-owned rugs probably contain years of stains, allergens, mold and mildew. Buy a new one and your allergies will thank you.

Anything that stinks

That funky smell could be from mold, dust, pet stains or a combination of chemicals from old paints or stains—and you’ll never know what’s causing it. Removing odors from furniture can be costly and time-consuming. Save yourself the headache and skip that musty piece you’re attracted to.

Upholstered furniture

At the very least, plan to remove and replace all the upholstery and padding from previously owned furniture to avoid bed bugs, allergens and mold. Or play it safe by skipping fabric-covered pieces altogether.


Cheaply made utensils can cause metals and chemicals to leach and contaminate your food, but sterling silver and stainless steel are safe to use.

I would love to read your comments on this.  Do you collect vintage pieces of any kind, and where do you search for them? What procedures do you follow to make certain they are safe to bring into your home?  Please comment! And share with any of your friends that are avid collectors.

For all things “Home”, I enjoy discussing almost any topic, including the real estate market in Arlington. Call me if you think you might like to buy a new home.


Kitchen Remodeling Trends for 2017

courtesy of Culture Map

According to a recent Houzz kitchen trends report, as reported by CultureMap, a remodeled kitchen could help you be healthier! The report finds that homeowners with new kitchens order less takeout and they cook more meals at home, which certainly means healthier eating!

Age plays a role in preferred kitchen styles: Baby boomers and mature homeowners prefer traditional styles, while millennials prefer farmhouse-style sinks, gray color schemes, and modern textures.

Modern farmhouse styled kitchen with lots of gray

Modern farmhouse styled kitchen with lots of gray

Regardless of age, homeowners want sturdy, yet beautiful, flooring and countertops, naming durability and appearance as top priorities. Granite is the most popular countertop material, while quartz, wood slab, and quartzite perform respectfully. Hardwood flooring lost some favor but still remains the most common kitchen option. Ceramic and porcelain tile won the hearts of more homeowners this year than in the past.  And stainless steel appliances are still preferred over other options.

Stainless steel appliances still dominate, and white countertops are coming on strong

Stainless steel appliances still dominate, and white countertops are coming on strong

Custom cabinets still top the priority list for homeowners wanting to upgrade their kitchen. White cabinets prove to be more popular than wood-colored or gray cabinets combined. Adding an island or breakfast bar come in second and third as top features to upgrade, though millennials tend to want islands more than older generations.

White cabinets lead in popularity

White cabinets lead in popularity

Proving that younger generations want monochromatic schemes found in farmhouse-style kitchens, millennials and Generation X lean toward painting kitchen walls gray, while baby boomers tend to paint walls beige.

Renovation budgets keep climbing with 1-in-2 homeowners spending more than $100,000 on a new kitchen. The median amount homeowners spend upgrading is between $25,000 and $50,000.

To read the in-depth Houzz report, CLICK HERE!

I love houses and I like to share important news about houses with my followers. If you are thinking you need MORE than an upgraded kitchen and are considering buying a new home, contact me for key points about the housing market for 2017!  It will be a dynamite year to buy and sell a home!

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