For those shopping for a new refrigerator or living room couch, choices are slim, and waits can be months long due to supply shortages.
"When I check on our vendor websites, they are just not available," kitchen appliance distributor Ken Reiman said in the fall.
Since then, supplies have improved a bit, but shoppers still report long waits for many items for their homes.
But what about those who don't have three months to wait? The best option might be a used appliance.
Quality used and overstock goods with warranty
Beth Benson is a vice president of ReStore, a nonprofit seller of used household goods nationwide that benefits Habitat for Humanity. The organization has more than 800 locations nationwide.
"We have couches, chairs, and dining room tables," Benson said. "And we sometimes have collectible things, like mid-century modern. We clean it all up and treat it, and it is ready to go."
With prices high and waits for building supplies often long at chain stores, retailers specializing in used and overstock appliances and furniture can be the solution — especially if money is tight or a shopper needs an item right away.
When it comes to appliances, the ReStore offers everything from 1975 Lady Kenmore washers (in gold, of course) to a 5-year-old Kitchen Aid stainless fridge with an in-door ice maker.
The best thing about buying used is that consumers can find working dishwashers for $100 and microwaves for just $40.
Or, how about a slightly used $10,000 Thermador range for just $2,000?
"If I were opening a small cafe or restaurant right now and I needed to stock my kitchen, this Thermador would be perfect," Benson said.
All the items at ReStore have been tested out and have a 30-day money-back guarantee (be sure to check return policies at other used appliance stores).
But it is not just furniture and appliances that are available.
"We always have overstock cabinets, plumbing, light fixtures," Benson said.
That means the clawfoot tubs and brand new wood flooring that contractors say is on backorder might be available at a local ReStore or similar used-goods outlet.
Shopper James Kellor loves the selection and bargain prices.
"I have bought some new stuff, at a decent price, versus going to the big box stores," he said.
So don't shrug off the idea of buying used during supply shortages and long delays. That way, you don't waste your money.
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