Thursday, May 27, 2010

Home Sweet Home: It's New to Me

It's here! Yes, it's here. Garage saling has begun for the year and I had forgotten how much I enjoy it. Maybe digging through other people's unwanted items and/or tough bargaining isn't your cup of tea (fair enough), but I'll take it any day of the week...

I am one of those people who enjoys the thrill of the hunt. You simply never know what's out there, and an opportunity surely awaits if you're willing to look past the ugly Christmas decorations and Happy Meal toys that you will inevitably encounter. And I have come to realize that it isn't about owning things that makes it appealing, but the prospect of finding an amazing deal on something we already need or a better/more functional/more appropriate version of what we already own. I also enjoy finding things that are unique. Sure, you can typically find a lot of Ikea-type furnishings within a 2-state radius of a blue'n'yellow store, but when you manage to get a hold of something that has lasted a long time already and still looks beautiful, you can feel pretty confident it'll last a couple more decades. For an opportunist, nothing beats the garage sale time of year. I also try to make the year-round estate sale circuit, dabble on Craigslist and frequent thrift stores... lucky for me our bustling college town offers significant turnover as the year progresses, and good deals are never in short supply.

Several years ago, while I was browsing through a neighborhood event, I came across a sale offering a beautiful, large, pure wool oriental-design rug in pristine condition. After some feigned hemming and hawing (I was buying it regardless!), I drove away with it after paying only $40 and a large art frame I had bought at a previous garage sale for $1. Did I forget to mention that I'm willing to barter too? When I got home I looked up that rug online (it had the Karastan information tag on it) and determined that the exact rug retailed for about $950. I am so pleased... it now lives in my bedroom. I would have put a rug there regardless, but it otherwise would have been of lesser quality, a lot more expensive, or both.

More recently, I went browsing with a good friend. Normally I don't hunt in packs, but she enjoys garage sales as much as I do and we have compatible methods. Neither of us has to look at everything, stop at every sale, or take very long making decisions about items of interest. We were very successful. I found a great solid wood coffee table with drawers and style (in nice condition), definitely an item on my watch list, for only $25 after bargaining. It's perfect in my sunroom, and allowed me to get rid of the old one... a decidedly not-as-awesome one that I purchased at a garage sale 5 years ago for $3. I also found a mannequin bust for staging photos for my Etsy shop (it's perfect!) for $7 and some crystal glasses in the exact style we already own (to replace a couple broken ones) for $0.10 each, among many other small treasures.

So now it's Wednesday... time to get to work so we can have a good, relaxing Memorial Day weekend. No time to add pictures, but a post will be forthcoming with a couple finished bits of made-over thrift/estate home furnishings. Since the weather is obliging, if muggy, I'd better to get to that lawn before it's too late...

1 comment:

Betsy said...

Awesome! As Heidi pointed out, garage sales/thrift stores are perfect for kids clothes too b/c everything is pre-shrunk! :) If I may - my find of the moment: a white crib bumper for $5 from Goodwill that turned out to be Pottery Barn Kids - didn't see the tag until I got home (retail about $70).