From baby clothes to furniture, a new study suggests about 85 per cent of Atlantic Canadians bought, sold or swapped used goods last year.

According to the study by Kijiji, Canadians spent $28.5 billion on secondhand items in 2017. That’s one-quarter of what the average Canadian household spends on food.

“Most times I'm not looking for anything,” says one thrift shopper in Dartmouth. “There's always so many surprises that you just don't know what you're going to find.”

The study says East Coast shoppers saved an average of more than $1,110. They also earned an average of $719 by selling used items.

Charity stores are among the most common places for Canadians to shop second-hand, only after Kijiji.

“We have a lot of household items, we have clothing, women’s, men’s clothing, children's clothing, children's toys,” says Taylor Burke, co-ordinator of the SPCA Thrift Shop.  “After our rent and our utilities, 100 per cent of the proceeds are going back to the SPCA.”

Stephanie Graham has operated a Bedford clothing consignment shop for the past four years.

“People are more conscious about what they spend their money on,” she says. “We try and be a little frugal, and I would rather buy a purse second hand that looks brand new and maybe go on a vacation.”

Used clothing is the top item bought and sold, followed by entertainment items like books and music. Baby clothes and accessories ranks at the top, followed by furniture, then clothing, shoes and accessories.

Krista Christensen relates to that. She owns a store that specializes in used baby items.

“I've bought my son's winter jacket here every year… that's saving me $100 a year. That's just one thing,” she says.

The study says the top two reasons why people shop second-hand is to save money and the environment.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Heidi Petracek.