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Secondhand Israel: Our Thrift Shore in RBS Exclusively for Books and Household Goods

What happens to your household "stuff" once you've decided to curate your possessions? I'm Karen Furman, a home organizer focused on downsizing, decluttering, unpacking, and home set-up, and have a few things to say on the topic.


Some items go to destinations like gemachim, lone soldier's residences, or families in need. Since September 2023 there has been an additional option:  things find their way to our thrift store called Secondhand Israel which has things exclusively for the home including books, decorative items, and kitchenware. Here's the story of how the shop began.


It was fall of 2019 and I was helping one of my clients with pre-move sorting and downsizing. The service includes removing any giveaways.  It's the final step in the decluttering process, and the clients appreciate me taking the things away so they don't have to do it themselves.


Dealing with furniture and appliances wasn't on my radar. However, this particular client asked if I'd be interested in trying to consign her furniture and appliances.  Originally I said no, but after sharing the inquiry with my husband, he said he could do it. With a background in retail, he had the skills necessary to carry out this request.  This is how our consignment business in moving and estate sales was born.


The business was doing well, and then along came Corona which killed both the home organizing and consignment businesses. In August 2022 we had a revival, as a local real estate agent, aware of my services and reputation, contacted me to inquire if I did moving sales. He had recently put an apartment on the market, the owners had downsized and moved to an assisted living arrangement, and we would be working with their family to clear the space. Shmuel and I discussed the proposal and concluded that this was the perfect time to restart the consignment business and decided to run the estate sale together.


That sale was extremely successful. Shoppers originally from the United States and other Anglo countries, who missed thrift stores, estate sales, and flea markets were thrilled. They stated they hadn't found anything comparable since arriving in Israel and requested to be informed of upcoming sales. 


By the end of April of 2023, we no longer had room in our home for any more giveaways from the home organizing clients nor any leftovers from other sales we had been running. Fortunately, a relative making aliyah had secured an apartment a few months before moving and offered us to use the space until they arrived.


Shmuel came up with the idea of running pop-up sales from the apartment at the beginning of Starting in May 2023, over the next few months, we ran pop-up sales weekly. These sales generated a lot of traffic. At the same time, we continued to run moving sales, garage sales, and estate sales primarily in Beit Shemesh, Jerusalem, and other nearby cities.


At the end of August of 2023, we needed to vacate the apartment and the search began for a suitable and affordable location. We found a space in a central shopping area of Ramat Bet Shemesh Aleph under the Yeish grocery store. It is in a parking garage where other similar spaces are utilized for retail stores. 


This is how Secondhand Israel was born! We opened in mid-September a week before the Rosh Hashanah holiday. Our plans for a grand opening were interrupted by the events of October 7. In any event, we have seen an increase in inventory, as the retail store is now becoming a destination for people to bring their pre-owned books and household goods that meet the high standards of what people want in secondhand merchandise. We deal exclusively in things for the home but do not take clothing.


Secondhand Israel has very quickly become a destination store for people seeking to buy pre-owned household goods. In fact, while there are many secondhand clothing stores, it is unique in that it is the only secondhand store exclusively for selling books and household goods.  


Another thing that makes our shop unique is that kosher consumers know whether kitchen items are meat, dairy, pareve, or new. 

Additionally, we welcome email or phone inquiries if a customer is seeking a particular item. Small items we have in the shop. Furniture and appliances coming from moving sales are sold on-location of the sale and can be viewed with all details, dimensions, and prices at secondhandisrael.com.


Our goal for the future is to have a location that would accommodate furniture donations similar to Goodwill or Salvation Army. In the meantime, we're starting small and getting the word out about our business. 


If you or someone you know is making aliyah, looking to furnish a new household, or simply wanting to save money by not paying retail prices, come check us out.


The website is secondhandisrael.com and posts with new merchandise can also be found on Instagram or Facebook.


To find out how we can assist in your move or moving sale, visit karenfurman.com or secondhandisrael.com


Our goal is to pass things from one household to the next saving the consumer money and at the same time, being environmentally conscious to keep good quality and usable items out of landfills. Hence, when working with us, your curated items find new life with people and organizations that can use them.

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