"Ok, as soon as I go get my McDonald's coffee(have you tried their coffee? Yum) I'll start cleaning". Wait...what's that posted on the streetlight? A garage sale? Oh man. Well, of course I had to go. I may need help with this obsession. I wonder if other people get adrenaline rushes when they see right away that a garage sale or thrift store is going to be good and can't get out of the car fast enough.
I was ruined. After that stop, I couldn't help myself and had to hit up a couple of my favorite hot spots to see what they had received in over the last few days.
Just in case you are wondering, I don't keep all of these pieces. I give them face lifts, or sometimes full body lifts and sell them. I usually won't pay over $50.00 for a piece of furniture. I won't buy anything that is wobbly or in need of major repair. I look for well made solid wood pieces(occasionally I will buy laminate if I love it, it's just more work to transform), dovetail joints, and I look for screws instead of staples or nails. I can tell the quality of something just by touching it and moving it around. Also, the smell of a piece of furniture can tell you a little something, like it's age or where it's been(i.e.smoker's house). I also scoop up cool accessories that I think I can work with and have some value. I tend to stay away from upholstered items. I will recover a chair seat, but beyond that, I have no skills. Reupholstering things can get very expensive and a majority of the time they need new padding and springs or support. Unless I get a KILLER deal, I stay away from them. Besides, I get a little grossed out from the fabric and old foam smell and what may be lurking in it.
The above is a sign I like to see, usually in a drawer or underneath the piece. A stamp, sticker or plaque of the manufacturer that states the company name and sometimes the city where it was made. I love old American furniture. I usually look up the company on my phone as I'm standing in front of it to get a little history behind it. That's just me, I'm into details(and history).
Here are the dovetail joints I mentioned.
I also have a thrift store/garage sale survival pack with me at all times. Here's what is in mine:
Baby wipes(how did we ever live without them?!). I tend to really dig and move things around. Some of the best items I have found have been buried underneath a pile of , well, crap. I end up getting dirty every time and feel super icky afterwards.
Gloves. I have a pair of leather/canvas gloves I bought at Home Depot. When the going gets tough, these come out. Especially if I'm dealing with old wood or metal.
Measuring tape. My tape gets a lot of use. Most of all just to see if a piece will fit in my car! I like the the LeverLock series by Stanley. Mine goes up to 12 feet. It self locks so you never need anyone to hold the other end while you are measuring.
Drop cloth. This is excellent to have to protect your car from dirt, dust, grime, rust, or whatever else finds it's way on to furniture. I had a piece of gum stuck under a table top once, ewwwww.
Notebook and pen. I like to record where I bought something and the price I paid for it. Thrift stores don't itemize with a description on your receipt. I often jot down any notes I have when the creative juices are flowin'. I also use it to write down good tips from people I meet on new places to go check out.
Some other advice besides having a kit with you while out:
Bargain. Flea markets expect it, garage sales expect it. Did you know that thrift stores kind of work like car lots? They don't like things sitting on the floor for long. The price tags usually have a date code on them, which is the date that particular item arrived in the store. The longer it's been there, the more power you have to ask for a discount.
No kids. I try to avoid bringing my kids along at all costs. First of all, I need as much room in my car as possible! Second, they go right to the toy section(at least my son does) and want the stuff I just got rid of the previous week! Plus they get super bored, not to mention the fact that my teenager is mortified that we are even there in the first place.
I'm sure there are more tips to share, but I can't think of any right now. At least I covered the big ones.
So do you want to see what I got this past weekend?
Here we go...
Absolutely love this and it works! It will be hard for me to part with it.
I still have to look this one up. It's called a Planter's Clock and works perfectly. Tells you, according to your location, when to plant seasonals. Lurve it.
As you can tell by my blog, I'm partial to yellows and golds. These ironstone plates are for my personal use. A set of five plus a platter for six bucks!
Cutest dang pitcher I ever did see. Mine.
I usually grab anything metal that holds stuff.
Again, metal and holds stuff.
I almost feel guilty about this one. I paid $20.00 for this beautiful table. When I was putting it in my car I noticed that the brass plaque underneath said Baker Furniture. Well, if you know anything about furniture, you know the Baker brand. It's high end. I went on their website to research it and discovered that you can send in a picture of a piece of their furniture with the measurements and they will tell you the name of the line and when it was manufactured. I have respect for furniture and if it's valuable, I won't paint it or alter it. I'm waiting on their response.
I picked up some other less exciting items and over all had a great weekend. I never did get around to cleaning the house. Next weekend, I promise. Yeah...right.