So I told myself this past weekend that I would not do anything except clean house. Seriously, it’s so bad that I actually thought to myself “If I trip and fall and really hurt myself, what would I do? I would be WAY too embarrassed to have the paramedics step foot inside and see this mess!”. Please tell me someone else out there has had that thought. My whole downstairs is cluttered with all of my current projects, kids backpacks, baseball gear, bags, and who knows what else.
“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.
I had been really anxious to go to the Long Beach Flea Market for quite awhile. It’s held every third Sunday in the Long Beach, California Veteran’s Stadium parking lot. I had heard such great things about this market and prepared my car the night before. All seats down? Check. My new flea market cart? Check. Camera? Check. Measuring tape? Check. So when I woke up the morning of the market, I was sad to see that there was a light rain falling. Noooo, not today! Well, the ad on my flyer said “rain or shine”, so off I went!
The closer I got to the market, the harder the rain fell. But I was not backing down! As I pulled into the parking lot, the rain had stopped and I could actually see a small patch of blue in the sky where the clouds were trying their best to part. By the time I rifled through my purse to find my fifty cents off coupon for the $5.00 admission fee(not much, but I’ll take it!) and grabbed my cart, the sun was peeking through the grey sky. Yes!
When I entered the gate, I could see all of the vendors removing tarps and drying off their merchandise, determined to set up shop.
Man, it was wet, and puddles galore! I ruined my favorite pair of boots even though I tried my best to maneuver around them(the boots are at my local shoe repair as we speak. He said he can re-dye the leather? We’ll see).
This vendor had some great chippy paint items and was crawling with peeps. She was off to a good day!
Loved this guys merchandising! I think he just pulled up his trailer and parked it. I actually love going through big piles of “junk”, it’s a total treasure hunt. This man was tough and wouldn’t bargain on anything. I’m not sure he really wanted to part with any of it!
Yeah! The sun!!
The highlight of the day was meeting Emily Henderson of HGTV’s “Secrets from a Stylist”. I didn’t know it was her because her back was to me, I was just listening in on her bargaining technique. She was pulling the ol’ walking away trick, when the vendor caved and gave her the price she wanted. As she turned around, I realized it was her. I asked for a picture and she said “of course!”. She was super friendly and wanted to make it clear to me that on her latest episode, she did not like the carpet used in the show, but that she had to go with it. She explained to me that the small sample she received that she based her decision on looked nothing like what arrived. So cute. Oh, and I’m not trying to be a rock star by wearing my shades in the picture. I just wasn’t prepared to be in any pictures that day so I thought it best to leave them on!
I love anything that stores anything!
So attracted to succulents. Only $1.00 a piece. Cheap and low maintenance, just how I like it!
Well, I made it out of there with some good bargains and I will definitely go back. I ended up with a really cool chandelier, an old table cloth(using to re-cover some seats), an old metal filing thing(the peeling off inventory sticker on the back says it’s from the Internal Revenue Service in Washington, D.C.), a Charles Chip Tin(the girl I bought it from told me of the memory of her mother always getting gussied up for her chip delivery from the good looking Charles Chip driver. Ha!), and a pair of boots(did I mention I have a slight boot obsession?). I have a picture of them all, but Blogger will only load it sideways? What’s up with that?
Now that my cart was a little wider than when I started, I couldn’t cut through the cars to shorten my walk. So I had to schlep all the way to the end of the parking lot aisles. I then realized I had no idea what row I was parked in(when am I going to learn to make a mental note?!). I used the car lock-unlock beep trick when I thought I was in the general vicinity. When I finally found my car, I looked down and had to laugh.
Well, well…looky here. How clever.
Ya gotta move fast. That’s the lesson I’ve learned. If you see something you love(or really like A LOT), nab it. Because for sure, someone else will swoop in right behind you and take it.
I’m kicking myself this morning. I saw this shelf on one of trips to Old Towne Orange. The sign stated, “$25.00 Firm”. I was smart enough to take a picture of it, but not smart enough to get it right there and then. I went back a few days later and it was gone.
Now before you say or think to yourself “Ooooo, how ugly“, just wait.
I was opening my e-mails this morning and, lo and behold, a picture of what would have been. Sigh.
You can see the complete transformation here
Oh well. Ya win some, ya lose some. Lesson learned.
I decided to go to my local Salvation Army store yesterday. It’s truly amazing what you can find there! As soon as I entered, I saw some chairs that made my heart go pitter patter. I looked for a price, hmmm….none. I quickly found someone to check on them for me and was sorely disappointed when I was told they had just been sold. Mind you, the store had just opened! Man, you have to move fast around here. Anyhoo, I quickly got over my heartache and moved on to some other pieces. I noticed a sign in the front of the store that showed they were offering a 30% discount for shoppers over 62 today. Ring, ring, “Ummm…Dad, I need you for two reasons right now, your age and your truck!”. I snatched up a really unattractive sofa(not after I’m done with it!) for $80.00, a side table for $17.50, and what is to become my new coffee table for $23.00. Woo Hoo! If you can see through all of the ugly and vision the potential, this place is a goldmine!
If you are just starting out, on a limited budget, or just thrifty and creative, hit up these places! I’ve put together a collage of a potential family room, all pieces sitting on the floor of my Salvation Army store.
The sofa was on sale for $75.00 and was super comfy. The magazine rack and accessories came to $12.51. The vintage picture, $9.80, the side table was $17.50, $17.00 for the lamp, and that amazing hutch was $160.30. I say use the hutch as as entertainment center for the room. The glass was missing, leaving the cool mesh wire. No shelves on one side, which means you can mount your slim profile T.V. to the back wall of the piece(leaving the doors open to watch it of course). It also has plenty of storage below and display shelves on the other side for chotchkies. So the total for this pretend family room? $292.11! CrAzY.
I have to say it was quite fun putting this imaginary room all together. The above pieces were not the ones I bought, except the side table, it’s now mine to do with it what I want! I hope this post gives you a new perspective and inspires you to visualize the potential of things you would just normally walk right by. There are great pieces out there just begging to be taken home!
Now go…you can do it!
On the first Sunday of every month, Irvine Valley College in Irvine, California hosts a great flea market. It opens at 7:00 a.m. and closes at 3:00 p.m.. I wanted to get there as soon as it opened, so I bribed my 8 year old son to roll out of bed early on a weekend morning with the promise of finding old baseball cards for him to add to his collection.
This flea market takes up two huge parking lots and has antique, retro, and refurbished items. They had vintage clothing and jewelry, knick-knacks, furniture, and yes(whew!), old baseball cards.
Aren’t these old windows great? Three for $12.00. What a great price!
Love old washboards. See how you can make a shelf out of these at this site.
Need I say more about these AHmazing shutters?!!
So many uses for these. Planters, organizers, or just plain accessories!
Loved this booth! He had old keys, all different types of letters and numbers, old bottle caps, vintage game pieces, etc. My version of candy bins!
These old refurbished utility carts would make great kitchen islands. They were at such a great price too!
We ended our trip with grabbing some accessories and we even scored a free Nolan Ryan baseball card from a really nice guy at one of the furniture booths! Here is my favorite thing I took home…
I bought this old clip display grate and added some vintage numbers(our lucky ones) and word flashcards, old keys, a note, and my favorite black and white photos.
After cutting off the circulation in my arms(and my poor son’s) from carrying all of our bags, I have decided I am finally going to break down and buy a “flea market cart”. I never saw myself as one of those women, but I have to say, they are the smart ones.
Until my next adventure…