I am a bonafide yard sale/thrift store/found-it-on-the-side-of-the-road treasure hunter. When it comes to decorating a space, my aesthetic requires me to incorporate at least one unique piece that has character and (if I’m lucky) also has a story.
Today, I’m showing off some of the pieces I collected last “thrift season” (as I call it – because I treat it like a sport), AND I’m giving you 5 tips on how to best navigate yard sales, thrift stores and the like so you can find your own pre-loved treasures.
Now, if I’ve inspired you to go out and find some gems of your own, but it’s still too cold where you live for yard sales – Don’t fret! Estate sales and thrift stores are almost always indoors and they’re open year ’round, but don’t head out without taking note of the following tips.
5 Tips to Finding the Best Treasures at Thrift Stores, Estate, and Yard Sales
1. Go Early! You have to get up pretty early in the morning to snag the GOOD goods. Aside from other people like you who may be “just looking”, there’s a whole industry of antique and online shop owners who have researched and are on the prowl for amazing and amazingly priced items to re-sell in their stores for a profit. And, they get up early and can clean a place out if you’re not careful.
True Story: I went to an estate sale one Saturday morning and snagged some vintage slipper chairs. Just as I was loading them into my car, an antique shop owner who had just pulled up yelled in dismay…”Nooo! you got ’em?! I drove an hour just to buy THOSE chairs!”
2. Location, Location, Location: You’ll always find nicer items in the nicer neighborhoods. Of course, they have their junk too, but the amount of quality items often times outweigh the junk. As a bonus, I sometimes like to take an early morning trip through the neighborhoods of the “upper-crust”, gawk at the
houses (ahem) estates and visualize what my dream home will look like.
3. Spot the Potential: Some items have liiivvvved (as Wendy Williams would say). So be prepared to see dusty, crusty, warn down and some times torn-up pieces. But just when you’re about to pass it up, ask yourself if it can be shined up, cleaned up, re-upholstered, or spray-painted. If the answer is yes, then your next step is to…
4. Negotiate: Nine times out of ten you can get an item for below asking price at yard, garage, and estate sales. All you have to do is ask! The chances here become 100% if you happen to hit up a sale later in the day. Really cool and unique items will be hard to come by as the day goes on. But because the homeowner REALLY would prefer not to bring anything back into the house, they’d be willing to sell whatever is left over to you for next to nothing.
5. Bring Cash: You can bargain your butt off, however as with anything, cash is king. So just bring the green – including PLENTY of small bills.
I’d love to hear about your fabulous finds or are you looking for an oldie, but goodie? Let me know in the comments below!