Buy used rather than new

When you buy used rather than new, you reduce your environmental impact in two big ways: keeping usable items out of the landfill AND reducing the demand for creation of new products. It also saves you money and lets you feel good about making sustainable choices!

Fortunately, Madison is home to many resources that can help you purchase high-quality, usable items for much less than buying new. Here are a few to get you started:

  • St. Vincent de Paul Madison operates seven stores in Dane County, including the large original store on Willy Street, easily accessible by bus from campus. This store has a large selection of furniture and books as well as clothes and household items.
  • Goodwill of South Central Wisconsin runs several resale shops in the Madison area with all types of housewares, books, and clothing.
  • Need a fashion refresh? Several downtown shops specialize in gently used clothing, including Rethreads, Ragstock, and Upshift Swap Shop.
  • The Madison Free and For Sale Facebook group allows members to post items for free, sale, or trade, mainly located around the UW–Madison campus.
  • The Madison Stuff Exchange, a partnership between the City of Madison, Streets Division and Dane County Public Works, includes listings for items that are free or up to $99.
  • Freecycle runs online postings for offered and wanted items, all for free.

Do you have other favorite local sources for free or cheap items? Let us know at

This list is provided as a resource to the UW–Madison community and does not indicate endorsement or support.