Since so many of you guys loved M's house and were curious about how she decorated it with things she has found at yard sales, estate sales and thrift stores, I asked her if she'd tell us a little about how she approaches 2nd hand shopping. Together we put a list of tips together that we use.
In addition to these tips we both agree that we live in yardsale/estate sale heaven. We live in an area filled with old homes and really great prices. If we lived in Los Angeles or Orange County we would never get these great of deals. So where you live definitely matters. But if you want a few tips, then here you go...
The night before the sales, usually Thursday night, check your local newpaper, estatesales.net and craigslist for all estate sale and garage sale listings. Make a list of the sales and map them out prior to going.
Don't drive around aimlessly; have a plan and limit how many sales you'll visit and how much you have to spend. Bring cash and preferably small bills. Many times the ads will have pictures so you can prioritize and determine which sales look the most promising.
Make sure you arrive earlier than what is advertised. Often they will allow customers in early. This can be a valuable few minutes before the crowds arrive.
Once you are in the house/sale, don't spend too much time in one area. Try to make a grand sweep of the place and get a general idea of what is available, then you can slow down and take your time. Whatever you do, don't barge, push or grab. You'd be surprised how many people do. Stay civilized!
|collection of vintage and antique silhouettes, wicker lamp and antique birdcage|
Check where others don't. Make sure you look under tables and cupboards. If there isn't a sign that says "stay out" - go ahead and take a look.
Don't be afraid to get dirty. In fact, plan on it. Some of the best things I've found were in dusty, dirty places.
If you feel something is over-priced, don't be afraid to offer less.
Sellers expect this.
|vintage painting of frenchman, antique lamps, platters, chairs, wicker|
Always ask whether the last day of the sale will be discounted, often it is.
Discounts of 50%-75% is the norm and this is when really fantastic deals can be had.
Tip # 9
This is a big one...never judge a house by its exterior. Some of my best finds were in very nondescript homes.
|antique french photo matted with antique french lace, antique sconces, vintage bird print|
Make a list of things you want/need. I guarantee you will find it, no matter how obscure or seemingly impossible to get. It may take some time, but you'll eventually find it.
Remember to always be respectful, sensitive and kind. Keep in mind that many times the homeowner or family members are holding the sale. Whether the sale is because of a death or hard financial times it can be a very emotional time for them. A little respect goes a long way.
I don't know about you but I don't know anyone who has a house like M's. It's so full of character and charm and like someone in the comments pointed out, there's nothing cookie cutter about it. You'd think I would learn from her?! Thanks again M for sharing with us all.